1. As we begin our tenth study in this series, let us review what we have learned so far.
a. 1:1 - 1:15 - Paul's greetings and person introduction
b. 1:16-17 - Paul declares the general theme of his epistle.
(1) He borrows it from Habakkuk 2:4.
(2) Translated literally, it reads, "The one who is r __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ by f __ __ __ __ shall l __ __ __."
c. 1:18 - 3:20 - Paul describes in unvarnished detail the sinful condition of all mankind.
(1) G __ __ __ __ __ __ sinfulness
(2) J __ __ __ __ __ sinfulness
(3) U __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ sinfulness
d. 3:21 - 5:21 - Paul teaches the doctrine of J __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ by F __ __ __ __ A __ __ __ __.
(1) Some key terms
God's bestowal of righteous status on the sinner who by faith receives Christ as Saviour
The purchase of a slave for the specific purpose of granting his/her freedom
To credit to one's account
A self-sacrificing act which turns aside the wrath of the one to whom it is directed
A corrective, amending act of reconciliation
(2) The doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone declares that God has justified all sinners who will receive His forgiveness; that He has done so entirely of His own volition by a single act of His sovereign grace: the atoning sacrifice ("propitiation") on Calvary's cross by Jesus Christ -- the perfect, sinless Lamb of God -- whose blood has redeemed these same sinners, whose righteousness has been imputed by God to them; that this gift of reconciliation is offered to all those who will receive it by faith, according to the Scriptures and to the glory of God.
Sola gratia, sola fide, sola Scriptura, sola Deo gloria!
2. The doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone constitutes the "foundation of the apostles and the prophets" for the believer's relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet since Paul first set this doctrine forth it has been misunderstood, misinterpreted and misappropriated by many well-meaning people. These wrong-headed responses to this doctrine may be divided into three broad categories:
a. m __ __ __ __ __ __ __
MORALISM is the approach to Christianity that recognizes Jesus as a moral model for mankind and accepts His teaching as an essential moral imperative for society. This response to the doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone does not recognize Christ's deity and, therefore, doesn't concern itself with any "sacrificial ramifications" of His death. It demands no faith, no repentance, no righteous standard beyond a sincere desire to emulate the teachings and the accepting love of the man Jesus.
b. l __ __ __ __ __ __ __
LEGALISM is the "natural religion" of mankind. It could be defined as any attempt to curry God's favour through a codified special behaviour system. Certainly the Jews of Paul's own day were legalists in a most literal sense -- they saw the keeping of God's Law as their vehicle for attaining a suitable degree of righteousness. Many Christians today -- even those truly committed to the doctrine of justification -- manufacture disciplines, regulations and rules designed to provide definition of a righteous lifestyle. Unfortunately, their emphasis very often is transferred from Christ to their "rulebook," producing what Paul elsewhere called "will worship" ( Colossians 2:21-23 ).
c. a __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
ANTINOMIANISM ( "against law" ) is the belief that, since we have been justified by God, clothed with the righteousness of Christ, our sins forgiven and our eternal life secured, we are free from the requirement to obey any moral law. Taken at face value, antinomianism (a term first coined by Martin Luther) might be seen as a "license to sin." Another German pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, rejected antinomianism as a false doctrine of "c __ __ __ __ g __ __ __ __."
(1) "Antinomianism says, 'I am saved by faith, therefore I never have to be concerned in the slightest about obeying the law.' Antinomianism says that the commandments of God have no binding influence on my conscience. That is not just a distortion of Christianity, it is a fundamental denial of Christianity." R.C. Sproul: Romans
(2) The apostle Paul had already dealt with the notion of "cheap grace" in his first letter to the Christians at C __ __ __ __ __ __. ( If you ever want to know what a church fully involved in antinomianism would look like, look to 1 Corinthians! ) Here, in his letter to the Romans, Paul will use chapters 6 and 7 to set forth the doctrine of s __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ , the name given to that process by which a Christian begins to realize his/her justification; that process whereby a Christian is "set apart unto holiness." Through the life-long process of SANCTIFICATION, believers are becoming in practice what they already are by "position:" PERFECT.