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
Our ability to be good and holy is only because of the "effect" of redemption (what Christ did for me on the cross, which we did not deserve) not the "cause," (the cause is how we are, receiving grace and forgiveness) never confuse the two or you will have pride and arrogance because you will think you deserved it.
Real repentance will entail full, genuine confession, restitution, and the will to turn to Christ, not just as Savior, but also as Lord. This is not just a one-time deed, but also a lifestyle that places Christ first and foremost in our daily lives.
In Christ, all that comes to us is for God's glory, purpose, and our good. (Rom. 8:28). He seeks to bring us closer to Himself by His love, joy, and peace that we may share His love with those around us to convey God's purpose for His people...