Justification by Faith

Justification by Faith

Scripture: Romans 3:28, Romans 3:19-28
Date: 10/28/2017  Lesson: 4
"With the good news of salvation being so good, what holds people back from accepting it? In your own life, what kinds of things cause you to hold back from all that the Lord promises and offers you?"

History of Redemption Study Chart by Everlasting Gospel Publishing

History of Redemption Study Chart by Everlasting Gospel Publishing
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Good morning, friends and welcome to Sabbath school study hour, coming to you here from the Granite Bay seventh-day adventist church near Sacramento, California. I'd like to welcome our online members and those who are watching across the country and around the world - very warm welcome to you and also to the members and the visitors right here at the Granite Bay church - good to see you week after week coming together to study the Word of God. Over the past few weeks we've been studying our new lesson quarterly entitled salvation by faith alone: the book of Romans. Today we find ourselves on lesson #4 entitled justification by faith - very important subject. Now, for our friends who are joining us, if you don't have a copy of today's lesson, you can go the Amazing Facts website - just amazingfacts.

org - download lesson #4 entitled justification by faith and you can study right along with us. We also have a free book that goes along with our study today, a book written by Pastor Doug entitled justification made simple - the heading is assurance: justification made simple - this is our free offer for those in North America. If you'd like to receive it, the number to call is 866-788-3966 and ask for offer #727 - the number, again, is 866-788-3966 and ask for offer #727. We'll be happy to send this to anybody here in North America. If you're outside of north America, you can still read the book for free online - just amazingfacts.

org. Well, before we get to our study this morning, we'd like to begin by lifting our voices in song. I'd like to invite our song leaders to come lead us in our singing this morning. Happy Sabbath, everyone. The first hymn that we are going to sing is #530 - it is well with my soul.

And, sometimes, I like to know the background of the hymns - where they're coming from - and this specific one was written by mr. Spafford. He had decided to go on a trip with his family to europe but, because of circumstances, he had to send them ahead of him - his wife anna and four daughters. And, unfortunately, the ship collided with another ship and all four daughters drowned. When anna reached wales she sent him a message that said, 'survived alone.

' But, in spite of this tragedy, they had peace in their hearts and they trusted God. And I believe that, in the same way, we can trust him if we put our lives in his hands. We will sing all three verses - it is well with my soul. At this time I invite you to bow your heads for our opening prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, what a privilege to be able to gather together this Sabbath morning and open up Your Word and study this very important subject - the subject of justification by faith.

Lord, we pray that your spirit will come and guide our hearts, our minds, as we delve into this very important and powerful subject found in the book of Romans. Bless our time today, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. Our lesson this morning is going to be brought to us by dr. David derose. Well, we are continuing our study through the book of Romans.

We find ourselves on lesson #4 - lesson #4 as we're going through the quarterly. And, again, if you don't have a copy of the quarterly, you can get that right on the Amazing Facts website. We're talking about justification by faith as it's portrayed in the writings of the apostle Paul. It's truly one of those great pivotal stories in the scriptural account of God's leading. It's one of those situations where it looked pretty bleak.

Turn in your Bibles, with me, to Exodus chapter 14. I'm going to Exodus 14 as we pick up the story of God's miraculous deliverance in the old testament. Exodus 14, of course, follows the story of God's deliverance at the passover. God has worked with a strong hand to deliver his people from Egyptian bondage. And, when we come to chapter , we read about some of the interesting events that transpire.

Exodus 14, beginning with verse , "now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 'speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before pi hahiroth, between migdol and the sea, opposite baal zephon; you shall camp before it by the sea. For pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, 'they are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in.''" You know the story well. God has delivered his people. Now he is bringing them on a journey to the promised land. And, as they come to the red sea, God actually leads them into a - a dead end, if you will.

Mountains on either side of them, the sea in front of them, there is no place to go. And so, it is, as we read through the account - that very familiar account - it says, in verse 10 of Exodus 14, "and when pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians Marched after them. So they were" - what? - "Very afraid" - very afraid - and it says they cried out to the Lord. - "Then they said to Moses, 'because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, 'let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.'" The children of Israel had given up on their ability to save themselves, right? They're saying, 'we're lost. We are undone - we are lost - we have no hope.

' But we know the story doesn't end there, does it? As Exodus 14 plays out, Moses gives this message from God in verse 13 - "and Moses said to the people, 'do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. the Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your piece.'" You know what happens? God miraculously delivers his people. It says in Hebrews 11 that it was by faith that they were delivered.

Did you know that? Hebrews 11 - look at it - is it speaking about God's faithful dealings with his people and their responsive faith - it is the faith of the children of Israel that brings them to that red sea experience and through it. Some of you enjoy, as I do, that amazing commentary in the book Patriarchs and Prophets - I'm actually reading that for you, right now, from patriarchs and prophets page 290. It says, "God, in his providence, brought the Hebrews into the mountain fastnesses before the sea, that he might manifest his power in their deliverance and signally humble the pride of their oppressors. He might have saved them in any other way, but he chose this method in order to test their faith and strengthen their trust in him. The people were weary and terrified, yet if they had held back when Moses bade them advance, God would never have opened the path for them.

It was" - and now she quotes Hebrews 11:29 - "it was 'by faith' that 'they passed through the red sea as by dry land.' In Marching down to the very water, they showed that they believed the Word of God as spoken by Moses. They did all that was in their power to do, and then the mighty one of Israel divided the sea to make a path for their feet." You say, 'wait a minute,' - we're studying what? The book of Romans - 'what does the red sea experience have to do with the book of Romans?' There's a lot of parallel themes, as we've been looking at that account, but I want to draw you to one other contextual setting from the book of Exodus because it really, believe it or not, is a review of what we've been studying thus far in the book of Romans. I invite you, now, to turn in your Bibles to Romans - excuse me, we're not going to get to Romans just yet. We're going there. We're going to look at it in detail, but I want you to go back to Exodus and this time chapter 12 - Exodus chapter 12.

In Exodus chapter 12, we are reading about the plagues and the context that we already alluded to - the deliverance of the passover. God has instituted the passover service there and what's quite interesting in Exodus 12, after that tenth and final plague - by the way, maybe just as an aside for those who are tuning in with us today - you know, a lot of people look at God's deliverance in the Exodus and they say it seems so harsh - this tenth plague, taking the life of the firstborn. You study in your Bibles from the very beginning of the plagues - before the plagues were even brought, you look at Exodus chapter 4, God told them exactly what he would have to do. If the Egyptians didn't let his people go, he said he would have to go so far as to show them what they were doing to his firstborn. Israel was God's firstborn - that's what he called them.

He said, 'if you don't listen to any of my other messages I'm going to have to take the life of your firstborn. That was from the very beginning. God has no delight in the death of the wicked even in the wicked who are unrighteous.' And so, in Exodus 12 we see that final terrible plague and I want you to notice what the response of the Egyptians was to the plague upon the firstborn. Verse 33 - after that plague comes it says, "and the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste. For they said," - Exodus 12:33 - what did the Egyptians say of their situation? We shall all be dead.

That's right, "we shall all be dead." Or "we are all as dead men." The context of the Exodus is the gentiles - the unbelievers - the Egyptians said, 'we are all dead. We are all lost.' When we come to Exodus 14 we hear the Egyptians behind the people of Israel, right? The footprints are coming - the hoof beats are coming - we hear the Egyptians, but the cry that goes out is not from the Egyptians, the cry in Exodus is from God's people. And what is the cry of God's people in Exodus 14, when they see the Egyptians? Well, in so many words, 'we're all dead men', right? 'We're lost.' Do you realize this is what is happened in Romans up to this point? When we come to Romans 3? In Romans chapter 1 - this is review now - and I'm giving you a review by virtue of the previous Revelation of the Scripture. In Romans chapter 1 God says, 'all the gentiles are lost. Everyone has had a full Revelation of - maybe not full, but they've had at least enough of a Revelation of God to realize that he is their creator and if they have rejected God, they are without excuse.

Remember that, in Romans 1? So all the gentiles are lost. And I can imagine, as the jews in rome were reading Paul's letter, they were saying, 'amen. Yes, that's right, the gentiles are lost.' And then we came to Romans 2 and what did we learn in Romans 2? Well, maybe we need to look there. Just look at Romans 2 - we're studying the book of Romans. We're giving a review because I know, when we read these books that are quite expansive, sometimes it's hard to remember the context.

So, in Romans chapter 2, the focus is 'you are guilty as well, you jews.' Okay? And let's pick out a key verse there that - that crystallizes this - look at verses 23 and 24 in Romans 2, "you who make your boast in the law" - you say, 'we have the law. We're following God' - "do you dishonor God through breaking the law?" - It's a question, but it's a rhetorical question, because - you know it's a rhetorical question because in verse 24 he says, "for 'the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you...'" So, in Romans 1, all of the gentiles are lost. In Romans 2, all of the jews are lost. Who, then, in themselves, can say, 'we've got it all together'? Nobody. So Romans 3, as we began looking at this in last week's lesson, we're continuing there.

And so, our reading right now comes to us from Romans 3, verses 19 through 28 and we're actually going to read through that. In fact, I'm going to take the liberty of even slipping into next week's lesson because I think the - at least as far as the Scripture reading - don't get too worried, because I think the individuals who divided up the chapters - you know, no chapters and verses in the original Bible - in the original signature - the letter that Paul wrote, but I think they did a better job of parsing it or, actually, bringing closure to the theme of chapter 3 that maybe we do here as we're dividing up the lesson. So let's begin with verse 19. Let's just read through that - follow along as we read from Romans chapter 3, because we've talked about the context now - the context is one that we see throughout salvation history - but Romans 3, beginning with verse 19, "now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." - That's just what we've been talking about, right? He's just reviewing what he's described. Gentiles lost, jews lost, every mouth may be stopped - all the world guilty before God - verse , "therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in his sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God set for as a propitiation by his blood, through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time his righteousness, that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

Or is he the God of the jews only? Is he not also the God of the gentiles? Yes, of the gentiles also, since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law." So that is the scriptural passage that we want to hone in on and it's one that focuses in. Did you catch how many times in that passage you heard words like 'faith' and 'righteousness'? Did you catch that? So multiple times we have these themes coming up that is the focus, really, of the entire book of Romans, and we really see, as we look at the scriptural Revelation, it is the focus of the entire Bible. It's speaking about how we can be right with God. Well, as we're talking about these themes, we want to look at some various parallels in the Scriptures and then we want to look very closely at the book of Romans - particularly in this passage that we've just read.

And I want to notice something with you - notice together - that in the passage we read it can make the law look like something bad. In fact, many Christians look at the law as only an enemy. You see in verse 19 and verse , it's very clear that by the deeds of the law - by doing what the law says, none of us can be saved, right? We've all sinned. This is Paul's argument leading up to it. Look at verse 9 of Romans 3.

I want you to notice there is a parallel here, because we talk about being under the law and many of our Christian brothers and friends in other churches, they look at verse 19, they say, 'boy, being under the law, that's really bad. That's really bad. We want to get rid of the law because it's bad to be under the law.' Well, look at verse 19 and compare it with verse 9. Paul is speaking of the same thing. He's using synonyms here.

In verse 9 he says, "what then? Are we" - speaking of the jews - he's a jew himself - "are we better than they?" - Referring to the gentiles - "not at all. For we have previously charged both jews and Greeks that they are all under" - what? - "Under sin." Under sin - that's verse 9. And when we come to the parallel passage in verse 19 he says we are all under law - now you say, 'you're paraphrasing.' Well, I'm paraphrasing, yes. It says - let's read verse again, "now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." So, according to Paul's argument, who does the law condemn? Everyone, okay? Everyone. Now let's just pause for a little bit.

Is the law a good thing or a bad thing? Does the law show us our need for a Savior? Yes. Yes. You know, it's very interesting. When Jesus summarized the law - you know, more than once in the Gospel accounts Jesus was asked to summarize the law, if you will. And how did he summarize it? That's right, if you were to paraphrase it - I heard someone give a quick paraphrase, you know, 'love God and love man' - right? That's how he paraphrased those Ten Commandments.

So, is that a good thing? Does God no longer want us to love God and love man? You say, 'well, of course not.' In fact, in 1 John, when God's character is synthesized in a single word, God is described as - love. Love. So it has rightly been said that the law is a transcript of God's character. Some of you know, in the medical work I do - the clinical medical work I do - I work with an under served population. And some of my patients have Told me that they either are or have lived in their car.

You understand the significance of that, right? In fact, there's a couple of folks right now that are worried that they may be living in their car again because they're going through some turmoil in their living arrangements. So they don't have a home - the only home they have is a vehicle. Following along with the story? By the way, is a vehicle better than sleeping out under the stars? Yes. Yeah, I mean, if - you know, let's say it doesn't leak and the engine works - right? You can warm yourself up, you've got a roof over your head, so it can serve the function of a place to sleep, right? A vehicle. So let's say one of those individuals came into the Granite Bay church this morning and we as a church said, 'we want' - they're living in their car and we say, 'we want to help you.

We're going to give you a hotel room' or 'we're going to rent a place for you.' So we rent a place for them and now we go by their - we go by their - would you believe it? We just put them up in a nice rental - would you believe what's in front of that rental place? Their car is still there. So how many of you would go and say, 'hey, brother, sister, I mean, get rid of the car. We've given you a place to live.' How many of you think it would be reasonable for them to get rid of their car now? Why are you all shaking your head 'no'? Because you're saying the car has multiple functions, right? I mean, it's most stated function is what? Is to transport you. They still need their vehicle for transportation. Now, it may be a crude illustration, but the law has multiple functions, okay? The law is a Revelation of God's character.

So, apart from God, when we're living apart from God - when we're living on our own in sin, whether we're jew or gentile, whether we're in the church or outside the church, whether we're raised in a home that regarded God or a home that didn't, the law points out our deficiency. It shows that we do not meet the standard of God's character. Is that straightforward enough? Yes. It shows us our need for a Savior. And Paul is speaking about that here in Romans 3.

But before Romans 3 concludes, Paul asks a question that it seems most of the Christian world has missed. And I know we're going to be looking at this more as we go through the series on Romans. But he asks a question. And the question he asks at the conclusion of Romans 3, is 'do we make void the law through faith?' Can we get rid of the law now because we've come to Jesus? Is the only function of the law, as we studied in Galatians, to be a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ? Can we get rid of the law now, and what is the answer? No. The answer is no.

Sonia and I were traveling last week and we were in a hotel room and she was occupied with something else. I was scanning through the channels to see if there was - actually there's often adventist channels now - one of the hotels I'm often in - either 3abn or hope channel is available on those, you know, big satellite networks. And so I'm going through those channels - I found a couple of Christian stations and, during that trip, we had one of them on at one point in time and there was a Christian author speaking about his experience - well known individual - and he wasn't quoting a lot of Bible, but he was sharing his own experience and, in so many words, he was saying, 'I was convicted by the Ten Commandments.' - Not a Seventh-day Adventist - 'I was convicted by the ten commandments that I was living in sin.' He had a problem with pornography - he was sharing with the television audience. And he said what gave him power was this concept that we're going to be looking at in more detail right now, is this theme of righteousness by faith. Again, he didn't use those exact words, but he was speaking not about justification - we'll talk a little bit about that - but he was now speaking about sanctification.

They're both included in the work that Jesus wants to do for us. Let's look, now, at Romans 3 because we've talked about the problem. We've seen it in the Exodus - the Egyptians crying out they're lost - God's people crying out they're lost. We see it, now, in Romans, Paul is driving home his argument, we are all lost. Verse 21 of Romans 3, "but now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the law and the prophets," - so there is a righteousness - we cannot do right enough to be saved by the law.

What does the law require? Yeah, the law requires perfect obedience, okay? And so, we can't, as - in our sinful flesh, we cannot, in ourselves, deliver perfect righteousness. We've all sinned, so we're all lost. We've all failed to meet God's divine standard, which is his character. In fact, think about it for a minute, when God created adam and eve, he created them how? Perfect in his image. So when we see God, we realize what we were called to be and we see, in the law, this Revelation of God's character and we, in our sinful flesh, don't meet it.

And so, when we see God clearly, we're like Isaiah. You remember that, in Isaiah 6, when he has that vision of God in heaven? What does he say? He says, 'woe is me. I'm undone. I'm a man of unclean lips. I don't meet the standard.

' That's what is happening here in Romans. And so, Paul is saying, in Romans 3, in the verses we just read, there is no way that we can be saved on our own, but the good news: the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed and that has been witnessed by the law and the prophets. By the way, the law and the prophets, here, is referring to the whole of scriptural inspiration. Sometimes when the new testament writers spoke of the past Revelation, they said 'the law and the prophets and the writings.' Remember, Jesus, in Luke 24, when he's speaking about all of the past Revelation, he uses these divisions of the old testament. What is the law in the second part of verse 21 referring to? What was the law to the jews? It was the pentateuch - it was those first five books of the Bible - and the prophets, used here somewhat metaphorically, it's all the rest of the old testament Revelation.

And so, what Paul is saying is that all of Scripture reveals it. So what we're looking at in Exodus is not a stretch. It's not a stretch to see the Gospel in the old testament, because it's the same Gospel from the very beginning. And what is that Gospel? Let's read on in verse 22. We've been given this Revelation of the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.

So who is the promise for? Us. The promise is for us, that's right. It's for everyone. Regardless of what our background is, God is telling us that he has provided a righteousness in Jesus Christ. Let's look a little bit more closely.

Again, verse 23 - if you haven't heard it already, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" - I mean, Paul is at the expense of being accused of being overly repetitious. Paul is saying, 'gentiles sin, jews sin, we've all sinned, we're all under the law, we're all under sin, we're all' - I mean, if you got the message, do you think it was important for Paul to help us see that we're all lost? You know, in many circles today Christians don't want to talk about the need for repentance. Really, this is true. You go to many churches and they want to tell you how much God loves you. And that's all good, and it's all true, but they don't want to talk about our sinfulness.

And it's only our sinfulness that helps us recognize our need. So here we are, "...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" - verse 24, "being justified" - being made right - being made just before God - "freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by his blood, through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed," - now we have some Scriptures that we have assigned to folks to read for us, and we are going to look at one of those in just a moment. Who has the first Scripture for us? Okay. And let's make sure we're all on the same page here, including the person up front. What Scripture do you have? Exodus 12:13.

Exodus 12:13, oh excEllent. It's exactly where we need to go in just a moment. So what we're looking at here - and, by the way, this is in your lesson. The lesson is walking pretty much through this passage in Romans 3. But I want you to notice Wednesday's lesson.

Wednesday's lesson is speaking particularly about Romans 3, verse 25. There's a technical word that Paul uses there. The Greek word is actually provided in your quarterly, it's hilasterion - hilasterion. It only occurs one other place in the new testament and that's in the book of Hebrews. It's referenced there in your quarterly - Hebrews 9, verse 5.

That word, hilasterion is actually - if you look at the septuagint - the septuagint is the Greek translation of the old testament. If you look at it, that word, hilasterion, is the word that is used to translate a Hebrew term, kapporeth, and kapporeth refers to the covering over the ark of the testimony, sometimes referred to as the mercy seat. So Jesus, in verse 25 of Romans , is identified with - is connected with the hilasterion - the mercy seat - it's translated 'propitiation' but it is a very direct, technical term that brings us into what we would call 'the law' - the first five books of the Bible. So some of you may have thought, 'well this connection with the book of Exodus that we're looking at is a bit of a stretch, but I'm trying to tell you, very much embedded in this passage is Paul is saying, in so many words, 'if you want to understand what I'm saying, you have to understand the book of Exodus.' And so he uses this technical term that brings us right to the sanctuary. And our sister, right now, is going to read to us, from Exodus 12, another verse that brings us into this very same discussion.

Please. Exodus 12:13, "now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt." So when God was providing for his people, in the old testament, when judgement was going to come, when the, if you will, the results of the law - and the law was, simply, 'believe, obey, trust me, and everything will be okay; trust in yourselves and you'll be lost.' That's been the message from the beginning, and God gave that message to the Egyptians - 'trust me - trust in my provision - you will be fine. Determine to do it on your own - determine that you don't need God and you will be lost.' This is the message there. What was the sign that the children of Israel had to display that they were trusting in God? That's right, they had to slay the innocent victim.

They had to slay the sinless lamb, if you will, the guiltless lamb had done nothing wrong, and they had to apply that blood on the door of their home. What great work were they doing? Did anyone get up that night, when the Egyptians were crying, and someone said, 'I just saved my whole family.' Do you think anyone said that? I mean, it's possible they could have, but who was the one saving them? God. God was the Savior - and they were saying that 'we are trusting in God to pass by our homes. We are applying the blood.' Was there a work for them to do? Yes. There was a work for them to do.

They had to show - they had to demonstrate their faith in God's Word - in God's promises. They had to apply the promise of God. They had to trust in the blood of the sinless victim. We're speaking about the plan of salvation, and so many times this plan has either been undermined, as far as its simplicity, or it actually has been made too - I don't want to say too simplistic, but a disservice has been done to God. If you look at your quarterly, some of you who have studied it already, you read a number of times there are statements from Ellen white about this great theme of righteousness by faith.

I brought a number of props up with me today and they include a number of books that have a lot of rich material written by Ellen white. And some of our friends who are not Seventh-day Adventists, they say, 'oh, Ellen white, she's all about the law.' I'll tell you, some of the most amazing things that I've read in Christianity about the Gospel - the good news of salvation - written by Ellen white. Let me just refer you to a few of the sources. One of them you see in your quarterly, that was referenced, is the book selected messages, book 1 - a whole section on righteousness by faith. We might have a chance to look at a few of these things that help us crystallize some of these themes in Romans.

Another amazing book - faith and works - have you seen this book? Amazing book - collection of articles that Ellen white wrote - many of them - or most of them - perhaps all of them - over a - I guess they're all over a hundred years old now. That wasn't always true, during my lifetime, but it is true now. So these are some amazing illustrations - amplifications of what we're just reading here - commentary, if you will, on the book of Romans. And then, selected messages, book 3 - a whole section on righteousness by faith. So some great resources if you want to read more about it.

Let's just dive into one, since we're focused a little bit on the Exodus here and the parallels with Romans 3. There is a chapter in the book faith and works - it's actually taken from a presentation that Ellen white gave on may 11, , shortly after a very pivotal conference in Seventh-day Adventist history. Many of you know that in minneapolis in 1888, this theme of righteousness by faith was portrayed in clearer terms than it had been in the seventh-day adventist church for many years, and Ellen white is speaking on this. She actually begins by reading a whole chapter - a large portion of a chapter of the Bible. She began by reading John 3, verses 1 to 16.

We won't read it here, but it's that night meeting of nicodemus with Jesus, and there are some powerful parallels we'll touch on, that she points nicodemus to from the old testament, from the law - from the first five books of the Bible. But listen to what she says here, speaking of this theme in Romans, just helping us make it clear. I'm in page 64 of the book faith and works, "he" - we'd say, today, 'he or she' or 'whoever' - "would lay hold on Christ's righteousness need not wait one moment that he himself may blot out his own sins. He need not wait until he has made a suitable repentance before he may take hold upon Christ's righteousness." - We don't understand the matter of salvation - it's just as simple as a-b-c, but we don't understand it. Do you catch what she's saying? She's speaking about what Paul is presenting here.

He's saying that righteousness is available through Jesus and it's ours just for believing it - just for accepting it, right? Whosoever believeth, right? Can have this gift. And the problem is, the context - the rightful context is we've all sinned. Have you looked in the mirror lately? I've actually been looking in the mirror a little more often and my wife reminded me, in the clinic this week, that not only do I need to look in the mirror, I need to remind my patients - it was about a week ago I had a run-in with a dermatologist, so some of you that are perceptive, you've noticed, perhaps, that there's some more blemishes on my forehead than usual. So it's healed a bit but, in fact, when I didn't explain this to one of my patients, my wife said, 'you know, she was asking if you just had the chicken pox.' Okay? Well I mention that to you because we look in the mirror and we see our defects, right? And I'm not just speaking in the literal mirror - we see when we get up in the morning. We see, in our interactions with other people, where we fall short, don't we? So here's the problem that there is in the Gospel and the Scriptures: without us recognizing our need, we will never repent.

And so, Jesus, when he began his ministry - you read Mark - Mark, the first Gospel that was actually penned - the only thing you read about when you first open that Gospel - you don't read about Jesus' genealogy, you read about John the baptist giving a message of what? Repentance. If you look at Mark, when Jesus first begins his ministry in Mark, Mark's first recorded words of Jesus are what? Repent. So the message of repentance comes through to us - it resonates with us, right? And we realize that we fall short. The problem with the message of repentance is that we become so focused on our shortcomings that we fail to see what Romans 3 is presenting to us, and that is the gift of the righteousness of Christ. Perhaps one of my favorite chapters in this book faith and works is actually an easy chapter to remember.

This is the 500th anniversary of martin luther's nailing of those theses on the door of that wittenberg church. And it just so happens that there is a chapter in this book that was, actually now, celebrating it's 125th anniversary - it was written in . Do you all realize that 125 - or at least 500 is a multiple of 125, right? 125 Times 4 is 500. Now, I don't want to make too much of this, but this chapter is actually entitled accepted in Christ, and it's speaking about freedom in Jesus. Now some of you know, among my life journey, has been some chapters as a college teacher - both in secular schools and in Christian schools, so I always like to present things in a way that people will remember it.

So, hopefully, some of you will remember we're looking at a reading that was first written in 1892 - are you following along? Th anniversary of 1892, so you could find that. But you say, 'well, how will you remember the date of this periodical?' It was published in something called the signs of the times. Well, it's about freedom in Christ and it was written by an American author. When would be a great day for an American author to write something about freedom in Christ? July 4th. July 4th - exactly right.

So July 4, 1892, Ellen white wrote this article accepted in Christ. The whole article is worth reading - we don't have time to read it, but let me share a couple of things with you. Speaking, really, about this theme that we're reading about in Romans. "However sinful has been" - and I'm taking some liberty with the gender here, just because of our modern culture - "however sinful has been her life, if she believes in Jesus as her personal Savior, she stands before God in the spotless robes of Christ's imputed righteousness." This is crystallizing what we've been reading in Romans here. So justification, being right with God - standing right with God, is ours for believing - is ours for trusting in God's provision - it's ours for applying the blood of Jesus on our own hearts saying, 'I believe, Jesus, that you died for me personally.

You are my Savior and I'm going to trust in your salvation. Now, what I especially resonate with this reading - it's actually - I'm reading, now, from page 107 in the book faith and works - Ellen white writes this - and I believe it is dead center on with what Paul is communicating to us in Romans chapter 3. She says, "perfection through our own good works, we can never attain. The soul who sees Jesus by faith repudiates his own righteousness." What does that mean to repudiate something? You give up on it - you throw it away. My own righteousness is nothing - "he sees himself as incomplete, his repentance insufficient, his strongest faith but feebleness, his most costly sacrifice as meager and he sinks in humility at the foot of the cross.

" I mean, are you relating to this? Are you feeling that the good news is too good? That it couldn't apply to you because you've been too bad? Some years ago I was visiting in a woman's home - she had recently been baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but she had stopped attending church. And, as we visited with her in her home, she shared with us the reason why she had stopped coming to church. Do you know what it was? Basically, 'I'm too sinful. All those other people in church are so holy and I just don't fit in.' Well, you said, 'if she only knew', right? But the point is, here - the point is, here, that she was seeing the message of need to repent, but she wasn't seeing the good news of coming to a Savior who accepts us just as we are. Amen.

Let me read this again, again being sensitive to how sensitive we are today. "She sees herself as incomplete, her repentance insufficient, her strongest faith but feebleness, her most costly sacrifice as meager, and she sinks in humility at the foot of the cross." Are you there with me? I mean, I look at my own faith - I look at my own repentance - I mean, do you - as you look, do you see that you just don't measure up? And so, we fall at the foot of the cross and what's the amazing thing that happens at the cross? Listen, "a voice speaks to him - a voice speaks to her from the oracles of God's Word. In amazement, you hear the message. You are complete in him." Amen. Have you heard that message? When you see your need and you come to the cross - what Paul has been trying to communicate here - by the way, that's quoting from Colossians 2, verse - something else that Paul wrote - what Paul is trying to help us see in Romans 3, that we are justified freely - it is a gift - it is a gift.

It comes to us when we trust in Jesus as our Savior. You feel like you don't measure up? None of us measure up. Our completeness is not found in ourselves, but it's found in Jesus. This is the message of the Gospel. It says God - in verse of Romans 3 - is demonstrating his own righteousness, you see? He is just - he hasn't set aside the law.

Jesus has fulfilled the law for us. He's fulfilled the law for me. He is the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. We have another Scripture reading someone's going to share for us - share with us - and it comes to us also from Paul's writings, this time in 2 Corinthians - 2 Corinthians chapter 13 - Paul is here giving us some counsel and I believe it's wanting us, as Christians - he's writing to believers in 2 Corinthians - in fact, many of you know the corinthian church was a messed up church - 1 Corinthians - a lot of rebuke - a lot of error that was in the church. The church was divided.

Maybe something some of us can relate to today, and Paul was saying 'we need to come together in Jesus.' So listen to what Paul encourages them to do in 2 Corinthians chapter 13, verse 5. Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you? - Unless, of courses, you fail the test." What is this counsel by Paul encouraging us to do? He is calling us to examine ourselves, isn't he? He's calling us to examine ourselves. Here's the point: those who say, 'just believe in Jesus and that's all that's needed', are true - are right to an extent, but Jesus isn't only interested in justifying us.

He's not only interested in declaring us righteous at the moment we come to him. That is the emphasis here in Romans chapter 3, that we can come and we can be assured that Jesus accepts us just as we are when we come to him trusting in his salvation. But Paul also makes it clear as we continue to study, throughout the book of Romans, that God also sanctifies us by faith. So come back to that Christian author that I was watching on that channel as we were traveling. He was speaking about his own struggles with pornography and he said, as he realized what the Gospel was, the Gospel was not just forgiving him for the past.

The Gospel was not only good news about how we can come, right now, to Jesus - how we can trust him in spite of what our past has been, but it was also about the fact that God doesn't throw away the law. You see, the law for the Christian becomes a picture of God's character that he will mold us into. And so, as we continue to study the book of Romans, God's promises, not just to declare us righteous - not to just say we're accepted in Jesus, but also to give us the power to live a victorious life. If you want to study these themes more, we have a great resource for you, it's by our own Pastor Doug. It's a little book called assurance: justification made simple - it's free offer #727.

If you live in North America, we're happy to send it to you. Simply call 866-study - more - that's 866-788-3966. If you live outside of north America, you can get free offer #727 on assurance, by going to the Amazing Facts website. Well, our time has run out, but we want to encourage you, here at Granite Bay, to come back and join us next week, and we invite you, who are tuning in, to join us as we continue our study on this powerful book of Romans - the Gospel, through Paul, to you and to me. Stay tuned until next time.

Five hundred years ago, God used martin luther to inspire a great reformation; however, in the centuries that followed, the church has slipped off the bedrock of truth into the valley of Lukewarm worldliness. That's why, this fall, I'll be presenting a brand-new nine-part series called foundations of faith. Please plan, now, to join me in person, online, or on television and be sure to invite others to join you as well. The reformation continues. Hello friends, we all know a marathon is one of the longest and hardest races a person can run, but did you hear about the ultra marathon they used to have in australia? It was 544 miles from melbourne to sydney.

It attracted as many as world-class athletes. But then, something happened that no one would ever forget. In 1983 a 61-year-old potato farmer, named cliff young, decided to enter the race. People were very amused because he had on rubber galoshes over his boots, and when the race began and all the runners took off, sure enough, old cliff was left behind shuffling along very slowly, but he was shuffling very persistently. Normally, during this seven-day race, the runners would go about 18 hours running and then they'd sleep for six hours, but nobody ever told cliff that.

When the other runners stopped to rest during the night, cliff just kept on running. Some people were afraid old cliff was going to have a heart attack and they were asking the race organizers to show mercy and stop the crazy old man, but he would have none of it. Each day he was gaining on the pack because when they were sleeping, he was plodding along. During the last night of the race, cliff passed all of these world-class athletes. Not only was cliff able to run that 544-mile race without dying, he won, beating all the other racers by 9 hours, breaking the record and becoming a national hero in the process.

What's really amazing is when they told him he had won the $10,000-prize, he looked confused and said he didn't know there was a prize and he decided to share it with the other runners. When asked how he was able to run all night long, cliff responded that he grew up on a farm where they had about 2,000 head of cattle and, because they couldn't afford horses, he used to have to round them up on foot, sometimes running 2 and 3 days non-stop. So, throughout the race, he just imagined that he was chasing after the cows and trying to outrun a storm. Old cliff's secret was to keep on running while others were sleeping. You know, the Bible tells us that the race is not necessarily to the swift.

Something like Aesop's fable of the tortoise and the hare - the tortoise just kept on plodding along. That's why Jesus tells us, in Matthew 24:13, "he that endures unto the end, the same will be saved." Now you might slip and fall during the race - you might even get off to a bad start, but in the Christian race that we run, the main thing is you want to finish well. Keep on running, friends, and don't give up. For life-changing Christian resources, visit afbookstore.com.

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