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Justification by Faith

By Pastor Dennis Smith


In this book I am focusing primarily on sanctification; how the believer lives the obedient Christian life by letting Christ manifest His righteousness in and through him.  Some have called this the “imparted” righteousness of Christ.  It is essential the Christian understand this aspect of righteousness by faith because he is to become just like Jesus in order to be ready for His return (1John3:2).

The goal of this post is to enable the reader to better understand how this is to happen in their life.  It is a subject that all Christians must understand and experience if they are living when Jesus returns.

In this chapter I am focusing on the justification aspect of receiving Christ’s righteousness.  This has been called receiving the “imputed” righteous of Christ.  Justification and sanctification, the imputed and imparted righteousness of Christ go hand–in-hand when one accepts Christ as his Savior.  They are two sides of the same coin.  God’s desire is for the believer to experience both in the life.  The problem through the ages has been confusion concerning what the Bible teaches on these important subjects and understanding how to experience them to the fullest in the life.  The great Protestant Reformation of the 15th and 16th centuries was caused by such men as Jerome, Hus, Luther, and Calvin becoming personally enlightened through God’s Word on this vital subject.  Through the study of God’s Word they realized the established church of their day was teaching error concerning these vital biblical truths.  Justification by faith was a precious teaching to these great Bible scholars just as it has continued to be to all who have come to understand and accept it since that time.

To be justified is to be declared free from the guilt and penalty of law breaking.  For instance, if you are accused of breaking some law you will be taken to court, tried, and judged.  If you are found guilty you will receive a just penalty for your law breaking.  If during the trial you are found innocent of the charges you will then be declared “justified.”  You will be free from the guilt and penalty of the law breaking you were accused of.

This is what justification by faith is all about for the Christian.  When a sinner accepts Christ and asks God’s forgiveness the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the accused sinner, and he becomes justified: freed from the guilt and penalty of his law breaking, which is death.

Man’s Condition

The first step in understanding and experiencing justification from our disobedience of God’s law is to know what the Bible teaches about man’s natural born condition before God.  According to the Bible we are all sinners through and through.  Not one of us is righteous; for we have all sinned (Romans 3:10, 23).  Because of this condition we are all condemned to death as unrighteous law breakers (Romans 6:23).  This terrible condition came upon mankind through the forefather of us all, Adam (Romans 5:12).  His sin brought this sinful condition upon mankind.  Along with that sinful condition came the just penalty of death.  Therefore, every human being stands before God as a condemned sinner deserving of death.  That is our hopeless, helpless condition and unless God does something for us we are all eternally lost; separated from God.  This is the reason Jesus Christ became one of us (John 3:16-18).

Once one understands this he might say; “I now realize I’m a sinner.  So I will begin obeying God’s law and He will accept or justify me; declare me free from the guilt and death penalty of sin.  I will now begin obeying God’s law, work hard at atoning for all my past sins and become righteous in His sight.”

The truth is that when we come to realize we are sinful law breakers we are powerless to then begin keeping the law of God in order to achieve righteousness and justification; freedom from the guilt and penalty of sin in our life (Romans 3:20).  No matter how hard “we try” to obey God’s law we still fall short of perfect righteous obedience.  No, we are sinners through and through; slaves to sin through our sinful nature (Romans 7:14, 18).  We are filled with unrighteousness (Romans 1:29).  Any righteousness we try to attain by trying to obey God’s law is as “filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6)

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3 thoughts on “Justification By Faith Made Simple

  1. Pingback: A Fatal Error | Believe In The Gospel Blog

  2. My answer to “A Fatal Error.”
    The issue is not whether those who are drawn up to meet Christ in the air, will have kept God’s New Covenant, which, by the way, from the Hebrew, means l-a-w.” It is why we keep it. What this means is that one cannot keep the New Covenant which was given at Mt. Horeb, in and of ourselves. We have carnal, sinful natures, All of
    us. Smith is correct on that point. “And many shall come to Me, saying Lord, Lord, look at all the things we have done in Your Name. And I will answer them, saying “depart from Me you lawbreakers. I never knew you.”

    The Law given at Horeb was given by the pre-incarnate Christ, He was God the Son, and still is. He told the woman, :verily i say unto you, salvation comes through (not from) the Jews. He knew, He gave the name, Y’israel, to Jacob. God renewed His only Covental Law several times, It was not a new Law. God’s Law has always existed, whether in principle before sin, or as Law after sin.

    Jesus is God who has lived forever and will live forevermore. Jesus came, said “I have lived My Father’s Law perfectly.” He is our example.

    Jesus said to His followers, as recorded in Matthew 23, “When they sit in Moses’ bench in the synagogues and teach, listen to them, but do not do as they do. For, they say, but do not do. But, when they sit in Moses’ bench, listen to them and DO as they say.” That doesn’t sound like Jesus was saying go ahead and break My Law; all you have to do is say I believe, be “baptized” and that’s all there is to it. Not quite.

    What Jesus is saying is this:
    As I promised, after your fathers broke the first Covenant, when they broke
    their promises to obey My Covenant, I made a New Covenant with you at Mount Horeb, and soon I will ratify it, not with the blood of animals, but with My own blood, shed for the once and for all time, remission of your sins, and mine, today. Baptism was practiced by the religious Jews of Jesus’day on earth. But, they had become so enamored to the idea that, because they killed animals, they not only could earn , but HAD earned salvation (forgiveness and the process of sanctification which they spoke about, but rarely understood the meaning of, as when they drank the cups of the Seder, but had no idea what those cups of juice represented.

    At the same time, and for many generations in their past, the teachers, today
    referred to as rabbi, wrote or had others write down their sayings, many of which became part of “the writings of the sages.” The Talmudic writings and Mishna came from all of that. These writings were completely outside the Laws of God, as expressed in God’s Torah (the Ten Commandments, the ordinances and laws, the statutes and judgments, all of which were written by Moses in the Book of the Law.

    We would not have ever likely heard of the Ten Commandments were it not that
    they were written not only on tables of stone, but also in the Book of the Law, which
    was placed “in the sides of the Ark of the Covenant.” Not outside as many have supposed.

    Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross amounted to God coming down to our level, living His Law of Love perfectly (not just saying He lived the Law of Love as the ethnic Jews tried to say), whilc their “sages” wrote regulations that caused men, as Jesus said, “to
    break the Law of God,” The sages were like today’s many TV evangelists who try to make big names for themselves, rather than concentrate on what Christ died and rose again that men might “do and observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”

    Ten days after His final ascension, Christ sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts and minds. He is our guide as we seek, with His power, to do His will according to His everlasting word. It is found in His New Covenant. The laws,statutes and judgments were NOT the problem for sinful man. The problem was what man tried to do with
    God’s Law.

    Satan said, “I shall rise above the stars. i shall sit on the mount of the mo’adiym
    (God’s moed His special times of worship when His people come, as they have throughout the universe throughout time immemorial.) The prophet said of the
    beast that “he shall think himself able to change both times and laws.” The beast that Daniel is speaking of is talking about our time. The end times of this earth’s sinful history. He gave them to Moses whose people were to keep the Law, and with love as
    expressed in the Feast of Weeks, pass this love and care on to the rest of the people of the earth, once they had become reestablished with their capital at Jerusalem.
    Christ died because the ethnic Jews failed to understand what the animal sacrifices meant.

    Paul said, in Colossians 2: 16 and 17, that the Galatian men, converted as they had been brom pagan days and pagan ways, not to mention the immoral practices that many of them had been addicted to, into the living religion that Jesus had practiced and had to teach Paul by direct confrontation. Jesus won Paul’s Old Covenant heart.
    Paul then became a Torah-observant New Covenant Judeo-Christian.

    Jesus said way back then, “In vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the
    commandments of men.” Jesus is the Pathway. I want to follow in His footsteps and,
    because I love Him, and through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, follow in His
    footsteps, and do all things whatsoever He has commanded.

    God bless you. Sorry this sermon is so long. But time is short.

    Shalom in Yeshua ha-Maschiach (Jesus, the Messiah)

  3. In Colossians 2, Paul wrote his letter to the new converts to Judeo-Christianity from prison. He wrote it to the male converts who lived in Colossae, Not Galatia, although
    the situations in both places were similar. Works of the law, “legalism” as some term it, was rooted in the non-Christian Jews’ thought that all the men had to do was be circumcised in order to be guaranteed salvation. This resulted in their haughty disregard for the rights and priveleges of sonship under God through Jesus Christ.

    That was, I believe, the reason that the men of Galatia were returning to the days, weeks, months and years of their pagan gods and goddesses (Diana of the Ephesians, for example(, among other, older pagan religious days and way. Paul confronted them. But, at no time did Paul intimate that anything that came from the lips of God was ever “weak and beggarly,” or that the Laws which God had given were in any way from “the no-gods.”

    If we would be of Abraham’seed, and heirs according to the Promise, we must then, as Jesus said, “do the works of Abaham. Faith and trust in God, as led by the Holy Spirit will lead us to know God’s “charge, His laws, His ordinances and His statutes.” As Ezekiel, the prophet said in Ezekiel 36, 26 and 27, “and DO them. All because Jesus opened up His Gospel to all of us, whether a reborn Jew or a reborn Gentile who is now grafted into the Olive Tree, Y’israel. They are the overcomers. Hallelu et Adonai. Praise God. Amen.

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