Justification by Christ 10

1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 11

1._____ Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing Christ’s active obedience unto the whole law, and passive obedience in his death for their whole and sole righteousness by faith, which faith they have not of themselves; it is the gift of God.

Justification by faith alone is the article upon which the Church stands or falls. Martin Luther

Romans 9:13 Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.” 14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!15 For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?”

In a very recent “sermon” the “preacher” was calling on people to make a choice to serve God. The sermon was empty of Christ, empty of the nature of sin, empty of the glory of God, and had nothing about the Gospel. At the end, he still called on people to make a decision to be saved or to join the church. It was striking that there was nothing about God in the sermon other than that He loves you and wants the best for you, though even that was not set out at all. In looking at the 1698 Baptist Confession of Faith and the passage from Romans 9, one cannot find a work about what the “preacher” was talking about.

Again, this may be repetitive, but the Gospel is not about the decisions men make and it is not about how much they keep the commitments they make. The issue is what God does. If I am even remotely close to being correct, in modern America God has been left out of the Gospel in the books and “preaching” that men do. I am constantly astounded (slow to catch on) how much God is forgotten on Sunday mornings and that is a bad sign for the rest of the week as well. The Gospel is about the God who effectually calls, not about how men make decisions. The Gospel is about how God justifies sinners, not about how much sinners accept Christ and pray a prayer.

It is simply impossible for a person to read Romans and Ephesians (and the rest of the New Testament) with any degree of understanding and come to any conclusion other than that God saves sinners according to His good pleasure and according to the glory of His grace. The Bible teaches us that God created all things for His own glory and that includes men. The Fall was a fall into sin and now men fall short of His glory. The Gospel cannot be anything but a way for God to be glorified in saving men and also returning man to a place where men now live to the glory of God.

If the above statement is true, then it is a different Gospel that focuses on men rather than on God. If God created all things for His glory and as a thrice holy God He cannot do anything with an inferior motive other than Himself and His own glory, then the Gospel is all about Him and His glory. It is simply not possible for it to be any other way. The Gospel is the Gospel of God, the Gospel of the glory of God, the Gospel of the glory of Christ, and so on. It is not the Gospel of man in any way and at any time. The Gospel is always about God and His glory in the face of Christ. The comfort that men have cannot be in themselves and their own decisions; it must be about what God has done in Christ. The Scriptures are so clear and the Confession reflects it that God saves for the sake of His own name and not for the sake of sinful human beings and their choices. God has no need of us and He has no need of anything we can do. We should bow low before Him and His glory and ask Him to humble us and bring us to die to self and pride and for Him to turn us to love His glory rather than our love for self.

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