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An Appendix To A Confession Of Faith- Appendix Point 11

11. Though no sin be imputed to those that believe in Christ, nor any sin do totally or fully reign over them, or in them; yet in them the flesh lusteth against the spirit; Gal. 5:17; and in many things they all offend; James 3:2; where the Apostle speaks of offences that one believe may take notice of in another. Thus there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not, Eccles. 7:20; and if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us, I John. 1:8.

Benjamin Cox- An Appendix To A Confession Of Faith

The Wednesday Word: Is Jesus Enough for your Religion? Part 2

It is a hard and bitter pill to swallow, but the truth is, everything we do is flawed! But does that matter? It certainly does if we are relying on our religious rituals to get us to Heaven. However, if we are relying exclusively on Jesus, His person and performance, then we are already saved. We have no need to work to gain something from God. Christ’s perfections and righteousness have now delivered and set us free to enjoy Him. If we truly believe that Jesus is enough, then we must accept that we have been brought out from the dreary treadmill of religious performance. Now, as those who have been delivered from the tyranny of having to impress God with our works, we find that there is life abundant in the Gospel.

Will everything we do for Jesus from this time onwards be perfect? It’s exceedingly doubtful (Jeremiah 17:9). Will those around us who are following Jesus do everything correctly? It’s not likely! If this were continually remembered, then there would be fewer fussings and fightings among the followers of Jesus. Disappointments would diminish, and disillusion would disappear. So many have broken off fellowship and gone out on their own because another flawed, imperfect Christian, just like them, hurt them. Or maybe it was the Pastor! He ran off with the piano player! So let’s all quit! Wait a minute, is Jesus not enough for us? He didn’t hurt us or for that matter run off with anyone. He is faithful, loyal and genuine! Are His faithfulness and loyalty enough for us?

In times like those, I’d forgotten that Jesus is enough!

Remember this, the church, although it is comprised of followers of Jesus, is really a hospital for hurting people; it’s full of the walking wounded. Don’t be surprised, then, when one of them turns around and bites you. But as for us, let’s keep our eyes on Jesus. He did no sin, there was no deceit in Him, yet He, “was numbered among the transgressors. We all deserve condemnation, but we have been acquitted by mercy, love and grace working together in concert with God’s justice. Now we are pronounced not guilty, not because of our religion, but because of the person and performance of the Lamb.

Let me ask you then, what do we have that we didn’t receive by grace? He was condemned, we got the acquittal! He suffered, we got the peace. He was put to shame, we inherit glory! He was put to death, we got the abundance of life. Our sins were imputed to Him. His righteousness is imputed to us. This is Amazing Grace!

Why then are we so judgmental towards other weak, frail and flawed followers? We need grace, so do they! What’s so special about us that our rights must be preserved? Jesus had rights, yet He laid them down. He went to the cross where He was mocked as an impostor. He had the right to save Himself, but He laid it down. So now, all that we have, and are, and hope for, is due to the doing and dying of Jesus. That’s the kind of religion’s that is enough for us.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

The Wednesday Word: Is Jesus Enough for your Religion? Part 1

Romans 10:3-4 … “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes.”

All of us are religious by nature. After all, religion is man’s system and way of approaching and worshiping his God. Religion, is the expression of worship and belief. Religion is man’s way of doing the things he feels his God wants him to do. Religion expresses all that a man believes about his God and how he should be served.

As believers, however, we need to be so very cautious of our religion: unknowingly and invariably, our system of religion can unintentionally replace the Gospel.

When our system of religious observances substitutes itself for the Finished Work of Christ, we are in trouble. We may be sincere, decent, reliable and religious and yet have nothing that God recognizes as being valid or acceptable. We may be very ardent about our religion, but our zeal will not gain us Christ’s righteousness. If Christ alone is not our way to the Father, we have, as yet, not come to God. At the end of the day, it was Christ who said, “No man comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). So long, therefore, as we are mistaken about the way to God, we are in darkness. If we do not know the way to approach God, our worship, sincere as it is, is unacceptable. Indeed, we ourselves are unacceptable. We have missed the Way…the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 3:12)! To replace Christ with our system of religion is both toxic and lethal. Religion does not and cannot give us a Righteousness that fits us for heaven!

To have access to God, we must have Jesus, His doing, dying and rising again. He is supremely superior to our system of religion. For access to God, nothing more than Jesus is needed, but nothing less than Jesus will do. He is enough!

We cannot work our way into God’s favour by our religious practices. Try it, if we must, but it’s a wasted effort. We, by doing so, are relying on man’s religion, not God’s. To try to work our way into heaven’s favour is to entirely miss the mark. To attempt to work our way into God’s approval is to actually fly in the face of the Gospel. Such religious behaviour, whilst commonplace, has no basis in gospel reality and no resemblance to that in which God delights.

The problem happens, when a person thinks that his religious system will ultimately give him favour with Heaven. But here’s the difficulty. Such a person, by his religious activity, admits to being on a quest for forgiveness and acceptance. He has, therefore, got things upside down. The gospel truth is this, acceptance and forgiveness begin our walk with God, they are not the end result. Our acceptance is secure only through the blood of Christ (Hebrews 9:12). The only acceptable works which impress the Father are the works of His Son. The Father is well pleased with Jesus. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega of good works! We do not need, therefore, to attempt to be saved by anything we do. As believers, we have already been saved by works; Christ’s works, not ours.

Our salvation is discovered in Christ alone, not in ourselves. It is through Christ alone that we are saved. Jesus is the Saviour. He is God incarnate. It is, therefore, of no surprise that He effectively carries out His work of salvation. In Christ, we have redemption through His blood (Ephesians 1:7). It is by grace alone that the people of God become accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6). It is Jesus alone who is the Saviour of men, and, no matter how religious we become, we are not, and cannot be, our own saviours.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

Example 4 of the Fifth Rule

September 29, 2015 Leave a comment

Arthur PinkThe Fifth Rule: the value of ascertaining the scope of each passage, and the particular aspect of Truth presented therein.

“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28):

“Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24).

Unless the scope of each writer be clearly apprehended, those two statements flatly contradict each other. Romans 3:28, is a conclusion from what had been advanced in verses 21-27—all boasting before God being rendered impossible by the Divine method of salvation. From the very nature of the case, if justification before God be by faith, then it must be by faith alone—without the mingling of anything meritorious of ours. James 2:24, as is clear from verses 17, 18 and 26, is not treating of how the sinner obtains acceptance with God, but how such a one supplies proof of his acceptance. Paul was rebutting that legalistic tendency which leads men to go about and “establish their own righteousness” by works; James was contending against that spirit of licentious Antinomianism which causes others to pervert the Gospel and insist that good works are not essential for any purpose. Paul was refuting meritmongers who repudiated salvation by grace alone; James was maintaining that grace works through righteousness and transforms its subjects: showing the worthlessness of a dead faith which produces naught but a windy profession. The faithful servant of God will ever alternate in warning his hearers against legalism on the one hand and libertarianism on the other.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 2-Chapter 6-Justification, or the Divine Acquittal

September 18, 2015 Leave a comment

CHAPTER 6-JUSTIFICATION, OR THE DIVINE ACQUITTAL

Demosthenes well says that knowledge begins with definition. Every teacher needs to remember this, and be careful to define his terms. The Bible abounds in big words—-words of tremendous importance—-and we should exercise much care in defining these words.

The book of Job is full of questions. “Canst thou by searching find out God?” (#Job 11:7). “If a man die, shall he live again?” (#Job 14:14). “How can he be clean that is born of woman?” (#Job 25:4). “How should man be just with God?” (#Job 9:2). And this last question is repeated in #Job 25:4 “How then can man be justified with God?” This last question is to have our attention in this article. Let us fix the question in our mind: How can rebellious man, who has tried to dethrone the God of all the earth, find acquittal with God?

A man was once asked if he would not like to be saved. He replied: “Yes, but I do not see how God can save me without doing wrong.” This man was a thinker. He went on to say that he had sinned: that God’s word declares the wages of sin to be death, and that as a sinner, he must receive what he had earned. He confessed that he deserved to be punished, and could not see how God could remain just without punishing him for his sins. Job’s question was this man’s question.

There were no questions until sin entered the world. Eve was deceived into thinking that the forbidden fruit would make one wise and thus resolve all future questions. But this attempt to become wise resulted in separation from God with resultant darkness in the face of innumerable questions. Adam and Eve had been walking by faith—by faith in what God had said—but in disobedience they embarked upon a career of walking by sight, which means to believe what one sees. Eve saw that the fruit of the forbidden tree was good for food, and pleasant to the eyes. Now in salvation, the sinner is restored to the principle of walking by faith, which means to believe what God says. “The just shall live by faith” (#Heb 10:38). “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (#Ro 10:17). If sin reigned by bringing questions into the world, then grace reigns by giving answers to these questions. How can man the sinner be acquitted before the Holy and righteous God? This is a big question, but there is a blessed and infallible answer found in the Bible. We will consider:

THE NATURE OF JUSTIFICATION, OR WHAT JUSTIFICATION IS

Justification is that particular aspect of salvation which consists of deliverance from the guilt and penalty of sin. It is the legal aspect of salvation in which one has right standing before God as Lawgiver. So far as guilt and condemnation are concerned, the believer is as perfect as if he had never sinned. Paul challenges the whole universe to lay anything to the charge of God’s elect “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth” (#Ro 8:33). At Antioch in Pisidia, the apostle preached the crucified and risen Christ, saying, “And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (#Ac 13:39).

Justification is a forensic or law term. It does not refer to any inward work of grace as regeneration does. It has nothing to do with moral improvement, but with judicial standing. It means acquittal, vindication, acceptance before a judgment seat. The Council of Trent (1547) gives the Roman Catholic view of justification, in which the term is defined as “not the mere remission of sins but also sanctification and renovation of the inner man.” But such a definition confounds justification with regeneration and sanctification, other aspects of salvation.

Take the word in its every day use, and it will be obvious that it has nothing to do with improvement of character or moral change. To justify one’s views does not mean to change them or to correct them but rather to vindicate them. To justify a course of conduct does not mean a change of conduct, but the vindication of what one has done. To justify a friend does not imply any change in your friend, but the vindication of him before some judgment seat, it may be, the bar of public opinion.

Take a clear illustration from Scripture: “If there be a controversy between men, and they come into judgment, that the judges may judge them, then they shall justify the righteous and condemn the wicked” (#De 25:1). Here it is plain that no moral improvement is implied. The judges were not to make anybody better, but to declare who was right in the eyes of the law. A human court or judge can only maintain justice by justifying the innocent, but God maintains justice and magnifies grace by justifying the ungodly: “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (#Ro 4:5). There are no innocent people for God to justify, for all have sinned. The next question is that concerning the author of salvation.

THE AUTHOR OF JUSTIFICATION, OR WHO IS THE JUSTIFIER?

This question finds explicit answer in #Ro 8:33: “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.” There is no salvation through self-justification. In #Lu 10:29 “But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?,” we are told of a certain lawyer who was willing to justify himself, but he was not saved thereby. Paul said, that even though he might not have anything against himself, he would not thereby be justified, for it is the Lord who judges “For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord” (#1Co 4:4). There were Pharisees who justified themselves before men, but that did not mean salvation. To be justified before God one must be justified by God. One might have a clean bill of moral health from his friends and neighbours, but to be saved he must be pronounced righteous by God. God Himself must pronounce the acquittal, else we stand condemned before His righteous law. One’s conscience may not condemn, but the question of guilt and penalty is not left to the conscience. Nobody’s conscience would consign him to hell. It is not the human conscience but a holy God who must first be satisfied before there can be justification. This leads on to another question:

THE SOURCE OF JUSTIFICATION, OR WHAT CAUSES GOD TO JUSTIFY THE UNGODLY?

The grand answer to this question is found in #Ro 3:24: “Being justified freely by his grace.” The adverb “freely” means “Without any cause or reason in the sinner.” It is the same word used in #Joh 15:25, where Christ says, “They hated me without a cause.” There was nothing in Christ to merit the hatred of men, and there is nothing in any sinner to cause God to justify him; the cause is in God Himself. It is not good in the sinner but grace in God that moves Him to justify. In #Ro 11:6, the apostle says, “And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.” To mix anything of human merit with divine grace is to destroy grace. It is either all of grace or none of grace. There is no conjunction joining anything with grace as the source or cause of justification. And yet, men dare to mix something of man with the grace of God as the moving cause of justification. This is to divide the honour and praise of salvation between the sinner and the Saviour, between men and God. Men may do that here on earth, but in heaven all honour and praise are ascribed to God. And this calls for still another question:

THE JUST BASIS, OR MERITORIOUS GROUND OF JUSTIFICATION

On what ground can God justify the ungodly and yet remain just? It is on the ground of blood atonement, “Through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (#Ro 3:24). “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (#Eph 1:7). “Much more then, being justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (#Ro 5:9). “Christ and Him crucified” is the only righteous ground for the justification of any sinner. And there is no “AND” anywhere in the Bible connecting anything with His blood as the just basis of justification.

The only way God can justify a sinner without doing wrong is to charge the sinners’ sins to Christ and credit Christ’s obedience to the sinner’s account. This is called imputed righteousness, or the righteousness of God. It is the righteousness Christ wrought out on the cross when He was obedient unto death. God justifies the penitent believer on the ground of the obedience of his Surety and Substitute, Jesus Christ. Obedience is always necessary to righteousness. And as the sinner has no record of obedience, he is therefore unrighteous on his own record. If the sinner is to become righteous before God, it must be by the obedience of Christ. Whose obedience is reckoned to the sinners’ account. The sinner is saved by obedience, but it is by the obedience of “Christ, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (#1Co 1:30).

Let us remember that the Lord Jesus came to this world as a public or representative person. He was God before He became man, and as God He had no personal obligations to the law except to enforce it as Lawgiver. He Who gave the law was made under the law for the purpose of redeeming them that were under law, that we might be adopted as sons of God “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (#Ga 4:5). Having no personal obligations, Christ could assume the obligations of a Surety. A surety is one who assumes all the legal responsibilities of the principal—-of the one who contracted the debt. As the Surety for His people, it was Christ’s duty to die. He himself said that He ought to have died. After His death and resurrection, He joined Himself to the two as they walked to Emmaus, and said to them: “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things?” (#Lu 24:26). It was in grace that He took upon Himself suretyship engagements, but when He did, He was duty bound to die for sinners. Even yet, we are not through with questions relating to justification. Let us consider:

THE WAY OF JUSTIFICATION, OR WHAT THE SINNER MUST DO TO BE JUSTIFIED

The sinner is justified by faith and by faith alone. “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (#Ro 3:28). “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God,” (#Ro 5:1). “It is of faith that it might be by grace” (#Ro 4:16). To add anything to faith on the sinner’s part is to add something to grace on God’s part. And since faith looks to Christ for salvation, to add anything to faith would be the same as adding something to Christ. Perish the thought! He must have all the glory.

Saving faith is much more than the mere assent of the mind to gospel truth, or to the acknowledgment of gospel facts. Trust in, or dependence upon Christ for salvation is a necessary element in saving faith. I believe in George Washington, that is, my mind acknowledges certain facts about him but it has never occurred to me to trust him for salvation. This might be termed historical faith—-the kind of faith nearly every one has in God and Jesus Christ. But a necessary element in saving faith is reliance or trust.

“Not saved are we by trying
From self can come no aid;
‘Tis on the blood relying,
Once for our ransom paid;
‘Tis looking unto Jesus,
The holy One and Just;
Tis His great work that saves us,
It is not try, but trust.

“No deeds of ours are needed
To make Christ’s merit more,
No frames of mind, or feelings,
Can add to His great store;
‘Tis simply to receive Him,
The holy One and Just,
‘Tis only to believe Him
It is not try, but trust.”

The virtue of faith lies in the worth of its object. Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection, is the only object of saving trust. Faith, however strong, in any other object cannot justify. This makes faith a thing as different as possible from merit. Richard Hooker says: “God doth justify the believing man, yet not for the worthiness of his belief, but for the worthiness of Him which is believed.” It does not make a beggar worthy of food to take it from the hand of his benefactor. Nor does it make a sinner worthy of salvation to receive it as a gift from Jesus Christ. It rather implies his unworthiness. The sinner is justly charged, but freely forgiven. It is not our faith, as a thing of merit, that is accounted for righteousness, but Christ the object of faith. The Lord Himself is our righteousness. We are not saved on account of our faith; we are saved on account of Christ. We are forgiven for Christ’s sake. We must not trust our faith, but Him. And now in closing, there is a final question.

THE EVIDENCES OF JUSTIFICATION, OR WHAT ONE DOES TO PROVE HIS FAITH

We are justified evidentially by works, and by works alone. The only evidences of saving faith are our works. And this includes baptism as a work of righteousness. Any man who claims to be saved and refuses to be baptized, when properly taught the significance of baptism, has a mark against him, in my judgment. We are saved by faith alone, but not by faith that is alone, for faith without works is dead. The man who has saving faith also received a holy disposition in the new birth—-a disposition or nature that seeks to please God. Saul’s first question after his conversion was, “Lord what wilt thou have me to do?” (#Ac 9:6). Saving faith works by love. In the new birth there were a triplet of graces brought into being: faith, hope, and love—-and these are inseparable.

There is no real difference between Paul and James on the subject of justification. They complement, but do not contradict each other. They deal with different classes in their treatment of justification. Paul writes about the justification of a sinner; James writes about the justification of a saint. Both of them illustrate their teaching by the same person: Abraham. Paul takes Abraham as a sinner and writes about justification in the sense of salvation; James takes Abraham, after he had been saved many years, and shows that he was justified by works when he offered up Isaac. Paul writes about God receiving a sinner; James writes about God approving a saint. Paul speaks of justification of persons; James speaks of justification of profession. One’s profession of faith is justified by his works. James challenges the faith of the man who says he has faith, but has no works—-can faith, the faith he talks about, save him? Every saved person is justified, both by faith and also by works. As an alien sinner, he is justified by faith in the blood of Christ; as a professing believer, he is justified again and again by his works. There is no way to show our faith except by our works. The saved man is one who is depending upon Christ alone for salvation and who, out of love, is daily seeking to please Him. The saved man is poor in spirit, mourning over his sins, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and longing to be perfectly whole. The saved man anticipates perfection, but does not claim it. And may both writer and reader be able to join Paul in saying, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (#2Ti 1:12).

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 2

The Wednesday Word: Faith and our Verdict from God

September 16, 2015 Leave a comment

When Justification becomes ours, we enjoy acquittal in the courtroom of Heaven. We are declared not guilty. This is much greater than receiving a pardon. When a person is pardoned, the Judge is saying, “You did the crime but I forgive you.” That, however, falls far short of Justification for in Justification, the Judge says, “You are not guilty, you did not commit the crime.” Unfortunately, this distinction is not always pressed home, especially in many of our old hymns. We sing, “I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me; And purchased my pardon when nailed to the tree. “ But, beautiful as the Hymn is, Jesus did much more than purchase our pardon, He purchased our acquittal!

It is interesting to note that, in the KJV version of the Bible there is no New Testament mention of the word pardon. It is an entirely Old Testament concept. Yet there are those who will fight tooth and nail to maintain the position that we are pardoned by the work of the cross.Justification we say again is much greater than pardon, it is full and entire acquittal! In fact, to be justified is the direct opposite of being condemned. A condemned man can be pardoned, but his pardon does not clear him of the guilt of having committed his crimes. However, for the believer, there is no condemnation, that is, there is no declaration by the court of Heaven that we are guilty.

Faith takes a hold of this new verdict and makes it our own. Faith believes Heaven’s legal opinion. Understanding the declaration of Heaven’s court, the believer will not look to any quality within himself to rest upon. We, as believers, can now stand before God, in Jesus Christ, by faith plus nothing. Faith grasps that it is Christ for us, not Christ “in us” which saves us. We are saved by us being “in Christ” not by Christ being in us. Our justification is through the finished work of one man and one man alone…The Lord Jesus Christ. We, therefore, must renounce all claims of merit on our behalf and rest all our confidence in Christ and His good works for us. Horatius Bonar, in his masterpiece on Justification, The Everlasting Righteousness tells us,

“Christ in us, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27), is a well-known and blessed truth; but Christ IN US, our justification, is a ruinous error, leading man away from a crucified Christ-a Christ crucified FOR US. Christ for us is one truth; Christ in us is quite another. The mingling of these two together, or the transposition of them, is the nullifying of Substitute. Let it be granted that Christ in us is the source of holiness and fruitfulness the one finished work of the (John 15:4); but let it never be overlooked that first of all there be Christ FOR US, as our propitiation, our justification, our righteousness. The risen Christ in us, our justification, is a modern theory which subverts the cross. Washing, pardoning, reconciling, justifying, all come from the one work of the cross, not from resurrection. The dying Christ completed the work for us from which all the above benefits flow. The risen Christ but sealed and applied what, three days before, He had done once for all.

(The Everlasting Righteousness: Cpt 7, Not Faith But Christ)

Indeed, Bonar is correct, looking to Christ in us for Justification is a disastrous and damaging error yet Colossians 1:27 does speak of “Christ in you the hope of glory”. However, the ‘you’ in this verse in the Greek is plural thus this verse refers to Christ in the midst of His Church. And of course, He is in each member of His church, but the fact that He is ‘in us’ is not our justification and right standing before God. This passage, in Colossians 1:27, is not dealing with justification, but rather with the future state of the believer, his resurrection and the return of the Lord. Paul has already spoken to them of their hope (future) which is laid up in heaven (verse 5) and of the hope of the Gospel (future) (verse 23). The Spirit of God will always lift the eyes of the believer away from himself and his experience and fix his gaze upon Christ, His accomplishments and our future destiny in Him.

Attributing a righteousness “in us” as being the ground of Salvation was one of the great errors of the Roman Communion and one which the Reformers fought with all the resources at their disposal. Yet today there are many sincere believers, in Bible believing churches, caught up in and promoting this same ruinous error.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

(I would suggest that for further reading on this, see the use of the word ‘hope’ in the New Testament see Acts 2:26-27, Acts 23:6, Acts 24:15. Alsosee, Romans 8:20,23-24, 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 1 Thess. 4:13-14, 1 Tim. 1:1, Titus 2:13, 1 Peter 1:3-4, 1 John 3:2-3). “Hope” in these verses points to the eschaton and the final consummation of God’s redemptive acts at the end of the age).

The Wednesday Word: How to receive the benefits of the Blood!

March 18, 2015 1 comment

I John 1:7 tells us, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.” This is good news! The Father, in choosing the cleansing agent for our sins, chose the very best He had … the blood of His own Son. By that same blood, we have been cleansed from the entire record our sins (Revelation 1:5).

By the blood of Christ, the sin stain has been erased, and its tortured memory destroyed. Thus Hebrews 9:13 promises us, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, …. purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

It is only by the blood of our Lord that the penalty of our sin is removed. Jesus actually died on the cross, the Just for the unjust that he might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). But how do we come into contact with the saving benefits of that cleansing blood? How do we obtain profit from His death? Romans 6:3 tells us how. There we read; “… do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” When a person is baptized into our Lord’s death, it is there that he comes into contact with the benefits and blessings purchased by the blood of Christ.

Now here’s where we need to be careful. Some groups erroneously teach that Water Baptism is the means by which the benefits of Christ’s death are obtained. Accordingly, it is through baptism, by their church, that they receive forgiveness of sins. They cite the instruction given to Paul in Acts 22:16, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins,” They totally ignore, however, that Paul had already, by this stage,

1} Given evidence of his conversion and regeneration by calling Jesus Lord (Acts 22:10).
2} Spent time in prayer (Acts 9:11).
3} Had been filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 9:17-18).

They claim that, although it is the blood of Christ that washes away sins, the only way to access the effects of the blood is by their baptism. If these scalawags are to be believed, we need to stop singing “There’s Power in the Blood” and start singing “There’s Power in the Tub.” Some of these people say, ‘If you don’t get baptized you’ll go to Hell.’ How interesting! What then about people who get saved in the Sahara or the Antarctic? Houston we have a problem!

So, how then are the benefits of Christ’s death to become ours? How are we baptized into Christ? The answer is simple, it is by faith alone! And where do we get this faith? It is the free and generous gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Have you trusted Christ alone to remove your sins? If you have, you are baptized into Christ. If you haven’t, then you are carrying every sin that you have ever committed. When you die, there’s nothing left for you but the Judgment and the Lake of Fire. You may have been baptized in a church, but if as a lost hell-deserving sinner you have not trusted Christ alone you are not baptized into Christ.

If you have not trusted in Christ alone, then you are still in your sins. The shed blood of Christ is of no benefit to you! Why don’t you, right now, call on the Lord and ask him to save you. Trust Him, right now, and receive Him and His Salvation for yourself. Our God is wonderfully gracious. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. He will save you to the uttermost.

And that is the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

Chapter 35-Justification

August 27, 2014 2 comments

Justification

No doctrine of Scripture is more important than that of justification. It involves the whole method of the salvation of sinners. It is vitally connected with all other fundamental doctrines. A correct conception of it cannot exist when other truths are ignored, or only partially received. The opinions held upon this point control in great part the theological views in general of all Christian individuals and parties. The importance of a correct knowledge of what God has taught on this subject cannot therefore be exaggerated.

The discussion of this doctrine will be best presented by a definition of the word Justification, accompanied by proof of the several statements involved in that definition.

Justification is a judicial act of God, by which, on account of the meritorious work of Christ, imputed to a sinner and received by him through that faith which vitally unites him to his substitute and Saviour, God declares that sinner to be free from the demands of the law, and entitled to the rewards due to the obedience of that substitute.

I. It is a Judicial Act of God.

That God is its author is emphatically declared by Paul in Rom. 8:33; “It is God that justifieth.” As he is the lawgiver and judge so must he also be the justifier.

The act is not one of sovereignty, as is election, because he does not justify merely of good pleasure, but because the demands of the law have been met. Yet his act is free, and of grace, because it is of his own choice that he accepts a substitute, and because Christ and his meritorious work have been graciously secured and given by God himself. See Rom. 3:24.

The virtue of the act consists in its being his judicial act. Any one might perceive or declare the demands of the law to be satisfied upon knowledge of that fact. Any one might proclaim that the rewards of Christ’s merit have been secured. But, whether declared of the value and efficacy of Christ’s work in itself or of its application to an individual, such a declaration would not be justification. It only becomes so when uttered by God in his capacity as Judge. All others could only recognize or declare the fact. The declaration of the judge sets the sinner free from all demands of the law, and confers upon him all the blessings appertaining to this new condition.

This judicial act of justification is made necessary because the law has been broken. One who has completely fulfilled the law needs not to be justified. His position before the law is that of one personally just or righteous; not of one that is justified, or declared righteous, or treated as such, though not personally so. He may be said to be justified, because recognized or treated as such, though the ground of such action is that he is personally just. Thus the term “justified” is properly applied to the doers of the law, and that of “just” denied to the mere hearers of the law in Rom. 2:13. But while the terms may thus be used of one personally just, he, nevertheless, needs no such justification, because his righteousness is not questionable. His position, like that of those who fully obey human laws, is recognized without any special act affirming it.

Hence it is that the Scriptures so commonly use the word “just,” dikaios, of one who is, in some one or in all respects, perfectly conformed to the law by his own acts, and who is, to that extent, therefore, personally holy, applying the term not to men only or even to Christ, who was made under the law, but also to God himself. See Matt. 1:19; 5:45; 9:13; Luke 23:50; Acts 3:14; 7:52; 22:14; Rom. 3:26. This usage has given rise to the opinion of some that justification is not simply a judicial act, but that it involves holiness in the one justified, and in the case of justified sinners an infusion of holiness in the act of justification.

But that this is an error is obvious,–

1. From the fact that justification is presented as the opposite of condemnation (Rom. 8:33, 34), and not of sinfulness. Condemnation is never spoken of as the infusion of a corrupted nature, and consequently justification would not involve that of a holy nature.

2. That the justified are not declared in Scripture to be free from sin or possessed of holy natures, but are represented as still struggling against sin, and not only sin which arises from outward temptations, but that proceeding from the motions of sin within.

3. The change of nature which causes that of character is called in the Scriptures “regeneration,” and differs essentially from justification. The former is the special work of the Holy Spirit. The latter is the act of God the Father. That is an effect wrought inwardly, which develops itself in a continuous and progressive process which the Scriptures call sanctification. If justification includes an infused righteousness as the opposite of sinfulness, then it includes sanctification, and there is no ground for the scriptural distinction between them.

4. The usage of other words in connection with justification shows it to be a forensic act. The term “righteousness,” dikaiosune, which, like “righteous,” dikaios, is used in connection with personal righteousness, as of God in Acts 17:31, and of Christ “the Faithful and True,” Rev. 19:11, and of the martyrs in Heb. 11:33, and of human obedience to the law in Rom. 10:3, 5; Phil. 3:6, 9, is, in connection with God’s justification of sinners, applied, though chiefly by the Apostle Paul, to “the righteousness which God bestows or accepts,” and which is imputed to the sinner or reckoned to his account.

Another term, dikaiosis, signifies “the act or process of declaring righteous,” viz., justification.

The word dikaioma, which means “that which is declared righteous,” and hence a statute or command, as something which the law of God declares to be a righteous requirement, is used in connection with justification for “the deed by which one declares another righteous, and is partially equivalent to dikaiosis.”

The principal word which is used for expressing the nature of God’s action in justification is dikaioo, “to justify,” which means everywhere “to declare righteous,” “to regard and represent as righteous,” and not “to make righteous” in the sense of conferring personal righteousness.

This usage of terms shows plainly that justification is a judicial act of God, in which he does not confer holiness, but only declares the relation occupied to the law by the one who is in Christ.

 

II. The Ground of this Justification

It is manifest from what has already been said that the justification of the sinner must depend on something not personally his own. The Scriptures teach that it is due not to his own good works but to the meritorious work of Christ which is imputed to him, or put to his account. 

1. They teach us negatively that it is not due to his own good works.

(1.) They expressly deny that justification can be by the works of the law. Rom. 3:20; Gal. 3:11; Eph. 2:9.

(2.) They assert that, could it thus have been attained, Christ’s death has been useless. Gal. 2:21; 5:4.

(3.) Sinfulness is declared to be the condition of every man, which excludes the possibility of works untainted by sin. Rom. 3:10.

(4.) The law is said to demand such complete obedience that “whosoever shall keep the whole law and stumble in one point, he is become guilty of all.” James 2:10.

(5.) We are told that “if there had been a law given which could make alive, verily, righteousness would have been of the law.” Gal. 3:21.

(6.) It is likewise stated as necessary to the certainty of attaining salvation that “it is of faith that it may be according to grace.” Rom. 4:16.

These statements show that, not only are men not saved by works alone, but not even by works combined with grace. Justification cannot arise, therefore, from the good works of men. Not even has its condition been so modified that a partial obedience can be accepted, whether this stands alone or is supplemented by, or is supplementary to the merits of Christ. Something entirely outside of man must constitute the basis of justification.

2. The word of God declares this outside something to be the meritorious work of Christ.

(1.) In general

(a) By declaring that the righteousness of God is connected with our relations to, or belief in Christ. Rom. 3:22, 26; 5:1; 10:4; 1 Cor. 1:30.

(b) By stating that redemption is in Christ Jesus. Rom. 3:24.

(c) By setting him forth as the only foundation of salvation.

(d) By asserting salvation to be found only in Christ. Acts 4:12.

(e) By asserting a definite relation between our sin and Christ, and his righteousness and ourselves. 2 Cor. 5:21.

2. More specifically by connecting the salvation and justification of man with Christ’s merits.

This may be shown.

(a) In connection with his sufferings, or what is usually called his passive obedience.

1. Christ is presented as “the Lamb of God,” John 1:29, in evident allusion to the sacrificial offerings of the olden days, and Paul speaks of him as one “whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, by his blood.” Rom. 3:25.

2. He is presented as one who has died for us. Rom. 5:6, 8; 8:34; 14:15; 1 Cor. 8:11; 2 Cor. 5:14, 15; 1 Thess. 5:10; and specifically as having died for our sins. 1 Cor. 15:3.

3. We are said to be justified by his blood (Rom. 5:9), and reconciled by his death (Rom. 5:10), and by his cross (Eph. 2:16).

(b) Our justification is due also to the active obedience of Christ, and not to passive obedience only.

1. Righteousness involves character, conduct and action, even more than suffering endured as penalty. The sinlessness of Christ is therefore plainly taught, and especially in connection with imputation. 2 Cor. 5:21.

2. The gracious salvation he brings is said to establish the law.

3. He assures us, that he came to fulfil the law. Matt. 5:17.

4. The obedience of Christ is not only contrasted with the disobedience of Adam, but is declared to be the means by which many shall be made righteous. Rom. 5:19.

It thus appears, that the ground of justification is the whole meritorious work of Christ. Not his sufferings and death only, but his obedience to, and conformity with the divine law are involved in the justification, which is attained by the believer. The question is here sometimes asked, how the active obedience of Christ can avail to us, when he was himself a man and under the law, and owed obedience personally on his own behalf. The answer to this is twofold, in each case depending upon the doctrine of the incarnation of the Son of God. On the one hand, the position was one voluntarily assumed by the Son of God. He was under no obligation to become man. He was not, and could not be made man without his own consent. In thus voluntarily coming under the law, his obedience would have merit to secure all the blessings connected with the covenant, under which he assumed such relations. But besides this, the fulfillment of the law would not simply be that fulfillment due by a mere man, which is all the law could demand of him on his own behalf, so that the merit secured is that due to the Son of God, thus as man rendering obedience to the law. That merit is immeasurable and is available for all for whom he was the substitute.

 

III. The Imputation

This meritorious work of Christ, called in the Scriptures “the righteousness of God,” is imputed by God to those whom he justifies, as the ground or cause of their justification. It is reckoned to their account. They are treated as though they had themselves done that which Christ has done for them.

This imputation is in accordance with the action of God throughout the economy of human affairs. Adam as the representative of man sinned, and his sin has been imputed to all of his descendants, and they are treated as though personally sinners. Christ stood also as the representative of his people and their sins were imputed to him and he was treated as though personally a sinner. Likewise his righteousness is imputed to them, and they are treated as though personally righteous.

In each of these cases there is, however, no such transfer as makes one personally what he is representatively. It is not the imputed sin of Adam which makes men personally sinners. The corrupted nature is one of the natural consequences of that sin, and is a punishment of it. So the imputation of our sin to Christ did not make him personally a sinner. He was still of himself “the holy and righteous one.” In like manner, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness does not make man holy and righteous personally. In each of these cases it is only relation to the law which is expressed.

 

IV. The Relation of Faith to Justification

It is not every sinner that is justified. It is the believer in Jesus. An important inquiry, therefore, is as to the relation of faith to justification. The Scriptures teach that faith is reckoned for righteousness. Rom. 4:5, 9.

By this is not meant, that faith is accepted in the place of righteousness as the cause of justification, for, as we have seen, that place is occupied by the meritorious work of Christ. Nor is it meant, that the righteousness of God has so lowered the law, that something less than obedience can be accepted by him as a full satisfaction of that law; because the demands of the law have not been lowered but have been completely fulfilled by Christ. Besides this would be to make of faith a work, by which salvation is secured, and the Scriptures deny that it has this character. Rom. 4:16. “We are never said to be justified, dia pistin, on account of faith, but only dia pisteos, through faith, or ek pisteos, of faith, eis pistin, unto faith, and epi te pistei, by faith. The fact that faith is counted for righteousness shows, that in itself it is not righteousness and has no merit, but it only so “reckoned on the ground of something outside of itself, viz.: the saving work of Christ.”

It is evidently so reckoned, because by faith the sinner appropriates to himself the work of Christ, and becomes vitally united with him. Faith may, therefore, be regarded as the condition upon which justification is bestowed upon those to whom Christ is presented as a Saviour, to be received and rested upon for salvation. “Faith,” says Dr. Charles Hodge, “is the condition of justification. That is, so far as adults are concerned, God does not impute the righteousness of Christ to the sinner, until and unless he (through grace) receives and rests on Christ alone for salvation.” Sys. Theol. Vol. 3, p. 118. It is a condition which has in it no merit in itself, but which only seizes upon merit in another. It is also an act of the sinner, to which he is graciously disposed and led by God himself through the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

V. The Relation of Works to Justification

We have already seen that works cannot enter meritoriously into justification as its procuring cause. But the Scriptures evidently associate works in some manner with justification. Paul himself says that “love is the fulfillment of the law,” Rom. 13:10, and declares that that which avails in Christ Jesus is “faith working through love,” and that “the whole law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Gal. 5:6, 14. There is here an evident correspondence with, if not allusion to, the frequent teachings of our Lord, and especially to his answer to the Pharisee about the great commandment of the law. Matt. 22:34-40.

The teaching of the apostle James, is not, therefore, to be held to be opposed to the other Scriptures when he speaks of a justification by works. His language is very strong. He says that “faith apart from works is dead.” He asks, “was not Abraham, our father, justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac, his son, upon the altar?” He inquires, “thou seest that faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect,” and especially declares, “ye see how that by works a man is justified and not by faith only.” James 2:20, 21, 22, 24.

What then is the relation of works to justification?

1. Certainly not as a procuring cause, or a meritorious ground. The faith with which James associates works, and upon a level with which he seems to place them, does not itself occupy this position.

2. The works are not such as precede justification or are contemporaneous with it, and hence cannot be a cause, nor even a condition such as we have seen faith to be. Even in the case of Abraham the justifying work referred to occurred long after the justification which he attained by faith. Compare Rom. 4:9-11; Heb. 11:8; Gen. 15:6; 17:1-27; 22:1-19.

3. The works are referred to as means of manifesting as well the faith as the justification claimed to be by faith. James 2:18.

4. The apostle’s object is to deny the living character of any faith which has not wrought with works and has not been perfected through works.

It is thus evident that works occupy the position of subsequent, not antecedent, accompaniments of justification. They manifest that justification has taken place, because they are invariable consequence. They do this, however, not before man only, but God also, and consequently he, as well as man, perceives them, and because of them the believer performing these good works is justified before God. But such justification is not that actual justification which takes place in connection with faith, which is the judicial act of God declaring the relation of the believer to the law, but that declarative or manifesting justification, which cannot exist except as the result of the actual justification, but which is so inseparably connected with the latter that by its presence, or absence, the existence or non-existence of justification is distinctly established.

 

VI. The Benefits Included in Justification

The benefits conferred by justification are many.

1. Freedom from the condemnation of the law. This includes:

(1) Forgiveness of all sin. Not for the past only, but throughout the Christian’s life.

(2) Discharge from his relation to the law as a rule of bondage, for which is now exchanged his service to it in the newness of the spirit. Rom. 7:6.

(3) Peace with God,–assured peace,–because dependent on the merits of Christ and not those of himself.

These and all other blessings which may be included under the general idea of pardon are necessary results of justification.

2. But justification confers righteousness as well as pardon. Not only are sins remitted but men are made partakers of the righteousness procured by Christ which is imputed to them. They are thus recognized before the law as righteous persons, not simply as persons pardoned for breaking the law, but as those who are rewarded for having fulfilled all its demands.

3. But there are other blessings which arise from the relation to Christ of those whom God justifies. That relation was shown in the chapter on Faith. It is a vital and spiritual as well as a legal and federal union between Christ and his people. By virtue of this they are identified with him in his relation to God as their Representative and Covenant Head, and are made partakers of all the blessings which he has obtained as an inheritance. It is thus that they are adopted into the family of God and become his sons and daughters; thus are they sanctified by the Holy Spirit partly in this life, and progressively advance until complete holiness shall be theirs in Heaven. Thus also do they persevere in the divine life, being preserved or kept by God through faith unto complete salvation. By the same act of faith which is the condition of justification is secured by those united to Christ, the privilege of complete participation in the rewards of their federal head. They shall be heirs with him, shall reign with him, shall be partakers of his glory. No imagination can compass the reward which shall be theirs together with Christ. The Scriptures seem to teach that whatever Christ shall be or possess in his human nature they also shall be and possess.

 

VII. The Time of Justification

We may finally inquire into the time at which justification occurs.

1. It does not occur periodically but is a single act, and not one repeated with reference to new sins. This arises from its nature as an act of God declaring the relation of the believer to the law and from the ground of that act, the never failing merits of Christ. The pardon which the Christian seeks of God is that of a child for offences against a father’s love, and not of a culprit before an avenging judge. The sufferings which Christians endure are not avenging punishments for sin, but chastisements from a Father who chastises those whom he loves and scourges those whom he receives.

2. It is an instantaneous and not a continuing work as is sanctification. It is God’s act declaring the sinner’s relation to the law. That sinner is under condemnation until justified. As soon as justified his condemnation ceases. He cannot be partly condemned and partly justified. He is under condemnation until brought into that condition which secures his justification. When that moment comes God must justify.

3. But when is that moment? The Scriptures teach that it is when man believes. It is in the moment of trust in a personal Saviour.
It was not at the time that Christ finished his work and laid the foundation of justification in his merits and satisfaction. By these justification was secured but not bestowed. It was not in Eternity as is Election by which the subjects of the future justification were chosen. It is at the moment of belief when faith, which is its condition, is experienced. Then is consummated that which was purposed in eternity and which was made possible and certain by the work of Christ. The hour of faith was even the period of justification before the incarnation of Christ because of the faith which rested personally upon him through the promises of God, and the acceptance by God of the meritorious work of Christ as though already existing because of the absolute certainty that it would be performed.

 

Rev. James Petigru Boyce, D. D., LL. D.,–Abstract of Systematic Theology–First published in 1887

The Wednesday Word: The Country Preacher

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A rural pastor and I were once talking about Justification by Faith. I made the point that the righteousness which presents us as acceptable before God is the very righteousness of Christ Himself imputed to us and not infused. The pastor responded by agreeing that what I was saying was all well and good, but he went on to say that he had a country parish and his flock would want to hear something more practical and useful than the difference between infused and imputed righteousness.

The dear man was terribly, terribly wrong. The most practical truth which can be taught to any congregation is the grand truth of Justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone! In this way, they will be delivered from the endless task of looking for some internal righteousness to prove to themselves that they will eventually gain heaven.

The reason I contend this point is that the pronounced burning question which we all need to answer is, “How does sinful man obtain right standing before the all holy God.” A congregation that is not continually exposed to gospel truth is doomed to legalistic ignorance on this vital point.

“Of course,” says one, “The answer to your question is simple. To obtain right standing before God, we need to be born again. And to get born again, we simply pray something along these lines, Lord Jesus I am a sinner, come into my heart and wash away my sins.”

 

Alas, this kind of teaching is painfully and wickedly wrong on so many levels. Of course, we need to be born again; indeed there is no such thing as a non-born again Christian. However, Christ doesn’t wash away sins when He comes, by His Spirit, into the heart. Where does the Bible teach that? No indeed, sins were dealt with at Calvary, 2000 years ago (Hebrews 10:12-14). Sins were taken away by the Lamb of God. We were cleansed, we were redeemed by a past historical event. Faith (the instrumental cause of Justification) takes hold of that which has been accomplished and makes it our own. We were not cleansed and redeemed by asking Jesus into our heart. If asking Jesus into our heart is the ground (the formal cause) of our Justification, then we are depending on a prayer we have prayed for our salvation. In other words, we believe in salvation by works.

The gospel truth informs us that we are saved by Jesus + nothing.

 

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Let’s imagine that you are lying on your death bed. The doctor has shaken his head and with a sympathetic voice has informed your family that death will come within the hour. You are facing eternity! What or better yet, Whom will you trust? Will you trust that you have asked Jesus into your heart? That’s a rubber crutch! Will you trust that since you prayed that prayer, your life has changed? Another rubber crutch! Or will you trust that 2000 years ago, the eternal Word became flesh, lived died and rose again on your behalf? Will you trust that He has furnished a perfect righteousness for you? Will you rest on Him and Him alone? Will you trust that mercy and grace have burst forth on the sinner in Christ Jesus?

 

He alone is our only hope for…..

Christ Himself is our Mercy Seat.

Christ Himself is our Wrath Offering.

Christ Himself is our Reconciliation.

Christ Himself is our Perfection.

Christ Himself is our Acceptance.

Christ Himself is our Righteousness.

 

We rejoice to hear this good news. However, we are, by nature, legalists who continually look within ourselves for something that we can present before God as our qualification for heaven. We quickly forget the grand objective truths of the good news. That’s one of the many reasons why we need to be continually exposed to the gospel.

In spite of what the country pastor told me, the recurrent preaching and teaching of Justification by Grace through Faith is the most practical and helpful message to bring before any congregation.

And that’s the Gospel Truth

Miles McKee

 

Minister of the Gospel

The Grace Centre,

6 Quay Street, New Ross,

County Wexford, Ireland.

http://www.milesmckee.com

 

For free sermons and teachings from Miles McKee http://www.sermonaudio.com/milesmckee

 

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Growing in the Gospel

March 15, 2011 2 comments

Time has not permitted me to write a post on the Gospel this week, so I will share one by Brother Miles Mckee.

Growing in the Gospel

God commands us to believe and rest upon His Son. By believing, we mean that we embrace the perfect qualities, merits and virtues of the Lord Jesus Christ and reckon them as being ours. As William Gurnall said, “Faith has two hands; with one it plucks off its own righteousness and throws it away, with the other it puts on Christ’s.”

Our worst sin, amongst the vast array of sins that compete for that title, is refusing to rest entirely on Christ Jesus as our only righteousness (John 14:1; John 16:9; Jer. 23:6).  Sometimes we forget that we are accepted only because Jesus is accepted in our stead; we are declared righteous solely because our Substitute was righteous in our stead. In spite of this, we all too often walk around in unbelief searching for something within us or for some supposed quality or accomplishment by which we can recommend ourselves to God.

Unbelief is deceptive and delights to dress up in religious clothes. It is full of flattery telling us that, because we have made our effort to serve God, we have now quietly and surely attained a place of acceptance before the Father.  But, this kind of thinking makes God a liar (1 John 5:10).  This reduces the person and work of the Lord Jesus to a non-essential.  When we put stock in our work we have forgotten the words of our Master in Luke 17:10, “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, we are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.”

As we bring the gospel to unbelievers and believers alike we must urge each one to repent and believe exclusively on the Lord Jesus Christ.  We must urge not only the unsaved but also believers to repent of self-sufficiency and exhort them to continue to rest in Christ as their entire righteousness. It is “By one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified” (Heb 10:14).Did you get that? In Christ we are already perfect and sanctified.  In the light of that, what particular righteousness of yours do you feel obliged to add for your acceptance?

Martin Luther said it like this, “Although I am a sinner—yet I despair not, for Jesus Christ who is my Redeemer and my Righteousness liveth. In Him I have no sin.  In Him I have no sting of conscience.  In Him I have no fear of judgment for in Him ‘there is therefore now no condemnation.’”

As we grow in gospel grace we will grow in our understanding that we are, in and of ourselves, ruined and depraved creatures (Jeremiah 17:9) yet we will grasp that our sins have been perfectly purged at the cross and that Christ is now our entire righteousness (1 Cor 1:30).  We recognized this when we first came to Christ (Eph 2:12), but now as we grow in grace we will have an expanded understanding that our hope is not found in any part of our performance. The truth is, our acceptance and righteousness continue to be in Christ alone. We can never improve ourselves into God’s presence and acceptance.  We have an inheritance obtained for us by blood—precious blood—God’s blood.

During the “Killing Days” in Scotland in the late 17th century, when the Covenanters were paying for their faith by death, a young covenanting girl was making her way to the meeting of her church.  On her way she was stopped by a patrol of Red Coats who quizzed her as to where she was going.  She couldn’t come right out and say she was on her way to the banned Covenanting meeting, but in a moment of inspiration she replied, “My elder brother has died and I’m going to my Father’s house for the reading of the will.” They let her through!

The will was read that night and continues to be read as we pour over the pages of scripture. What an inheritance we have, our sins have been transferred to Christ Jesus (Isa 53:6) and His righteousness, worthiness and acceptance has been transferred to us (2 Corinthians 5:21). We are now entirely welcome as adopted children because of Him (Ephesians 1:6). This is old news, but it is new news and it’s very, very good news for us today.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles

Miles McKee Ministries

www.milesmckee.com

Sending Church www.paramountchurch.net

www.thegracechurch.ie

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