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Justification of the Wicked

The Verdict / John Munro
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February 12, 2018 2:58 pm

Justification of the Wicked

The Verdict / John Munro

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February 12, 2018 2:58 pm

Dr. John H. Munro February 11, 2018 Romans 4:1-8 God has provided justification by faith as a gift of grace. But it may surprise you whom God justifies. God does not justify good people. God does not justify religious people. God does not justify moral people. God justifies the wicked, the ungodly!

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The time of the Reformation. 500 years ago, John.

The stencil was a seller of indulgences and that he said this as soon as the claimant in the offer rings the soul from purgatory springs another words if you gave money to the church that you could be guaranteed out at least substantially increase your chances of going directly to heaven, and if you gave some indulgence brought some indulgent plates of money to the church again. The claim was that your relative your father could immediately delete leave purgatory and go to heaven and on the same time a German monk, Martin Luther was struggling to understand this wonderful truth of the righteousness of God and began to read the book were studying the book of Romans and the more he read it and the more he thought of the righteousness of God, the more he was depressed after all.

I could among giving a good monk like Martin Luther who was a Regents to all of the rules and regulations of the Monastery. But how could he ever ever attain to the righteousness of God. And then it was as he began to read this wonderful book that Paul writes 2000 years ago to the Christians at Rome that you began to understand the truth that we are seeing over and over again the Sunday mornings is great truth of justification by faith.

And he understood this was the very heart of the gospel that we are justified that we are declared righteous by God that we have a right relationship with God not based on what we do, sadly, not based on who we are because Luther understood rightly that he was a sinful man even though he was a good monk, but rather, that God gives us in the wonder of the gospel, he gives us as a gift, the forgiveness of sins, and we will think this morning of that truth and fact of an astonishing truth. A magnificent truth that God doesn't justify good people that God doesn't justify church people that God doesn't justify moral people. But the God justifies the wicked that God justifies the ungodly. Let's reader this Paul sets that are so wonderfully in the first eight verses of Romans chapter 4 signed with me and let's read these wonderful verses together. Romans chapter 4 verses one through eight what then shall we say, was gained by Abraham and forefather according to the flash for if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.

For what does the Scripture say Abraham believed God, and it was kind to him as righteousness, not to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due until the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.

Just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God comes righteousness apart from works.

Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not current is sin.

Amen. Please be seated on these wonderful verses. The first eight verses of Romans chapter 4 and Paul is saying that our salvation or justification is not by works but by grace and to reinforce the case that Paul has been making in the first three chapters as he begins chapter 4 as we know it. He gives this wonderful example. In fact, we could say the classic example of justification by grace alone through faith alone in the first example he gives is Abraham is going to give to outstanding Old Testament illustrations that we are declared righteous by God not based on what we do. But, by grace alone received through faith alone and examples he gives first of all, is Abraham, the greatest of the patriarchs, the father of the nation Israel and then the other example he gives. That will also see as David King David, Israel's greatest king, the mighty warrior carrying a man after God's own heart, so he is going to use these corroborating witnesses to establish its case that we are justified by faith numb. Some of the Jews. Paul is writing it is clear from the verses were cited. They may have been saying that the gospel is sent out by Paul was contrary to the Old Testament.Paul absolutely not. This is always been always been God's way of dealing with man that the gospel and he said this in chapter 3 verse 21 that the gospel is not inconsistent with the law and the prophets. In fact, the Old Testament law and the Old Testament prophets testified of this great truth.

But now he says consider Abraham here's verse one is out for your forefather according to the flesh. If Paul can demonstrate that Abraham was justified.

Apart from works apart from what he did. He will of establish that this teaching this gospel of God concerning his son Jesus Christ is not some innovation with Paul not something that Paul just worked out, but rather is true to all of Scripture that the Old Testament and the New Testament make it clear that we are declared righteous by God not by our works, but by faith. After all, without faith it is impossible to please God. And so here is Abraham this wonderful Old Testament example of being declared right by God not based on what Abraham did, but rather based on something Abraham received as a gift of the foregoing, and further canasta. This is your personal faith more than yourself with faith in God without faith. Whether your Abraham, the greatest of the patriarchs without your David, the greatest of Israel's kings, whoever you are not without faith it is impossible to please God is your faith is your trust in God, not from a human perspective. Abraham had a lot to boast about Abraham is really the bottom was a pretty impressive characterizing the yes is Paul, but not before God.

Verse two of Abraham was justified by works here something to boast about, but not before God we saw last week in chapter 3 verse 27 that when it comes to the gospel, the good news concerning Jesus that posting is totally excluded not one person in heaven will boast of what they have done.

Now this was very important that Paul says that is because some of the rabbis taught let Dave that Abraham was saved by meritorious work. After all, you could say if what you did could get you into heaven, Abraham would have a pretty good chance, wouldn't it, you might say he's almost at the top of the list yes is probably not before God. When the book of jubilees written in the two BC said Abraham was perfect in all his deeds with a large and well pleasing in righteousness all the days of his life. This was the teaching of some of the rabbis but can this rewrites that Abraham was declared righteous by God because of his inherited righteousness and because he did righteous things we know about Abraham well Abraham. The remarkable thing. He certainly was a man of faith, he left his native land in present-day Iraq living in a city of idolater he himself was an idolater, he did know anything else. And then God called Abraham and God told Abraham that he was to follow God and that God was going to lead him to a special Land's End Abraham remarkably trusted God and was led into what we call the promised land for the remote.

God promised Abraham that something from a human standpoint was impossible.

Such Abraham you don't know any children. I know that but you're going to have as many ancestors families going to be as great as the stars of the heaven look up Abraham and Abraham believed God. Abraham trusted in God. Abraham had faith in God. Later God was going to give Abraham another test. Finally, the child of promises born Isaac and how Abraham loved his son Isaac, his only son.

One day God told him an astonishing thing. Abraham I want you to sacrifice your son on my mobile. Abraham believed God. Abraham took his son, Abraham tied his son on an old total among Mariah and at the last minute God intervenes, all of this demonstrates that Abraham's righteousness before God was by believing wasn't by working. Abraham believed God so Abraham policy has no grounds of posting before God, I noticed verse three for what does the Scriptures say Abraham believed God that it is Abraham believed God had faith in God and it was counted to him as righteousness. Let's turn our Bibles. The first book of the Bible, Genesis 15, where we will see this.

Paul knew the Old Testament Scriptures, and he's quoting from Genesis Genesis 15, when God takes Abraham outside and says in verse five look towards have a number the stars if you are able to number them. Then he said to them, said to him, so shall your offspring be not noticed verse six and he Abraham believed the Lord and he counted it to him as righteousness. God the rankings it brought God credits to Abraham's faith and come sit as righteousness. This is the first time we have the word believe in the Bible how significant it is of Abraham. Abraham believed God, and he commented to him as righteousness. And Paul is saying this to demonstrate that Abraham was justified by faith apart from works. I look back at Romans four, verse three with Paul quotes the verse we read from Genesis 15 verse six. Incidentally, notice that God continues to speak in Scripture. Paul says in verse three for what does the Scripture say he didn't say what did the Scriptures say, what does the Scripture say present tense is not always the vital question brothers and sisters. What the Scripture say we've all kinds of ideas today as to what we believe is time church should be conducted test of our protease as to how we live and we have millions of voices sheltering and giving their ideas even within the so-called Christian community. This is the question we should always ask that you should ask that I should ask, and certainly the leaders of the church should what does the Scripture say the Scripture got nothing to say about the subject absolutely says Paul. The Scripture says this Abraham believed God, and that was counted to him for righteousness. You really want to go against God's revelation until your forefather Abraham what's true that Abraham did many good things, but he wasn't justified by any of these good things he would just he was justified by faith he believed God. He got faith in God. It was by believing, not by achieving that you're going to please God. It is by trusting God.

It is by believing God, not by achieving Genesis 15 verse six mentions nothing about Abraham's works, or about his deeds know he says Abraham believed God last Sunday as we look to the last verses of of Romans three I mentioned all of the references to faith and believe in pointed out that in the original texts Greek to becoming a Greek the word faith. The word faith and the bad believe in the same words, same root word and now in chapter 4 believe is used six times and faith occurs 10 times. That is a total of 16 references to this concept of believing of trust of having faith could the Scriptures be any clearer to us as Paul is expiring during the wonder of the gospel of the grace of God.

What disappoints Paul that you're making God kinds Abraham righteous because he believed because he had faith in God because he trusted in God. Paul is going to say in verse 12, the Lord willing, will think of next week that this is true for all those who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised again ask you you living by faith and some you quickly so IIII believed in Jesus as my Savior was wonderful. I trust it was truly saving faith and not just some emotional experience, or just repeating by rote, some kind of prayer but I'm asking you just if you trusted Christ in the past for salvation you living by faith today this past week.

Was there anything in your life that was different from an unbeliever is somewhat a some anxiety something that you were looking to do and in that difficult circumstance you trusted in God even when the world might think it was ridiculous like believing that God was going to capture this enumerable family when you don't have any children. I was Abraham's kind of faith was in the he believed in God my notice verses four and five. Paul, after giving the example of Abraham now underlines it superbly by saying that God justifies not good people, but God justifies the ungodly, God justifies the wicked verse four note to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his Jew followers onto the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.

This is a glorious truth is that when I want all of you to grasp this morning.

I think if I had to choose one verse from the Bible on this great subject of justification.

They may well be Romans four verse five underlying your Bible. So I got my little form going to a Bible going your Bible underlayment. If you can't afford it, I'll buy one for you and come with your Bible and learn to love your Bible underlying that memorize it. Rejoice in its because Paul is telling us something so important that there is a tremendous difference between wages and a gift a tremendous difference between working for something and getting a wager getting a payment as opposed to receiving a gift doesn't Paul say here in verse four he talks about wages are not counted as a gift know you work for them is not a good but as his Jew as an obligation we know what it is to work for something I thought of this is out of the first time I worked and got paid I was eight years old and the thing was on the Saturday there was a nuclear door and a man appeared and said to my parents.

You know that next week the children are on holiday on vacation the part of Scotland. No longer do this but the schools got a week off so that children could go and pick potatoes you say what kind of education was that wasn't bad actually and include guerrillas and clinical Scotland was called the County holidays so we had the Tandy holidays with a week off from school.

We were all the wood on the coast were in the farming community and this man said to my parents. Do you have any children that might might work for the farmer, picking up potatoes. The one thing we had went inside the mother's menus, Abraham, but that we had a large family and so I had my dad saying yes well hello there there about my oldest son is 9 1/2 in my second oldest is H and then I have a six-year-old. He said well the oldest to and so there I was eight years old 7 o'clock on Monday morning with my brother standing of the streetcorner for the farmers truck to pick us up and take us a few miles to pick potatoes you say what can the pimps that you have that did that pimps that wanted us to work and these were cutting their days are nonviolent are subsided very different from ours. I'm not suggesting that parents do that today. You might never see them again and the quick come to think that maybe that's what my parents wanted. I hope not but anyhow we went off and it was hard work.

It was a boy of eight, and the farmer said to myself, my brother well you can't take as much as one of the adults and so we had what was called half a bit so we went to pick up the digger can through over the potatoes.

We have baskets and we filled up the baskets with potatoes. No sooner think we did that in the good was again it was very very hard work and so we worked all week backbreaking was good.

I was only eight, and not 6 feet as I am no. However, the end of the week. I got something I'd never received before I got a little wage packet with my name on the John Monroe and to me it was a function I was absolutely elated. Here was my wage was that an act of grace by the farmer. No Scottish farmers in a very gracious we worked and we wondered whether the end of the week we got this wage and I went home absolutely elated and that my parents took most of it and that was, and rightly so you work with each mass. What many people think of salvation you were to go to church your nice person and you do all these things and at the end of life as you stand before God is as well. You 12345 and yes you messed up a little bit, but you're a really good person and you really tried and I'll let you into heaven, and Paul is saying a thousand times no. If you believe that will be damned for all of eternity with this policy. Gift gift of God. And Paul is contrasting what we do our work obedience to the law with faith and with believing that salvation is not a wage it's not a Walmart. It is 100% against of pure free grace. So in this way. Romans four verse five is a shocking verse in you and really expected, but if you followed Paul's argument to this point, you begin to understand the dawn way that God notice verse five to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies. Who the ungodly Job, everything that word before chapter 1 verse 18 for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all godliness, here we are. We ungodly people and we deserve the wrath of God. Paul has told us that I would know where the word appears again. Chapter 5 verse six.

The same word for why we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the non-godly similar that Gordon justifies the ungodly, because when our Savior came. He didn't come to call the righteous, to repentance, but he came to give his life for the ungodly. For the wicked people like you and me. So please understand, is not that you come to Jesus clean up your act be good and then perhaps God saves you know that is totally wrong.

God saves God justifies the wicked. God saves and justifies the ungodly, Paul is going to say in chapter 5. It was while we were week. It was while we were ungodly and why it was while we were yet sinners that Christ died for us. Once again Paul is making it clear that salvation is apart from what you glad of that. Someone shout hallelujah is what pulsates here in verse 520 does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteous not earned but gifted Paul uses this record look good so my use the 11 times in chapter 4 we have it several times in our passage verse three first occurrence in chapter 4 was but what does the Scripture say Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him reckoned to him imputed to him credited to him as righteousness. Verse four. Not to the one who works, his wages are not counted. Verse five to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is come to this credited as righteousness.

Verse six just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one through whom God says a word against righteousness apart from works and then verse eight Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not comment his sin's important words translated in the brush and I'm rethinking the signed version as kind to perhaps credited is more understandable to us because this is an accounting term.

This is a bookkeeping term for the.debits and credits something is paid into account.

It is credited to a kind supposing in my bank account. I have a an overdraft for say $5000 diamond dates. I have a debit of $5000 on them one of your who loves me for someone out there who loves me.

You say we can't have that and you pay into my bank account into $1 million. Okay I'll take half a million Celtic 1/4 of a million you credited to my account there was once a debit the debit is not white targets. There is no debit the bank has no hold on me I'm not the right age to give the bank 110 eight I'm cleared the dentist. I don't have a hand in my credit the kinds that is all of this money more than I could ever spend. As the pictures and Jesus dying on the cross.

Please understand this when Jesus died on the cross, dying for the on godly to make it personal. Every single sin I ever committed in the past. Every sin I commit today every sin I will ever commit in the future. Every single sin was credited to his account that we sometimes thing Jesus paid it all you ever think about what you're saying, Jesus paid it all alter him all that is it. Peter puts a wonderfully in first Peter two verse 24 regarding our Savior. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.

That wonderful, my Savior takes all of my sin and he takes it on himself. It is credited to his account. It comes from my time, my large debit account with sin after sin after sin piled one the top of another that is absolutely no way I can pay off my sin. There is no way I can atone for my sin there too many a.m. to sins.

All I keep on singing. Then Christ comes and takes my sin on himself.

Paul says in second Corinthians 5 makes it clear that God, no, no longer kinds my sin against me as it has been commented against Christ on my kinds. There were once many sins filling many debit columns. Now the debit column is completely clear what happened to the citizens does God just ignore them know we thought of the justice of God member the message to three weeks ago on propitiation that they come to Jesus Christ. They have been credited they have been commented they have been imputed to my Lord Jesus Christ. And that's not all. Not only does Jesus take all of my sins, so there's no longer any debit he transfers to me all of his righteousness.

All of his holiness. He takes my sin. I receive his righteousness, and Paul's brilliant argument that these presenting to the Romans and through the spirit of God. The Scriptures are still saying and still speaking to you and me today that this imputed righteousness to all who believe is the sole ground of our justification by faith. You get that Christ takes our sin we receive his righteousness, and sometimes called the great exchange for the magnificent New Testament example of this imputation is given to us in Zechariah chapter 3 the first five verses there is Zechariah the Old Testament prophet has a vision he is a vision of the high priest Joshua is his name. At that time, the high priest Joshua standing in the presence of the Lord and Joshua stands in the presence of the Lord. Satan is there, and Satan is accusing Georgia of having the filed garments as indeed they are the high priest garments were to be pure, but Joshua is not defiled their filthy and Satan is there accusing him of Satan accusing sentence will be loves the remember you did that this sometimes uses people to remind us of these sins of the past to listen to the devil to listen to such people because in the wonderful picture here in Zechariah 3.

Do know what happens. Lord instructs an angel to take away Joshua's filthy garments, and to give him pure holy garments. The filthy garments are taken away the new garments are put on Joshua the Queen garments representing holiness and righteousness. The point is this. The garden is grace not only forgives us our sins. Not only does he take away the filth of our lives, but he gives to us. He clothes us with.

He credits the parents the loveliness and the beauty of our Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah 61 verse 10. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall exult in God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robes of righteousness wonderful and then Paul gives another example of forgiveness and of grace with David versus six through eight is why does he take another example of a number of reasons. One is Abraham lived before the Mosaic law was given.

King David lived after the Mosaic law was given.

King David broke the commandments over and over again. You might conjure that Abraham was a pretty good man, not perfect, but a pretty good man David on the other hand, did some really bad nasty evil wicked things he coveted a woman who wasn't his wife, that he stole her from her husband. He committed adultery with her.

He then bore false witness, and if that wasn't bad enough. He then arranged for a husband number Uriah the Hittite to be in the front line of battle so that he would be killed and the instructor job. His commander and walked to make sure that Uriah was placed at the hottest place of the battle and Uriah was killed he commits verse seven lawless deeds he commits sins lawless deed David who knew the law of God deliberately stepped over the boundary that God had set. There is no question about David's guilt. There is no question that he sin. There is no question that he transgress this. This is in this incredible learning that God justifies the wicked. God justifies nasty evil people like David like you and like me. David's wicked sins were not credited to his account were told in verses seven and eight. They were not put to his eye kinds. Paul here is quoting from Psalm 32 where David says blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord was in the counts. No iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

Verse five. I acknowledge my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity. So David is Paul's witness corroborating Abraham to establish the justification is apart from works that justification is so powerful that the wicked the ungodly King the very top of the society who knew better, but he is forgiven and David sins. What a racist David sins, and there were many, and they were deep were forgiven, not because David did nothing but entirely by the grace of God.

The aggressiveness I meet with people who tell me that they have never the time to really experience forgiveness because the sulfides and they say well I know God forgives, but I can give myself and how could God forgive me and I'm so bad and all the rest of it and they may well be bad.

In fact, are probably worse than that, even telling me was in this wonderful you can 24 and some of you have done terrible things.

Some of you are like David Jeff class is really messy and you have repeatedly stepped over the boundary that God has set its and you know about guilt and you know about shame. I do know about doing evil things that disgust yourself unless other people do not try to get him glad you're here this morning.

Welcome welcome wonderful good news for you that God is in the business of justifying wicked, ungodly people like you, David is called blast blast are those whose lawless deeds are brought forgiven their removed is like the filthy garments of the high priest that taken away forever gone clean clans forgiven will think of this the night in their study of we believe him speaking on substitutionary atonement very similar to this truth come tonight to understand this great truth of substitutionary atonement and will break bread together. This is justification of the wicked entirely of the grace of God that is justification is received through faith alone. God justifies those who believe in Jesus Christ. This is not automatic so as we can put my challenge to you is how you truly trusting in God, don't tell me you're trying to do your best.

Don't try to say to me. I'm working on the timekeeping and its that is not going to get you there. Richard told the story of a frog is for the children mums and outcomes of a frog which fell into a pail of milk. The frog tried every conceivable way to jump out of the pale of milk and he always failed sites were too high and being in milk. There was no leverage from which he could spring out even though you're very powerful legs and he didn't think the only thing he could.

He paddled and he paddled and he paddled and he probably paddled in. Finally he made a part of butter and sitting on the bother he had the leverage to spring night of the pale and to freedom is a preacher's message going to this kind of church stop going. Here's a preacher's message. Just keep paddling, keep on working on doing your best and you will make it know if you believe that you believe anything. First of all Bernard frogs and milk trying to make butter.

Do you really think that is a matter of you doing your best, your sin and how would you know if your best is good enough and that would you know how much you had to do know this is good news. I'm so glad the gospel isn't do the best you can. John be true to yourself. Keep working at it keep working at it you can make it go the gospel to start working stop try come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest rest for your soul stop your striving stop your achieving stop your working and look to Christ who did everything who died for the ungodly who rose from the dead and is alive. Paul is going to say the end of this chapter that he was delivered not put our trespasses and raised for our justification. No, don't look for yourself. Look to Christ and to Christ alone, faith is that empty hand outstretched to receive the grace of God and the abundant mercy and compassion of God. What did David pray when he was confronted with a send allotment to go to the temple and I try my best. I'm going to study the law of God, I'm going to give money to the to the food. I'm going to do all of the snow gets on his face before God. >51 in size of mercy upon me. Oh God, according to your steadfast love.

No, according your God of mercy, your God of compassion.

Don't give me because what I desire.

Claimant grace, grace, and I believe your God. Unbelievable grace you have never yet trusted Christ you come to Calvin you tell us you brought up in the church is wonderful so many get you to heaven so you do your best. I appreciate your sin Saturday, but that's not good enough. Christ is, Christ is her music drama wicked person. God justifies the wicked are faithful to what we do. Faith looks to who Christ is to see the wonders of the Savior who comes not to condemn you, but in love to save you two to deliver you to wipe your sins so that the savings are no longer credited to your clients that have been borne by our Savior and then return you receive his forgiveness, your sins are erased or deleted. They're gone they're buried in the depths of the sea know God says the trust Christ as a woman whose faith was very weak in the Gospels who had a health problem for 12 years and she just restarted country and faith. You touch the hem of his garment was that we recheck to Christ, we call upon Christ the Savior.

You say my faith is small. It is my faith is often small but is not the amount of your faith is sin whom your faith is. Christ is all-powerful he will save you, he will cleanse you. He will forgive you. So come to Christ and rejoice with us, rejoice with David.

Rejoice with all the redeeming than, say, Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count is sin. I'm that blessed many of you are that blessed man that blessed woman that blessed boy, that blessed girl against whom the Lord will not condescend. So trust Christ and if you've never tricked trusted him to know if you are a follower of Christ as God to deepen your faith to live by faith and to trust God with all of your heart. We thank you for your grace. We think of our Lord Jesus Christ for that perfect sacrifice on the cross missile place our faith in Christ and truly live by faith, because we know the righteous shall live by faith we ask it in his name

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