By Faith Alone?
By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Justification by Faith Alone was the rallying cry of the Reformation. The main point that caused Luther and Calvin to challenge the Catholic Church and it's teachings.
(Acts 13:38-39; Rom.1:17; 3:31- 5:21; II Cor. 5:13-21; Gal. 2:15- 5:1; Phil. 3:4-14; I John 1:9)
This is also the cornerstone of protestant theology that Christ through His work gave us a 'pardon'. This pardon is from the penalty of death through sin, and there is nothing we could ever do to earn this pardon. It is purely by His acceptance of us that we are saved (Eph. 2:8-9). There is nothing that we can add to it, such as good works or clean living. Justification means that God's righteousness is covering us from His wrath and punishment as a blanket! It is like getting a speeding ticket; going to court and having the judge declare you innocent, even though you were speeding. To God you are clean, covered by what Christ has done for you. This creates our Reconciliation to God, that we were in perfect relationship to Him before the fall, and now we are again in harmony.
God has a righteous basis for our justification through the sacrifice of His Son, for our sins. Grace was not cheap for God. Christ paid a great debt by pleasing God's wrath, both in metaphysical pain and human pain of the crucifixion (Lev. 16; Psalm 103:12). Our independence is a slap in His face, and He can do nothing in us until it is removed (John 3:5)! Let us pray to be cleansed by the atoning death of our Savior, who bore our punishment and lived out the law on our behalf.
Some Jews take issue with this saying it is umbilical that God cannot over rule His own law sighting Duet. 25:1 and Prov. 17:15; however they do not realize that Jesus Himself is the righteous One and He lived a perfect life in our place, as a designated hitter.
The Catholic Church taught that justification was a process through the sacraments and church, and that faith contributed to it as well as works. The reformers said this act was done at once at our acceptance of His gift of grace. The Catholic Church at the time of the reformation was even 'selling indulgences' granting people a spot in Heaven for money regardless of faith or even the church. They did this to pay for the cathedrals they were building, and you thought bingo was bad! Although Catholic apologist say this was never an 'official act' of the church. Nevertheless history clearly states this was a wide problem.
© 1992, 2001 R.J. Krejcir, Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org
The key words of chosen, elect, foreknew, and predestined have been topics of hot debate amongst many Christian groups over the centuries. The principle theme is agreed upon, that God does choose us and makes us holy-to which our eternal destination is preordained.
It is our duty as Christians to recognize the role of the Holy Spirit to find out our gifts that all have been given.Then we must be discipled in those gifts and use our gifts to glorify His Kingdom. In doing this, we become obedient and we receive and we rely and trust in his role. (Acts 19:1-2, Romans 12:1-2, Galatians 5:13-26, Revelations 3:20, Ephesians 3:17, and Luke 11:13).
To truly understand God, we must move our self-will out of the way, because it is in His way! We need to know our place in the universe and our role in society, in church as well as our responsibility to them. By knowing these names of God, we will be better able to grow in faith and maturity.