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Justification by Faith

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
December 30, 2021 12:01 am

Justification by Faith

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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December 30, 2021 12:01 am

How can sinful people like us stand in the presence of the holy God? Today, R.C. Sproul discusses the doctrine of justification.

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How can the unjust person be just fine, which means how can the unjust person be made just get a start all over again. You can't.

Once this person sins once it is impossible for him ever to be perfect perfection.

Use the standard to be at once before God. We must be perfect. So how can we be justified if we can't rely on her own goodness, we must rely on the righteousness of someone else today on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul reminds us that only one person is achieved that standard. In this session on our study of the atonement I want to look at the function of the atonement with respect to the scene of justification by faith we recall that during the great controversy of the Protestant Reformation. Luther insisted that the doctrine of justification by faith alone was the article upon which the church stands for false fact, in his much celebrated debate with Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam was many sparks that were flying in terms of the late intensity of that debate. Luther did on one occasion congratulate Erasmus and thank him for debating the real issue and not fooling around with trifles. The issue is how does the cross of Christ relate to me were now on the level of theory of what actually happened objectively and into the question of how the benefit of Christ work is appropriated to us what good is it for me. But Christ died on the cross. How does that relate to me what really happened. Now were talking about the atonement as it relates to the concept of justification. Though this word is one of those so long a ponderous theological terms that we find in the Bible and it's at the heart of the gospel. This whole matter of justification yet I find that there are lots of folks in the church who have trouble defining the very meaning of the term justification and let's go back to basics and remember that the need for an atonement its necessity as we spell it out in the first lecture is related to the problem of human sin and the character of God. God's holiness for God's justice.

We have this basic problem that God is just and man is what unjust the fundamental question is how are these two parties going to relate. How are we going to reconcile this problem and conflict between unjust and holy God and a fallen unjust sinful human being to work with this imagery for a minute, let's suppose that the circle here represents the character of mankind, and if that man's sins we see that that sin puts a blemish of sorts for moral blemish on the character of fallen man Sophie commits a sin, we have little blemish there.

And if he commits another sin.

Sin penetrates more deeply into his life.

We might put terms of the degree of our sinfulness and the extent of our sinfulness when judged by the standard in the norm of God's perfection of God's holiness. How much of this circle should I shade all of are we talking about man is being half sinful and half pure or would we say that the corruption is more serious than that you want to say total. What does Rome say Rome leaves a little island of righteousness that is left. Okay, this was at the heart of the issue in the 16th century because the reformers were saying that the sinful pollution and corruption of fallen man is complete, rendering us totally corrupt know there's a lot of misunderstanding about that before we proceed any further. We need to declare part the term that is often used for this human predicament human situation in classical reformed theology is the term total depravity and people have a tendency to wince whenever you use the term total depravity because there is a confusion in the mind between the concept of total depravity and the concept of utter depravity, utter depravity would mean that man is as bad as corrupt as he possibly could be. And I don't think that there's a human being in this world right now who is utterly corrupt. Only by the grace of God and by the restraining power of God's common grace, but total depravity does not mean that men are as bad as they conceivably could be because as many sins as you've committed.

You can conceive the fact that you could've done worse. You could've committed more gross and heinous sins, or numerically and more frequently, we see that murder is a sinful thing is a bad thing. The guy commits first-degree murder. That's corruption and that's a bad thing if he does a 10 times he can be charged for 10 counts of murder where sense what she's multiplied is sent by 10, when the Protestant reformers talk about total probably what that meant was that sin its power to influence its inclination affects the whole man that our bodies are fallen, our hearts are fallen, our minds are fallen, and that there's no part of us that escapes the ravages of our sinful human nature. Sin affects our thought life. Our conversation the whole man is fallen in a swimming by this take it further when the apostle Paul elaborates on this fallen human condition. He says there is none righteous, no not one. There is none who does good, that's really a radical statement, he is saying that fallen man never ever does a single good deed, and that flies in the face of our experience because we look around us and we see all kinds of folks who are not Christians who do things that we would applaud for their virtue, we see acts of self sacrificial heroism. For example, among those who are not Christian, acts of kindness.

Acts of charity. Calvin called this civil righteousness and the reason why we have this problem is that when the Bible describes goodness or badness. It looks at it from two distinct perspectives. First of all, there is the measuring rod of the law, which measures the external performance of human banks. For example, if God says you're not allowed to steal and you go your whole life without ever stealing anything from an external evaluation. We could say that he has a good record. There is The law externally, but in addition to the external measuring rod. There is also the consideration of the heart the internal motivation for our behavior. You were told. Man looks on judges by outward appearances, God looks on the heart from a biblical perspective to do a good deed in the fullest sense of the word requires not only that the deed conforms outwardly to the standards of God's law, but that it proceeds from a heart that loves him and wants to honor remember the great commandment, though, shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart to stop there for second. Is there anybody in this room who has loved God with all of their heart. The last five minutes nobody in here has loved God with all their hearts as they got out of their bed this morning and add to that all of your soul.

All of your strength. All of your mind, even in our finest works.

There is a taint of sin mixed in with it. A pound of flesh. In our most spiritual activity because I have never done an act of charity, an act of sacrifice on active heroism in my life when that the time of doing it.

I was doing it out of the heart that love God completely brought up a mind that love God completely externally all kinds of virtuous acts are going on buzz among believers and unbelievers. But God considers both and under that tight norm of judgment were in trouble. So you got this problem God is to holy to even look at an equity. He is perfectly just how is an unjust person going to stand in the presence of God. The question is how can the unjust person be just fine, which means how can the unjust person be made just get a start all over again. You can't wants this person sins once it is impossible for him ever to be perfect because he's already lost his perfection by his initial sin so you have a serious problem here though we may say that what we don't really have a problem because God can overlook this and that's true God could say I in my grace and going to overlook all of the sin and I'm going to give these people have an eternal life and all that just gratuitously, and God could do that, theoretically, if he did one thing if he sacrificed his justice. Here is where mediation is we've looked at. It is required and were Christ comes to act as our mediator when we consider our redemption. We tend to think that salvation comes to us through the death of Christ and even in this course on the atonement we've been focusing our attention on the death of Christ and in doing that. It's very easy to overlook something of absolutely crucial significance for the atonement to have a valuable if I asked the child what did Jesus do for you. They will say Jesus died for my sins will if that's all. Jesus did the why didn't Jesus just come down from heaven at age 30 and go straight to the cross. The point of the atonement is that a just man died for the unjust, that to qualify to be the Redeemer to qualify to be the Savior. Jesus first had to live before his death meant anything. He had to live a life of obedience.

He had to acquire if you will merit at the bar of justice because what is often overlooked in our justification is that there is a double transaction that takes place here is Jesus and he lives a life how many blemishes that we put in his circle. John sign the Agnus Day, behold the Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world, the Lamb of God is the Lamb without blemish.

Jesus himself said you guys disagree with me when is the breading with the Pharisees, but which of you convicts me of sin you talk about extravagant statements Jesus of you people are willing to admit that nobody's perfect. I am going to do some. I walked in here and said all I am perfect if you don't agree with me prove that I'm not. That's what Jesus said didn't flinch from it. No shadow of turning. No blemish, no sin, his mate and his drink was to do the will of the father zeal for his father's house consumed him. He was a man whose passion in life was obedience to the father. I do nothing on my own authority, but only what the father tells me to, I and the father are one wonder they picked up rocks and started to attack them. So now we have this problem. We got one unjust party and to just parties got a just God and now we have adjusted mediator who is altogether holy.

Now the biblical imagery about the atonement is an imagery of what we call imputation justification of which the New Testament speaks we call in the Protestant tradition of forensic justification so you are involved in police work. What would a forensics. It has to do with authoritative formal acts of declaration.

Forensic justification means that a person is declared to be just at the tribunal of God that the justification takes place. Ultimately, when the supreme judge of heaven and earth says you are just Ella question is on what possible grounds could God ever say to you, you are just when in fact you are not just again.

How can unjust person be justified. But when we look at imputation. The concept of imputation is found frequently in the New Testament with the imagery like the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. How does he take away the center will house the Lamb doing the Old Testament was the symbolism the priest puts his hands on the Lamb. Why he's transferring symbolically the sins of the people to the animal that is to be sacrificed or to the scapegoat who is to go out into the wilderness and look at that again later on.

Jesus is said to bear our sins, he takes upon himself the sins of the world. The language there is a language of a quantitative act of transfer where the weight of guilt that belongs here is taken from this man and given to somebody else so that what happens is that God in Christ. Christ willingly takes upon himself. All of this so that before God wants the sin has been imputed to him and again will talk more about what this means. When we examine the curse motif in the New Testament, but now in the sight of God. God looks at Christ and what the CC justice. He sees a mass of sinfulness because the sin has been transferred to Jesus. This is elementary I want to be insult your intelligence, but we gotta get this into our bloodstream. The sin is transferred or imputed to Jesus. If that happened, and that's all that happened this single transfer but one dimensional transaction, you would never be justified if Jesus took all of my sins that I've ever committed on his back and took the punishment for me that would not get me into the kingdom of God. All that would do would be keep me out of hell, I would still not be just, I would be innocent. If you will, but still, not just in a positive sense.

I have no righteousness of which to speak.

I remember it's not simply innocence that gets me into the kingdom of God. It's righteousness unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you'll never get in the kingdom of God is so we can talk about maybe I'm not guilty of anything, but I haven't done anything, I haven't merited anything whereby justice would give a reward.

So the point is that there is a double transfer not only is the sin of man imputed to Christ. But what happens to the righteousness of Christ. The sin is transferred to Jesus the righteousness of Christ is transferred to us to our account so that in God's sight. This circle is now clean so that God when he declares me just is not lying instantly. Rome has trouble with this. Rome calls this concept the present because of a legal fiction and a recoil from it because they sense that in the Protestant view of imputation that somehow this concept casts a shadow on the integrity of God because God is now declaring people just who are not just the response of reformers was if the imputation were fictional, then when God declared us just it would be a legal fiction, it would be a lie and that would be a blemish on the character of God. But the point of the gospel is that the imputation is real, but that really laid my sins on Christ and not only that God really transferred the righteousness of Christ. To me that there is a real union for those who are in Christ that I really possess the righteousness of Jesus Christ by imputation.

Christ is my righteousness. That's why he is my Savior.

Not merely because he died because he lived without the life, the atonement has no value without the active obedience the suffering on the cross is merely a tragedy so that we must have the double transfer so then God declares us just one last thing.

Theologians like to have Latin phrases. My favorites is one offered by Luther is a very important phrase to capture this concept and it would behoove us to learn if the essence of our salvation is found in this phrase similar US this that pack a tour of the word symbol is the same word from which we get the English word simultaneously and it means simply at the same time US. This is the word for just at the same time just at will.

Note that means at two group A Avenue to Brutus at means and precatory peccadillo. A little sin, impeccable without sin simply Latin word for center at the same time Jost and sinner. This is the glory of the doctrine of justification by faith alone is that the person who is in Christ is at the very same instant Jost and a sinner. That's the good news. The bad news would be. I am unjust. God is just and the only way I could be justified. It be for me first to become just, and have no sin in me and if I have to wait until there is no sin in me to get in the kingdom of God. One is my starting time in heaven. I don't have one right. The whole point of the gospel is the minute you embrace Jesus Christ all that Christ has done is apply to you all that he is become viewers, including his righteousness, and what Luther means by this the same time just in center at the very instant that I believe I am just by virtue of the imputation of Christ's righteousness. It's Christ's righteousness, that makes me just and his death has taken care of my punishment is life has taken care of my reward. There is my justice is all tied up in Christ and at the same time I am a sinner considered in and of myself.

It is sinners who are saved by the atonement. It is the godly dying for the ungodly. That is the glory of the gospel of the cross and the only means by which the New Testament ever gives us that the justice the righteousness and the merit of Christ can ever come into your account and be applied to you is by faith you can earn it, you can't deserve it. You can't merited. You can only trust in it and cling to it. Justification by faith alone means very simply, this justification is by Christ alone.

Despite his merit his righteousness his life. His death that we can stand in the presence of a holy God and without Christ were without hope, because all we can ever carry before God is are just nests the wonder of the author of Hebrews said how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation. The answer to the question is obvious is you won't. You can't because it's impossible for an unjust person to survive in the presence of a just God. We need to be justified. Will you do it through our own righteousness or so.

What the reformers call an alien new states he a foreign righteousness.

The only foreign righteousness that is available for you is the righteousness of Christ so we can be reconciled to God because of the perfect life of Christ. That's the glorious good news of the gospel. Today's message from Dr. RC Sproul is part of this series, the cross of Christ. We buried portions of the series. Each day this week. Care will wrap up the series tomorrow here on Renewing Your Mind.

I do hope you'll join us if you missed any of the series along the way, you can contact us with a donation of any amount and we will add the full series to your learning library plus the digital study guide will also send you the hardbound copy of Dr. Strohl's book on the same theme. The truth of the cross so contact us today with your gift at 800-435-4343 or Bonner website Renewing Your will tomorrow is the last day of the year. Let me take just a moment to thank those of you who've supported us financially in 2021.

Our 50th year of ministry God in his providence continues to open doors for us around the world to proclaim God's holiness and that's why I'm asking you to consider a generous gear and gift that will help propel us in the 2022 on a firm financial footing to do that. Just go to Lincoln him that let me thank you in advance for your generosity that website again is Liggett was a mention. Tomorrow we will wrap up Dr. scroll series and here's a preview of what will hear when Jesus takes the curse upon himself so identifies with our sin that he becomes a curse God asked him, and justly so, because of the moment that Christ takes upon himself the sin of the world that figure that is on the cross is the most obscene mass of sin concentrated in the history of the world. It's a message titled blessing workers. I hope you'll join us Friday for Renewing Your Mind

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