Justified by Faith

Justified by Faith

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are justified (made righteous) through faith in Jesus Christ alone—not by works. 

Here’s what the Bible has to say about justification:

. . . knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.  (Gal 2:16)

Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  (Gal 3:24)

. . . and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith . . .  (Phil 3:9)

Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.  (Ac 13:38-39, underscoring added)

Even the faith which we have is a gift from God according to Ephesians 2:8.  So we cannot boast in our faith, because the faith in which we operate is a gift of God.  So, am I saying that good works have no place in the believer’s life?  No!  Of course not, but let us appreciate and thank God for His precious gift of salvation and the justification that is included in it.

Yes, there is a place for good works.  According to Ephesians 2:10, we were created in Christ Jesus to do good works.  Titus 3:8 reminds us to maintain good works because they are good and profitable to all people.

So, in our walk of faith let us recognize that we need to feed and strengthen our faith by reading the Word, and we need to maintain good works, as well.  With such behavior as this, God is well pleased.

Rewarded for Your Works

Rewarded for Your Works

We don’t often think of this, but the Scriptures tell us that the Lord rewards people for their good deeds.  What a kind, generous, and loving God we serve.

For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.  (Mt 16:27)

. . . who “will render to each one according to his deeds” . . . (Rom 2:6)

. . . knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.  (Eph 6:8)

Just think of it:  WHATEVER good that we do for anyone else, the Lord says that we will receive the same from Him.  This is the best source of motivation that anyone could hope for!  It is the promise of a blessed reward.

When you pay for someone’s gas who’s in front of you; when you help an elderly friend by cleaning their home or taking them grocery shopping; or any of the thousands of other kind and good deeds that you could perform—ALL be rewarded.  Don’t worry!  God has no problem with keeping track of each and every one of us, and our good deeds.

The Lord knows the number of hairs on our heads (Mt 10:30; Lk 12:7), and He cares about everything that concerns each one of us.  He is our protector.  (Deut 20:4; Ps 91:7; Heb 13:6) 

The Lord doesn’t forget His promises to us.  He keeps each and every one.  And we can be confident that the Lord will keep this promise of giving us His rewards.  Praise God!

. . . knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.  (Col 3:24)

“I Shall Not Die”

“I Shall Not Die”

Can it ever be the “wrong” thing to say (along with Psalm 118:17), “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.”

First of all, how could agreeing with the Bible be wrong to do?  Some people will say, “Yes, but I knew a brother who confessed that verse but then he passed away, so it was wrong for him to confess that.”  I strongly disagree with this thinking.

Doesn’t the Bible TELL us to hide God’s word in our hearts (memorize it)?  See Deuteronomy 6:6; 11:18; 30:14; Job 22:22; Psalm 19:14. 

Furthermore, doesn’t Romans 10:8 give us specific instructions?

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach) . . .  (Rom 10:8) When the word is in our mouths, it means that we are speaking it out loud.

This passage from the Bible specifically says that God’s word should be in our mouths and in our hearts.  “Yes,” someone might say, “but maybe NOT certain passages of the Word.” 

Again, I cannot agree.  Doesn’t the very foundation of our faith state that when we accept Christ as our personal Savior and Lord that we have received ETERNAL LIFE

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  (Joh 17:3)

. . . that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  (Joh 3:15)

So for any believer, at ANY time in their lives, to declare that “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord” is completely in keeping with their faith and their lifelong testimony. 

It is good to understand and to know that when we graduate into eternity, we shall most certainly be ALIVE, and we shall be “declaring the works of the Lord” forever! 

Thanks to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, believers move from victory to victory.  So, be BOLD and CERTAIN in your faith, brothers and sisters!

Not Perfection but Maturity

Not Perfection but Maturity

Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God . . .   (Heb 6:1)

What does the author of Hebrews 6 want us to understand by the word “perfection” as used in this verse?  The Jamieson, Fausset & Brown (JFB) Commentary on Hebrews 6 says this about it: 

perfection–the matured knowledge of those who are “of full age” ( Heb 5:14 ) in Christian attainments.

In the JFB commentary, “full age” can be understood to mean mature.  Once a person is mature in Christian attainments, what does their life look like to others? 

  • This person is not easily swayed by false or erroneous doctrines; but it’s someone who ministers God’s love and mercy to others. (Eph 4:13-16)
  • Their relationship with the Lord remains steadfast, regardless of the current circumstances of their life. (Col 1:23)
  • A mature Christian doesn’t get anxious over things that they can’t control—especially about events reported in the news. (Ps 112:7)
  • He or she will not allow any circumstance of life to disrupt their faith in God nor their daily spiritual habits of quiet time with the Lord, prayer, and Bible reading. (Act 2:42)
  • They maintain their childlike sense of wonder and trust in God. (Mt 18:3)
  • A mature Christian does not compare themselves with others. (2 Cor 10:12)
  • This is a person who is rooted and grounded in love—the love of God for them and the love of God for other people. (Eph 3:17)

The verse at the top of this article (Heb 6:1) reminds each of us that the Lord doesn’t want us to remain stationary in our Christian walk but that we need to build upon the foundational principles of our faith and to grow in maturity in Christ Jesus.