Justification by Faith Alone - 2011

Scripture: Galatians 2:20, Romans 3:10-20, Philippians 3:9
Date: 10/22/2011 
Lesson: 4
Exploring the concept of justification by faith helps us understand who God is and why the issue was so important to Paul.
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Good morning. And a very Happy Sabbath to each and every one of you this morning, who are tuning in. Whether you're listening on the radio, watching live at saccentral.org, or on the various television networks, through dvd, we welcome you this morning to the Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church in Sacramento, California for another central study hour where we open up God's Word. We study together with our church family, those of us here and, of course, those of you who are around the world. We welcome you.

Our first song this morning you will find on page 44 in your hymnals, so if you have those at home, pull them out and sing with us. This is from frank, bobbie, kaizer, and ela in australia, veronica, jasmine, and angel in bahamas, randy, tabitha, amporn, and David in California, rosalie in Canada, luis in el salvador, sherace in england, edwin in Georgia, nancy, victoria, sandie, vern, jamie, and jenny in North Carolina, tami, don, and cindy in Pennsylvania, and tabitha and roni in Texas. #44 - We will do all three stanzas. Morning has broken. Oh, that's a beautiful song.

That reminds me of growing up in england. Did you guys used to sing that in the country life? #338 - Redeemed how I love to proclaim it. This is from elissa in Alabama, diana in Alaska, glynis in Arizona, naomi in australia, cleonice in brazil, brian in California, fikayo in england, karl and maisie in France, jean, gloria, aida, belinda, and chris in italy, lois in jamaica, enny, grace, and isela in Mexico, mike in Michigan, dara in Mississippi, eden in New Jersey, joy in New York, burt and barbara, vern, sandie, jenny, and jamie in North Carolina, pastor randy in Ohio, wilton in peru, jerusha in trinidad and tobago, terry and noemi in Washington, and william in Wisconsin. Oh this is a favorite. #338 And we'll do all three stanzas.

Father in Heaven, we come before you this morning knowing that we are redeemed through the blood of the lamb and we thank you so much for the sacrifice that you made so we have that assurance, each and every one of us that are here this morning, and those that can hear my voice. Thank you. Thank you for going to the cross because we don't want to stay on this world, we want to get off it and I pray that you will help us to be ready because I know that you are coming very very soon. Be with us as we open up your word and we study together this morning. That you would speak to our hearts through Pastor Doug.

In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at Sacramento central adventist church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you very much singers and musicians and welcome friends. You know, it's always inspiring when I hear these requests coming in from all over the world and it could be frightening to think that here we're recording something that's going to be watched by thousands of people, but I try not to think about that, it would make me nervous. So what I do is I just focus on the class here, but I also want to welcome those who are watching and we have an extended membership, I know, that a number of people who are isolated, for whatever reason, around the world that don't have a local church they can visit to, we've developed a mechanism where they can actually be members of the church here at Sacramento central.

And so, I want to welcome those who are members of the church. And some of you are in the outback of australia, or across North America and you just don't have a church but you've got a satellite dish or an internet connection, I want to welcome you as well. By the way, if you're in that category and you'd like to know more about how could you be part of the central family - we'd like you to be connected - just check out saccentral.org and contact the pastors there. Saccentral.org you can e-mail us and we'll talk to you about it. Our study today is coming to us from the Gospel of Galatians and we've been going through this study guide dealing with the book of Galatians.

Now Galatians might seem intimidating to some and - oh you know, before I get into the lesson, I want to remind our friends that are watching that you can - we have some resources that always help enhance the Bible study guide and you can just go to www.amazingfacts.tv. Amazingfacts.tv. If you go to amazingfacts.org that takes you to sort of the main Amazing Facts website and there's so much there that you might find you have to dig around a little longer. So if you just go to amazingfacts.tv it's easier to locate the resources that go along with these Bible studies. And you can also watch the programs archived there as well.

Sometimes people can't see it during the live broadcast. Okay. To our lesson. We're dealing with the subject today that i, frankly, don't feel worthy - I really don't feel worthy to teach anything from the Bible, but this in particular is a subject that millions have died over within the church to rightly understand justification. So it's a very important subject to understand and not understanding it can be fatal because it's the mechanism by which we are saved.

I heard about a street preacher - actually he became a famous pastor - ironside. That he was doing some street preaching in California and, frequently, some of the men and women that he would be preaching to would come up and say, 'there are so many religions in the world, what makes you so sure that Christianity is true? How can you be so confident?' He said, 'well, I'm not sure what you're talking about because I can only think of two religions.' And they said, 'surely you know that there are all kinds of different denominations and different religions.' And he said, 'no, really, you can narrow it down to just two. There's really only two.' He said, 'there's one religion where you are saved by virtue of what you do for yourself.' He said, 'then there's another religion where you are saved by virtue of what was done for you.' He said, 'if you think you can save yourself then you really don't want to listen to me preach. But if you realize you need outside help to be saved, then that's what real Christianity is.' And you can divide the religions of the world into those two groups. The vast majority fall upon the side of what can I do to save myself, as opposed to another one that is believing in something that was done to save you.

But even justification is misunderstood with two extremes and so we'll be talking about that today. It's a very big subject. Galatians chapter 2 - this is our memory verse - everyone should know this by heart. Galatians chapter 2, verse 20. And here it comes to us from the new king James version.

Are you ready here locally? Please say it with me. "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." We are saved, justified, by faith in what was done. So we continue to live, but it's really Christ living in us and we do it through faith in the one who loved us and gave himself for us. Now, it's probably a good idea to start with a definition since we're going to be walking around the word justification and looking at it from all the different shades and angles. What is justification? If you go to the dictionary they'll talk about the legal terms and stuff that may not be dealing with us as much as the theological understanding.

I've taken the liberty of, sort of, welding together or stitching together a couple of definitions that you would find in some of the commentaries on what justification is. And I'm comfortable with this. Justification is the chief article of faith describing God's act of declaring or making a sinner righteous through Christ's atoning sacrifice. Does that sound good so far? The act of God whereby people are made or accounted just or free from guilt or penalty of sin based on their faith in Christ's sacrifice. So, that's really what justification is.

It's the step of salvation by which we are declared just. If you're unjust you're lost. If you're declared just you're no longer under the penalty of the law, you're saved. Now, typically, there are three phases of salvation - just so we can know where to position justification. During salvation - in the holy place, you had three positions - or in the temple.

You had the courtyard, where there was an altar. That's representing the sacrifice of Christ. We call that justification. Then you entered into the holy place where you had the disciplines of the Christian life, you have the candlestick - being a witness, letting your light shine, you've got the bread - that's personal devotions, reading the Bible, and then you had the altar of incense - that's the prayer life. So there you've got sanctification in the holy place.

Finally, when you get into the presence of God, you've got glorification and what place is that? It's the holy of holies - the presence of God. So, there's these three stages. The children of Israel were justified by the sacrifice of the lamb in Egypt. They were sanctified in the wilderness. When they finally entered the promised land - that's glorification.

So you've got these three phases of salvation and, you know, they sound like big theological terms, but we'll see if we can break them down and try and keep it simple. Now, the Sabbath school lesson has done something that I think is wise. Since we're dedicating this quarter to Galatians, they've chopped up the book of Galatians and they're breaking it down and studying it over the course of the 13 or so lessons. So, our main task today is we want to read through Galatians , verses 15 to 21. That's our assignment, is to at least try to cover the principles in Galatians 2:15-21.

So, I thought to play it safe, because sometimes I become so hypnotized by my own voice that I'll get through a lesson and realize that I've never even read all of what we were assigned. Let me just read this if that's okay. Galatians 2:15-21. And you hopefully have that and you'll follow along. "We who are jews by nature, and not sinners of the gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ," now he's talking about we who are jews - Jewish Christians - "even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh will be justified.

" And that word flesh there means not no jew, it means no human, no dog, cat, no nothing is going to be justified. That word flesh means any kind of life. It's only by the faith in Christ. "But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners," now there's where others err. We say we're justified by Jesus but we continue a life of sin.

Is that what justification is? Paul inserts that right in the middle so people will not abuse it, but yet many do abuse justification. "If while we seek to be justified by Christ we ourselves are found to be sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not!" That's like 'God forbid!' In Romans 6. "For if I build again those things which I destroyed," he's talking about the sin that is destroyed in our lives, if we build it back up again, "I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God." See, it's through the conviction of the law that we become dead to the penalty of the law - why? So that we might live to God. "I have been crucified with Christ;" Jesus said, 'take up your cross and follow me.

' "It is no longer I who live," you know, if you get to this place in your Christian experience, that is Christian perfection. If you're ever wondering what Christian perfection means. If you come to the place where you say, 'Christ is now living out his life in me. That it's not me any more, it's him.' Don't you all want that experience? Is it possible to have that experience? Did Paul have it? Either that or he's a liar. He said, 'it's not I that live but Christ lives in me.

' That's what I want. That's our goal. You know that song, live out thy life within me oh Jesus king of Kings? That's the target right there. "But Christ lives in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.

" So we are not made righteous through the law, we are made righteous through faith in Christ. All right. Let's get to the first section in our lesson. The question of justification. I'd like to have somebody look up job 25:4.

We gave out some slips with Scripture on them. Who's got that? Job 25 - we've got it right over here. Job 25:4 and just before you read that regina, I'm going to read Ephesians 2, verses 12 and 13. And this is answering that question of justification. "That at the time you were without Christ, being aliens" - or separated - "from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenant of promises," - these are the Ephesians, the gentiles, how do they lock into the justification that was offered to Abraham? "Having no more hope and without God in the world.

But now in Christ you who were once afar off" - those who are separated from God because they couldn't partake of the covenant because they were gentiles - by the way, the salvation covenant, who is it made with? 'I will make a covenant with the house of Israel.' Now, is it the new covenant or the old covenant that was made with the jews? Both. Think about it. Can anyone here quote the new covenant? Come on. Shouldn't you be able to quote the new covenant? 'I will make a new covenant after those days, sayeth the Lord, with the house of Israel.' The new covenant with who? Israel. The old covenant was made with? Israel.

So, these gentiles who are aliens need to be grafted into the stalk of Israel. They were separated, but now, through Christ, they can benefit from all the promises made to Israel, right? Everybody thinks that Christianity is torn off and separate from the foundation you find in the old testament. No it's not. We are grafted in, is what Paul says. So that all the sap and all the promises that were given to Abraham and his descendants, they belong to us.

All right. - "We have been brought near by the blood of Christ." All right, read for us, regina, job 25, verse 4. Okay, job 25, verse 4. How then can man be justified with God or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?" This is the big question. The question of justification.

'How can a man be just with God? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one. Can the leopard change his spots or the Ethiopian his skin? All of us are prone to evil as sparks fly upward.' I'm quoting Scripture we've all got this natural tendency toward evil so how can we ever be just? What's the penalty for sin? Death. How many have sinned? (All) so if you have all sinned and the penalty is death, then how many are unjust I should say? All, without Christ, are unjust. So how do we become just? How can we be declared clean? I heard an interesting story that came out of england several years ago, about a burglar that broke into this old doctor's apartment. And the next day the doctor was found, with a stab wound to his chest, in his bed and his house was plundered.

He had been burglarized. A few days later, in a neighboring town, they found an upholsterer that had a number of the doctor's possessions. They brought him to the station and eventually he made a full confession that he had broken into the doctor's house, stabbed the old doctor, robbed his house, and ultimately was caught. Well, they thought the case was cut and dry except during the autopsy they found out that the doctor, based on everything that they found through the autopsy, was already dead when this man broke into the house. He died in his sleep.

And so, while they thought this man had murderous intentions, all they could try him for - they couldn't execute him for murder because the doctor was already dead. You can't kill someone that's already dead, according to the law. So he was tried for attempted murder and robbery. But he didn't get the death penalty, he got to live. So, in a sense, we are saved because in Christ, we are already dead.

We are crucified with Christ and he, of course died for us. The works of the law - Romans chapter 3. Somebody look up Romans 3, verse 20 and then I want you to jump to verse 28. We gave that to somebody. Over here? Okay, Romans 3, verses 20 and 28.

And while we're lining up for that, I'm going to read psalm 143, verse 2. "Enter not into judgment with thy servant, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified." In the sight of God, based upon our good works, how many will be justified? This is king David. This is old testament. They even knew back then, in the sight of God, without grace, no man will be justified. You can look in Isaiah 45, verse 25.

"In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified. So, how are we justified? In the Lord. Now who is it? All the seed of Israel. If you are Christ's then you are Abraham's what? Seed. But notice that still, justification comes to the seed of Abraham, so we're all grafted in.

Of himself David said, 'no man will be justified.' Isaiah said, 'in the Lord all the seed of Israel will be justified. So the only way for us to be justified is to be in Christ, or in the Lord. Read for us please Romans chapter 3, verse 20 and then jump to verse 28. "Therefore, by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in his sight. For by the law is the knowledge of sin.

" Verse 28. "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law." All right. Thank you very much. Now, let me tell you what I think and I'll just be praying as I go, that I can make this clear - understandable. There are two big misunderstandings when it comes to how to relate to justification.

They're both fatal - spiritually. Which is - in reality you can be eternally lost if you don't understand this. One is a popular notion of what justification means - that because we are justified by God, through faith, that once we come to Christ and we accept him, and we receive that justification, that that means all of a sudden we've entered glory and that's the end of it. There are three steps: justification, sanctification, glorification. We are saved through justification alone.

That's the title of our lesson. Justification by faith alone. But once you're saved from your sins, you may find you are still in the wilderness. You haven't gotten to the promised land yet. Were the children of Israel saved from Egypt because they kept the 10 commandments? What came first the sacrifice of the lamb or the law at Mount Sinai? The lamb in Egypt came first.

They were justified. Did God say, 'tell you what, you keep my 10 commandments and I'll save you from Egypt?' Or did he say, 'sacrifice this lamb, apply the blood of the lamb, and I'll save you from Egypt?' They were saved from their slavery - justification - based on accepting the blood of the lamb. But did they go from sacrificing that lamb to hanging out underneath their fig tree in the promised land - glorification? Or did they have to go through a wilderness? There was a process. So, some people think once they're justified they just park and that means now, when Jesus comes, they'll be saved. Or they turn back to their life of sin and they say, 'as long as I believed at one point in my experience, I am now saved.

' Have you heard that before? Once saved, always saved? They believe in justification by faith, but they don't believe` in sanctification. And, it is true, if you are the thief on the cross, and in the closing hours of your life you turn to Jesus and you look at Christ and him crucified and you accept the blood and the sacrifice of Christ and he will declare unto you, 'you will be with me in paradise.' You can rest that you are justified by faith in Christ's sacrifice. You don't have any time to live out much sanctification. Your next conscious thought is you're going to be raised with the resurrection of the just and you are with Christ. Right? So you are justified and saved by faith.

But for most people, after you accept justification, you find you're still here. How do you live a new kind of life? Then you've got the risk of going back to trusting in your works again. So, you've got two extremes. One group, they accept that justification, but then they live like the world. And that's what Paul said, "is the justification that Christ offers then to be a ministry of sin to us?" God forbid! But have you heard it used that way? And then you get the other group.

'Okay, I accept the justification of Jesus, but now I'm going to start working as hard as I can' - and then the trust shifts from the sacrifice of Christ to what we're doing. That's the equally deadly group. So, there are two very big ditches, on either side of this issue, that people tend to fall in. And, let's read another verse here. Corinthians 5, verses 14 and 15.

Karen gave me this one last night - of course I knew it, but I thought it would apply well here. We walked around the block and we were talking about the lesson. I told her that this lesson is making me nervous because it's such an important subject that the people can err on either side of it. Corinthians 5, verses 14 and 15. "For the love of Christ constraineth us because we thus judge that if one died for all, then were all dead; and he that died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them and rose again.

" Once we are dead with Christ we don't live for ourselves anymore, but we live for the one who died for us, and we live his kind of life because he lives in us. So the life of the justified is different. After God brought them to mount sinai - justified in Egypt - brings them to Mount Sinai - what's the first commandment? There you go. I heard some of you say, 'thou shalt not have other Gods.' That's really not where the 10 commandments start. If you go to Exodus it says, 'God spake all these words saying,' open quote.

On the stone this was written - part of commandment one, "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." Because I brought you out, because I'm the God that saved you with a mighty hand, you're not to have other Gods. 'If you love me,' he's saying, 'keep my commandments.' As a matter of fact, in the third commandment, he specifically says, 'showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.' So he's saying at Mount Sinai, 'I'm the one who saved you from slavery. Now, if you love me, here's my law.' So, after you're saved, the right response is, 'I am so thankful, I love the Lord so much, I now want to live a new kind of life of surrender and obedience where Christ lives out his life in me. I am now crucified with Christ - crucified to self.' That's when you enter the phase of justification and someday we may have a whole lesson on that. But there are some difficult verses.

All right. Let me ask you - nobody look at your lesson for a second - we are justified by what? Faith. How many think it's faith? Let me see your hands. The majority? Justified by faith. Is it only faith? What's the title of the lesson? Justified by faith alone.

So then, if we add anything to that idea that we're justified by anything other than faith then it's not faith alone, right? Okay. Let's read the Bible and find out what it says here. Romans chapter 2, verse 13. Who wrote Romans? Paul. Who wrote Galatians? Paul.

"For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." Aah - that sounds like the opposite of what we've been saying. How do you deal with that? The doers of the law are justified. That doesn't sound like what we've been - that's a whole different horn than what we've just been blowing. A whole different key. Let me rephrase it maybe.

The justified are doers of the law. Now, will that still fit with we are justified by faith and the justified are doers of the law? That didn't make sense when you read - all right, I tell you what, someone look up for me James 2:21. I think maybe I gave it to somebody. James 2:21. Have we got that over here? Is that kathleen? All right, I'll get you in just a second, so you find that and hang on there.

I want to read Jesus' words - Matthew 12:37. "For by thy words thou shalt be justified and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." What? I thought it was by faith that we're justified. What did Jesus just say? By Your Words you're justified? I'm in trouble, how about you? I mean, what words do you speak by which you're justified? You know what Jesus said also, he said, "for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." And so, by Your Words you're justified, by Your Words you're condemned, because Your Words show what's in your heart and your heart shows whether or not you've been justified by faith. So, a person is - are we saved by faith or by works? So what are we saved by, faith or works? Faith. What are we judged by? Works.

Every man is judged by his works. How can you be saved by faith and judged by works? Unless, your works demonstrate whether or not you have faith. Works are simply the thermometer by which you see does a person have faith? I mean, what else are you going to go by? First of all, judgment is not for God to find out anything, he knows everything. Others are involved in this judgment. Your works, Your Words, will demonstrate the change of the heart.

All right, read for us James 2:21. James 2:21. "Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar." King James and new king James put it this way. "Was not our father justified by works?" It means the same thing, but I just wanted to make sure we used the word justified. And then - how many of you have that in your Bible? Let me see.

All right. And then, if you go to verses 24 and 25, James again, martin luther was so troubled by James that it angered him. James 2:24 and 25. "See then how that by works a man is justified." Now, I think the niv might say 'declared righteous.' "And not by faith only." Oh no, what do you do with that? By works a man is justified and not by faith only. Well, by what was Abraham declared just? It says Abraham believed God.

Well, how do you know he believed God? Because he took his son and he put him up on a mountain and was ready to plunge a knife into him. He had a heart of faith that was seen by what he did. You know, I like the story of Daniel in the lion's den really teaches righteousness by faith. It says that God delivered Daniel from the lion because he believed God. Well, how do you know Daniel believed God? Because he opened his windows and he prayed and he got on his knees when he knew that he might be killed for doing it.

He believed God. You see, in the Jewish mind, belief does not mean what it means to us who speak english and probably a number of other languages. For us, belief means that you mentally say, 'yes I can see that that may be so. I believe that the mail is going to come tomorrow' or whatever. But, in the Jewish mind, you could not separate belief from action.

So, if I said to you, 'in about seconds lightning is going to strike where you sitting. Do you believe me?' And you say, 'I believe you Pastor Doug' and you sit there, I'll say, 'no you don't, because if you believe me you will move.' Isn't that right? And so, in the Bible mind, when it says whoever believes in him it means whoever be-lives in him. It means to be living in someone - to be so sure of what they're saying is true that you'll naturally act upon what you believe. It was understood that if you believe something you'll act upon what you believe. And so, once we understand that then it all starts to fit together, what belief means.

It's not this - this cheap grace idea that you just say, 'I think Jesus died for the sins of the world and by thinking that I am now saved. By agreeing to it I am now saved. By thinking it really happened and it's really so.' By that definition James said, "even the devils believe." The devils, do they know Jesus died for the sins of the world? Do they believe it really happened? They believe people can be forgiven through what Jesus did? Is it going to save them? Will there be many who come to Jesus saying, 'Lord, Lord?' And he'll say, 'I don't know you.' Why does he say, 'I don't know you?' They believe that Jesus died on the cross, they even served him - they worked - trusted their works. He'll say, 'depart from me you workers of iniquity.' Well, they did some works but their hearts weren't transformed. There was still iniquity in their hearts.

And so, there needs to be a total transformation. Someone look up for me please Romans 5, verse 1 and I think I also gave you Romans 5, verse 9, since they're so close. Do you have that mike? Let's get you a microphone. Right up front here. Thank you.

Therefore, having been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. And jump now and read verse 9. Much more then, having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. All right. So just in fairness to the Scripture, as we read through the lesson about justified by faith alone, keep in mind we've just shown you in the Bible where you don't want to get lopsided in your thinking.

It says we're justified by grace, we're justified by words, justified by works, justified by blood. There's probably others, I just did a quick study. So, all of them come from being justified by faith. Now, let me show you how this works. I thought this was very interesting.

Rabbi samali, in the third century noted, that Moses gave laws of prohibition in the Bible. Laws of do not do this. Laws that were considered positive commands. Some were prohibitive commands, some were positive commands. It's like you can say, 'don't do this' and the other one you can say, 'remember the Sabbath is a positive command.

' Do this. And then in that command is then don't work on that day. That's in the negative format. So Moses - 365 - 248 positive commands - do all that and you'll be saved. But then you notice that king David in psalm 15 wanted to condense things and make it a little easier than what Moses said.

In psalm 15:1 - 5, he gets it down to 11. So, let's simplify salvation, let's get it down to 11. It's hard for me to remember all that Moses said, all those prohibitions, there's hundreds there. If you read psalm 15, verses 1 through 5 - matter of fact, we'll read it. Psalm of David.

"Who will abide in your tabernacle? Who will dwell in your holy hill?" Who's going to be saved is what he's saying. Here it is. "He that walks uprightly and works righteousness and speaks the truth in his heart; he that does not backbite with his tongue, or doeth evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor; in whose eyes a vile person is condemned; but he honors those that fear the Lord; he that swears to his own hurt and changeth not; he that puts not out his money to usury nor takes a reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved." And so, good, we've got it from hundreds to 11. And then he noted that Isaiah was able to get it down to six.

Isaiah 33, verse 14. I really appreciate that. He was able to coalesce salvation into just six points. Isaiah 33, verse 14 - I think it's actually 14 and 15. "Who among us shall dwell with devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" Meaning the presence of God.

"He that walketh righteously and speaks uprightly. He that despises the gain of oppressions, that shakes his hands from holding bribes." When you try and bribe him they say 'no.' "That stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, that shuts his eyes from seeing of t.v." Oh - I'm sorry - "evil." Similar spelling in my version here. So, he gets it down to six. And then the rabbi noted as you keep going progressively through the Bible you get to Micah and in one verse Micah summarizes salvation in just three things. That makes it easier for us to remember.

Most of us can remember three things. How many of you know Micah 6:8 by heart? "He has shown thee, oh man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of thee?" That what we all want to know, 'how do I become righteous? What does the Lord require of me? "Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with thy God." Okay, we got it down to three. But then the rabbi said Habakkuk gets it down to one - which is - and that's Habakkuk 2:4, "now the just shall live by faith." So, everything that Moses said, and David said, and Isaiah said, and Micah said can all be coalesced and summarized in when we are justified by faith, when we love the Lord, we'll end up keeping the others. Does that make sense? And so, we are - it's through grace, it is through the blood, our words will be different, our works will be different - when we are justified by faith alone, everything else is different.

Does that make sense? You know, let me see if I could illustrate this. You know, sometimes we remember word pictures a little better. All right. There's a big river. We are on the side of the river where there is a prison and everybody in that prison is waiting for their death sentence.

It's on an island, surrounded by river. Everyone in the prison has a death sentence. And they make you wear a uniform with a big target on the front and the back in this prison, because if you escape from the compound and try to run down the shore towards the river, you'll be shot. If they catch you down there, they'll shoot you. But then, a rumor circulates through the prison that if you can make it down to the shore of the river, that someone will pick you up in a boat and take you to the other side where there's a harbor.

And in that harbor is a beautiful land on the other side of the river. It's called the haven of rest and it's a whole different country and you'll live in bliss and paradise and wealth like a king for the rest of your life if you can just get to the other side of the river. Well, you've got nothing to lose. You're just waiting, you're on death row. How many would try to at least get to the river and see if there's some hope? All right.

So one day, you muster the courage. It's early in the morning, still dark, you escape from the compound. You make your way down to the shore of the river and sure enough, you see a man paddling towards you. He's dressed in a white wet suit, because the river is cold. But the problem is, he's in a one-man kayak and he's got this single oar with him - paddle on both sides.

And he comes up to you and he says, 'quick, take off your shirt. If they see you they'll shoot the target. And put on my wet suit.' And you say, 'how are we both going to get across in this one-man kayak?' And this man says, 'I'm taking your place, that's what I'm doing here.' And you go, 'what? What?' And he says, 'that's why I came.' He says, they're going to get me anyway, you may as well take the boat.' So, he says, 'you put on my white wetsuit, I will put on your prison uniform with the target.' He hands you the paddle, puts on a helmet, just in case government officials are watching, there's no risk there. And he tells you as you climb in the kayak, 'it's very snug. You'll notice that between your legs there's a thermos of warm grape juice and there's a bag that has angel food cake.

It's a long way across the river.' Now, the river current is moving and the wind is blowing downstream. So he shoves you off - you believe him - you put on this white wetsuit and you climb in the kayak, and he shoves you off, and you're very grateful, and you notice that by now he's got your suit on and as you drift out away from the shore, you look back and there your redeemer is saying, 'don't just sit there, you've got to start paddling, because you're just going to drift over the waterfalls that are a couple of miles down creek if you just sit there, and you'll freeze in the water. And so, you've got to paddle and while you look, pretty soon you can hear that the guards are coming and the dogs are barking and they're coming after the man, and as they come down to the shore, he stretches out his arms and they shoot him and he drops. All right, now you're in the water. They don't even look at you, because you don't have the target on you anymore.

He took that for you. When you got in the boat, you were justified. When you changed clothes and you got in the boat and you left the shore, you were no longer on the prison island. You were justified. Okay? But are you at the harbor yet? So, if you just sit there and float in the boat and say, 'isn't it wonderful to be justified?' Where are you going to end up? You're going to get dashed on the rocks somewhere.

So, you're sitting there - you paddle a little bit - but you're weak because they don't feed you very well in prison. You think, 'man, I just haven't got any strength. I need to get my blood sugar up.' And you remember, 'oh yeah, what's this between my legs here?' And you dig around in the bag and you eat some of that angel food cake and what do you know? It does for you what the angel food did for Elijah. You've suddenly got this supernatural energy and you open up the thermos with the warm grape juice - you probably wouldn't think of warm grape juice, but I like the analogy. And you drink that and that washes it all down and gives you some strength and clarity, and now you can see the dock across the other side of the river and you start paddling.

Isn't that what you'd do? You can't just be justified and sit in a kayak. And a lot of people - and then, of course, when you get to the harbor, that's glorification. You've got angels there that tie you off and you're there. You're home free. But most of us, after we accept Christ we find that we're still in the river.

If you go back to the island and you step on that island again, you're a fair target. That's where you're under the law. Once you leave the island, you're no longer under the law, you're in the river of grace. But you need the devotional life to have the love and the energy - love is what gives you the energy. The Word of God is the angel food cake.

Right? It says they ate manna, remember? It says they ate the food of angels. And the blood of Christ? You've got to keep on going. If I were to take this analogy too far, which I've probably already done, I would say that one oar with two paddles - you got one paddle represents faith and the other paddle doesn't represent works, that other paddle represents self-denial. You know what the biggest work is for us? Denying ourselves. What was the biggest battle for Jesus? When he was in the garden he said, "not my will but thy will be done.

" Right? So, does this make sense? This is, in my opinion, sort of analogous of what justification and sanctification and glorification look like and - but you've got some people who just stand there on the shore and they say, 'thanks for bringing the boat. Praise the Lord I'm justified.' And your redeemer is going, 'well, you've got to get in the boat and you've got to launch. You can't just stand there. And then you've got those who spend all their time in the river just heading upstream. And they're working and working and working, but they're not going towards their destination.

They're going to eventually wear out and they're going to wash over the waterfall. And then you've got those - you know, in order to get across a river when there's a current - I used to kayak. Any of you kayak before? You can't go straight across the river because you end up going downstream. You can't go straight up the river because then you don't cross. You've got to pitch.

You've got to almost kind of crab a little bit, where you're going a little up the river and a little across the river and that's how you can sort of make a straight line across. You've got to compensate for the current and the wind. You all know what I'm talking about, right? There's a balancing act involved in Christian life between that trusting completely in Christ and also not just sitting there and doing nothing. You all remember the famous American humorist called will rogers? He said, 'even if you're on the right track you get run over if you just sit there.' You can't just be on the right track, you've got to be moving or you get hit by a train. And so, we've got that dynamic as well.

All right, back to our lesson. There's a lot of things still yet to talk about. So, this rabbi, he sort of reduced it all into one law, the just shall live by faith. What is the basis of our justification? Somebody read for me please Philippians 3, verse 9. Who did we give that to? 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.

" You know, I read not too long ago that when president eisenhower, more affectionately known as ike, died, and I still was alive when he was alive, I vaguely remember him, he was a professing Christian but, you know, in the world of the military, he was a commanding general there during world war ii at d-day, and in the presidency, the political world, your values can be asSaulted all the time. And when he knew that he was pretty terminal with heart problems in the hospital, he was at the - oh, what's that hospital where the presidents always go? - Walter reed hospital, billy graham came to visit him and they said, you've got 30 minutes to talk to the president. And they visited for awhile and they stuck their head in the door and said, 'mr. Graham, it's time to leave now.' And ike told his attendants, 'give us a few more minutes.' And they shut the door. And he said to billy graham, he said, 'look.

I know there's only one thing left to happen in my life.' And he said, 'I just would like to hear again what I need to hear to be ready to meet the Lord.' And billy graham talked to him about believing in the sacrifice of Christ. That you can't go before the Lord and say, 'you know, I helped free the world through my generalship during world war ii.' Or, 'I helped build up the government.' He helped build the inter - what do you call it - the interstate system. It was eisenhower that developed our interstate system from coast to coast. And there were a lot of things he could say, 'look what I did for the world.' And he said, 'all you can do is say, 'I am going to trust in the righteousness of Christ to cover my sin and my place.'' And when they got done they had prayer and ike smiled and said, 'okay, I'm glad you told me that, I'm ready now.' And so, it just really depends on trusting in what Jesus has done. So we are saved and justified by faith alone.

But if you love the Lord, the life will be different too. Obedience of faith is our last section. I think I've asked somebody to read Genesis 15 - who has that? Genesis 15, verses 5 and 7. Did somebody get that slip? No, then I'll tell you what, I'll read it. Genesis 15 verses 5 and 7.

It says, "he brought him forth abroad" God speaking to Abraham. "And said, look now towards heaven and tell" or count "all the stars if you're able to number them. And he said unto him, 'so will your seed" - or your descendents - "be. And he, Abraham, believed in the Lord and God and counted it to him for righteousness." So, by what was he declared righteous? He believed. He believed the promise of God and he was declared righteous.

And we are that seed of Abraham that he was talking about. Then, of course there's that famous verse, John 3, verses 14-16, that talks about justification by faith. Jesus said to nicodemus, "and as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the son of man be lifted up that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life." Twice Jesus says it in those two verses. Whoever - it's open to everybody - believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

That's a wonderful promise of how we can all be justified by faith. Amen? So faith, real faith is going to produce a righteousness in us. Real justification will produce a new life of righteousness in us. I want to thank our friends for studying with us. We've run out of time again.

I want to remind you that we have these programs - you can download them online. It's simply aftv or you can type in amazingfacts.tv, either one will work. And you'll also have the Bible study guides there. We'd like to encourage you to study the Bible along with us. Some of you are visitors and you're not acquainted with what the adventist church teaches or where we're coming from.

Please take a look at the study guides. We invite you to find out for yourself what the word says. God bless you until we study again next week.

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