When Scripture speaks of justification by faith, then it is emphasizing several very important truths. First, justification is by faith shows how the sinner is actually justified before God. It explains how God's justifying sentence as Judge is applied to the sinner, so that he passes from a state of guilt to innocence. When we are justified by faith our faith is counted (imputed) for righteousness (Gen. 15:6, Rom. 4:5). God as Judge accepts that faith as our righteousness or innocence. He does this, however, not because faith itself is worthy or because faith and the obedience of faith are accepted somehow as a substitute for perfect obedience to His law. Rather, faith is counted as righteousness because of its own character. As we have seen, faith is in its deepest reality a bond of union with Christ. That explains how we are justified by faith. Faith is counted as our righteousness not because it is a substitute work or because it is worthy in itself, but because it brings us into contact with Christ and His perfect righteousness Truly, therefore, we are justified by the righteousness, obedience, holiness, and works of Christ, which become ours through faith. And it is only by faith, then, that we can be justified - nothing else but faith lays hold on Christ and His righteousness. Nothing but Christ's righteousness will ever find acceptance with God for our justification. Nor can faith be another work. Justification by faith does not mean as many believe, that God as Judge has decided that instead of demanding all the works of the law, He will demand just one thing of us - one work - and that is faith. Faith is not something we produce - not something that has its origin in us (as many teach). Believing is not a decision that the sinner makes - he can make no such decision as long as he is lost in his sins. The faith by which we are justified is itself the GIFT OF GOD. He provides not only the righteousness that we need in order to be justified but also the means or way by which that righteousness becomes ours. Our justification, therefore, is wholly the work of God. From Him are all things necessary for our justification. The righteousness that justifies us, the Person who provides that righteousness, and the means by which we receive it (faith) are all His gifts. Thus, that justification is by faith means that it is not by works. We are called to do good works (they are even ordained for us! - Eph. 2:10), but we do them as proof of and in thankfulness for salvation received, not to earn or merit salvation. Our works have NOTHING to do with our standing before God. Only Christ's works do. As Scripture says, "Where is boasting then? It is excluded! Of Him and through Him and to Him is our justification, to whom be glory forever and ever. Free, gracious justification, given through the gift of faith - what a blessing! And what a gracious God who so justifies unworthy sinners!
- Volume: 5
- Issue: 10
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002; Emeritus October 15, 2017Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
Address13823 Clear Lake Rd.
State or ProvinceWA