Justified by Faith

Justified by Faith

Scripture: Romans 3:19-28
Date: 07/24/2010  Lesson: 4
The heart of Paul's message to the Romans was one of justification by faith.

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Good morning and welcome to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church. We want to welcome those of you who are joining us here in the sanctuary and those of you that join us week by week wherever on television, radio, across the country and around the world. We're so glad that you can worship with us this morning. And as our custom is, we are going to start by praising our Lord and creator. We are going to sing hymns to him this morning.

Our first request is hymn 501, "tis the blessed hour of prayer." This is a request from jizelle in antigua and barbuda, joyanne from New York and in'utu from zambia thank you for your request. We will be singing stanzas one, two and four. [Music] Amen. Thank you so much for that request. I know it was new to several of us.

If you have a hymn request, we want to invite you to go to saccentral.org. And you can make your request there. And we will sing it on an up and coming Sabbath. Also, if you're ever in the Sacramento area, we would like to invite you to come and join and worship with us in the sanctuary. We'll even save you a front seat.

Our next hymn will be hymn number 468, "a child of the King." I want to be a child of the King. I am a child of the King. And I praise God for that. This is a request from jizelle in antigua and barbuda. Lorna, reanna, les, sue, aaron and gloria from australia, betty, don brisbane--or betty and don and brisbane fijian church in australia, brian, brianette, and brandon in bahamas, valencia and abelino from belize, jerome, grace and charles from California, osla from cameroon, Samuel from Canada, kelly from fiji, constance from fiji-- no from florida--demy, cora and pearl from Hawaii, joalJames from hong kong, bob and Paula from Idaho, angella from jamaica, salwa from lebanon, pastor jerry from Michigan, edith from New York, mike and connie, steven and Matthew from North Carolina, yolette and ned from switzerland, jonathan from Texas, belfon and the murphy family from trinidad and tobago, and beenzu from zambia.

A lot of people love this song, "a child of the King." I want all the children of the King to sing nice and loud this morning. We're gonna sing verses one, two and four. [Music] Let's bow our heads. Our dear Heavenly Father, we want to thank you so much for this beautiful morning that you have given us, for waking us to another day. Lord, we ask a special blessing on the message this morning.

We pray that you would fill our hearts, teach us your way, and may we draw closer to you. Lord, we claim the promise that Your Word would not return unto void, but it will accomplish this morning what you please. We pray that you would speak through Pastor Doug. And Lord, we just pray that we would all just draw nearer to you now. In Jesus' Name, amen.

Now our lesson will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you very much, jennifer and our musicians, our singers, for The Song service. Good morning, friends, here at central church. And I want to welcome our friends who are watching worldwide. Now, right now we have a smaller than average class here in the sanctuary at central church.

That's for a few reasons. Our friends watching may not know we also have other adult classes around the church complex. But today is the final weekend of the general conference session. And if you were to turn on hope channel or 3abn, you'll see a live broadcast of that. And you're gonna see that there are, I don't know, I was there yesterday.

I flew in. And just from looking at the broadcast, I mean it looks like 50,000. There may be more. There may be 60,000 Seventh-day Adventist Christians from all over the world that are there. And Karen and I and the Batchelor boys have been there the last week.

We were there the first weekend. And one reason that we're not there this weekend is 'cause we wanted to be with you, and one of the best ways for us to spend time with our friends around the world is through this Sabbath school class. Let me just tell you for those of you that are here. It was phenomenal. I mean just, you know, this week there are 35,000 people just in the mid-week in the convention center there.

And Amazing Facts had a booth. And as I wandered around and visited with people, thousands upon thousands of people stopped us and came up and said, "we're part of your Sabbath school class." And so it was important for me to be back and be able to teach the lesson, because we've got so many friends around the world that do study with us. And it's a privilege. It's also frightening, because different church leaders and Sabbath school leaders, they say, "oh, we watch the lesson to help glean a couple of extra thoughts, so when we teach our class--" and that scares me. I thought, boy, I better spend more time studying.

And so I want to welcome our friends. Also a lot of our members, central has a number of members of central church that are around the world that don't have a church nearby they can attend. We met a number of them at the general conference session. They said, "we are part of the internet membership of central church. And this is our church.

And I want to welcome them as well that are watching. And so I bring you greetings here at Sacramento central from our friends at the general conference. And some very exciting things have been happening there. And maybe we'll have a chance to tell you more about that. You can get some reports.

Have any of you here been watching some of the general conference session on television? And so some of you have. You've seen what's been going on. And I think they'll be replaying some of that. But to our lesson. We're going to be delving on hallowed ground today.

We're going through the book of Romans, one of the great books of theology. The lesson talking about "redemption in Romans," is our quarterly. The lesson today, "justified by faith." And as always, we have an offer. And the offer today deals with the subject of justification and assurance. And it's called, "assurance: justification made simple.

" And for our friends in North America, if you are watching and you'd like a copy of this, just call the number on your screen. That's 866-study-more, -788-3966. And we'll send you a free copy of this. And it's called, "assurance--" oh, by the way, that's offer number 727, like the old boeing jet. You can remember that, 727, is the offer number you're to ask for.

And we'll send you the book on "assurance." In our lesson, we're talking about "justified by faith." And we're going to be--I'll tell you what, I'm going to do something I normally don't do. How many of you here, you have been given a slip, you're going to help us read a verse? Let me see your hands if you're prepared to help us read a verse from the Bible. Okay, very good. Then I tell you what, mike, you're set up to read one of the verses. I may have you be our official Romans reader today.

What verse were you given? Mark 10:17. I want you to hand off that verse. Will you sacrifice your verse? Who's going to read that for-- if you don't have a verse, you're willing to read it, you're not scared to be reading on tv? Alright, hand that off. Go to Romans 3, mike. We're going to have you read various verses in Romans 3.

Now the goal of our lesson today is we have been assigned a section of Romans, and we're on holy ground really. It's Romans 3:19-28. So if you've got your Bibles open, stick a little piece of paper in there, 'cause we'll keep coming back to it. But that's not all we're going to read. It's Romans 3:19-28.

And when we get to that, we're going to hand you the microphone several times, mike, so that you can read the various verses in Romans. Now, we have a memory verse. We'll say this one together. The memory verse is the last verse in our assigned verses today. It's Romans 3:28.

And I'd like to invite everybody to say that with me. I'll give you a minute to find it. You should be in Romans 3 by now. Okay? Romans 3:28, ready? "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." You'll find that phrase, "deeds of the law," mentioned a few times in the lesson. Now in the book of Romans, you know, when you open up Romans we talked about the introduction and the blessings.

One of the longest introductions in the Bible is in Romans. And then you start getting into what the heart of the message is. Any of you ever build a tree house? Some of you work on a tree house? I've built a few tree houses. And maybe they weren't all tree houses. Matter of fact, my kids say I've started several, but we've never finished any.

And so we've got platforms and trees all over the country. We started a tree house. And one of the first things you've got to do is you kind of nail some steps into the tree so that you can scale up to where the house is gonna be, 'cause you need to be able to get to wherever the platform and the branches and the fork is for the tree. And I've done that several times, and you know, you want them to be strong so you don't nail like one-byes, you know, not a one-by-six or a one-by-eight, you need to nail two-bys, so they're strong, but you need long nails, because they can't just go through the two-by-four that's gonna be a step in the tree. They gotta go through the two-by-four and they can't just get in the bark.

Because you know, the bark of the tree, very important, but it doesn't hold the nails very well. So I usually take my chainsaw, or I take the sharp end of the hammer and I cut away the bark so you can get to the meat of that oak tree. So when you hammer those steps in, the kids aren't going to go tumbling out of the tree. And you've got to make sure they get a hold of something firm. You know what I'm talking about? We've gotten through the bark of Romans now.

Now we're getting actually into the meat of what is the message in Romans. What is Paul trying to tell us in this book? By the way, this book, remember, was written to the Romans. And he expected them to circulate it knowing that it would be part of the inspired writings that were to guide us in the last days. And so with that, we're going to get right into-- you got a microphone? Let's get a microphone to mike. Who's got our microphones? Thank you, jessica.

Let's get into the first passages. And let me see here, why don't you read for me, Romans 3:19, mike. "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." I won't ask you to raise your hands, but I'm assuming there's some of you that have gotten traffic tickets before for speeding. Is there anyone here that's gotten a ticket before for going too slow? I have. I was driving this old '54 panel wagon to southern California, loaded down, going uphill.

And I couldn't go fast enough, and all the cars were passing me. I got pulled over for going too slow. That's the only time. Most of the other times I got pulled over for going too fast. You know what's really embarrassing is if you get pulled over, and the policeman comes up, and you say, "what was the problem officer?" And he says, "you were driving too fast.

" And you say, "what's the speed limit here?" And he points right above your head on the street, and it says, it's right there, "55." And you know what? Usually at that point, your mouth is stopped because the law is right there in front of you in plain view. And you can't really see it. "Well, I didn't know." And he says, "it's right there. It's been all along the road. It's posted.

" And so what the Bible is telling us here, Paul is saying we all know what the essence of God's law is. And every mouth is stopped. We're without excuse. We've all sinned. Now there's a big question that's being asked here in Romans.

And the question is about how can I be justified? Why don't you read verse 20 for us, mike, Romans 3:20. "Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in his sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin." Alright, so he's telling us really how do we find justification? There were some in rome, some, especially the Jewish believers, that were saying we're justified by keeping the law. And Paul is saying the law never justified anybody, not now, not ever. Matter of fact, be very careful to remember, as you read the book of Romans, what Scriptures were in existence? They really hadn't assembled the new testament canon of Scriptures. So when Paul was talking about the writings and the Scriptures, he's talking exclusively about the old testament.

Now did the old testament teach that we are justified by the law? No. Don't fall for that. You're gonna have some people that will say, "well we're new testament Christians; we know we're justified by faith." Paul was talking to these jews that believed the old testament that taught they were justified by the law. New testament, old testament, both, whole Bible, explains that we are justified by faith. Abraham believed God, and God counted it unto him for righteousness.

Now is that in the old testament or in the new testament? It's in both. You first find it in the old testament. Abraham believed God, and God counted it to him for righteousness. And you find it quoted then in the new testament as well. The old--I'm sorry, the new covenant.

Where do you first find the new covenant? Well, you must find the new covenant in the new testament, right? No. First time you find the new testament--new covenant, new testament, same thing-- is in the old testament. It's in Jeremiah 31:31, "I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel." You find it in the old testament. We are always justified by faith. Nowhere did God say, "there's this one race of people.

They're going to be justified and in heaven because of their law-keeping." Nobody's going to be there because they kept the law. Everybody is going to be there by virtue of grace. Is that right? We're all saved by faith. And so he's telling us very clearly here, "by the deeds of the law, no flesh--" now he's not even saying jews. He's not saying Christians.

When he says, "flesh," what group is included in that? Anyone here got flesh? Nobody is gonna be justified by the deeds of the law. Is that clear? So Paul is not saying, "yeah, the old testament Israelites, they had the Ten Commandments, and they were justified by the law." Nobody is justified by keeping the law. The Bible is very clear that we are all guilty of sin. Matter of fact, let me read you a couple of verses on that. John 1:10, "if we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and His Word is not in us.

" Jeremiah 17:9, "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" Romans 3:10-12, and this is earlier than what we're reading today. "As it is written: 'there is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all--'" none, none, all; it's very encompassing-- "they have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one." Now is that pretty clear? He's telling us that we've all sinned, every human, with one exception. And that was the incarnation when God became a man. That's Jesus.

It's the only reason that he can redeem us is that he's the only one who has set that perfect example for us. Job 5:7, "yet man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward." When you see sparks popping out of a fire, they don't come down. The heat forces them up. We naturally gravitate toward sin. Psalm 14:2-3, "the Lord looked down from heaven on the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God.

They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one." Alright, so that's pretty clear. So what he's really talking about here in Romans 3 is if nobody is justified by the deeds of the law, and only those who are just are going to be saved, then how do we get justified? How are we made just? How are we saved? That's the big question. Now I've got some verses dealing with the big question. I'd like you to help me read them. Who has Mark 10:17? "Now as he was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before him, and asked him, 'good teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?'" Isn't it interesting when the rich, young ruler came to Jesus, and he's asking, "how can I have eternal life? How can I be just before God?" What does Christ say to him? He says, "what saith the law? You know the commandments.

" He'd turn him to the law. Does the law give us eternal life? Why did Jesus do that? The law is the perfect standard of righteousness. And you know what? We start with the law. So when this man is saying, "we're not saved by the law, but the law is a starting point." Because when you look into the law, whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and you see your sin, you realize you need salvation from sin. Then you go to Christ for forgiveness and justification.

But the law is still important. You know, Paul makes it very clear. The law is just and holy and good. We need the law. The law is perfect.

So when people read through the writings of Paul, sometimes they get the idea that, you know, Romans basically deletes the law. That's not true. Matter of fact, I'm going to go to Romans. I've got Romans 3 Marked here, but I want to go to Romans 2 and read verse 13. Romans 2:13, "for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God," or justified, "but the doers of the law will be justified.

" Now we're not saved by keeping the law, but when he saves us, he saves us for good works. He saves us for a new walk, a new life, for holy living. But we are justified by faith. Now does that still make sense? Oh, come on. Someone talk to me.

Does that make sense? Once you are saved, will you be different? Is salvation only a theory, or does Jesus say, "you'll know them by their fruits," "you'll know them by their works?" And so there's a difference in the life when you're saved. Alright, so we're not--we're not talking about deleting the law. Where was i? "The big question," job 9:2. We got--let's get foster over here to read that one for us. "Truly I know it is so, but how can a man be righteous before God?" Isn't that the big question? Will the unrighteous inherit the Kingdom of God? Or does Paul say, "don't you know the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God?" Well, if we've sinned and we're unrighteous, then how can we be made just before God? That's the big question.

How can a man be righteous before God? I need to know that question, don't you? I need to know the answer to that question. And then you can read in job, I'll read this one, job 25:4, "how then can a man be justified with God? Or how can one who is born of a woman be clean?" We've all got these fallen natures. We gravitate towards sin, like sparks fly upward. It's just in our natures to sin. How can we be transformed? How can we become new creatures? How can we who are unjust be just? How can we be declared just and then live a just life? Isn't that part of it? How can we be declared just and then live a sanctified life? These are the big questions.

Now we're in the heart of the wood, so to speak. Micah 6:6-7, "with what shall I come before the Lord?" How can I go before God? "And bow myself before the high God? "Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?" Is it sacrifices that make me just? "Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams?" If one is good, maybe a thousand's better. "With calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with ten thousand rivers of oil?" You know, they had the meat offerings and they had the flower offerings. They had the oil offerings. "Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousands of rivers of oil?" Is it quantity? Maybe that's what I'm missing.

If I had more sacrifices, then I could be just. You know, Solomon when he dedicated the temple, I forget what the number is, but he sacrificed thousands of oxen and sheep. And there must have been a virtual river of blood flowing from the sanctuary when he consecrated that temple. So is it the quantity that's going to make the difference? Have you had people before you've met, they somehow think, you know, "God will forgive me because I made a big donation to this charity. I've established a foundation.

I made a generous offering." My dad used to think that way sometimes. He'd think, "well, you know how much I've given? How could God tell me I can't go to heaven? Look at all that I've given." And he did. He was very generous and a philanthropist and gave away millions for hospitals and things. But does that buy eternal life? Does that buy justification or righteousness? I remember I was visiting a couple one time, and they were neighbors. And we started to study the Bible with them.

And at some point in just the first or second Bible study, it was pretty early on, the mother in the house said-- and she was absolutely serious. It was a verbatim quote from the book of acts. And she said, "what do I have to do to be saved?" And boy, I tell you, that's music to an evangelist's ears when someone asks that question. They want to just-- they're yearning to be saved. And so many people have a consciousness of their guilt.

They're afraid of death. They know that this life is temporary. They're facing eternity unprepared. They've got their sense of their sins and their guilt, and they're going, "what do I do? What do I do to be forgiven?" Paul is dealing with that in this book and in this chapter. It's wonderful news.

Psalms 130:3, "o Lord, if you should Mark iniquities, o Lord, who could stand?" People often ask me, it's typical, you know, "how are you doing?" And my common answer is, "much better than I deserve." Couldn't everybody say that? Does anyone here want what they deserve? Do you? What do we deserve? What's the penalty for sin? Death. And so we're all doing--the very fact that you're here today, you're doing better than you deserve. Right? And so that's--that's good news. "If God should Mark iniquities, who would stand?" You know, I'd like to read something from you-- and this is from "six Bible commentaries," page 1070, "I would call on all who would win heaven to take a warning; do not devote your precious probationary time to sewing together fig leaves to cover the nakedness, which is the result of sin. As you look into the Lord's great moral looking glass, his holy law, his standard of character, do not for a moment suppose that it can cleanse you.

There are no saving properties in the law. It cannot pardon the transgressor." By the law is the knowledge of sin. The law is just there to show us our sins. Is it important? Yes. Is it the standard of righteousness? Absolutely.

Does it save? No. If you get pulled over by the policeman for speeding, and you're standing under the sign that tells you what the speed limit is, can you look to that sign for mercy, or do you have to look to the policeman to say, "I'm going to let you go?" The sign is there to condemn you. You know, I've got a gps now in my car. And it not only tells you which way to turn, but whenever you begin a trip, it tracks the record of your trip. And it's got one record in there that's a little bit unnerving.

It says, "what is your maximum speed on this trip?" That you've gone. However fast you've gone at any point during that trip it records it. And once or twice I've flipped over to that screen, and I go, "no, no, I didn't do that!" Now, the car also has another feature. It's called a "speed limit warning." I can set my car, my gps, so that when I reach 70 miles an hour or whatever the speed limit happens to be, it beeps and warns me if I go miles an hour. It's kind of like having the Holy Spirit in your gps.

But the thing is I have to set it. Well, I set it originally, but it kept going off. So I had to raise the ceiling, because it was getting annoying. I won't tell you what I set it for. Do you have a buzzer in your head that tells you when you get to the edge of the law? Does the Holy Spirit tell you and bring conviction when that time comes? Alright, let's go back to Romans 3.

And mike, you're going to need your microphone again. I think we're on verse 21 now. Romans 3:21. "But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the law and the prophets." Alright, so when it talks about, "the righteousness of the law being apart from God is revealed by the law and the prophets," we've got to interpret that verse with another verse of Scripture. If you look in your Bibles in the Gospel of John 1:45, back when the disciples are first discovering Jesus.

This is when John the baptist was preaching. He pointed to Christ, said, "he is the lamb of God." They were all very excited. Philip met Jesus. They knew he was the Messiah. He finds nathanael, and he says, "we have found him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote, 'Jesus of nazareth, The Son of Joseph.

'" Alright, so Philip says, "we found the one of whom Moses, the law and the prophets, wrote." Going back to Romans 3:21 it said, "the righteousness of God apart from the law being revealed, as witnessed by the law and the prophets." What is it that the law and the prophets witnessed to was the righteousness? Was it something, or was it someone? Can someone be a word? Can a person be a word? Was Jesus the word? He was the righteousness of God that the law and the prophets pointed to. That's what Paul is saying. Does that make sense? If not, I want one more verse to--mouth of two witnesses here. John--same author, different book, 1 John 2:1, "my little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with The Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

" The righteousness of God was embodied in a person. The righteousness of God witnessed to by the law and the prophets was somebody. Jesus is that righteousness of God. We don't find the righteousness through the deeds of the law. It's apart from the law of God we find righteousness.

You still with me? Romans is a deep book, but I'm trying my best to make it simple so I can understand it. And I figure along the way, we'll all understand it. The righteousness of the law is in Christ. He lived a perfectly righteous life. And that is how we obtain righteousness.

It's through him, through somebody, Jesus Christ the righteous. So I want to read that verse again that says, "but now the righteousness of God, apart from the law, is revealed--" there's another way to righteousness, apart from the law. "It's revealed being witnessed by the law and the prophets," through somebody. I inserted that, 'cause I proved it. It's through Christ.

Let me give you a beautiful quote here. And this is in your lesson. "Selected messages," book 1, page 367, "selected messages," book 1, page 367. This is in your quarterly. "Righteousness is obedience to the law.

" "Wait, Pastor Doug. Didn't you just say something different?" Let me keep reading. "The law demands righteousness and this the sinner owes to the law, but he is incapable of rendering it. The only way in which he can attain to the righteousness is through faith. By faith he can bring to God the merits of Christ--" who is our righteousness-- "the merits of Christ.

And the Lord places the obedience of his son to the sinner's account." Wait a second. Righteousness is obedience to the law, but we've all broken the law. So how do we become righteous? We get credit for Christ's righteousness. Do you see what I'm saying? While we were at the general conference, I was a delegate. As a delegate, the conference was nice enough to buy food for me and one other, my wife.

But Karen's friend came to visit. Well, I had a meal that was paid for, plastic card, meal paid for. And Karen said, "but I'm not going with you today, doug, 'cause I'm going with a friend that I met." Well, don mackintosh, one of the--director of afcoe was there, and he was hungry. I said, "tell you what, don, you can go as my wife. But don't let this get out.

It's already paid for. If you don't eat it, nobody eats it and they're going to throw the food away." And so she didn't go, and he took her place. You see what I'm saying? Actually, it's an imperfect illustration, 'cause she still ate that day. Jesus suffered for our sins, and he gives us credit for his righteousness. And so you basically get to flash the badge and get into heaven because of the credit for his pain for your sins.

That's wonderful when you think about it. I never did finish reading our quote here. "Christ's righteousness is accepted in the place of man's failure, and God receives pardon, justifies the repentant, believing soul, treats him as though he were righteous, and loves him as he loves his son. [Whistles] you hear that? When you get, when you accept by faith the merits of Christ, and he hands you that card, you're scanned and he sees in you the merits of his son. And you receive that by faith.

That's wonderful that you could be declared righteous and accepted based on that. I think that's wonderful. "It is owing to the free grace of God through faith and the righteousness of Christ. Yet the law is not done away with." Do you understand the law is still consistently in place. And the beginning of that quote says, "righteousness is obedience to the law.

" Well, how do we obey? We get justified by the righteousness of Christ. Then the Holy Spirit enters our life. the Spirit and the mind of Christ gives us a new character. We become new creatures. It's called, "born again.

" We live new lives of obedience. And if any man sins along the way, we have an advocate. That sanctification, you can be justified freshly through faith. But we need to grow in sanctification. You understand how that works together? The object of the plan of salvation is not just a cover-up of justification.

Yes, you can come like the thief on the cross and be justified. But along the way, it must also involve a transformation of sanctification. That's when the Bible says, "we are conformed not to the world, but we are transformed by the renewing of our mind." So we actually not only get credit for Christ's righteousness, we then become like Jesus. So you're declared righteous, and then as you walk with him by faith, he transforms you and you become righteous. Alright, "grace and justification" is the next section.

We're going to read verse 22 in Romans. You still got a microphone there? They were nice. Did they give you your own microphone? That was so nice of them. Alright, read for us Romans 3:22, "grace and justification." "Even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference.

" Now again, he's emphasizing all flesh, no difference. Everybody is saved through this science that we're talking about, through God's grace and justification. Someone please read for me Philippians 3:9, another book. I gave that to you, someone. Alright, microphone right there.

Philippians 3:9, of course this is written by Paul as well. Go ahead, I think we're ready. "And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith." Now this is wonderful news. Is this clear to everybody how we obtain this righteousness? We are made righteousness-- now, you might be wondering, "now Pastor Doug, how about this? We'll compromise. We'll work it out with the Lord where we start out with his righteousness and we're justified by faith in his righteousness.

But then we later get justified because we are obedient. Are we ever justified by our obedience? Or is it always a gift? There's no boasting. That doesn't mean you can say, "well, he got me started." You know, a lot of self-made millionaires, they say, "well, you know, someone helped me along the way, but I did the rest of it myself." the Lord does it all. It doesn't mean there's no effort involved in the Christian life, but we're justified by him and his grace all along the way. Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ, to all, for all.

Alright, then read for me please Romans 3:23, and this is a verse I think everybody knows. "For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God." Now you know everyone always focuses on part of that verse where it says, "all have sinned." What is sin? Well, transgression of the law, must still be a law, 'cause there's still transgression out there. There's a lot of definitions for sin in the Bible. Well, there's about six I know of. What's another definition for sin? Transgression of the law-- the absence of God, well, falling short of the glory of God.

All unrighteousness is sin. Anything that is not of faith is sin. Sin is knowing to do good and not doing it. You've got sins of omission there. But ultimately, why were we created? Aren't we created for the glory of God? And if we are not bringing glory to God, then you've got sin.

How did the devil fall? Didn't he want to reflect the glory that belonged to God back on himself? He wanted to rob and redirect the glory of God to himself. And so any abuse of the rightful glory of God is sin. Have we all fallen short of the glory of God? Anytime we cease to live lives that glorify God, it's sin. Whenever we seek the glory for ourselves, it's sin. And so all sin is falling short of the glory of God.

So I just wanted to emphasize that because we tend to accentuate the other part of it. Alright, we're going to keep going here, 'cause we're going to run out of time. Romans 3, why don't you read verses, mike, read verse 24 and 25 together. And we'll expound on that for a few moments. "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as--" appropriation.

Appropriation, thank you, "by his blood, through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed." Alright, first of all, I'm going to start with the last two words in this verse. God "passed over." By the way, that was a Jewish festival, passover. God "passed over the sins," that will be committed, or "were previously committed?" So justification addresses, to begin with, past sin. And the whole idea of the Holy Spirit is to keep you from falling, that you might be sanctified. But when you first justified by God, you know there's people out there that believe, once saved, always saved.

You know what I'm saying? I actually was listening to a sermon on my way to church this morning where they were talking about that. A man said, "well, I was, you know, I came to the altar at, you know, 9 years old. And I prayed the sinner's prayer, and I received Christ. And even though now, you know, I've left the church. Matter of fact, I have moments where I pretty much am an agnostic, I am still-- and sometimes I deny the Lord, but I was saved.

And because I was justified for past, present and future sins, then God still has to save me, even though I've denied him." Have you heard this before? Once you're saved, you can't be lost? Now doesn't the Bible say that if we deny him, he will deny us? That's very clear. It's to be an ongoing relationship. So when you first come to the Lord, you're justified. What does the Bible say, not Pastor Doug? It says here, "past sins," previous sins. You come to him and he wipes out the whole past record.

You're born again. And then he gives you power for the present, and grace for the future. You're sanctified and he guards you and he keeps you. But you come to him just the way you are. And it's by grace you are justified for those previous sins.

Now, let me give you a couple of verses I want to read here. First of all, the Greek word translated, justify, is "dikaioo." And it means to make righteous, to declare righteous, or to consider righteous. God considers us righteous by his grace. Ephesians 1:6, "to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he has made us accepted in the one having been loved." And so we're covered by his grace, and we're justified when we come to him just like we are. Back in Romans 3:24, "being justified," how? "Freely.

" Alright, so some of you when you come to the Lord, and you ask for forgiveness for your past sins, do some have bigger sin records than others?" How many would say yes? All sin is bad. It's all deadly, but have some sinned more than others? Sure. Does Jesus say that? Yeah, remember when mary was washing his feet, and Simon said, "if this man was a prophet, he'd know who and what manner of woman this is that's touching him for she's a sinner." And Jesus then shares a parable with Simon. She says, "Simon, a certain man had two debtors. One owed 50 pence, one owed 500.

Neither could pay. He freely forgave them both. Which will love him more?" He said, "the one who was forgiven the most." And Jesus said, "some who are forgiven much love more." And so there are varying degrees of forgiveness. So you might be thinking, "well, you know what? God's government has a subsidy of forgiveness, but it's got a limit on it. He'll forgive you up to 50 pounds of sin.

" "But I've got 100 pounds of sin. And so what am I going to do?" You know what? That's not how God operates. His forgiveness is not rationed based on his limited resources. It's rationed based on your need freely according to what every man needs. So it doesn't matter how much you've sinned.

It's however much grace you need, that's how much he gives you. It's given freely, okay? Freely given by his grace. So it's not based on, you know, how bad you've been or whether or not you deserve it. It's given by grace freely. Through the redemption, that is Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as appropriation.

That means he stands in our place by his blood. His blood--now I might be able to give a blood transfusion, or offer my blood to somebody here. But I got to limit how much blood I've got. And the potency of my blood is not like the potency of the blood of God's son. The blood of God's son is adequate.

You know, they're doing a lot of dna research when they look in blood to find out where people come from. Everybody's blood comes from God. Isn't that right? And so we all have his dna. You've all been made in his image. So the only one really who is sinless that could cover us is the only one who lived without sinning.

That's Jesus. Only his blood could do it, but it's abundant for everybody. It says that he died for the sin of the whole world. Does that mean that he's got enough forgiveness for us? Yes. Titus 3:5-6, "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.

" So he saves us, and then he pours out on us what we need. D.l. Moody put it this way: "a man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough today to last him for the next six months." You know, suppose that you were going to go on a long trip, and you said, "well, you know, I don't want to carry all this food, so I'll just eat this one week worth of food right now." Some maybe have tried, but you've got to eat what you need. He goes on, and he says, "nor can you inhale sufficient air into your lungs for a day." It's something that you've got to do day-by-day. "Give us this day our daily bread.

" You've got to breathe moment by moment to keep you alive. Isn't that amazing? If you go ten minutes without breathing, you can have brain damage and death. And you're still breathing today. You know what that means? You've been breathing without interruption your whole life, without much interruption. Right? Interrupt you for very long, you die.

And that's how it is with grace. You've got to be breathing that in all the time. Now grace can be abused. There's two extremes in which this grace that God gives us, by which we're justified, is abused. Galatians 5:4, Paul says, "you have become estranged from God, you who attempt to be justified by the law have fallen from grace.

" So if you're justified by grace, and then later you say, "now I'm going to be justified by works, since I've accepted grace. And since it's just for past sins, now I'm going to be justified by works." No, you misunderstand. You're fallen from grace as soon as you think that. The second area of abuse is the opposite. Jude 1:4, "for certain men have crept in unnoticed, who were Marked out for this condemnation, unGodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and they deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

" Their idea is that when you are justified by grace, you can then live a life of sin. That's the other extreme of abuse. Paul in Romans 6--now we're jumping ahead. We're not getting to Romans 6 yet, but you're going to run into this later. He talks about that second abuse.

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" Have you met people like that? All they do is echo grace, and they turn it into disgrace. It's grace and justification. And they live like the devil. And the Bible says, "what shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. Certainly not.

How shall we who are dead to sin live any longer therein?" And so the Christian life is an ongoing relationship where you come to him just like you are. You're justified by faith. He then gives you his power. He baptizes you with his spirit. He gives you victory over your sins.

Is being a Christian just justification? Or is there supposed to be a transformation? Are we still addicted to all the old behaviors, or does God change us? Praise God I don't drink anymore. Praise God I don't curse anymore. Praise God I don't smoke anymore. Praise God he's made all these changes. Now there's ongoing sanctification.

I always like to--the Lord and I know there's plenty to happen. But there needs to be a transformation. I'm a new creature. You need to be new creatures. And then along the way, I continue to enjoy his justification if any man sins.

You repent. We're justified by faith. And then ongoing sanctification. You still with me about how this works? We got time, let's read verse 26-27, mike. I want to at least get to the end of our section.

"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." Thank you. God has a conundrum. He is a just God, and there is a penalty for breaking his law.

But he also loves us as a father. He's a king, and he's a father. So what does the King-father do when he has a son that breaks his law, and the penalty is death? He's got power to just say, "well, I'm going to look the other way." But he destroys his respect as a king. As a judge, his son needs to have judgment. Well, it's like that story I heard one time about a king.

And he had a law that said nobody could look into the harem. If somebody looks into the King's harem, his eyes will be plucked out. Well, the crowned prince thought, "well, I'm the crown prince. I can walk through the King's harem." And he disobeyed the King's law. And the King said, "what do I do?" I'm a father and I'm a king.

He wanted to--he loved his people, and he loved his law, but he also loved his son. So what the King did is he put out one of his eyes and one of his son's. And what God has done is he said, "I can be just as a king and also a justifier, because I love you so much, I'm going to have my son take the penalty for your sins that you might be forgiven. That's how important it was to him that we could be saved. I'm out of time, but I want to read our last verse here.

"The deeds of the law," and this is Romans 3:28. Go, you get--I'll let you do that, mike. "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law." This was our memory verse that we were given. It's a good place to conclude. We can be justified by what? By faith.

It has nothing to do with our disobedience to the law in the past. And that's still true today. We're still justified today. It doesn't matter if you became a Christian 20 years ago; we're justified by faith. I want to remind our friends about the free offer called, "assurance: justification made simple.

" We'll send this to you. It's offer number 727. I want to thank you again for studying with us here at Sacramento central. God bless you, until we get together next time. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at amazingfacts.org. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs, including "Amazing Facts presents." One location, so many possibilities, amazingfacts.org.

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