Summary: This sermon deals with the subject of justification. It also deals with an assumed contradiction in the Bible.
What Is Justification
1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?
2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
3 For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."
4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,
Today’s message is about Justification.
What does that word mean to you?
I suspect that not many church people really understand it.
Remember that the Apostle Paul wrote those verses
in the Greek language.
So to get a better understanding of “justification”
we need to look at the Greek word Paul used.
When Paul says “For is Abraham was “justified” by works”
And “but believes on Him who justifies”
he used the Greek word “dikaiosis”.
This little illustration will help you understand justification.
Suppose you where caught speeding down this highway.
You were doing 100 mph and that requires you to go to court.
You go to court and the judge fines you $1,000.
Then someone steps forward and says,
"I will pay the fine. I will take the punishment."
So you get off, without paying the fine,
and without any punishment at all.
You have been justified.
You were made right in the eyes of the law.
It doesn't change the fact that you were speeding,
but the court sees you as innocent.
That is what Jesus did for us.
The problem is this.
Any person who knows you were caught speeding
still thinks you are guilty and should have been punished.
That’s where we find what appears
to be a contradiction in the Bible.
Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Romans 3:28, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”
James 2:14-7 14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
There seems to be a contradiction.
Some people love to look
for seemingly contradictions in the Bible.
Romans 5:1 plainly says that a man is justified by faith,
but James 2 says a man is justified by works.
Is Paul right when he says that a man is justified by faith
or is James right when he says a man is justified by works?
Well both men are right!
You see, all of us are judged by two persons.
God judges us and people here on earth judge us.
We are justified in the sight of God by faith as Paul says.
We are justified in the sight of man by works as James says.
God can see our hearts.
He can see our faith when we accept Jesus as our Savior.
By faith, we accept the blood of Jesus as payment for our sins.
He not only forgives us, but He forgets our sin.
He then goes beyond that and declares us righteous.
That is God’s justification of man.
God can do it because He sees our hearts.
However, other people can only see the outside.
The only way other people have of knowing
that you are a Christian is by seeing your works.
Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 5:16?
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
God Who sees the heart justifies us in His sight by our faith.
People who can’t see our hearts
can justify us in their eyes only as they see our works.
That’s why Jesus said we should let our lights shine before men
so that they may see our good works
and glorify our Father is in Heaven.
Other people have no other way
to judge the sincerity of our faith in Jesus
other than observing our works.
In James chapters 3, 4, and 5, there are 3 different ways
that we may justify our faith in the eyes of other people.
Point #1. Other People Judge Us By Our Language.
James 3:6 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.