Thursday, July 7, 2011

What Is the Role of Faith in Justification?

Faith in justification fills the same position as faith does in sanctification. (After all, we are justified by faith and we are sanctified by faith.)

What role is that though? Faith fills the same role in justification that works do in salvation. We know that, “While good works will not save even one soul, yet it is impossible for even one soul to be saved without good works.” {FW 111.1}

It would be just as correct to say, “While faith will not justify even one soul, yet it is

impossible for even one soul to be justified without faith.”

We have incorrectly been conditioned by the cheap-grace gospel, to make a false distinction between faith and works—that you cannot earn salvation by works, you must [err, um, earn?] it by faith!

Faith is something we do just as certainly as works are something we do. And there is no more merit in faith than there is merit in works.

“There is danger in regarding justification by faith as placing merit on faith. When you take the righteousness of Christ as a free gift you are justified freely through the redemption of Christ.”  {FW 25.2} 

Practical Application

When it comes to justification, faith lives by every Word of God:

  • In spite of sight (the wickedness of the sin),
  • feeling (the guilt for that sin),
  • and reality (the condemnation for that sin and the complete unworthiness of any of God’s mercy).

Faith says, “God’s Word has promised pardon, and I know that He has forgiven me.”

Does saying that (believing that) somehow make you worthy? Would that act of living by God’s Word have pardoned you saving Christ from having to die? Does believing God’s Word give you merit to earn justification? That’s silly—absolutely not!

Suppose someone commits a sin. Then they are sorry and turn away from their sin (repentance). They confess (both to the one wronged and to God) and ask for forgiveness. They have complied with the conditions of justification. But still they think their sin is so great that God cannot/will not forgive them—in spite of the Word of God that says, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18.

They are living by feeling/sight/reality, rather than the Word of God (faith)—which has promised forgiveness. And with sorrow Jesus says, “According to your faith be it unto you”. Matthew 9:29.

  • John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
  • John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
  • John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
  • Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

This is faith: “When Satan comes to tell you that you are a great sinner, look up to your Redeemer and talk of His merits. That which will help you is to look to His light. Acknowledge your sin, but tell the enemy that ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’ and that you may be saved by His matchless love. 1 Timothy 1:15.” {SC 35.4}

Abraham “staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed [justification] to him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:20-22)

“When men learn they cannot earn righteousness by their own merit of works [or faith], and they look with firm and entire reliance upon Jesus Christ as their only hope, there will not be so much of self and so little of Jesus.” {FW 25.3}


Post a Comment