Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in salvation. 1 Peter 2:2
Why should we know God's Word?
In our day and age where anti-intellectualism runs rampant in the visible church, it is not surprising to see poll after poll verify what students of scripture have known for many years. The visible church does not know much about the scriptures they profess to believe in. This is sad considering many saints during the Reformation period lost their lives for the sake of being able to read and study God's word. Not to mention the many passages in scripture that speak as such:
Isaiah 66:2 This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
John 8:31-32 Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Psalm 19:7-8 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Psalm 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
Psalm 119:11 I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
Psalm 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
Psalm 119:162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.
The posts on this blog will address essential Biblical doctrines of the Christian faith. You can find much of the background for the posts here. My prayer for these posts is that the people who read them will be encouraged to open their Bibles and not just read a verse or two, but learn them and indeed, be transformed by them. As Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth." (John 17:17). This is my prayer as well.
For a very brief introduction read the first paragraph here.
God's justice, love save sinners
Just-as-if-I’d-never sinned. This is how a number of people learned what justified means and there is truth in the expression, but when we look at what the scriptures say regarding this priceless truth we see it is lacking. Last time, we saw how vital justification is to the church at-large, but unfortunately it is either distorted or people don’t understand it or are ignorant of it. The word justified, like any word in the New Testament, has a range of meanings. Not too different from our own English language. The spring springs into the air and falls into the spring on a beautiful spring day. There are four different meanings for spring in that sentence and according to dictionary.com, I am not using anywhere close to all the meanings for spring. The same is true with the way words are used in the New Testament. We see wisdom is justified in Luke 7:35, though surely this does not have anything to do with sin. Obviously when we talk about God being justified in Romans 3:4, we know it is different than the justification Christians receive. This also helps us with our friend James chapter 2, since so many Christians scratch their heads over its content, not realizing Paul and James are not in conflict a bit! Rather, we are looking at two different uses of the same word. We’ll get back to that in a future column.
As we intimated last time, Paul uses justification in regards to our standing before a judge. You can see this in Romans 8:33, “Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.” No matter the mountain of evidence the prosecution has against the elect, the charges fall flat for it is God who justifies. Any Roman reading this letter during the 1st century would have recognized the legal language Paul used. Paul is conveying to us the perfect standing we have in the court of heaven.
How can God do this? Any judge who is worth his weight in salt should condemn us for all the times we have broken God’s law, and forsook God for our own pleasures. “But God,” is one of the most wonderful phrases in all of scripture. Romans 5:8 “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Anyone who feels worthy of condemnation and has lost hope for eternal life should embrace this in faith and lay the sin that condemns them on the substitute who can save them. The judge counts the sin of the sinner to the Savior, and the righteousness of the Savior to the sinner. 2 Corinthians 5:21 “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” This is where the justice and love of God find perfect harmony to save sinners like us. This is justification we receive by faith alone. Do you believe?