3/7/2016 LESSON 5
JESTIFICATION IS BY FAITH
Quarter’s Theme: BASIC CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES
Unit 2 – The Believers’ Justification And Admonition To Sinners (Lessons 5-9)
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 28, 160
Devotional Reading: LK. 18:9-14
Topic For Adults
JUSTIFICATION IS NOT LICENSE TO SIN
Topic For Youths
DON’T BE CHEATED BY THE DEVIL
Topic For Intermediates
PLEAD WITH GOD FOR MERCIES
ROMANS 4:1-12; 5:1-5
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1)
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Justification Brings Peace With God
Before salvation that brings about justification, sinners are God’s enemy. Sinners are wicked people and the Bible says there is no peace for the wicked because God is angry with the wicked everyday (Isa. 48:22; 57:21; Ps. 7:11). Who can bear the anger of the Lord? Nobody. This is the reason why the first fruit of justification is peace with God. A believing sinner, now becomes a friend of God. He is no longer running away from God, but has been reconciled with God. This peaceful relationship with God now brings other dividends like free access to God’s presence, joy unspeakable, hope even in tribulation and continual trust in the living God and in His promises of eternal life. What a great privilege to be justified by God!
Point of Emphasis: Having therefore been justified by faith, we have peace with God.
Prayer Point: Lord, help me to continue to enjoy the dividends of justification as I remain faithful and committed unto You.
Justification is simply pardon for sin, receiving a person into the favour of God. It
is God declaring a genuinely saved believer discharged and acquitted from sin
and the penalty of sin. The focus of this week’s lesson is to know the means through which one can get this justification. Is it by works or by faith? Paul used the example of Abraham’s justification to answer this all important question.
NOTE ON THE TEXTS
PART 1: JUSTIFICATION IS BY FAITH NOT OF WORKS (ROM. 4:1-8)
Prior to this chapter, Paul had taught about justification by faith (Rom. 3:21-26). This doctrine did not go down well with the Jews who prided themselves so much in their works of law. Then they asked Paul, “what then can we say of Abraham’s justification, is it not out of the rite of circumcision that he made”? The Jews regarded Abraham as their father, their ancestor and the founder of their nation and usually draw from his example and they believed that his justification was by the works of the law to which Paul then responded.
Paul then answered the people that if Abraham was justified on the grounds of his own merits, he would have reason to boast, or to claim praise (v. 2). But in the record about him in the Old Testament, Abraham had no grounds of boasting on account of works, no, not before God. Therefore, he was not justified by works. Paul appealed to Genesis 15:6 to buttress the point that Abraham was not justified by works but by faith, for the Scripture says “Abraham believed God and it was imputed to him for righteousness. The believing of Abraham is the faith which Abraham exercised. This was a strong, direct and unwavering act of confidence in the promises of God. And it was on the basis of this that righteousness or justification was granted unto him.
While the word faith is sometimes used to denote religious doctrine, or the system that is to be believed (Acts 6:7; 15:9; Rom. 1:5; 10:8; 16:26; Eph. 3:17; 4:5; 1 Tim. 2:7; etc), yet when it is used to denote that which is required of men, it always denotes an “act of the mind” exercised in relation to some objects or some promises, (Mk. 16:16). It is this faith in God that a person needs to be treated as righteous, to be forgiven and admitted to the favour of God and treated as the friend of God, which is justification. Have you been justified by God?
Paul also used the analogy that a labourer who is paid his wages was not done any favour (v.4). Meaning that if a man were justified by his works, it would be a matter due to him. But to the person who does not work but believes in God who justifies, that person will be justified. (v. 5). Paul also quoted the words of David in Psalms 32:1-2, to stress that his teaching is not new. David called the man who is forgiven, whose sins are not charged on him, but who is freed from the punishment due to his sins, as a blessed person. This is justification in action.
PART 2: JUSTIFICATION IS FOR BOTH THE CIRCUMCISED AND THE UNCIRCUMCISED (ROM. 4:9-12)
The Jews thought that Abraham was justified because of the rite of circum-cision that was given to him. To this end, they wanted to lay claim to the fact the uncircumcised cannot have any part or portion in God unless they become circumcised. Paul, having shown that Abraham was justified by faith, also made inquiry whether it was after he was circumcised or before. If it was after his circumcision, the Jews might still maintain that it was by the works of the law, but it was before, it was without the works of the law. Still further, if he was justified by faith before he was circumcised, then, here was an instance of justification and acceptance without conformity to the Jewish law, then it would follow that the Gentiles (the uncircumcised) might be justified in a similar way just like Abraham.
To be justified is a state of blessedness (v. 9) because one is being regarded as a friend of God. Abraham received this blessedness while he was uncircumcised (v. 10), and circumcision was just a sign indicating that there was a covenant between Abraham and God. Circumcision was just a public attestation to the fact that God had approved of Abraham and had made important promises to him. Circumcision could not have contributed to his justification nor to the promises made to him by God. All that were done for Abraham by God were done that he might be held up as an example, or a model of justification to all who believed in God, whether circumcised or uncircumcised (v. 11). This made both Jewish and Gentile Christians full heirs of Abraham with or without circumcision.
PART 3: REWARDS OF JUSTIFICATION (ROM. 5:1-5)
Paul, having established that justification is by faith, now proceeded to show the effects or gains produced in the lives of those who have experienced justification. First, he mentioned peace with God. Before sinners were in a state of enmity with God, but now being reconciled and justified, we have peace with God. Before, while under a sense of guilt of sin, we had nothing but terror and dismay in our own conscience, but now, having our sins forgiven, we have peace in our hearts, feeling that all our guilt is taken away. Peace is generally the first-fruits of our justification.
Second, justification grants us access to God through the death and resurrection of Jesus (v. 2). We have the privilege to approach God and be in His divine presence. This privilege is a lasting one. We are not brought to God to be interrogated, but to remain with Him, behold His face, and walk in the light of His countenance. Third, justification brings joy to our lives, we have solid happiness from the evidence that we have been accepted by Him. We rejoice in hope of glory because we are in the peace of God, and we are happy in the enjoyment of that peace, and have a blessed foretaste of eternal glory.
Also, because of the above blessings we have in God, our mentality and attitude to tribulations change. For instance instead of murmuring, we give thanks instead of feeling sad, we rejoice, knowing fully well that there is nothing too much that we cannot endure for the sake of our God who has justified us. We also understand that the tribulation or trials we confront will only make our faith stronger in God, building in us the virtues of patience, experience, hope and love of God (vv. 3-5)
Justification is imparted into genuine believers a few moments after the surrenderedness. But the devil usually capitalises on the ignorance of many new converts to accuse them of sins that had already been forgiven them by God. Such people need assurance of justification which is by faith. The faith that gave you salvation is the same faith you need to be justified.
- What was the initial reaction of the Jews to Paul’s teaching on justification?
- Was Abraham’s justification by works or by faith?
- When was Abraham justified, before or after circumcision?
- How is Abraham the father of all who believe?
- Mention some of the gains of justification.