Tag Archives: Justification

Facing daily events and exclaiming “Good grief!”

When waking up every day we may be lucky to wake up, to face the day again. In the day we may perhaps encounter lots of things which surprises us and sometimes we call out ‘good grief’

The young Garrick Sinclair “Ricky” Beckett, a U.S. Army veteran honourably discharged as a professional saxophonist in the Army Bands, currently attending Concordia University-Ann Arbor in the Pre-Seminary programme with a major in Christian Thought and a minor in Theological Languages looks at a popular cartoon figure.

He writes

As he hears some bad news, Charlie Brown exclaims, “Good grief!” We often think of this as an oxymoron. Grief can’t possibly be good! {Good grief}

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By the word grief we think of sorrow and distress, even of great mourning and affliction. When having bodily pain or when our mind is being hurt we can be grief stricken. Deep sadness caused especially by someone’s death or by trouble or annoyance grief comes over us. Grievance overmans us when there is a cause of such suffering or a deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement. We can come to grief but than it means we fail in something we’re doing, and may be hurt.

Mary Bringle also noticed

Even the cleverest boy could come to grief alone, in the night. {Collins dictionary on Come to grief}

In Dutch ‘grief’ is ‘verdriet’ and is connected to ‘lijden (suffering), ‘bedroefd zijn’ (grow sad, being sad, be sorry, sorrow) maar ook tot ‘afkeer’ (aversion, distaste, disgust, revulsion,repulsion, repugnance, loathing, abhorrence, abomination, scunner). When ‘come to griefwe founder, break down, collapse, fall through, flop (informal), be defeated, fall short, fizzle out (informal), come unstuck, run aground, bite the dust, and even feel that we go up in smoke, come to naught, not make the grade (informal)go down like a lead balloon (informal). In any case it looks like it turns out badly, us falling flat on our face, meeting with disaster. Stuck with grief we may be found lacking or wanting, facing a spiritual miscarry or misfire.

Some people sayGood grief‘ when they are surprised or shocked. When we face something that’s actually worth grieving over, we’re often overwhelmed.

From a ‘sukkelstraatje’ (being in trouble/in dire stratis) we can become ailing (sickly) with a ‘sukkelpartij’ (sucker party) receiving ‘zielspijn’ (agony, heartache, profound sorrow) or ‘zieleleed’ (sadness). That ‘zielesmart’ or ‘zielsverdriet’ (anguish, heartache,profound sorrow, misery, unhappiness),  ‘Weedom’ (woe), ‘hartenpijn’ ‘hartenleed’ (heartache, heartfelt grief, heartfelt sorrow, heartbreak), agony consumes us with grief.

We do know we have to cope with it, we have to conquer it or go over such grief.

It’s rather ironic that our culture views grief as a bad thing while it encourages grief over a lot of things. It is encouraged that we grieve over minimum wage, to grieve over what the White Man did to black people centuries ago during slavery, to grieve over what the government did to the indigenous peoples of America… {Good grief}

The savoury on our daily bread is not always pleasant. we may try to begin every day with gratitude, because all we have, has been given to us. This body, heart and mind, friendships, opportunities, challenges, family,… it is all given to us. But honestly we are not always pleased with the confrontation with it.

We may value family where we practice love and sharing.  We may value work where we share our passions and gifts. And most of all we would like to have a good health and value it.

img_4537As we align with gratitude, values, dharma,  and who we are as limitless conscious existence, every action we take becomes a contribution to the whole. {Why Are We Here?}

Getting up we notice we face the day and can fill it with words and deeds.

this world we touch but in words

words insulated in plated metal

this world we hold but in teeth

teeth estranged from heart’s palate {This World, A Seat}

Sometimes it looks like every day again we do have to start all over again, going back to these “manifold temptations,” which tour around our face. Every day there are so many things we do have to face, so many experiences we have to go through.

It can be anything in this life that tends to trouble us or haunt us that can bring grief over us.

something that hurts you at the most sensitive and delicate core of your soul, heart, and mind — things that tend to make you miserable.  How do we get past these things? {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Introduction}

Facing each day we have to open our eyes and look at all things, seeing them in perspective, trying to understand what is really going on and what sort of place it deserves.

The danger is to just endure our troubles with groans and whines and complaints and not do anything to discover the remedy to the situation.  We come into the danger of thinking, “Why is God doing this to me?” {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Introduction}

With “Ricky” Beckett we urge you not to think “why” these things happen to us, but rather to think what.

 Instead of thinking, “Why me,” think instead, “What can I learn from this?  What does God want to teach me?”  And then how:  “How will this make me grow closer to God?”  In short, other than the sinful condition of the world we live in, that is why we suffer — to learn something from God and to grow closer to Him, and then the “why” may reveal itself to you as God works out His progressive revelation in your life.  That’s the short answer, but now let’s discuss the longer answer. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Introduction}

Each day again, and again, we should be prepared to learn and to continue our road, up to a better world for us.

We are living in this world and walking on our paths under the eye of our Heavenly Father.

Say to yourself,

“There is a definite plan and purpose for my life.  God has examined me and has adopted me into His family.”

Why does He do this for us?  So that He may bring us into perfection (which is not acquired during this earthly life).  That is His objective — that you may “be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29), as Jesus Christ will say, “Here I am with the children God gave Me” (Hebrews 2:13).  If we do not believe and recognise this fundamental concept of ourselves as Christians, then we are bound to go astray and misunderstand these troubles that happen to us as God’s children. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Introduction}

These days lots of people take some time to think about the death and remember the dead.

When death and disaster occur, we are so grief stricken that we don’t know what to do. While all this is going on, we avoid grieving over our sin, which the thing we should grieve the most. It is good to grieve over this because our sin alienates us from God. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). We should grieve greatly over this because the end of our sin is death. But fear not! The Romans verse continues, “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Godly grief is good grief, for it leads us to repentance. Godly grief, or good grief, causes us to recognise our need for forgiveness—our need for Christ. By repentance we exercise faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and we are justified by faith (Romans 5:1).

Let us always remember that God may permit all these things we have to face, to happen to us and to the people around us, not for the purpose of making us suffer and watching us squirm, as some would like to believe, but rather in order to chastise us, which He enacts due to our complacency and for our failure.

In 2 Peter 1:5-7, the apostle writes that Christians are to discipline themselves and to supplement attributes to their faith, not merely to be content with minimal faith but for it to be forever increasing.  There are Christians who do not take heed of this exhortation and instead are indefatigable with their complacency and indolence.  As I understand New Testament doctrine, if we do that we should not be surprised if we start to experience troubles — that God perhaps begins to chastise us by shaking us off our shiftless butts. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Chastisement}

We ourselves are also not free from bringing grief to others. We must recognise that we too can do things wrongly. We too can bring pain to others and give them heartache or grief. Many Christians are convinced that as re-born people they cannot sin. But they are mistaken.

First John 3:9-10 says,

“Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because His seed remains in him; he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God.  This is how God’s children — and the Devil’s children — are made evident.”

 Now, it is easy to misinterpret this passage.  It is not saying that God’s children are incapable of sinning.  After all, even though we’re God’s children, we still sin.

St. John is saying that the one “born of God” — that is, baptised in the Holy Spirit — does not make it his life’s trade to sin.
The child of God does not make it his life’s priority to live in sin, as the children of the Devil do (e.g. the homosexual lifestyle, a murderous lifestyle such as ISIS or serial killers, etc.).

God’s children are not free from acts of sin, but the child of God does not commit to be a servant of sin, but rather a servant of God and His holiness.  Christians are not impeccable; they are simultaneously saint and sinner (simul iustus et peccator).  Sin lives within us, but the Christian is justified by faith (Romans 5:1; Galatians 3:24).  John is not speaking of sinless perfection but of a life imputed with Christ’s righteousness.

We can and shall have moments of weakness and shall sin. Afterwards we should repent, which is doing a work of faith. Only when we do such works of faith shall we be able to enter the Kingdom of God. When not willing to see what we have done wrong and not wanting to repent over the wrongdoing we shall not be allowed to enter through the small gate. The teshuvah or repentance is a necessary ingredient to come to God.

Knowing that God may have a particularly great task set for us we should wonder what we can do in the world God has prepared for us. Facing that world, where we are so many times tested, we should not mind having ourselves tested, when we are standing straight in our shoes, going for the One True God.

jonah-beach-whale-168772-printSo, one may have to pass through a certain trial because of some great task ahead that God has planned for them.  Think of any biblical character that had to endure such a trial.  The first person that comes to mind for me is Jonah.  He was running from God’s calling to preach to Nineveh, and as we know he was swallowed by a great fish; and upon repentance and accepting his calling, God saved his life by having the great fish spit him out onto the land to fulfill his calling.  Maybe a drastic example, but perhaps not as drastic as you might think.  Consider any whales of doubt you might have in your life and what God is doing to bring you through those doubts, or what you ought to let Him do. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – God to Prepare Us}

Facing each day lying in front of us we best remember that we are given the opportunity to be here and that God knows what’s best for us and what we need to experience in order to get us where He wants us to be. Therefore let us give ourselves in His Hands and be thankfull that He was willing to accept the ransom offer from His son.

As our Heavenly Father, God may see the need for trials and prescribe the necessary tools that are destined to make us grow in Him for our own good. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – God to Prepare Us}

With the knowledge that worldly grief produces only death because the world has no hope for a relief from their grief, we do have a better prospect in the hope given to mankind.

Worldly grief abandons the person who grieves. Godly grief is guilt over sin, which this guilt leads to repentance as the sinner recognises the necessity for forgiveness in Christ, which leads to salvation because the repentance we perform is exercised by this faith gifted to us, and it is through this gift of faith that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9). {Good grief}

Perhaps we leave it to others to say ‘good grief’ when they see our endurance and come to see we want to present to the world a good example of a loving person, whatever happens to him.

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Preceding

Our existence..

Facing our existence every day

Are you right down in the dumps? Stop digging!

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Additional reading

  1. A world in denial
  2. Materialism, would be life, and aspirations
  3. Dealing with worries in our lives
  4. Emotional pain and emotional deadness
  5. Fragments from the Book of Job #1: chapters 1-12
  6. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  7. Isaiah prophet and messenger of God
  8. Suffering
  9. Offer in our suffering
  10. Suffering – through the apparent silence of God
  11. Suffering continues
  12. Suffering leading to joy
  13. Self inflicted misery #8 Pruning to strengthen us
  14. Surprised by time in joys & sufferings
  15. Profitable disasters
  16. Prayer has comforted us in sorrow
  17. The soul has no rainbow if the eyes have no tears
  18. Every athlete exercises self control
  19. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #3 Rejoicing in the insistence
  20. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  21. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #9 Prayer #7 Reason to pray
  22. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  23. Continuing Paul’s Prayer Requests
  24. Written to recognise the Promissed One

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Further reading

  1. Day By Day
  2. Grief
  3. Throw-back Thursday: Grief is a fickle foe
  4. Book Mark: Notes on Friends’ Grief
  5. Grief From Across The World 
  6. The Well of Grief
  7. The unspoken grievance
  8. The Five Stages of Grief
  9. Sad
  10. Memories…and Grief
  11. Deviant Deflections – Unrequited Love
  12. When part of you is missing
  13. No one tells you about the guilt..
  14. Monday Morning Grievance: The New Copier
  15. After Suicide
  16. How To Go On
  17. God I miss you. 
  18. Letter to you, my little one…
  19. That feeling 
  20. Heart Holes
  21. Waiting For The Dutchman
  22. Old Unfinished Post: The 5 Stages of Relationship Grief
  23. Grief embraces love
  24. 1 a.m. on the Borderline
  25. Inside the glacier of my mind
  26. Beautiful Reminders
  27. Beyond the grey clouds
  28. The Mercy of the Morning
  29. Here’s to better naked tomorrows
  30. It Is God’s Gospel
  31. (11/04/2016) Works of the Spirit?
  32. Forgiveness and Eternal Life Through Jesus Christ
  33. Does Working with Others Lead to Better Results than Acting as an Individual? L 41
  34. Leading by example
  35. Jesus Models Friendship
  36. Saints
  37. Mercy in giving
  38. 1 Timothy 4:12 (31.10.16)
  39. The stories we tell
  40. Eulogia
  41. “Conformity To The Will Of God”
  42. Advice… L38
  43. If You Really Love Me
  44. Life Changing Moments While Young
  45. Good Advice for Us in Today’s World
  46. Love as a god

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Is being a humanitarian enough to convey the full love of Christ?

We always have to speak the truth and shame the devil in a kind manner loving God’s Word more than the words of human beings.

The task given to his followers, by Jesus, is one which should have our hearts burning with a kind lovely fire, attracting those who want to hear the call of the Lord.

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To remember

to receive full benefits of Christ’s completed work on the cross => declared righteous, acceptable, freely + fully forgiven

reality of Christ made known through God’s Word + revealed through transcendent grace = moment where  invisible became visible through change of a hardened man into a tender + active soul

grace means undeserving love

  • concept of universal justification = God’s way of saying “You have won the lottery! Now, come and receive the prize!”
  • Faith = only winning ticket that is considered redeemable <= Faith alone receives that gift
  • by faith, we receive the free + full forgiveness of sins.
  • Come + claim prize = Believe in Lord Jesus Christ + you will receive gift far greater than anything that the earth can produce.
  • Share gospel to listening ears = speak truth prompted by love + concern for the soul
  • Demonstrations of love =one of those ingredients that God mixes together with truth + speak => one of these ingredients forgotten or not used = ruins whole recipe.
  • Not enough for a Christian to be a humanitarian, nor is it the role of an evangelist to meet people’s needs. To fully love our neighbour means to share message of salvation + rescue them from the eternal consequences of sin.

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Preceding

Preaching Christ Is Not Enough

Witnessing because we love

Beautiful feet of those who announce the good news

Preaching by example

A Christian has to have eyes and ears and a tongue to use in good ways

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WITNESS WELL

Jesus’ greatest command is for Christians to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

We see images of destruction caused by natural disasters and are dismayed by the loss. Homes are destroyed. Families are left with nothing. Prompted by love, we extend a hand by offering financial support or materials goods to help those in need. Some are even willing to travel long distances to help pick up the pieces.

Are these demonstrations the type of love Christ is looking for, or is He calling on Christians to do something more?

In this growing impersonal and materialistic world being enveloped by today’s technology, perhaps Christians have lost touch on what Christ means to love our neighbor.

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James 2:25. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

2:25 was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works? = another example of this justifying of faith through works = Old Testament example from a non-Jewish background.

  • Rahab = Canaanite prostitute = completely opposite of righteous
  • Rahab had both faith + actions
  • faith in the one true God =>saved because of her faith
  • Her faith = real because resulted in good works
  • Faith = cause of actions.
  • => true faith included in royal line of Christ, being David’s great, great grandmother (Matt 1:5).

No matter whether Jew or Gentile, the principle of combining faith with works is important for all. It is a requirement to show that a true faith in God is outworked through actions that glorify Him.

The Book of James

2:25. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? – James now gives another example of this justifying of faith through works, by using an Old Testament example from a non-Jewish background.

Rahab

If Abraham was the one who would have been considered righteous in man’s eyes then Rahab would have been completely the opposite.

Rahab was a Canaanite prostitute who lived in a house that formed part of the wall at Jericho. Joshua’s two spies lodged with her and she protected them by hiding them in her roof when the King’s soldiers pursued the spies. She knew that Jericho was about to be overtaken by the Israelites and so she asked for protection for herself and her family.

Rahab had both faith and actions. She had faith in the one true God. “The Lord your God…

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James 2:24 – You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

2:24 man justified by works, and not by faith only

Both Paul + James worked together to keep unity of the church (Acts 21:18) =/= disagreement over doctrine.


1. Pauline Writings

  • Romans 3:28 + Ephesians 2:8 – 9 directed to new Christians  > justification before God > faith = gift
  • justification (salvation) cannot be earned by doing good works
  • justification (salvation) = by accepting, through faith =  work that Christ did on the cross
  • No one can earn or win favour with God’s forgiveness <= offered only by God’s grace
  • to work for salvation by obeying Law = only fail + become more convinced = he is a sinner
  • => No one is able to make himself right. Only God can help him do that.
  • Paul warns people about working to achieve a relationship with Christ <= Only faith can be tool bring that.

2. James’ Writings

  • James coming from different pastoral position
  • writing to those who are already Christians + becoming complacent in their walk
  • justification before men, + faith should be genuine
  • asserting when one is justified by faith =>new life will = complete change => result in an outpouring of works, worthy of Christ
  • life of love + serving > molded > relationship with Christ => show that it is a true faith by demonstrating Christ’s love to other people => belief in Christ => an obedience of good works.

Paul James
Concerned with legalists who were striving for sanctification through the law – not through faith Concerned with libertines who were content with sanctification through belief without action
A person who is justified before God through faith A person is justified before men through his actions
Eternally justified through faith by grace Justified through a daily walk by works reflecting Christ.

  • Working together both Paul and James are bringing out the harmony of the Word of God.
  • We are saved by faith that then, if genuine should lead to the demonstration of that faith through good works.     

 

The Book of James

2:24. – You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. – With the background behind us of James’ appreciation and acceptance of the doctrine of justification by faith, we can now study this passage in its correct context.

Many people have interpreted this verse as James’ belief that works is what matters and as such is in direct opposition to the teaching of Paul. Both Paul and James worked together to keep the unity of the church (Acts 21:18). There is no reason to believe that these two writers were in disagreement over doctrine.


1. Pauline Writings

The writings of Paul in Romans 3:28 and Ephesians 2:8 – 9 are directed to new Christians or even those who have yet to make a decision for Christ. Paul is talking about justification before God, that faith is a gift. Paul asserts that justification (salvation)…

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James 2:14-23 — Justified Dynamic Faith & works

Faith without works is dead

  • 2:14: if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? – James begins to now introduce the issue of faith-works. The word ‘faith’ appears here in this passage some 11 times, while the word ‘works or working’ appears 13 times. While we must have faith the true outworking of that will be in our works. {Dead Faith – James 2:14-18}
  • Christ considered human soul to be a tree of faith > A tree will only bear the fruit that it has been created to bear. Apple trees will not product lemons, and an unhealthy tree will not produce any fruit of quality, if at all => a healthy tree of faith will bear fruit of good works => quality + appearance of fruit either confirm or deny reality of faith (See Matt 7:15 – 20; John 15:1 – 8; and Romans 7:4.) {Dead Faith – James 2:14-18}
  • James connected two ideas of faith + works together = One cannot be without the other.
  • faith to exist without the support of works = no
  • Jesus said works would be required for those that have a living faith => faith without works= dead faith
  • => If person professes that he is a new person in Christ => he must live a new life dictated by doing works for Christ. {Dead Faith – James 2:14-18}
  • ‘swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath’ (1:19) = a do-er of the Word by looking after poor of the world + bridling tongue (1:21 – 27), not showing favouritism (2:8) = all tied up in aspect of the law of faith-works.
  • To have true faith, one must show true works.
  • two examples of faith combining with works = teaching on dynamic faith
  • Abraham = father of all who believe >had to have faith before he could be justified by his works => justified twice. 1 by his faith, 2 by works
  • Abram’s faith = counted to him as righteousness. (Paul in Romans 4) his faith needed to be established before his works could be accounted for.
  • in order to follow God’s command of offering his son to the Lord = required great faith because of details of the first promise that Abraham had received concerning his numerous descendents.
  • Abraham’s confidence in God so strong = prepared Isaac by tying him to the altar + raising knife to kill him = reality of Abraham’s faith => faith combined with his actions, + therefore his faith in God was made perfect => Abraham’s faith complete + whole.
  • Abraham’s faith partnered with his works, + by his works his faith was made complete.
  • Scripture (=not Abraham’s justification) fulfilled = completed > made whole, accomplished, achieved, + consummated.
  • Abraham believed God, + = accounted to him for righteousness => Abraham only had to believe God at that particular time > After he had declared a faith in God, + his ‘faith tree’ been planted, the fruit of works > to blossom
  • Abraham’s true faith resulted in obedience to things that Father had required of him => combination of faith + works = resulted in his justification
  • => Works alone will not justify a man (Rom 3:28, Gal 3:11; 5:14)
  • => Faith alone will not justify a man
  • Faith ~~~ mere act of mind to believe > Genuine living faith = act of combining beliefs with actions

By faith Abraham was justified before God and his righteousness declared

By works, Abraham was justified before man, and his righteousness demonstrated


The Book of James

Dynamic Faith

2:20. But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? For further explanation see comments on 2:17, 18.

2:21. Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?

2:22. Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? – James now gives two examples of faith combining with works. This is his teaching on dynamic faith. He keeps in mind his audience of both Jews and Gentiles and gives one example of the Jewish race, and one with a non-Jewish background.

Abraham

Abraham is the father of all who believe. Abraham had to have faith before he could be justified by his works. Abraham was justified twice. Once by his faith, which Paul talks about in Romans, and the other by works, which James speaks…

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Faith itself not the cause of justification – Louis Berkhof

=/=  justified dia ten pistin = on account of faith

faith = never represented as ground of our justification

Abraham’s faith reckoned unto him for righteousness, Rom. 4:3,9,22; Gal. 3:6

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Preceding articles

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

Restitution

Justification – salvation is by grace through faith – JI Packer

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Additional reading

  1. The business of this life
  2. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  3. Believing in the send one and understanding that one does not live by bread alone
  4. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  5. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  6. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  7. People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life
  8. Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness
  9. Christ’s ethical teaching
  10. Being Justified by faith
  11. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  12. Faith and works
  13. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  14. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #16 Benefits of praying
  15. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  16. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  17. Running away from the past
  18. Malefactors becoming your master
  19. Be holy
  20. She who sows thistles will reap prickles
  21. Love for each other attracting others

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Verlore seun

Scripture never says that we are justified dia ten pistin, on account of faith. This means that faith is never represented as the ground of our justification. If this were the case, faith would have to be regarded as a meritorious work of man. And this would be the introduction of the doctrine of justification by works, which the apostle opposes consistently, Rom. 3:21,27,28; 4:3,4; Gal. 2:16,21; 3:11. We are told indeed that Abraham’s faith was reckoned unto him for righteousness, Rom. 4:3,9,22; Gal. 3:6, but in view of the whole argument this surely cannot mean that in his case faith itself as a work took the place of the righteousness of God in Christ. The apostle does not leave it doubtful that, strictly speaking, only the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, is the ground of our justification. But faith is so thoroughly receptive in the appropriation of…

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Justification – salvation is by grace through faith – JI Packer

Today there is still lots of commotion about works and faith. Still too many Christians do think they do not need any works.
The Catholic church, we must say, has from the beginning seen that certain works were necessary. One can not become a Christian without putting the previous life of sin away by having regret, asking for forgiveness of sins and taking steps to show regret (an act to be taken), opening oneself for remission by going for a baptism (a work).

Not only Rome sees baptism as a channel of sanctifying grace, as the primary instrumental cause of justification, and the sacrament of penance, whereby congruous merit is achieved through works of satisfaction, as the supplementary restorative cause whenever the grace of God’s initial acceptance is lost through mortal sin.

Not only for the Roman Catholics believers save themselves with the help of the grace that flows from Christ through the church’s sacramental system. Several other denominations request that people change their life once baptised (which sometimes demands lots of works). Other protestants groups do forget that it is impossible that a Christian would keep living the same sinful life as before his or her baptism. It is an illusion to believe that we are saved by the blood of Christ and would not have to do any works any more because we would go to heaven or always will be allowed to enter God’s Kingdom.

First of all the Kingdom will be here on earth for most of us. And Jesus showed us with his parables the danger of loosing the entrance through the small gate of life in eternity.

Justification may be given free, like people can win a lottery, but if they do not do anything with the price, they will be nothing with it.

For example if I would give you a limousine you are nothing with it if you do not use the key and turn the motor on (a work). Before you can go into the traffic you have to learn the road code and have to learn to drive. Then you will have to drive (doing a job) and shall have to be careful in traffic (taking attention), going to some place (trafficking).

Also with faith we do need to come into the faith (a work), trafficking, having to keep our faith (demands work), read the Word of God regularly and study it (demands work) we have to be careful to keep the code of God, His regulations and ordinances (keeping to the commandments requires work). Jesus also gave the order to go out in the world to proclaim the Gospel of the coming Kingdom (which demands a work) and to come together regularly, i.e. meeting with each other, which demands also some work.

For those who think they do not have to have self-control (which demands work) we must disappoint them. If they keep lying, bullying, stealing, fornicating, murdering, they shall miss the entrance of the coming Kingdom.
If they think it will be so easy in this system of things, we also must disappoint them, because also when baptised there shall be temptations, suffering and so on, which demand stamina to continue (work) in the faith.

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To remember

Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” Galatians 3:11

=> =  we do have to be righteous to be able to live by faith

The author tells us:

  • doctrine of justification, storm center of Reformation = major concern of apostle Paul = heart of gospel (Rom. 1:17; 3:21-5:21; Gal. 2:15-5:1) shaping both his message (Acts 13:38-39) + his devotion + spiritual life (2 Cor. 5:13-21; Phil. 3:4-14).
  • > other New Testament writers affirm same doctrine in substance => terms in which Protestants have affirmed + defended it for almost five centuries are drawn primarily from Paul.
  • Justification = judicial act of God pardoning sinners (wicked and ungodly persons, Rom. 4:5; 3:9-24) > accepting them as just => putting permanently right their previously estranged relationship with himself.  > => justifying sentence = God’s gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:15-17) = his bestowal of a status of acceptance for Jesus’ sake (2 Cor. 5:21).
  • God’s justifying decision = judgment of the Last Day, declaring where we shall spend eternity
  • necessary means, or instrumental cause, of justification is personal faith in Jesus Christ as crucified Savior and risen Lord (Rom. 4:23-25; 10:8-13).
  • As we give ourselves in faith to Jesus, Jesus gives us his gift of righteousness, so that in the very act of “closing with Christ,” as older Reformed teachers put it, we receive divine pardon and acceptance which we could not otherwise have (Gal. 2:15-16; 3:24).

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Preceding articles

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

Restitution

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Additional reading

  1. The business of this life
  2. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  3. Believing in the send one and understanding that one does not live by bread alone
  4. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  5. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  6. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  7. People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life
  8. Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness
  9. Christ’s ethical teaching
  10. Being Justified by faith
  11. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  12. Faith and works
  13. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  14. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #16 Benefits of praying
  15. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  16. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  17. Running away from the past
  18. Malefactors becoming your master
  19. Be holy
  20. She who sows thistles will reap prickles
  21. Love for each other attracting others

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Further related articles

  1. No Regrets
  2. Day 19: Things to regret
  3. Access: Denied
  4. Giving our regret to God
  5. Reminisce
  6. Life is like a river
  7. Questions & Answers About Lent
  8. Godly Sorrow Leads Us on to a Glorious Celebration of the Gospel
  9. A Threefold Malice
  10. Reconciliation
  11. Penance – Chapter One
  12. Wednesday of Septuagesima week: O, Merciful God! Have Mercy On Me The Fallen One!
  13. CFP: Discipline and Excess (Cambridge Friday, April 15, 2016)
  14. That kind of Franciscan
  15. The Savior of the World
  16. (01/07/2016) Salvation Only Through Christ?
  17. My Take on the Gay Marriage Bill.
  18. Missing the Mark
  19. Leading people astray!
  20. Tips for Gracious Living: Bad Driving
  21. Unfaithful fornicating adulterating Christians will perish
  22. We don’t meet God 1/2 way.
  23. The Salesman
  24. Actions are the Megaphone of Words
  25. The Justification of Abraham
  26. (01/13/2016) How To Treat Unbelievers?
  27. Tuesday Devotional: Revelation 2
  28. Fashion advice?
  29. (12/31/2015) By Faith, Not By Interpretation?
  30. Faithfulness
  31. Seeing Christ
  32. Faith in Action

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Verlore seun

Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” GALATIANS 3:11

The doctrine of justification, the storm center of the Reformation, was a major concern of the apostle Paul. For him it was the heart of the gospel (Rom. 1:17; 3:21-5:21; Gal. 2:15-5:1) shaping both his message (Acts 13:38-39) and his devotion and spiritual life (2 Cor. 5:13-21; Phil. 3:4-14). Though other New Testament writers affirm the same doctrine in substance, the terms in which Protestants have affirmed and defended it for almost five centuries are drawn primarily from Paul.

Justification is a judicial act of God pardoning sinners (wicked and ungodly persons, Rom. 4:5; 3:9-24), accepting them as just, and so putting permanently right their previously estranged relationship with himself. This justifying sentence is God’s gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:15-17), his bestowal of a status of acceptance for Jesus’ sake (2…

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Filed under Being and Feeling, Lifestyle, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

 

“1  My brothers, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with partiality. 2 For if a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, comes into your synagogue, and a poor man in filthy clothing also comes in; 3 and you pay special attention to him who wears the fine clothing, and say, “Sit here in a good place”; but you tell the poor man, “Stand there,” or “Sit by my footstool”; 4 haven’t you shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:1-4 NHEB)

“But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you, and personally drag you before the courts?” (James 2:6 NHEB)

“But if you show partiality, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors.” (James 2:9 NHEB)

“For judgment is without mercy to him who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13 NHEB)

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him?” (James 2:14 NHEB)

“17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself. 18 Yes, a man will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith.
19 You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But do you want to know, foolish man, that faith apart from works is useless?

21 Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith worked with his works, and by works faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In like manner was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.” (James 2:17-26 NHEB)

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The Works (Faith No More album)

The Works (Faith No More album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Christadelphian Agora comments:

“You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did” (James 2:22).
“An old Scotsman operated a little rowboat for transporting passengers. One day a passenger noticed that the good old man had carved on one oar the word ‘Faith’, and on the other oar the word ‘Works’. Curiosity led him to ask the meaning of this. The old man, being a well-balanced believer in Christ, and glad of the opportunity for testimony, said, ‘I will show you.’ So saying, he dropped one oar and plied the other called Works, and they just went around in circles. Then he dropped that oar and began to use the oar called Faith, and the little boat just went around in circles again — this time the other way around, but still in a circle. After this demonstration the old man picked up Faith and Works and wielding both oars together, sped swiftly over the water, explaining to his inquiring passenger, ‘You see, that is the way it is in the believer’s life. Works without faith are useless, and faith without works is dead also, getting you nowhere. But faith and works pulling together make for safety, progress, and blessing’ ” (Maritta Terrell).

Peter Cresswell comments:

v.9 As a community (speaking generally) we are condemned by our inability to work out this maxim in our practical lives. There are those who genuinely are prepared to preach to anyone and accept anyone, but I think if we are honest, most of us are not happy with this teaching. A moment’s reflection on it today then will do no harm. Would we, for example, like Jesus in John 8:3-11, accept the repentance of the prostitute (which is seems this woman was) so readily? Lev.19:15

Peter Forbes  comments:

2:1-4 It is said that we form an impression about someone within a few minutes of seeing them. We have not had enough time to assess their character and yet we make decisions which may colour our view for the rest of our lives. It is really clear why God does not judge by outward appearance – 1Sam 16:7 – we should emulate His approach.

2:4 So we see that partiality which starts by looking on the outward appearance – see 2:2– is in reality judging the way others think.

2:4  Partiality is a consequence of being ‘double minded’ as mentioned in James 1:8

2:5 In speaking of ‘the poor of this world’ James echoes Paul’s comment about men of faith – Heb 11:37 . One cannot but wonder how we would have reacted to some of the men and women of faith if we had seen them in the street.

2:6 Continuing thoughts on our contribution for June 8th James asks his readers to think on the realities of their experience. The very ones that they would revere were the ones who were their persecutors!

2:6     ‘despised’ <818> is translated ‘shamefully’ Luke 20:11 and ‘dishonour’  John 8:49 showing that James is reproving the brethren for denigrating the ‘poor’.

2:9 That we should show ‘no respect of persons’ draws on the Law of Moses and is seen extensively in Scripture. Here are some occasions. Leviticus 19:15 Deuteronomy 1:17 16:19 2 Samuel 14:14 2 Chronicles 19:7 Proverbs 24:23 28:21 Romans 2:11 Ephesians 6:9 Colossians 3:25 1 Peter 1:17 No matter how one dresses up the prejudice against the poor and favour toward the well dressed it is a violation of the Divine law. Actually it manifests pride. We like to identify with the rich in this world rather than the poor.

2:11   James here clearly shows that there are no degrees of sin. Sin is sin. Agreed the consequences of some sins is greater than others insofar as our actions impact upon other men. However any sin violates God’s principles.

2:13 These words of James draw upon the teaching of Jesus in Matt 7:2

2:14-17  I suppose one could summarise what James is teaching here by saying “talk is cheap”.  It is ever so easy to talk about how we love and serve God. It is far harder to simply get on with doing that.

2:21-23  We notice that Abraham was “justified” in Gen 15:6. However it was many years later when he was willing to offer Isaac – Gen 22:9 – which demonstrated his faith. So, even though God saw Abraham’s faith no man could have seen the evidence of Abraham’s faith. But God knew in advance that Abraham had faith.

2:23    There are two earlier occasions when Abraham is called God’s friend – (#2Ch 20:7; Isa 41:8)

2:23 How would you like to be called ‘the friend of God’? Such is the description of faithful Abraham – he believed that God would keep His word and so acted upon that knowledge. So we know the way to friendship with God.

2:23 There were quite a number of years between the statement in Gen 15:6 that Abraham believed God and his offering of Isaac. Faith is not a ‘flash in the pan’ activity.

2:25 The inclusion of Rahab as one who was justified by faith is a powerful testimony to the truth that observance of the law of Moses is not a pre requisite for pleasing God. A powerful lesson for Jews.

Michael Parry comments:

James exhorts against favouritism in our assembly.  Brothers and sisters should be treated equally in love and respect.  Do we naturally gravitate towards some and find it difficult to deal with others?  Of course we do.  But let us remember the example of Jesus.  Although He was drawn affectionately to John (John 19:26; 21:20), He still treated His betrayer Judas with love (Matt 5:44).

A point about verse 19:  there exist no such supernatural entities as devils (or demons).  What are being alluded to here are people possessed with demons (mental disorders).
There were demoniac people who recognized God and the Lord Jesus  (Mark 5:1-13, 16:9, Luke 4:40,41, 8:2).

Having scriptural knowledge, understanding, and faith means nothing unless it is translated into Godly action.

V.8 James is the only one to use the phrase royal law.  Loving one’s neighbour is the second part of the greatest law (Matt 22:37-39).  The first part concerns the love for God who is King over all – hence James’s royal reference.

V.12 James also talks of the law of liberty. No longer is anyone judged under the Law of Moses.  But, the moral commandments under the Law are carried forward and form part of the Commandments of Jesus.  It is expected that believers follow these commandments willingly.  Believers will be judged on their adherence to these laws.

John Wilson comments:

V.18 James introduces a third person into his explanation of faith and how it works by love. The third person is able to give a practical demonstration of his faith. James’ humility would not permit him to set himself forth as an ideal representative of a living faith. “I will show thee my faith by my works”  A practical demonstration of a motivating force that is greater than the individual himself, by which “he overcame the world”  (1John 5:4).

2:25 With the example of Rahab; along with that of Abraham (V.21,23), we would suggest is used by James to show the universality of the principle of faith that he was writing of. Abraham was the Father of all the Jews; Rahab was a Gentile who was converted. She was weak and sinful, but triumphed by faith. Not unlike what Paul wrote Gal 3:28.

2:26 Faith without works is like a corpse; there is a body, the substance of which is undeniable, but it is a dead body, and unless the breath of life enters into that body, it remains inactive and ineffective. Unless faith issues forth in a practical demonstration of a way of life which is pleasing God, it is a corpse without life, and incapable of imparting it.

Roger Turner comments:

v 5 First Principles>Kingdom of God>Gospel concerns God’s Kingdom
The Gospel preached by Jesus and the Apostles concerns the Kingdom of God.
2. Invitation for men to participate
Matt 25:34, Luke 12:32, 1Thess 2:12, James 2:5, 2Tim 4:1,8, 2Pet 1:10,11, Rev 2:26,27
For more about the Gospel concerning God’s Kingdom go to Matt 4:23 

Valerie Mello comments:

James 2:17

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

The apostle Paul defines faith as, “… the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). Faith may be further defined as having a confident belief, value, or trustworthiness of a person, which does not necessarily rest on logical proof or material evidence.

This kind of faith requires development, and if we are not prepared to spend time in developing it, we shall not obtain the kind of faith that pleases God. The more we consider God’s actions in the past, and see His prophecies vindicated in the present, the more we come to learn to value Him, trust Him, and put our faith in Him concerning events not yet fulfilled, but promised by God.

This is a true story about a captain commanding a passenger ship who was sailing from Liverpool, England to New York. His family was on board with him. One night when everyone was sound asleep, a squall unexpectedly swept over the waters and tossed the ship violently, awakening the passengers. They were all scared, and the captain’s frightened eight-year old daughter asked, “What’s the matter?” Her mother explained that a sudden storm struck the ship. “Is father on deck?”  “Yes, father is on deck,” answered the mother. On hearing this, the little girl snuggled back into bed, and in a few moments was sound asleep. The winds still blew and the waves still rolled, but her fears were calmed because her father was at the helm! Our Heavenly Father is always at the helm! It is this kind of faith the Father is looking for in His children, and despite outward appearances, without this kind of faith it is impossible to please Him (Heb 11:6).

Wes Booker comments:

James 2:12,13.

What are some practical lessons and exhortations that we should try and practice in our lives in connection with what James is stating here – especially the last part of v. 13 – “Mercy triumphs over judgment”?

In thinking about a practical application of what James is exhorting us here, it’s important to keep in mind that within the pages of the Bible there are a number of very positive references to the idea of judgment. Though we might tend to immediately think of Christ’s words – “Judge not that you be not judged” (Mat. 7:1), there are a number of times where the flip side of the concept is there in such words as “judge righteous judgment” (Jn. 7:24) and Paul’s words concerning the ongoing fornication in the Corinthian ecclesia – “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you” ((1 Cor. 5:12,13).

In the example that James uses following up his statement about mercy triumphing over judgment (v. 13) – in James 2:14-17 he gives the example of a brother or sister without clothes and daily food and what should be done by the ecclesia in that situation. What he doesn’t state is the reason for them to be in such a destitute situation. Was it due to things beyond their control? Or did they do certain things that brought this dire condition on themselves? Were they able-bodied and in a position to seek employment and get themselves out of this situation without having to come to the ecclesia for help? Whatever their situation was, James states categorically that the attitude that wishes them well without providing for their physical needs is an example of faith without works being dead. So the #1 priority of the ecclesia is to provide help when they have it within their power to do so. And, of course, the same should be true for individual believers in Christ.

The person or ecclesia who has it within its power to help and chooses to not do so really needs to have a really good Scriptural reason for not helping. And if there’s ever a question as to the rightness of a course of action, then the weight should fall on the side of mercy. And so with the seesaw effect, mercy comes up as judgment goes down. I remember reading years ago in one of bro. Islip Collyer’s books – I can’t remember which one it was – what he had to say on this subject. And it was so powerful that it really stuck with me. I’m paraphrasing here –

When a tough-to-decide situation comes up ecclesially where both sides – the severe and the lenient (merciful) – both have positive things that can be said for deciding in that particular way, I, for one, will always choose the side of mercy for this one simple reason. I know that on that great day of judgment, I will need all the mercy my Lord can muster on my behalf. So how can I go the other way? If I’m going to err, it is going to be on the side of mercy.

Robert Prins comments:

Illogical Really

When James spoke about people showing faith through the things that they did, he gave two examples. One of them was Abraham as he was about to sacrifice Isaac, and the other was Rahab, as she hid the spies and sent them off in a different direction.

Neither of these actions were really common-sense logical. After all, if you had been promised that your son was to be your heir, and the door to a multitude of descendants, it would seem stupid to kill him! And in the case of Rahab, when approached by people who were planning to flatten her city, it doesn’t seem right to hide and protect them.

But, both Abraham and Rahab had their eyes on something bigger and better when they acted in faith. Abraham was so sure God’s promises would be fulfilled, that he obeyed anyway. And Rahab was so sure of God’s strength, and that God was good to those who were good to Israel, that she put her own life in peril from the authorities in Jericho to put her trust in God.

What faith opportunities do we have in our lives? What about the opportunities to let God take vengeance rather than ourselves? What about forgiving others and trusting God for the rest? Or giving money or possessions away when asked? Or speaking out about our faith in God at an appropriate time?

Faith is seen in what we do. Let’s make sure God sees it in our lives.

Rob de Jongh comments

The bird resting on the patio

From v14 to v26 James explains how faith without works is dead. It’s a difficult concept to grasp, so perhaps an analogy may help.

Last summer we were on holiday in a cottage that had large glazed patio doors leading to a patio outside where the children watched birds hopping around. One day we came back from a trip out and our little boy said,

“Mummy. Why isn’t that bird moving?”.

We suspected the bird had flown into the glass and either stunned or killed itself, but we didn’t tell the child.

“Maybe it’s resting”,

we said, while earnestly hoping that the bird was going to get up at any moment and fly away.

Here was a small child who knew nothing about death, yet he recognised from the inaction of the bird that something was wrong. Later in the day when the children were elsewhere we took the bird and buried it beneath some overgrown bushes in the garden. As grown ups we knew that if it didn’t move for a half hour, it was probably dead. It was still a bird — recognisable even by a child, but what good was that? So it is with us. Any or all of us may be called a believer, confessing that God is one (v19), but if there is no action based on faith, it’s likely that faith isn’t alive in us:

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26

But what can we do if we suspect this is so with us? The first step is to pray to God, confessing our lack of faith and asking for help. If we want to be alive, seek for it, and ask, we will have our faith revived, as promised in Luke 11:9-13.

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Preceding articles:

First man’s task still counting today

He who knows himself, is kind to others

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

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Additional reading

  1. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 4
  2. The sin of partiality
  3. The Greatest of These is Love
  4. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  5. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  6. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice

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Further related articles

  1. (01/07/2016) Salvation Only Through Christ?
  2. Partiality In The Church
  3. Christian Prejudice: Finding Answers to a Shameful Problem
  4. Human Rights Are Not “Common Sense” – They Are Christianity
  5. Is Jesus Partial? Colossians 3 verse 11
  6. “What is Christianity about?” by Michael and Susanne
  7. Today’s life is full of fakeness..
  8. The James Series: Surprisingly Equal
  9. 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, cycle B
  10. Micah 2: Soap in studying the Bible
  11. Favoritism Forbidden
  12. Are We Partial?
  13. Friendship and partiality
  14. My Journey to Racial Reconciliation
  15. Can Faith Save You? Sermon by Keith, 6.14.15, Pentecost 3
  16. How To Beat The Competition?
  17. Facing Our Prejudices
  18. James: Favoritism
  19. The Book of James Chapter 2:1-9,12-13 (NKJV)
  20. 2:9 – But if you show partiality, you commit sin
  21. 2:13. For judgement is without mercy to the one who has shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement.
  22. “Sunday Best”
  23. Partiality and The Law
  24. No Partiality
  25. What does the Bible say about partiality By…
  26. Mercy the missing piece
  27. Living Life Partially Impartial
  28. unjust justice
  29. How can you say God is not partial?
  30. Herrenhuter readings for Sunday, the 8th February 2015
  31. February 2 – Walking the Line
  32. Show No Favouritism. Show Mercy.
  33. Reflective Paragraphs Week 11 – James
  34. Losing Integrity Over Identity
  35. The imported and the favoured workers
  36. Playing Favourites in the Church. A Reflection on James 2:1-17
  37. Healing wilful deafness
  38. Daily Digest: Playing Favourites
  39. Disease favouritism
  40. Diminished
  41. Not Of This World
  42. How Important is Belief?
  43. Substance and Evidence
  44. Religious Literacy
  45. Bible-In-A-Year Day 33: Leviticus 16-18
  46. Death-Defying Faith.

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20 Comments

Filed under Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Peter Forbes comments:

4:2      In questioning Abraham’s righteousness Paul develops the point that he made in Rom 2:13 showing that the law does not bring righteousness.

4:3Abraham believed God …‘ the quotation is from Gen. 15:6. Righteousness is imputed by God on the basis of faith, not works of the law. Gen. 15 predates the giving of the law. This is the thrust of the argument in verses 4:4,5 and circumcision – the implications of this are developed in Rom.4:9-13.

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusa...

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusalem, Israel/Palestine, March 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4:6-8 The appeal to Psalm 32:1-2 which is a Psalm that David wrote after Nathan had spoken of God’s forgiveness for David’s adultery [2 Sam.12:13] continues the theme of forgiveness from ch. 3:4 We should take great comfort from the fact that God was willing to forgive the repentant David.

4:7  Notice the subtle but important difference between the language of  Psa 32:1 – and Paul’s words here. Whilst the Psalm has ‘he’ whereas Paul here says ‘they’. Paul generalises from the Psalm. The Psalm has specific relevance to David’s situation. Paul says that specific application of forgiveness actually extends to all who follow David’s example of repentance.

4:11 Whilst Israel seemed to see circumcision as the ultimate test of Jewishness Paul clearly says here that it is a sign of what has already been seen in Abraham – that is his faith in God which was counted for righteousness.

4:18against hope believed in hope‘ tells us that Abraham had to have faith in the promise of the seed as it was humanly speaking impossible.

4:23 The implication from ‘now it was not written for his sake alone …‘ is that Abraham had a written copy of the promise.

Cliff York comments

Romans 4 To meet the views of the Jews, the apostle first refers to the example of Abraham, in whom the Jews gloried as their most renowned forefather. However exalted in various respects, he had nothing to boast in the presence of God, for he too was saved by grace, through faith, even as others. Without noticing the years which passed before his call, and the failures at times in his obedience, and even in his faith, it was expressly stated in the Scripture that “he believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness,” Genesis 15:6. From this example it is observed, that if any man could work the full measure required by the law, the reward must then be reckoned as a debt, which evidently was not the case even of Abraham, seeing faith was reckoned to him for righteousness.

It is clear from the Scripture, that Abraham was justified several years before his circumcision. This then is Paul’s point to those who prided themselves on their pedigree and/or on the very private mark they received in their flesh whilst they were too young to effectively protest otherwise. It is, therefore, plain that this circumcision was not necessary in order to that justification which is by faith.

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It is truly fascinating to reflect on the great wisdom of the Father as one reads the 3 portions of Scripture each day, and often there runs a “Golden Thread” through them all. For example, one of the Golden Threads evident today, is the concept, that we can only be Justified by the Grace of God. Paul deals in great detail with the subject, of course, in Romans, Joseph in his life revealed how great a force faith in God is the life of each of His saints – Genesis 47:12, and the Psalmist captured the same beautifully in the closing verse of Psalm 50Whoso offers praise glorifies me: and to him that orders his conversation aright, will I show the salvation of God.”

John Wilson comments

Prayer of David, psalm 51

Prayer of David, psalm 51 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rom 4:7  As we read from Psa 32 the other day, and as we read from Psa 51 tomorrow, we can clearly see, and appreciate that the confession of sin is not seeking forgiveness, it acknowledges the righteousness of our Heavenly Father. We must also be aware of the fact, that our failings can not be forgiven unless we are prepared to acknowledge them.

Rom 4:17  “I have made thee a father of many nations.” Paul is quoting from Gen 17:5  Sarah was still barren at this time, but we see that this is written in the past tense. This was foreordained. There is a difference between pre-existence and being foreordained. The seed of Abraham, both Isaac and Christ were foreordained.

4:21 All promises that have been made by God, he is able to perform, certainly different from promises made by man. God never forgets a promise, while man frequently forgets, God’s promises are priceless, while promises of man are often times useless, God’s promises are always right, while mans are often wrong.

Michael Parry comments

Paul; the writer to the Hebrews; James; and Peter all talk about Abraham. He was the patriarch of the physical Jewish nation and also father of the faithful (4:16).
He was given the promises before the Law (Gen 17:5-8) – even before his circumcision (Gen 17:24).  The particular seed of his promise was Christ who fulfilled the Law (Matt 5:17, Gal 3:16).  However, God still has a covenant with the Jewish nation and the land of Israel even though they have not (yet) accepted Christ.  It is a mistake to believe, as some groups do, that any prophetical reference or future application concerning the Land and people of Israel is purely spiritual and not physical.

Rob de Jongh comments

For many of us the intricate arguments of scripture are too much to grasp. That’s why we’re given Abraham as an example. All we need to do is read about his life, emulate what we see, and we will obtain the same promises as him. Rom 4:3, 11-12, 16, 20-25.

 

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Preceding articles

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

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Additional reading

  1. Written down in God’s Name for righteousness
  2. Testimonies to observe, inspired by God
  3. Necessity of a revelation of creation 5 Getting understanding by Word of God 3
  4. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  5. The Right One to follow and to worship
  6. God showing how far He is willing to go to save His children
  7. A secret to be reveiled
  8. Gone astray, away from God
  9. Back from gone #4 Your inner feelings and actions
  10. Looking for something or for the Truth and what it might be and self-awareness
  11. Two states of existence before God
  12. The God of hope filling us with all joy and peace
  13. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  14. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us
  15. With child and righteousness greater than the law
  16. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus Declared God’s Son at His Baptism
  17. Atonement and the race been bought
  18. A race not to swift, nor a battle to the strong
  19. Fixing our attentionSelf inflicted misery #8 Pruning to strengthen us
  20. Gaining Christ, trusting Jehovah
  21. Set free from any form of mental torment or self-condemnation
  22. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  23. Hope by faith and free gift
  24. God’s love – Equal and unconditional for all believers
  25. True richesBeing Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  26. If you have integrity
  27. Honor your own words as if they were an important contract
  28. All Positive Energy People Are Acceptable
  29. Our openness to being approachable
  30. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  31. Is your mind thirsty?
  32. The Dress Code for Women in the Quran

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Further readings

  1. Daily Devotional – Romans 4:1-12
  2. Daily Devotional – Romans 4:12-25
  3. Romans 4 and the Sacraments
  4. Faith-full Father Abraham
  5. Paul’s Scriptural Argument
  6. Paul’s Argument of Maturity
  7. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  8. Background to Romans 9-11: key teaching from Romans 1:16-4:25
  9. Structure of Romans 1:16-4:25
  10. May 23 2 Chronicles 6,7; Psalms 135; Romans 4
  11. Devotional # 90. Galatians 3:15-29
  12. A Promise
  13. God is righteous and just (God is good 4)
  14. “It’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it.” ~Apostle Paul
  15. The relevance of  God’s Word today
  16. Righteousness of Faith
  17. Could Abraham have remained childless?
  18. Would Your Faith Save You?
  19. It’s not about you
  20. The Best Way to “Stand Up” For Jesus: Revisiting Romans
  21. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  22. Nullify the Torah?
  23. Apart From The Law Of Righteousness
  24. Under The Law
  25. Scriptures on Righteousness- Joseph Prince
  26. Righteous and Right-ness
  27. Greater Love Hath No Man
  28. Jesus Christ has done enough
  29. Verse of the day – Righteousness of the Law
  30. Grace words for today Devotional
  31. It is in difficult times that we choose to continue to do what is right while everything else seems wrong that we grow
  32. Getting wisdom
  33. Moral Image
  34. Incredible Peace
  35. It Is God’s Presence in Us
  36. Strength In Your Hair Or Your Faith?
  37. Daily Inspiration, January 28th
  38. You Have on Different Clothing Now
  39. Christ: A Place In God
  40. The Privilege
  41. The Sermon on the Mount is not a Guide to Christian Salvation
  42. Experiencing Revival Part 3: Obedience
  43. Righteousness Pt 10
  44. Kingdom Come
  45. You Christian, shouldn’t carry guilt, or seek ongoing forgiveness to stay “right” with God.
  46. Exodus 4-6 Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son
  47. The Myths and Facts of Circumcision
  48. The Question of Circumcision II
  49. God confronted even Moses for not keeping the covenant
  50. What is so important about this Commandment?
  51. Experience the change in status from “Children of the flesh,” and of the world : to “Children by promise,” and in the World -Guy#2:03
  52. Surrender: Circumcision of the Heart
  53. Is your heart circumcised today?
  54. Only Jesus Christ – no if’s, no but’s (1)
  55. Yes’s and No’s
  56. entering in…as chosen ones

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Filed under Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

The Christadelphian Agora comments

Reading 3 – Rom 3:9,10

“What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one’ ” (Rom 3:9,10).

“Our guilt is great because our sins are exceedingly numerous. It is not merely outward acts of unkindness and dishonesty with which we are chargeable. Our habitual and characteristic state of mind is evil in the sight of God.

“Our pride and indifference to His will and to the welfare of others and our loving the creature more than the Creator are continuous violations of His holy law. We have never been or done what that law requires us to be and to do. We have never had delight in that fixed purpose to do the will and promote the glory of God. We are always sinners; we are at all times and under all circumstances in opposition to God.

“If we have never loved Him supremely, if we have never made it our purpose to do His will, if we have never made His glory the end of our actions, then our lives have been an unbroken series of transgressions. Our sins are not to be numbered by the conscious violations of duty; they are as numerous as the moments of our existence” (Charles Hodge).

Peter Forbes comments:

3:2  If the Jews had a benefit simply because the Word of God was committed to them how do we view that same word? Do we feel privileged simply because we can read Scripture freely in our own tongue?

3:3 Paul (2Tim 2:13) develops the principles of this verse for the benefit of Timothy. – We have noted before that David’s Psalm (32) is used by Paul to speak of the way in which God forgives. Reflecting on what David had done – committed adultery and murdered a man – we probably cannot think of two more evil crimes. But it is these two crimes which God forgave which forms the basis of Paul’s encouragement to us.

David and Bathsheba, by Henry Bone (died 1834)...

David and Bathsheba, by Henry Bone (died 1834). See source website for additional information. This set of images was gathered by User:Dcoetzee from the National Portrait Gallery, London website using a special tool. All images in this batch have been confirmed as author died before 1939 according to the official death date listed by the NPG. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3:4 The quotation ‘that thou mightest be justified …‘ from Psalm 51:4 marks the beginning of an appeal to the repentance of David after his adultery with Bathsheba – see the title of the Psalm. This incident in David’s life, as terrible as it was, marks the magnitude of the Father’s forgiveness towards a repentant sinner. More notes on this in Romans 4.

3:4‘that thou … art judged’ is a quotation from Psa 51:4 That Psalm is a Psalm speaking specifically of David’s sin with Bathsheba. Paul highlights that the Psalm, though specifically speaking to David, actually has a general application to all.

3:5 This is the first of a number of occasions when Paul asks a question which he then answers himself. The others are Rom 4:1,  6:1, 7:7

Painting by Rembrandt of Paul, one of the most...

Painting by Rembrandt of Paul, one of the most notable of early Christian missionaries, who called himself the “Apostle to the Gentiles.” Paul, a Hellenistic Jew, was very influential on the shift of Christianity to Gentile dominated movement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3:7-8   The “lie” that Paul is thinking about is the charge laid on him by others that he said “Let us do evil that good may come”.

3:8  The charge laid on Paul is similar to the hypothetical question he asks in Rom 6:1.

3:9     The teaching of Paul that we ‘are all under sin’ is quoted by Paul later – Gal 3:22–This is one of many times where Paul quotes elements of this letter to the Romans to other churches. Thus we see that Romans seems to be a letter that many of the other churches were aware of.

3:19 The phrase ‘every mouth may be stopped’ echoes the sentiments of Psa 107:42 thus demonstrating that the teaching that all men are sinners is not confined to the New Testament but is a clear Old Testament teaching.

3:23,24 These adjacent verses are at the opposite ends of the spectrum as far as the mind of man is concerned. One has to recognise the situation outlined in v 23 before one can be in the state described in v 24. Justification is only available to those who recognise their own personal need for salvation.

3:25-26        We should reflect carefully on the fact that God’s righteousness is seen in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our God is not a vindictive cruel God. Rather, as shown by the way He responded to Jesus’ obedience, He is merciful – which we should appreciate anyway because of the way in which He describes Himself –Exo 34:6-7

3:31   To the Jew the idea that the Law of Moses was no longer the route to pleasing God (if it ever was) was a major problem. So they needed to know that ‘faith’ did not remove the need for obedience

Peter Cresswell comments

English: manuscript of the Epistle to the Roma...

manuscript of the Epistle to the Romans (fragment) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3:4 – Here we see a principle that we cannot ignore.  Let God be true is a clear instruction to us not to make God into what we think He should be – not to impose on Him what we feel are the qualities of a god, but instead to open our minds to let Him show us what he really is in truth.  We are still on the theme from the previous chapters which tell us how to avoid being like those whose worship is distorted.  Let us take heed, as through this we can be justified by faith, as we are being prepared to learn next.

3:20 tells us that the law can’t save because by it there is knowledge of sin.  This shows us that the law is inextricably tied up with the original curse – that we should know good and evil.  At the end this curse will be removed and we will know only good.  We do well to remember that this knowledge of good and evil is a curse, not a privilege.  One day, those who are saved, will leave it far behind.  One could argue that by God’s grace, we already have – 5:21, 6:7 – but in that day it will be actual.  Evil will no longer be remembered or contemplated or come into mind.  We must ask ourselves: Are we ready to leave behind the choice to do evil, without looking back, or do we still consider it a privilege?

Cliff York comments

Romans 3:9 – “for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” – in chapters one and two. Paul painted a word picture, first of the Gentile world – Romans 1 – then the Jewish world, which was even worse, for they had access to God’s righteousness – Romans 2.

v12-18 – Paul describes the cadaver of sin. As Paul’s scalpel opens up the body of sin, first the throat, then the tongue, lips, mouth, feet, and eyes are laid bare and examined – Hebrews 4:12-13. And Paul’s conclusion is given in v23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  What does this tell us? We all need Jesus Christ. No-one will be in God’s Kingdom who has not entrusted his life and his salvation to the only name given among men whereby they might be saved – Acts 4:12.

John Wilson comments

Rom 3:25  “to declare his  righteousness.” Christ, the bearer of the sins of the people. Not that Christ might be punished for others, but that God’s righteousness might be declared for others to see that they might be forgiven.

David Simpson comments

Rom 3:9-20 has at least 7 quotations from the Psalms, and one from Isaiah. Then in Rom 4 we can find 7 times when Abraham’s name is written.  There is no doubt, is there, where the Gospel’s foundation is laid?

Valerie Mello comments

Rom 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

A reader writes: “even though our Lord did not commit one single sin – even of omission, he still Came Short of the glory of Yahweh – by his very mortality that he inherited by his birth of a mortal woman – meaning he had to make atonement by his death for his ‘falling short’ of the glory of Yahweh by reason of his birth by a mortal woman who, wonderful as she was, still possessed a sin-prone nature herself.”

My reply: In Rom 1, Paul pointed out mankind’s refusal to acknowledge God and God’s truth and how God gave mankind over to their lusts and the practice of sin. Then in Rom 2, Paul describes God’s judgment on both the Gentiles and the Jews. In Rom 3, Paul sums up his argument and makes it clear that all of mankind is under sin and that “every mouth will be silenced and the whole world will be held accountable to God.” With regard to God’s judgment there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, rich or poor, priest or beggar, businessmen or drunk, churchgoer and atheist, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It does not say or imply that Christ because of his human nature fell short of God’s glory!

In Rom 3:22, we read that the righteousness of God is by faith in Jesus Christ to “all” – that is, mankind in general, Jews and Gentiles, “unto all and upon all that believe: for there is no difference” (cf. vv. 21,23). To fall short of the glory of God is to be in need of righteousness, a righteousness imputed to us by God through Christ (2Cor 5:21).

In Matt 5:20, we are warned that our righteousness must exceed those of the Pharisees. What Jesus is telling us is that it is not enough to submit to mere outward conformity as characterized by the Pharisees, but that it must be of both inward and outward conformity. Obeying the Law was more than just abstaining from killing, or stealing, etc., it also dealt with our inward being. So it is with us under the Law of Christ, and we can only exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees if we submit to Christ. Our own righteousness will never be good enough no matter how hard we try (cf. Isa 64:6).

Jesus was the only one who could lead a perfect life to the law of God in thought, word, and deed. Jesus’ mission was not simply to die on the cross. He had to be the Lamb without blemish, without sin. He had to live a life of perfect obedience, which he did and became the righteousness of God and, thus, could not have fallen short of God’s glory. Irrespective of Christ’s human sin-prone nature, he did not fall short, but continued in all things that were written in the book of the law to do them, otherwise, how could his righteousness be imputed to us, irrespective of our human nature (cf. 1Pet 5:10)? Christ was the perfect sacrifice and we can be made perfect only in him. We are to be Christ-like (cf. 2Cor 3:18).

Christ’s passive obedience (Isa 53:7) pays our sin debt and his active obedience of a sinless life gives us the perfection required by God if we submit (cf. Matt 5:48). What is required of us is active and passive obedience to Christ. Jesus came to undo what Adam did in committing and omitting, by which his character was tarnished and sin entered the flesh and passed on to his descendants – his sin was imputed to us (Rom 5:17-19). This was man’s fall from glory and made him in need of glory.  Man was created in God’s image for God’s glory (1Cor 11:7; Isa 43:7). Christ came to restore for us what Adam lost. We must have Christ’s righteousness, active and passive, transforming us from sinners who fell short of the glory of God to saints of God who fulfill the glory of God in Christ, or God will not accept us.

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Preceding articles

Elul Observances

To find ways of Godly understanding

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Continue reading: Additional comments to the 4th Letter to the Romans

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Additional reading

  1. Creation of the earth and man #4 Of the Sabbath day #2 Days 1,7,8 and 50
  2. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 4
  3. Necessity of a revelation of creation 3 Getting understanding by Word of God 1
  4. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  5. Imprisonment and execution of Jesus Christ
  6. The seven last sayings of Christ discussed in the new edition of the Christadelphian
  7. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #15 Exposition before the Creator
  8. God’s wrath and sanctification
  9. Condemnation of the World and Illustration of Justification
  10. Theologians and a promised Spirit to enlighten us
  11. Atonement and the race been bought
  12. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  13. 138) Cheap Grace
  14. Christianity without the Trinity
  15. Not trying to make the heathen live like Jews #2
  16. A Living Faith #7 Prayer
  17. Growth in character
  18. Love is like playing the piano
  19. Forgiveness is a blessing for the one who forgives
  20. He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass
  21. Forgiveness always possible
  22. A man who cannot forgive others
  23. Answering a fool according to his folly
  24. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #5 Not law binding
  25. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church
  26. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  27. Breathing to teach

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Further readings

  1. The creation of Earth and Man, the fall of Man, the cursed Earth, the redemption of Man, the resurrection of Christ, the resurrection of Man, the New Earth
  2. The Justification of Abraham
  3. Joseph and the justification of evil/sin
  4. Law and Grace
  5. Justification, Sanctification and Perseverance – By Grace through Faith
  6. Justification is by faith
  7. Why Justifying yourself is Destroying you!
  8. Are Good Works Necessary for Salvation?
  9. Faith itself not the cause of justification – Louis Berkhof
  10. Theories of Atonement: Recapitulation Theory
  11. Practical Theology
  12. Michael Horton Differentiates Law and Gospel
  13. Old and New Perspectives on Paul: A Third Way?
  14. Why the Law? Part 2
  15. The Justified Dead
  16. It’s not about you
  17. Reflective Paragraphs Week 4 – Romans 3
  18. Romans 3
  19. Daily Devotional – Romans 3:1-8
  20. Romans 3:9
  21. Daily Devotional – Romans 3:9-20
  22. Daily Devotional – Romans 3:21-31
  23. “And where does that leave our proud religious claim of having a corner on God? Canceled.” ~~Apostle Paul
  24. The Best Way to “Stand Up” For Jesus: Revisiting Romans
  25. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  26. Nullify the Torah?
  27. Under The Law
  28. Psalm 57 – As a Deaf Adder; A Sermon Preached at the Amarillo Primitive Baptist Church – Sunday, October 18, 2015
  29. Apart From The Law Of Righteousness
  30. Confessions of a Hypocrite
  31. You are without excuse
  32. Are we good?
  33. More Fashionable Fig Leaves
  34. Elihu – A Word for young leaders
  35. Salvation & Obedience
  36. Would Your Faith Save You?
  37. Let Go of the Ladder
  38. The Playing Field Is Level!
  39. My Utmost For His Highest: The Nature Of Reconciliation
  40. Obedience apart from Christ won’t justify
  41. That One Sin!
  42. The Only Martyr
  43. we’re all “heirs according to the promise” – but we all fall short
  44. Everybody needs Jesus
  45. Rub Your Eyes (Rondel Grande)
  46. Romans Devotional- Day 25
  47. The Anatomy Of God
  48. When Perfect Is Not A Good Thing – Part 1
  49. When Perfect Is Not A Good Thing – Part 2
  50. Is just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned the true meaning of justification?
  51. My Sinfulness
  52. If you love yourself….
  53. Good Behavior
  54. God is righteous and just (God is good 4)
  55. PT. 9 (The end) You are justified in Christ
  56. Day 11: I Declare My Righteousness Is In Christ Jesus
  57. Subjected For Our Sake.
  58. Guilt & Shame Misapplied
  59. God Glories in Making You Righteous
  60. Our Comforter is our Peace
  61. We Distinguish…(Part 5) — Active/Passive Obedience
  62. We Distinguish…(Part 6) — Moral/Ceremonial/Civil
  63. Those Who Practice Such Things Will Not Inherit the Kingdom of God
  64. Do I seek approval?

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