gospel · Theology · Uncategorized

Justification by Faith and Galatians Chapter 3.

 

Are you having a difficult time with understanding justification?  Do you wonder if you have done enough to demonstrate that you are saved?  Do you question whether you are good enough, if there is enough evidence of your faith to be true?  Do you tend to be legalistic with yourself?  One of the dangers of, “navel gazing” (self-examination) is that we become self-absorbed, we lose proper perspective.  We begin to filter incoming information through a set of rules that constantly look at ourselves, and our performance, or lack thereof.

A filter is thing that removes particles from a stream, while allowing the rest of the particles to continue on to their destination.  This can be a data stream, electrical stream, light stream, basically anything that flows.  As we perceive information streaming in through our senses, we employ filters based on our cumulative view of the world (word view).  When that view is built on a solid foundation of objective truth, it will lead us to proper understandings of what has happened, is happening, and will happen.  We will filter out the untrue, and allow the truth to continue.  When our filtration system is built on a false worldview, we filter out some truth, and we look at the world and ourselves through a lie.

God has given us His word, and like Him it is truth.  We on the other hand, are fallible creatures, prone to accepting lies.  Even with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and His illumination of the Word of God for us, and to us, we still get things wrong.  This is yet another example of God’s grace towards His elect, we don’t have to get it all right, all the time, from the word go.  None of us die with all the answers in perfect comprehension.  In a sense, even the most spiritually mature Christian you know, will die with notions about God and His word that aren’t perfect.

Our works are tainted, our thoughts are tainted with sin and imperfection.  If you are relying on either of those to get some kind of assurance that you are in, then you are going to find your faith shaken on a regular basis.  Let’s look at Galatians 3 for a moment together.

Galatians 3 :: New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Faith Brings Righteousness

1 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?

6 Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.

10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.” 11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” 12 However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Intent of the Law

15 Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations: even though it is only a man’s covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it. 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ. 17 What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. 18 For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.

19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. 20 Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. 21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

Galatians 3 makes it clear that it is not our obedience to the law that makes us just, but rather our faith in Christ.  Do you want some assurance?  Believe in Christ and His work.  Trust Jesus alone, and don’t mix in your ability to know more than someone else, or do more.  Because neither of those things actually satisfy the law.  The law is intended to be impossible to satisfy so that you are driven humbly to your knees before Jesus with no defense left but Him crucified, resurrected, and ruling for eternity.  Repent of sin, and trust the Savior.

God · gospel · love · Theology · Uncategorized

What Does James Chapter 2 Teach us About Faith, and Works?

abraham-isaac

In James 2:14-26 we learn that what a person does as works is driven by their beliefs. Their works are a manifestation of what they believe. If one believes in being made right with God by doing works, they demonstrate that they don’t understand the gospel. They don’t understand the work that Jesus did on the cross to atone for their sins. The example of Abraham and Isaac is given. Abraham would not have went to sacrifice his son Isaac if he didn’t truly believe God told him to do it. By obeying God, he demonstrated his true belief in God. When we do God’s will because we believe Him, and His word, it demonstrates the kind of faith that separates us from demons who believe in God and tremble, as well as those who attempt to attain righteousness by their works. The believing heart and mind agree that there is nothing worthy in them, and entirely rely on Christ, and in so doing rejoice in Christ and His grace. This moves them to do works that are pleasing to Him because of His great love, and mercy, true believers demonstrate grace to the lost world of suffering sinners for the glory of Him who saved them.
James 2:14-26
Faith and Works
What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (NASB) James 2:14-26

Apologetics · Theology

Faith or Works, Why Do People Keep Arguing About This? It Is So Obvious!

A Quick look at Romans 4

 

Abraham-looks-at-stars1

So let’s look at Romans 4:4 out of context first and see what it says, “…Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due.…”  Out of context we see that this verse is talking about receiving what one has earned for himself.  This seems pretty obvious.  When we add context we can infer so much more than a vague sense of getting what you deserve.  So let’s add some context now.  Here is Romans Chapter 4;

“  1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 4Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

7“BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN,             AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.

8“BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.”

9Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 10How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; 11and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, 12and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.

13For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; 15for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.

16For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17(as it is written, “A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.” 19Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 23Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.”

In the first two verses we read,

““  1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.”

This tells us that we cannot be justified by our works and that trying to cite them as justification before God is not.  To back this up Paul quotes scripture in verse 3,

3For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.””

And then in verses 4 and 5,

4Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,”

Now we have Paul explaining that the sinner who does works to attain righteousness can never do enough to remove their guilt and that they have earned for themselves condemnation.  This is in response to the Jews at the time who were attempting to put the gentile believers under their same yoke.  Then he explains that the ungodly sinner who puts his faith in Jesus for the fulfillment of righteousness has that righteousness from Christ.  In the next few verses Paul backs up what he said by quoting scripture again,

6just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

7“BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN,             AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.

8“BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.””

In verses 9 through 12 we see that the circumcision was the outward working and seal of the righteousness credited to him by faith before he was circumcised.  This is how we can know that saving faith that justifies and imputes righteousness can be for the gentiles as well, because it was done to Abraham before he was circumcised.

9Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 10How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; 11and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, 12and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.”

“      13For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; 15for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.”

In 15 people have used this inappropriately to justify not sharing the gospel, but this is not what this is about at all.  This is about someone who by faith has been justified and is no longer subject to the condemnation the law brings.  That is the point being made and is supported in context by the rest of the scriptures.

Verse 16 says quite a bit so we will look at it by itself for a moment,

“      16For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,”

This verse unpacks the doctrine that elect people of the Jews and gentiles alike are part of the true faith that Abraham had from God Abraham and that through faith in the work of Jesus and by His grace to us all who believe and repent are part of the covenant of the true justifying faith.

In the following verses Paul sums up the doctrine of saving faith verse works righteousness,

17(as it is written, “A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.” 19Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 23Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.””

Abraham’s faith that God would make him a father of many nations even at his old age was credited to him as righteousness and then we can see how it is extrapolated out to his descendants who include the Jews and the gentiles.  This is made clear in verses 24 and 25 as those who have faith in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection to save us from our sins.

Apologetics · Theology

What is the difference between the Mormon gospel and the gospel of the true Jesus?

glennbeck

According to the documentation on the Mormons own website; “https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bd/gospels”

“…The word gospel means “good news.” The good news is that Jesus Christ has made a perfect atonement for mankind that will redeem all mankind from the grave and reward each individual according to his or her works. This atonement was begun by His appointment in the premortal world but was worked out by Jesus during His mortal sojourn. Therefore, the records of His mortal life and the events pertaining to His ministry are called the Gospels; the four that are contained in our Bible are presented under the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John…”

They only had one thing right, and that was the meaning of the word, “gospel.”  Too bad they got everything else wrong.  The Greek word, “εὐαγγέλιον” transliterated is evangelion.  It is where we get our English word, “evangelist” in English we use the word, “gospel” which was an English rendering of a Latin expression meaning, “God’s spell” or “God’s story.”  εὐαγγέλιον means, “good news.”  So what is the good news of Jesus Christ?  Well according to the Mormons it is that everyone lives on after death while some go to one of the three forms of Mormon afterlife determined by their own works.  So basically you go where your works have earned you.  So if you were an uber goody-two-shoes Mormon and followed all the rules you might become an exalted man and one day even a god.  You would get to go to the celestial kingdom until you became a god and had your own solar-system to rule.  If you only were a marginal Mormon you get to go to the terrestial kingdom with all the slackers who were basically good.  Of course if you weren’t a Mormon at all you would have to go to the telestial kingdom and work your way up.

I’m sorry but none of that sounds like very good news to me.  I don’t think that anyone who has ever read the Bible and knows what sin is and what righteousness is would think that is good news.  It looks like insanely BAD news to me.  They are saying that you have to earn your way by works.  Not a lifetime of good works could void even one of my sins.  If you are a thief and you go before the judge and tell him, “Your honor, listen I know I shouldn’t have stolen that ladies purse.  I know it is against the law, but since then I have worked hard and given to charity, and I even washed your car on the way in.”  The judge if he is a just and good judge will say, “None of those things change the fact that you are guilty of the crime of theft.  The fact that you would come in here a guilty thief and try to bribe me with your charity work and washing my car is offensive to me.  You are guilty and here is your sentence.”

If a human judge would be offended how much more would a perfectly and infinitely holy and righteous God be offended?  There is no way to work your way in to Heaven according to the Bible.  Anyone that has honestly read it would tell you that, but the Bible isn’t good enough for the Mormons… oh no!  They have to add the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrine and Covenants.  You see if you are going to try to deceive the world you really have to convolute the truth and by muddying the waters they can do that.

So what is the difference between real Christianity and Mormonism’s gospel?  What is the difference between their Jesus and ours?  Well it is quite simple you see Jesus is God.  Not a god, but the God.  Jesus paid the penalty for the sins of all who He would save.  They couldn’t pay their penalty.  Just one deceitful or lustful thought is enough to warrant an eternity in Hell experiencing the wrath of God being poured out on you for ever.  God would be just and right to do so as He is the perfection of goodness, justice, and righteousness.  A person who doesn’t see how insidious and sinful their sin is in contrast to the holiness of God will never understand their inability.  Of course they think they can earn it because they have brought God down to being at one time a man who lived on a planet orbiting a star named Kolob and who was a sinner and they have elevated man to a being that could earn of his own works godhood!  What complete and utter nonsense and heresy!  Jesus saves us by His grace (unmerited favor) He paid our penalty and imputed His righteousness to those He would save.  They are seen as perfectly righteous and holy upon judgment because they are in Christ Jesus through God granted faith.

So our deceived Mormon friends and family are destined for Hell.  What can we do about it?  How can we help them?  Over many years I have tried several different methods of reaching them.  It seems impossible at times, but we know in regards to salvation anything is possible with God.  I would recommend praying for them.  I would also recommend being their friends while gently sharing the differences you have.  I would also recommend that you get offended when they say they are Christians.  Let them see the joy you have in Christ.  Let them see your liberty to love and your light heart.  Let them see that you are at peace with God and assured of your salvation.  They are burdened with upholding so many rules and rituals that they are always about to crack.  They never can know if they have done enough.  Always tell them the truth about Jesus.  Don’t get into a shouting match with them.  Don’t go into a discussion without first arming yourself with knowledge of the word.  If they throw the, “You’re anti-Mormon” card just tell them you are not and ask them about the, “First Vision.”  It is the one where Joseph Smith supposedly sees God the Father and Jesus both in bodily form and they tell him that all of the churches are false and their teachings are abominations and to join none of them.

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Then explain how offensive that is to you.  Explain that they are just as much anti-Christian as they claim we are anti-mormon.