Kinyip shares on the talk by Woodhouse about ‘Justification by Faith’.
Justification by faith, not works, was the way that God meant for things to happen. I know it, at least I thought I did. I knew from Hebrews 11 that the means by which we would be saved was through faith, as shown by the patriarchs of Israel. I knew from Galatians that works would make Christ’s death on the cross meaningless. Yet it was humbling to learn that I did not really understand this doctrine at all. Justification isn’t all about the faith bit; it starts with Justification.
Sin was a problem so big, that no man, not one, could do anything about it. Actually, it still is a problem in our fallen world today. God knew this, yet he showed time and time again in the Old Testament how good men, bad men, righteous men, kings and prophets, while serving their purpose, but ultimately succumbing to sin. Paul summed this up in Romans 3:20, “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”
During this series of talks, the axe fell right at the start of the second talk, when Mr. Woodhouse asked the question, “What do you hope for when you have done wrong?” Do you desire to be excused? Or not discovered? Or to blame someone else? Or to be forgiven? He went on to state that moral relativism has lost forgiveness. We cry out for vengeance for injustice in faraway places. We search for someone to blame when there is a crisis, like the rogue trader in UBS. Do we seek forgiveness? Why should forgiveness be so important?
The Christian life begins with forgiveness. When God forgives me of all the wrong that I have done, He does not hold me responsible at all. Not one bit. God forgives my sins, not because of anything that I have done, but God paid the price, He sent His Son to take the penalty for my sin. Justification is being declared righteous. God declares me righteous thanks to Jesus. I have been forgiven on the cross.
O what a blessed assurance.
Romans 3:25b-26 (ESV)
This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.