Summary: Salvation and Justification come by faith!
1. Justification… Salvation… they come to us by faith.
a. It’s a wonderful work of God’s Grace that sinners can be cleansed, changed, and redeemed by faith!
b. It’s not by keeping the 10 Commandments.
c. It’s not by keeping elaborate codes of conduct.
d. It’s not by rituals and religious expressions.
e. But Salvation & Justification come by faith!
Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Writing to the believers in Rome, Paul anticipates the questions that will be on the mind of all the believing Jews.
• “What about our Father Abraham?” How does he fit in?
• I thought you had to be a Jew first, then become a Christian.
• What you’re teaching Paul sounds so foreign to the Old Test.
CH 4 opens with Paul so brilliantly using Abraham, the father of faith, as a power example of man saved by grace through faith!
I. (4:1-4) Abraham.
1. (1) What did Abraham find in his works?
a. Most people thought that Abraham had perfectly obeyed the Law of God and that was why he was saved.
b. After all, he was the “father of their nation”.
c. According to the Mishnah & other Jewish writings & traditions, Abraham was SO PERFECT that he never had to repent!
d. The book of Jubilees, a text written around 200 BC said:
For Abraham was perfect in all his deeds with the Lord, and well-pleasing in righteousness all the days of his life… Jubilees 23
That’s funny… Abraham never sinned? Is that true?
• Well just ask Sarah! He had to repent a couple of times for the things he did to her huh?
But that’s on the minds of the people… Abraham our father in the faith was perfect… so if it was good enough for him then it’s good enough for me.
APP: TRADITION can really blind a person to the truth.
• And some of the toughest traditions can be religious traditions.
• “We’ve always done it this way so we’ll always do it this way.”
• But what if the Lord wants to do something new & fresh?
The real question is: Are you ready for a new work?
Are you ready for God to do something new and radical in your life?
• OR Are you really happy with how things are going & would be very upset if God changed things?
APP: I think it’s so easy to get comfortable and then become immovable and eventually become unusable in the Kingdom of God.
• Maybe you never associated comfort with being unusable but that’s the predictable pattern for the cruising Christian.
• Flip over to Matthew 9.14-17
Basically Jesus is saying that He didn’t come to sew up a ripped old garment. (The traditions, rules and legalism of the Pharisees.)
• The Pharisees had become so dry, so inflexible, so rigid
• Jesus came to do a new work, bringing a new covenant.
APP: A prayer I pray for you individually and as Calvary Chapel is that we not become rigid & inflexible to the leading of the Spirit.
• Just as denominations and movements before us, we can become so fixed in our ways that we lose sight of God’s work today!
• Oh the 70’s, peace man, praise the Lord. YES… praise the Lord.
• But what about 2006!? How is God doing a work in you today!
NOTE: Often when God wants to do a new work, he bypasses the old work and the established system altogether.
• We don’t want to be established… known as a immovable work.
• We don’t want to be passed up and passed over!!!
We’ve got guard against the notion that we’ve got it figured out.
• I’m not ashamed to stand before you and say that there is much in this church that I just don’t have an answer for!
• I’m praying, seeking God’s face, trusting in Him… but still waiting for His direction and confirmation.
• We want to give God room to work, to overwhelm us!
• To pour new wine into a new wineskin!
APP: So be careful of tradition, any tradition so that it doesn’t become a stumbling block to you when the Lord wants to do something fresh, new and exciting!
2. (2-3) What can Abraham boast about?
a. What was it in Abraham’s life? His good deeds?
b. Is that how God accepted him?
c. If that was the case, then he COULD boast.
d. But from God’s view, he had nothing at all to take glory in or brag about. -- He didn’t do anything but believe God!