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Jesus and Justification #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
August 9, 2022 8:00 am

Jesus and Justification #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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August 9, 2022 8:00 am

Today Pastor Don Green will look at the danger of pride, the need for repentance, and how God makes us righteous through His Sons sacrifice on calvary on our behalf.--thetruthpulpit.comClick the icon below to listen.

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Justification is an act of God in which he pardons every sin that a man has ever committed and accepts him as righteous. This act of justification is given to those who humbly repent and believe in Christ. Hello, and welcome once again to the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. I'm Bill Wright, and today as Don continues teaching God's people God's word, we'll be looking at the danger of pride, the need for repentance and how God makes us righteous through his son's sacrifice on the cross on our behalf. Right now, let's join Don for part two of a message titled Jesus and Justification from the Truth Pulpit. God accepts, for those who put their faith in Christ, God accepts the righteousness of Christ on your behalf. He is our substitute.

He is our representative. And you say, well, yeah, but what about my sin? I used to wonder about that as a new Christian.

I hadn't quite gotten it yet. God accepts the righteousness of Christ on your behalf. He imputes the righteousness of Christ to you. And in like manner, God imputes your sin to Christ who suffered on the cross in the place of sinners and bore the full punishment of God for sin for everyone who believes in him. So that in the courtroom of God, your sins have been rightly punished by a representative, Christ, on your behalf, your substitute in your place. And that righteousness of Christ is imputed to your account so that the judge declares you, watch this, God the judge does not simply declare you not guilty, although that's true, but it's more than just not guilty, God declares you as perfectly righteous because he accepts the righteousness of Christ on your behalf.

And that is the basis of our salvation. And because your righteousness before God is premised on the righteousness of Christ, it does not fluctuate with your imperfect obedience during the course of your Christian life here on earth. You are given a perfect righteousness from the start so that, watch this, you are no more justified now 30 years into your Christian life than you were 30 seconds into your Christian life.

The righteousness upon which God saves you is exactly the same, 30 seconds into your salvation and 30 years into your salvation. Yes, we must grow in sanctification, but the basis upon which God accepts us is solely and exclusively that righteousness of Christ. And so, justification is a legal declaration by God that says this, that you as a sinner believing in Christ are free from all condemnation.

Romans 8.1, right? There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. You're free from all condemnation and you are fully accepted in God's most holy sight. 2 Corinthians 5.21 says, he made him, meaning Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in him. Your sin laid on Christ punished at the cross. His perfect righteousness laid on you and God accepts you on that basis. As John MacArthur is fond of saying, God treated Christ as though he had lived your life so that he could treat you like you had lived the life of Christ.

That's the principle of substitution and it is an imputation received as a free gift. Now, how does that play into our passage here in Luke chapter 18? Let's go back there. Luke chapter 18 with all of that introduction in place and we'll go through the rest of this rather quickly, I think. Famous last words from me. But first of all, in light of those truths, let's see first of all the danger of pride. The danger of pride. As Jesus is illustrating these principles of justification and how justification is received, he points to the Pharisee and what we see is that the Pharisee's prayer betrayed the condition of his proud heart. Look at verse 11. He says, the Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself. Notice that he's got himself in mind there.

I always am struck by that. To himself. This is not real prayer at all. This is self-boasting at its heart in the guise under the pretense of prayer. And he says there in verse 11, God, I thank you that I am not like other people.

Swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. What's he doing here? He's looking at others with contempt. He recites their sins to God. Can you imagine when you understand the biblical nature of our sin and guilt before God? Can you imagine going before God and thanking him that you're not guilty of the sins that others have committed? What kind of mindset is that? What kind of pride, dripping, awful pride is that? That you would go to God and thank him that you're not like other sinners. This is not humble prayer.

This is pride dripping out with all of its ugliness. And he manifests a self-righteous spirit that God actually condemns. Look at it there in verse 12. He says, I fast twice a week. I pay tithes of all that I get.

See how he's relying on and pointing to his own righteousness as the grounds upon which he is speaking to God? Now in Scripture there was only one required fast every year at the Day of Atonement. You can read about that in Leviticus chapter 16. The practice of the Pharisees, here's why this is important, the practice of the Pharisees were that they fasted on Mondays and Thursdays every week.

Now think about it and just do the math with me on this, okay? Scripture requires one fast of the faithful Jews in that day. Pharisees say, and I fast twice a week. God, here's what he's really saying, God, I am far more righteous than even you require. In fact, I'm a hundred times more righteous based on my pattern of fasting compared to your words. I'm a hundred times more righteous than what you yourself require, God.

He's feeling pretty good about himself. And yet he had totally missed the spirit of the fast, that the spirit of the fast was a confession of sin, that I'm in need of atonement. I'm in need of a substitute sacrifice so that I can approach you. He utterly bypassed the sacrificial substitutionary sacrifice that was made on the Day of Atonement and just focused on the external observance and said, I'm so righteous, I don't even need that. God, having revealed his pattern, had a man in front of him in prayer who said, God, I'll set your standard aside and let me talk about mine. Colossians chapter 2 verse 23 is clear and emphatic and dogmatic on the point when it says, these things are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in, watch this, self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. They do nothing, these external observances that so many people are fascinated with, step into any Catholic church and you'll find my words vindicated here, all of those external observances and kneel down and stand up and come and take away from the priest and whatever else they want to do, it has no value in the court of God and therefore it's of no value whatsoever for your soul because, beloved, it is not the way that God has appointed that we would approach him.

That is not it. God does not accept self-created righteousness. Look at the book of Romans with me, please, Romans chapter 3. Romans chapter 3 beginning in verse 19.

Romans chapter 3 verse 19 and actually let's just go back to verse 18 and at this rate I'll be back at chapter 1 verse 1 in about five minutes. But in verse 18, Paul in expressing the condemnation of the entire human race says there is no fear of God before their eyes. People think they can approach God or ignore God without consequence.

Really? You think there will be no consequence to ignoring the one who's manifested his glory in creation, who has revealed himself in his inerrant word, who has revealed himself in the incarnate word in Christ? You think there will be no consequences to that, not humbling yourself before him? There's no fear of God before their eyes? In chapter 3 verse 19 it says, now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God because by the works of the law no flesh will be justified in his sight, no flesh will be declared righteous in his sight, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. God does not accept your righteousness as the grounds of reconciliation with him and this Pharisee boastful and unaware is manifesting the very attitude that God condemns.

Wow. How then can a sinner be right with God? We've seen the danger of pride. Let's look at point number two, the demonstration of repentant faith. The demonstration of repentant faith. What attitude is it that does find grace with God if we come with no bearing no righteousness of our own?

What attitude does find favor with God? Look at verse 13, but the tax collector standing some distance away was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven but was beating his breast saying God be merciful to me the sinner. The verb tense here when it says he was beating his breast gives the picture that he kept on beating his chest. The knowledge and the weight of his sin weighed on him inside and he beat his breast as a means of physically expressing and physically seeking relief from the spiritual torment that was in him. God help me. God there is this pain that I want to beat out of me and I can't. As he pleaded with God, his physical actions were an expression of the agitation of his soul.

And what he is saying in this deep and profound prayer is this, God let your anger be turned away from me. I know I'm guilty. That's the problem.

I know I have no claim. I can't even look up to heaven. I can't look in your direction God because my knowledge of sin tells me that that cannot happen.

That you can't receive me as I am. And his prayer expressed that his only hope was in the mercy of God. Look at it again with me in verse 13.

The tax collector standing some distance away was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven but was beating his breast saying, God be merciful to me, the sinner. The only sinner that was in his mind was himself. The sinner that was not in the mind of the Pharisee was himself. The Pharisee had everybody else's sins in mind.

The tax collector had no one else's sins in his mind but his own. I'm the sinner. I'm the guilty one. I'm the one to blame.

I blame no one else. God I take responsibility for my sin. He understood that he was helpless. He understood that he was righteously condemned. He had a debt he could not pay.

He boasted of nothing. He offered God nothing. What was he doing as this guilty, condemned sinner? What was he doing in this prayer? Beloved, he was asking God for mercy that he knew he did not deserve. He was looking for a righteousness that was not his own.

That's what he was doing. By faith, he asked for mercy from God. By faith, he asked God to grant him favor and to give him an acceptance that he did not deserve. This is an expression of repentant faith. God, I believe you to be a merciful God. My sin overwhelms me. God, I'm asking you to do something for me that I don't deserve.

Ask me. Save me. Redeem me.

Cleanse me. I want to be accepted by you, but I know I can't be in myself, so God, I'm asking for mercy to come down because I don't have a righteousness that can go up. And my friends, I ask you, is this not what King David did after his great sin with Bathsheba and his murder by command of her husband Uriah? Turn back to Psalm 51 with me. We are illustrating the prayers of repentant faith, the faith that lays hold of the righteousness of God. Psalm 51, verse 1, prayed this. Be gracious to me, O God, according to your loving kindness, according to the greatness of your compassion, blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin, for I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me. He can't get it off his mind. He can't escape the echo chamber, the judgment of his own conscience. Guilty, guilty, guilty.

He takes a breath and it repeats, guilty, guilty, guilty, God help me out of this. And he says in verse 4, against you. You only I have sinned and done what is evil in your sight so that you are justified when you speak and blameless when you judge. Here he's using the word justified to say, God, however you deal with me will be just. You will be righteous. I declare in advance that you're justified to deal with me however you want because I have forfeited all claim on your favor. You see, beloved, what we see here from the tax collector's prayer, from David's prayer, is this common theme of an open acknowledgement and an acceptance of responsibility for our guilt.

Look at how often he says it. Verse 1, my transgressions. Wash me, my iniquity, my sin, my transgressions. Mine is the guilt, mine is the sin, oh God. Well then, if you're guilty and condemned, why are you even praying?

What's the point? Isn't it hopeless? No. No, David appeals to God and says, God, I'm appealing not to my righteousness but to your loving kindness. God, I'm appealing to your grace. I'm asking you to be favorable toward me. I'm appealing to your compassion. God, you're a compassionate God toward miserable sinners like me. Why don't you exercise your nature toward me? I'm asking you for compassion from your great character. God, I am asking you for mercy that I know I don't deserve.

Go back. Luke 18. So Jesus has set up His point brilliantly. You have this self-righteous Pharisee respected as the holy man in the community, having prayed like he prayed. You have this tax collector condemned by the community praying like he prayed. What's the verdict? Jesus delivers the verdict.

And that brings us to our third point. If you're taking notes, you could just call it the declaration of righteousness. The declaration of righteousness. After the brief parable, Jesus delivers the verdict.

Chapter 18, verse 14. He says, I tell you this man, this man being a reference to a near reference, the one that he had just been speaking about, this man that I was just talking about, this tax collector, in other words, I tell you this man went to his house justified rather than the other. This is a thunderbolt of a conclusion.

This is a massive earthquake, spiritually speaking, to those who had heard. This man went away justified. In other words, God's standards were met in him. What God requires was met in him.

What is it that he did? He made a confession of sin coupled with a humble faith of asking for mercy from God that he didn't deserve. And Jesus says that's what God requires. We could say it today, what God requires from you is not greater efforts at obedience for you to be accepted with him. Your obedience is always going to be imperfect.

It's always solid. A fallen creature can't render perfect obedience now, can it? And so what God requires is for you to come to Christ and say, Christ, be merciful to me, the sinner. I abandon any claim, any pretense of my own righteousness. I openly confess my own guilt and condemnation before you and I ask on the basis of the cross that you would have mercy on my unworthy soul. And Scripture says that the one who approaches God like that finds justification. The one who does any other way, yeah, I'm good enough to go to heaven, is condemned because it's not on our own righteousness that we approach God at all. You have to abandon your claim to self-righteousness, all of it.

You have to deny yourself. You have to deny any claim of your own righteousness, which I'm happy to tell you I freely do. I have no righteousness of my own before God. I trust in Christ alone for a mercy I don't deserve and for a righteousness that is not my own that God will accept. And every true Christian at heart, that is their confession.

God, be merciful to me, the sinner. And so the Pharisee pronounced himself righteous and walked away condemned by God. The tax collector confessed his genuine real sin and went home justified.

It's not what humans would make up. Jesus teaches that a sinner receives immediate permanent justification from God by faith apart from any works that he has done. This tax collector had done nothing meritorious in his prayer and Jesus says he walked away freely justified by God because the appeal was not to his own righteousness but to the mercy of God, now in our day revealed fully in Christ after the cross. With the tax collector there was no process that he went through, no confirmation class. There was no priest between him and God. There were no rituals.

There was no purgatory. He was immediately justified. God declared him righteous by faith and imputed a standing to him that he did not earn or deserve. And beloved, you and I are in that same blessed position when we come to Christ in this humble, repentant way. All of your guilt, all of your lawless deeds, all of your sin covered, washed away by the precious blood of Christ and an acceptance with God that you didn't deserve but which is real, which is permanent, which is immediate, which cannot be improved upon by what you do afterwards and it cannot be taken away or diminished by what you do later because it is not premised on your righteousness at all.

It's premised on the perfect righteousness of Christ, that perfect righteous life which he offered up on the cross to take away your sin so that God would not take your sins into account in his dealings with you. That's Don Green with the first half of a message titled Justified by God. Next time, he'll continue in his series called Declared Righteous with the second half of today's lesson. Meanwhile, if you'd like to learn more about our ministry, we invite you to visit

That's And now before we go, here again is Don with a closing word. Friend, one of the things that I'm always mindful of when I'm here in studio is I'm mindful that there are people out in the audience that are like I used to be, thinking that they were Christians but not really having the life of God in their soul. You've perhaps read the Bible or gone to church, but you've never really turned your life to Christ in repentance and saving faith. I was like that.

I know what it's like to be self-deceived. I just encourage you, if you've just viewed Christianity as something kind of casual and not all that important, my friend, examine yourself. See if you're truly born again, and let that work of God in your heart lead you to truth, lead you to the Scriptures, so that you would enter into the profound life that belongs only to those who are true Christians. Thanks, Don. And friend, thank you for spending some of your valuable time with us today studying God's wonderful Word. I'm Bill Wright, hoping you'll join us again next time when Don continues teaching God's people God's Word from the Truth
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-13 23:28:51 / 2023-03-13 23:37:16 / 8

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