Saturday, May 31, 2008

Justification by Faith

Today, we pick up our study through the New Testament book of Galatians beginning in 2:15, “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,” The Jews looked upon Gentiles as sinners. They didn’t think very highly of them at all. They saw them as pagans and heathens, and for the most part they were. By the way, a Gentile is anyone that is not a Jew by birth. Actually, the word Gentile can be translated, heathen, dog or pig. That’s not very complimentary at all!

Notice, v.16, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” This is a clear cut presentation of justification (in this case, it means to be made right in the eyes of God) by faith. Paul’s question here is very simple: “If the Jew had to leave the Law behind in order to justified by faith, Why should the Gentile be brought under the Law as well.” After all, if it didn’t and couldn’t save the Jew, it was also unable to save the Gentile (Gal. 3:11; 21-25).

Notice vv.17-21, “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” The bottom line is that righteousness does not come through keeping the Law of Moses. As a matter of fact, it is impossible to keep the Law of Moses. You and I simply can not do it.

Now, you may be sitting there right now wagging your self-righteous head and thinking to yourself, “I can keep the Law of God.” The only reason you think that way is that you are thinking in the physical and not the spiritual. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day made the same mistake. They thought that as long as they physically kept the Law that they were okay. In other words, if the Law says, “Thou shalt no commit adultery,” to them, and maybe you, that means that as long as they didn’t physically commit adultery they were okay. In other words, “window shopping” was considered to be okay. However, Jesus comes along, blows that out of the water, and says, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Wow – that changed things considerably because who hasn’t looked with lustful eyes at another person?

Jesus even went on to say that in Matthew 5:22, “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” In other words, when you and I hate another person, we have “spiritually” murdered them in our hearts and have broken the Law of God!

That’s why Jesus said in Matthew 5:20, “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” What Jesus was saying is that the righteousness of the Pharisees was just external while what they really needed was an internal righteousness. In other words, just keeping the Law externally (not physically committing adultery) while breaking the Law internally (looking and lusting after others) was still breaking the Law and thus, Heaven was not an option!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I do appreciate any observations or questions you may have.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.