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November 27, 2020 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit preaches a message entitled “The Importance of the BJU Creed.”
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today on The Daily Platform. Dr. Steve Pettit will preach about the meaning of justification like to ask you to take your Bibles this morning and turn with me please to the book of Galatians Galatians chapter 2 in verse 16. The apostle Paul is writing and notice what he says.
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by or through the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ and not by works by the works of the law. For by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified by it.
While we seek to be justified by Christ we ourselves also are found sinners is therefore Christ.
The minister of sin, God forbid, for by building in the things which I destroyed. I make myself a transgressor for I through the law and dad to the law that I might live unto God.
I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live yet not I but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live in the flash. I live by the faith of the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God, for if righteousness come by the wall in Christ is dad in vain. This passage of Scripture is found in the very heart of the book of Galatians which is dealing with two different views are two different aspects of the way and which a person is made right with God and in these verses the apostle Paul uses a word that is central to the gospel in his core to Christianity and the truth is you really can't understand the Christian faith. If you don't understand this basic word and the word is the word justified. We find in verse 16 that Paul uses the verb justified three times in verse 17 he uses the verb one time Martin Luther, the great reformer rights of justification. He said this is the truth of the gospel is also the principal belief of all Christian doctrine most necessary.
It is therefore that we should know this belief well we should teach it to others and we should beat it into our heads continually.
He went on to say, if the belief of justification be, once lost, then, is all true doctrine. Christian doctrine lost so were dealing this morning with foundations of what we believe it is crucial that we understand justification that we reprint repeated truth again and again and that we beat it into our heads continually so the question then, this morning is what does it mean to be justified.
Let me first of all say that this is a term justified that is borrowed from the law courts and for some people justification can sound like law here legally as you so we mean by that. It's only words that lawyers my son-in-law is a lawyer and if I have any question about a word or term. I asked him because he knows it. Lawyers use words that normal people don't use. And yet, in this case. This is a word that God uses continually in the New Testament. Therefore, it must be clear in our minds. So what does justification mean, let me first of all start by stating its opposite and the opposite of being justified is being condemned justification, condemnation to condemn someone mean stick declare them as guilty and wrong and under judgment. Therefore, to justify someone is to could declare them innocent and right and free from any judgment. So in the Bible.
Justification means that God shows favor to condemned sinners by putting him or her. The sinner in a place where they are actually in a right standing with God. And this is not something that you do for God. It is something that God does for you a sinner is pardon he is acquitted by God but more than that he is accepted and he is treated as one who has lived completely righteous. Someone said it this way, to be justified means I am treated just as if I never said not think about that mean that's not really something that we naturally think about the think about the fact that before God.
Not only am I not forget. Not only am I forgiven okay. I've done wrong in God's forgiven me, but he actually treats me as if I never sin. He treats me as if I have lived as perfect as his own son Jesus Christ. So let me ask you this question.
Have you ever felt the pressing need in your own heart of being justified.
Have you ever felt that while the two things that we know that is sure about all of us number one or we know that assure number one God is righteous and number two, we are not in the fact that God is a righteous God is generally not something that is comforting to us how many of you have ever been stopped by a police officer while you're driving a car not saying why you just were home you ever been stopped by police operate the measure question when a police officer stops you laissez for driving too fast do you want the do you want the officer to be righteous and just, or do you want him to be merciful. What is your preference. When someone is righteous in just is not a comfort for those who have done wrong. Thomas Jefferson said, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just and that his justice cannot sleep forever. Righteousness and justice for a sinner is not a comfort.
And this is why the most urgent question than anyone of us can ask is a question that was asked centuries ago in the book of Job where in Job 25 in verse four. Here is the question.
How then can man be justified before God is the question you must ask yourself how can you stand before God. Right. And that's what Paul is addressing here in the verses that we read this morning so there two simple things I'd like us to see.
First of all I want to stick see how Paul clearly explains the means by which we are justified.
We stand right with God.
He explains that in and secondly he answers the main argument that comes against this teaching an argument that was in Paul's day, as it is in our day. So two things. Number one, Paul explains what he means by how were justified and essentially he does this by contrasting the truth with error what is right and what is wrong what is truthful and its opposite and the first thing we see is the error that was taught in Paul's day, as it is taught in our day and what is that, see if you can decide if you can discover the error.
Let's look at verse 16.
Notice what he says.
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we believe in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law. For by the works of the law showed no flash be justified so obviously Paul is using two sides of an argument. How is a person justified and how is a person not justified so the error that was being called impose day as it is being taught in our day. Is that a person can be justified by the works of the law, so it is wrong for you to think that you can be rightly related to God on the basis of your own actions for the works of the law are referring to actions that are done in obedience to God in the book of Galatians, what Paul was addressing was a particular group of Jews who we call today Judaizers who profess to believe in Jesus, but they required that in order for you to be. Say you had to follow the law of Moses and we talk about the law of Moses were not talking about the 10 Commandments as a part of the law were actually talking about the first five books of the end of the Old Testament, which is called the Torah law or the law which is Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and the Jewish rabbis codify the walls and came up with 613 law and the idea are the point is that not only do you believe in Jesus but you keep all the laws you do everything the law of Moses command you to do and you refrain from everything the law of Moses forbid you to do you keep the what moral law which is including the 10 Commandments and you keep the ceremonial law which includes food laws kosher food laws.
It includes laws for observing certain religious days and it also includes a most important law. The law of circumcision which means your under the law, and if you do not fail in these laws, then God accepts you and you will be justified on the basis of your action that was being taught in Paul's day measure question. Do you think is being taught in our day. If you are to ask the common person. I've done this many many times on airplane flights back in the days when used to talk to people sitting next to you. I would ask the question.
After a while the conversation to ease into the question I would say in your opinion, what is a person have to do in order to go to heaven and I have never had someone who who was not that that who they were believers.
I've never ever had anybody say you are saved by grace through faith alone. I have inevitably had sent everyone say to me you are saved or you get in the heaven.
On the basis of your good works. Why is that because the natural man speaks the natural mind and the natural way of thinking is that salvation is based on my good works.
The only way you look at you and I can understand salvation that comes a different way, by faith is not by human reasoning, but it is by divine revelation. We cannot figure it out. God has to show I was growing up, even attending church.
I believe that one day I would stand before God. He put all my bad here my good here.
If my good pile was bigger than my bad pile. I would go to heaven but if my bad pile was bigger than my good pile. I would go to hell. It wasn't until I was 17 years old when I suddenly dawned on me the understanding of the gospel that God doesn't work in piles that one disobedience to the law is sufficient enough to send me to hell. In that case, at 17 years old. I knew I was lost because I knew that I broken the laws of God perpetually by the works of the law showed no 1B justified. I asked the man what time do you believe your good enough to go to heaven. He said yes. Then I asked in the second question I said are you righteous enough to go to heaven.
He said I need to think about that because we're not talking about good people going to heaven were talking about righteous people and there is none righteous, no not one.
If you are willing to be honest in look into your own hearts and acknowledge your own faults and examine your own motives, then you will have to be willing to confess, I have broken the law of God and what is the error that is being taught in Paul's day, as it is today that we are justified by the works of the law. So then the question is what is the truth. That brings me back to verse 16 where it's very clear that we are justified, how notice 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Faith in Christ and not by the works of the law.
For by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. We are justified through faith in Christ. So what do we mean through Jesus Christ. What does that mean and it simply means that we are justified by his life and by his death we are justified through him and the way that he lived in the way that he died.
We are justified by his life because he is the only human being who is perfectly obeyed. The entire law. He never broke the law and one point in word, thought or deed, but we are also justified by his death because he died as a lawbreaker.
Crucifixion and through his death he actually suffered a death penalty because he didn't die a natural death but he was executed and we say were saved through his life and death. What we mean is that Jesus live the life that we should've lit Jesus died the death that we should've died and all that is needed to be rightly related to God is not in us. It is in him. By the way he lived in by the way that he died so that through his perfect life and through his painful death by believing in our trusting in him we can stand before God righteous penalty paid life lived perfectly. So how do you experience that how you actually enter into that experience, such as a question. Have you entered into that experience. In my case it was my freshman year of college Easter Sunday 1975 as a freshman. Hearing the gospel message preach. I actually responded and I actually believed or accepted Jesus Christ. What do we mean by belief or faith. It means this that we actually believe what God says faith is dependence on another.
I am believing not what I think. I'm believing what God says that what he says is true because God is truth and I believe first of all, that what he says about me and my sinfulness is true I really am a sinner. I don't just do bad things. I'm actually a bad person.
I wasn't born God I was born bad hit if you don't think people are born bad work in the church nursery and I simply acknowledge that I acknowledge the reality of it. I feel it.
I since it on convicted about it.
The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day and very may save the file as he watched all my sins away. So I'll ask you have you come to a genuine acknowledgment before God Almighty, of your sinfulness. Secondly, you have to change the way you view yourself. We call that repentance and repentance is sort of saying I know what a yes it's a turning away from an attorney to one of my turning away from I'm turning away from my own self-righteousness under turning away from depending on me and all that's involved in me, self-righteousness, self-will, self-assertion, living my own life. I'm turning away from that way of thinking and then finally, what do I do I do put my trust or my confidence in Jesus alone.
Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I clean faith in Jesus is not just an intellectual conviction.
It is a personal commitment.
Paul says we have believed in Jesus and the word for it in literally means in two is like a child running into the arms of his mother is like a traveler entering into a plane to take a seat is like a person taking their money and placing it as a financial deposit into their bank account.
I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I've committed unto him against that day. I am taking my life, my eternity, my destiny everything and I am placing it in to cry. So Paul presents these ways of thinking of justification. Someone is set in this way there only two religions in the world. The religion of do and the religion of Don I do what I do in order to be accepted for Christ is done it for me and I am trusting so let me ask you this morning.
Have you been justified. So I was born in a Christian home on I Dinesh, if you're born a Christian home that make you Christian, you're born in the garage that make your car if you grew up in McDonald's that would make you French fries I ask you because the problem in some cases here. Not at all, but in some cases is that you've grown up with a knowledge but that knowledge has not dropped 18 inches into your heart and I'll just tell you something to me. Bob Jones University is a wonderful place to be in its own miserable place to be if you're not a believer because God puts in the heart of every believer, a desire to love him no him and oh Bay. Have you been justified. So Paul explains as he sets us forth clearly and then secondly very quickly. He answers his critics, the argument that came against justification in his day, and the argument that comes against it in our day. What is at argument. Verse 17 he says. But if, in our endeavor. We seek to be justified in Christ we too were found to be sinners, is Christ in a servant of sin, absolutely not.
He says so let me just because of a sacred time explain the argument.
The argument is this. If you really teacher justified by faith in Christ alone, apart from keeping the law and this is pretty dangerous because it takes away your sense of moral responsibility. In other words, if I'm really justified by faith. It really doesn't matter.
The way I live because of a not say, by the way I live by keeping the law.
What then does it matter in the way that I live and that is actually the natural response to the doctrine of justification. It's the natural way of thinking. But the problem is it's not the spiritual way of thinking because the apostle Paul makes it very clear in this passages of Scripture that when you are justified something actually happens to you and what is that notice verse 17 he says, but if why we seek to be justified by, or literally, it can read in Christ. That means when you and I believe something happens, we literally are connected or we are united to Jesus Christ. In other words, our relationship begins. They did not previously exist. You become connected to the person of Jesus Christ and explains this amazing change of verses 19 and 20. Notice he says in verse 19 for through the wall.
I died to the law. Verse 20 I have been crucified with Christ. What effectively took place. The moment you believe the moment that you believe something happened and that is you die, not a hard thing for us to understand is we don't feel like God is like getting married. The moment you get married you don't get only that the moment you get married you married and I I was asked the question you, you know you'll probably ask a question of unit you feel will I don't feel any different, but believe me, you all are and if you don't think you are she will remind you that you when you guys say you are connected to do his life and his death you know what when Jesus Christ died on the cross. You actually died if you'd even just died in God's mind you dined in the way we know you died is because God change your heart and put in your heart a desire to love and serve and that desire to love and serve God is a result of God's work of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ actually taking effect in your life.
I'm crucified with Christ.
That's just not terminology. That's reality. You died, not what we know about dead people, dead people don't sin of ever notice that go out to the local graveyard go across the street. What are they do on Saturday night. Nobody's partying, no men and women are running around with each other. Nobody's getting drunk. Nobody's cursing each other out. You know why because they don't sin. Why, because there dad and when you and I were saved effectively. Our old life, past and our new life came we say have somebody that they died and would only be so harsh in their depth, we decided past you literally passed away in your old like the old Steve Pettit that was saved on Easter Sunday 1975 the age of 19 years old my old life passed away in my new life is come, and the reason why I cannot continue alone in sin is that my whole life is change for me to live in sin is to go against everything that God is done in my life and so from this point forward is not that I live so endlessly. I'm not sinless, but I want to send less. I want to live for God and I have ups and downs and I have emotional struggles by because I still have the old sin nature living inside of me but the fact of the matter is I can't keep living in sin.
Why, because when God justifies you. He also at the exact same moment sanctifies you any puts inside of you everything that you need along with his word and his church to live the Christian life.
So this is foundational stuff.
My question is have you been justified. I pray I pray for many of you that you will come in the same father we pray for everyone in this building who have never experienced justification that they will come and be saved and then for those who are Christians Lord as we look at this great doctrine of justification, we know that godliness flows out of your spiritual work in her heart. Help us Lord to grow in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord and become more like Christ in this semester.
In Jesus name, amen.
You been listening to a sermon preached by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. Join us again next week as we study God's word together here on The Daily Platform