A Scriptural Study Newsletter edited by Elder Vernon Johnson

How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

 

 

 

Justified #4

In our previous essays we have considered God as the law giver, God as the apprehender of his broken law, and God as the judge of all the earth judging righteously. In this essay we will consider the basis of God's judgment in His court room of justice.

Jer. 32:19 reads, "Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings."

Coupled with the above we read in Rev. 20:11 13, "And I saw a great white throne,  and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell gave up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works."

Now it is very plain that the basis of God's judgment is according to man's works. Now there are two types of works of men. There are good works and there are evil works. Even in man's system of judgment we are not brought to judgment for our good works. We are brought to judgment based on our evil works (sin).

God's system of justice is an all or none system. By this I mean if you break even one of God's laws you are guilty of transgression of the entire law! James 2:10, 11 verifies this principle, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill.  Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law." Thus if I had only broken just one small item in the law one time and had kept the rest of the law perfectly for all of my life then I am still guilty of the entire law!

As concerning the universal guiltiness of man under the law based on man's evil works we read in Rom. 3:19, 20, "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God.  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." Likewise Gal. 3:10 reads, "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them."

Based on our works we have nothing to plead before God that would justify us. Some have thought, "Aren't my good works weighed in the balance with my evil works and if the scale of justice tips toward the good, then will I be justified?" The answer is a resounding NO! Even in man's justice we can't argue that since I kept the law most of the time that I should be found not guilty for the times I broke the law.

We are judged for breaking the law, not for keeping the law. The scriptures are clear that our good works do not save us from our sins: II Tim. 1:9, "Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." Likewise, we are not chosen of God to be his people based on our works:

A. Rom. 11:5, 6 "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."

B. Rom. 9:11 "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth." Additionally, we are not born of the Spirit based on good works:

A. Tit. 3:4, 5 "But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."
B. Eph. 2:8 10 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

When it comes to God's justice and our standing before him based on performing works of righteousness Isa. 64:6 sums it up with these words, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities as the wind, have taken us away."

In our next essay we will look at the case for our defense Jesus Christ.


Justified #5

In our previous essays on this subject we have considered God as the lawgiver, apprehender of sin, and judge of all the earth. We have also considered the basis on which man is judged according to his works. In this essay we will consider Christ as the representative of his people at the court room of glory.

In Matt. 1:21 the angel declared unto Joseph, when he was considering what action he should take against his espoused wife, Mary, "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." Thus we see Jesus was to come and save "his people" from their sins.

Numerous verses of scripture show us that Jesus came as the representative of his people. The following is a small sample of these verses:

1. Gal. 3:13 "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." As we were under the curse of the law, Christ as our representative was made a curse "for us" to redeem us from the curse of the law.
2. II Cor. 5:21 _ "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." According to this verse, Christ, who knew no sin, became sin "for us" that we be made righteous in him.
3. Heb. 1:3 "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins..." Here we see Jesus, as our representative, purged our sins by himself.
4. Heb. 9:11, 12 "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." It was "for us" that Jesus obtained eternal redemption by the sacrifice of himself.
5. Heb. 9:24 "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." Christ ascended into heaven to appear in the presence of God "for us." Thus at the court room of glory he appeared "for us." According to Heb. 9:26, "but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Thus we see, as our representative, Christ thru the sacrifice of himself appeared before God to put away our sin!
6. Heb. 9:28 "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." It was for "the many" that Christ was offered to bear their sins.
7. Heb. 10:10 "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Jesus Christ was offered for "all he foreknew." He was their representative and as their representative he sanctified all of them through the offering of his body.
8. Heb. 10:12 14 "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." Thus Jesus by the one offering of himself perfected for ever them that he represented.
9. Rom. 5:15 19 "But not as the offence, so also is the free gift.  For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man Jesus Christ, hath abounded to many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.  Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."

The above passage of scripture gives us a comparison of Adam as the representative of his people (the Adamic race) and Christ as the representative of his people (the elect of God those he foreknew). Just as Adam, by himself, brought condemnation upon the entire Adamic race, so Christ, by himself, brought justification upon his whole elect family. Shouldn't we all be thankful that Christ represented us at the court
room of glory? In our next essay we will consider Christ as the perfect representative of his people.


Justified # 6

In our previous essay we considered Christ as the representative of his people, as one who stood in their place before the court room of God's justice. In this essay we will consider Christ as the "perfect" representative.

God requires perfection. Anything less than perfection before a just and holy God is unacceptable.

God's requirement of perfection was demonstrated in the characteristics of the animal sacrifices that were offered to him under the law. Lev.22:17 22, "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the Lord for a burnt offering; ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish, of the beeves, of the sheep, or of the goats. But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you. And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the Lord to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein. Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the Lord, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the Lord."

Likewise, the principle of perfection was required for those who would serve as high priest: Lev. 21:16 23, "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, or a man that is broken footed, or broken handed, or crook backed, or a dwarf, or he that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; no man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God. He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy. Only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the Lord do sanctify them."  Thus from the above examples we can see that God requires perfection both of the offering and of the high priest who offered it.

God's requirements of perfection goes beyond the physical attributes described above. The perfect representative of God's people had to be without sin. To this end Christ was born of a virgin (according to Rom. 5:12 sin passes from father to child). Having no earthly father his conception was perfect without sin. Concerning Christ's high priesthood, Heb. 7:26 28 states: "For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore." Thus we must conclude that Jesus had no infirmities, i.e., sin and was separate from sinners.

That Jesus kept the law perfectly throughout his life on earth is proven by Matt. 5:17, 18, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Thus we see that Jesus came to fulfill the law to its minutest detail and that he did.

Finally we see that Jesus because he was sinless was able to become sin for us that we might be delivered from God's wrathful judgment and be made the righteousness of God in him: II Cor. 5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

In our next essay we will consider God's wrathful judgment upon sin and what Christ suffered for us on the cross.


Justified #7

In this essay we will consider God's wrathful judgment of sin and what Christ suffered for us on the cross.

According to the scriptures, "every sin and disobedience receives a just recompense of reward." There is no such thing as a sin going unpunished. God is just. Being just he "must" bring to judgment and to the execution of judgment every sin; otherwise God would not be just.  Now we may ask ourselves, "What is the penalty for sin? Several verses  of scripture speak to this question:

a. Rom. 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death..."
b. II Thes. 1:8, 9 "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power..."
c. Matt. 25:41 "Then shall he say also to them on his left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
d. II Pet. 2:17 "These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest: to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever."
e. Jude 13 "Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever."
f. Rev. 20:10, 14, 15 "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever...And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
g. Lk. 16:23, 24 "And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame."

From the above verses we make the following observations:
a. Eternal death is the consequence of sin.
b. The punishment of sin includes everlasting separation from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power.
c. The punishment of sin includes being cast into the blackness of darkness forever.
d. The punishment of sin includes eternal torments and being cast into the lake of fire, for ever.

Next, we may ask ourselves, Did Jesus suffer all that the punishment of our sins required to satisfy God's wrathful and righteous judgment? In the garden when Jesus was looking forward to the things that he would suffer said in Matt. 26:38, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." Also in Lk. 22:44 it was written of Jesus that he was "in an agony" and it was said of him that "his sweat was as it were great drops
of blood falling down to the ground." These things were written of Jesus when he looked forward to the horrible scene of God's wrathful judgment of sin at the cross. According to the scriptures beginning at the sixth hour of the day when Jesus was crucified there was darkness over all the earth for three hours and it was said that the "sun was darkened." God had turned out the lights for the punishment of sin. 

Abraham was given a glimpse of this scene as we read in Gen. 15:12, "and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him." Likewise one of the ten judgments that fell upon Egypt was darkness as described in Ex. 10:21, 22, "And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over all the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days." I am convinced that the darkness of God's judgment of sin is more than just natural darkness, but actually a darkness on the very soul of the one who is being punished.

Next, we see Jesus separated from the glory of the Father as he cries out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Isaiah prophesied of the sufferings of Jesus at the cross when he wrote in Isa 53:4, 5, "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

It is abundantly clear that the sufferings of Jesus far exceeded the things man placed upon him in nailing him to the cross, beating him, ridiculing him and spitting upon him, mocking him, and plaiting a crown of thorns on his head. These things didn't redeem us from our sins. It is the sufferings of Jesus under the wrathful judgment of God during the three hours of darkness that satisfied God's wrathful judgment because of our sins. I am convinced that none of us for whom Christ died will ever fully comprehend the depth, nor width, nor breadth, nor height of the sufferings Jesus suffered on our account. He suffered and died that we wouldn't have to suffer an eternal punishment of sin and that we would be made fit subjects for heavens glory world!

In our next essay we will consider the consequences of Christ's sufferings on the behalf of the elect.


Justified #8

In this essay we will consider the consequences of Christ's sufferings on the behalf of the elect.

There are numerous verses of scripture that speak to us about the effects of Christ's sufferings, shed blood and death. A sampling of these verses follow:

a. Heb. 1:3 "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty of high."
b. Heb. 9:26 "...but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."
c. Heb. 10:10 "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
d. Heb. 10:12 14 "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."
e. 1 Pet. 1:18, 19 "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold...but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."
f. 1 Pet. 2:24 "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."
g. 1 Pet. 3:18 "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit."
h. II Cor. 5:23 "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
i. Rom. 3:24, 25 "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God."
j. Rom. 6:6 "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
k. Rom. 8:33, 34 "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justified. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, year rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."
l. Gal. 3:13 "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."
m. Eph. 1:7 "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace."
n. Eph. 2:13 16 "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby."
o. Eph. 5:2 "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.
p. Eph. 5:25 27 "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

From the above passages of scripture we may clearly draw the following conclusions about the sufferings, death, and resurrection of Jesus:

a. He purged our sins by himself.
b. He hath put our sins away by the sacrifice of himself.
c. He hath sanctified us through the offering of his body.
d. He hath perfect for ever them that are sanctified.
e. We were redeemed from our sins by the blood of Jesus.
f. We are dead to the condemning effects of sins by the sacrifice of Jesus.
g. Through the offering of the sacrifice of Jesus we are brought to God.
h. Because Jesus was made to be sin for us, we are made righteous in him.
i. We are redeemed, justified, and declared righteous through the redemption of Christ and the grace of God.
j. The body of our sins was destroyed in the crucifixion of Christ.
k. No charge can be laid against the elect of God because God through Jesus has justified us.
l. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by being made a curse for us on the tree of the cross.
m. Through the redemptive blood of Jesus we have been forgiven of our sins.
n. We have peace with God because of the shed blood of Christ.
o. The offering of Christ is a sweet smelling savour to God.
p. Through the redemptive work of Christ the church is sanctified, cleansed, glorious, spotless, and wrinkle less.

As a final concluding summation on the subject of "justified," God has justified the elect through the redemptive work of Christ.

In our next essay we will consider the fifth of the five works of God in the covenant of redemption which is "glorified."
 

Primitive Baptist