Posts Tagged ‘justification’

Biblical Christianity – The Biggest Obstacle to the New Age

By Ray Yungen 

The New Age and Christianity definitely clash on the answer to the question of human imperfection. The former—the New Age—espouses the doctrine of becoming self-realized and united with the universe, which New Agers see as God but in reality is the realm of familiar spirits. On the other hand, the Gospel that Christians embrace offers salvation to humanity through grace (unmerited favor). Romans 3:24 boldly states: “. . . being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” In Romans 6:23, we read: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This gift is not earned or given as a reward for earnest or good intentions as Scripture clearly states:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

This Scripture that tackles the issue of pride sharply distinguishes all of man’s religions from Christianity. Religion persuades us that man is innately good and, therefore, can earn his way to heaven through human perfectibility or, better yet, through the realization of his own divinity. Christianity emphatically states the opposite view that man needs to humbly recognize his own sinfulness and fallibility, and consequently needs salvation through grace.

The Holy Spirit, through the Scripture, convicts the sinner of his sinful and lost condition and then presents to the despairing and repentant man God’s solution–salvation through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on the Cross: “. . . in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7) and then:

[I]f thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9-10)

Salvation is entirely a gift of grace bestowed on whoever believes in Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross as both God and man. Consequently, we must receive Him as Lord and Savior, understanding that it is by grace and grace alone that we are made acceptable in Christ before a holy God. Justification is God’s gift to the believer. This saving faith, also a demonstration of God’s grace, is more than an intellectual belief in Jesus’ death on the Cross but involves committing and entrusting one’s life to Jesus as both Lord and Savior–Christ’s going to the Cross was a finished work, and we as believers are now complete in Him. Nothing else can be added to this. How totally opposite from New Age thinking is God’s plan of salvation!

It all comes down to the preaching of the higher self versus the preaching of the Cross. New Agers may say God is synonymous with a person’s higher self, and the experience of God can only be discovered by way of meditation. However, the Christian admits his or her sinfulness before a Holy God and remembers he is saved only by the grace and mercy of God through the sacrificial shedding of Christ’s blood for his sins.

The message of Jesus Christ reaches out to the lost human race with the love of God who sacrificed His only begotten Son for the Swami Muktanandas of the world. The Bible teaches that man has an inherently rebellious and ungodly nature (which is evident), and his ways are naturally self-centered and evil in the sight of God. The Bible teaches that God is not indifferent to us. The sacrifice of Christ for the ungodly to reconcile us to God reveals the Lord’s love toward Man.

This explains why Christianity must be steadfast on these issues. If a belief system does not teach the preaching of the Cross, then it is not “the power of God” (I Corinthians 1:18). If other ways are correct, “then Christ is dead in vain,” rendering His shed blood unnecessary and immaterial (Galatians 2:21).

Because of this conflict, we can safely say that Christianity is the most formidable obstacle to the New Age, standing like a bulwark against this tidal wave of meditation teachers and practical mystics. But, incredibly, many of the most successful practical mystics are appearing from within Christianity itself. Ironically, instead of stemming the momentum of New Age spirituality, it is our own churches that may very well be the decisive catalysts to propel this movement into prominence. Certain spiritual practices have become entrenched in our churches that, like an iceberg, seem beautiful and impressive on the surface but in reality will cause severe damage and compromise of truth. (from A Time of Departing, pp.24-26)

Ironside—Four Great Truths

By H. A. Ironside

If Christ to His throne had not bidden farewell,
Sad indeed were the tolling of life’s passing bell;
If Christ on the cross had not suffered and died,
Dark indeed were the passage of death’s somber tide.
If Christ from the grave had in triumph not risen,
Bleak indeed were the dungeons of that dreadful prison;
If Christ were not living and pleading on high,
Death indeed were our doom, death that never may die.
—H. G. T. PARKE

cross on wall backgroundThe above lines were written by a poor unfortunate, a drug-addict, who stumbled into a Salvation Army Hall years ago and came to Christ. It is evident that the Spirit of God gave him a very vivid appreciation of four aspects of the work of our Lord Jesus Christ, upon which Scripture bases four great truths. Upon these I desire to meditate, hoping that both writer and readers may thus enter more fully into the completeness of the divine scheme of redemption.

Incarnation

Think, first, of incarnation. The word itself implies a supernatural Being linking Himself with humanity, and this, of course, is what actually took place when the eternal Son of God became Man in the fulness of time. Incarnation means more than the mere assumption of a human body. In Scripture we are told, “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt [tabernacled] among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). It was a voluntary act on His part. He who subsisted from all eternity in the form of God, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, emptied Himself of the outward semblance of Deity, and took upon Him the form of a bondman; having come in the likeness of men, and being thus habited as a Man, He humbled Himself still lower, becoming obedient unto death, and such a death—that of the cross. In doing this, He linked Deity with humanity in such a way that He did not cease in any sense to be God, while He became, nevertheless, in the fullest possible sense, Man. He had a true human spirit. “He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,” (John 11:33) we are told, and on the Cross, He exclaimed, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit” (Luke 23:46). We hear Him saying, “Now is My soul troubled,” (John 12:27), and we read that He “poured out His soul unto death” (Isaiah 53:12). His body was in no sense a phantom, as some have taught in early days but a true human body, the earthly vessel in which the heavenly One took up His abode, in order that He might be slain for our sins. All this is involved in the fact of incarnation.

But though a true Man, He was a sinless Man and not only sinless in thought and act, but impeccable; because being as truly God as Man, it is unthinkable that He could in His humanity do that, under any circumstances, which was repugnant to His Godhead, and God cannot sin. Thus He fulfilled the types of old; He was the unblemished, spotless Lamb; like the unyoked heifer, He never came under the yoke of sin. He was as pure within as He was without, thus answering to the burnt offering which had to be laid open and examined in every part, and could only be presented to God if found inwardly perfect.

In order that this might be so, He could not come into the world through the process of natural generation, for this would have made Him heir to all the fearful entailment of sin and infirmity which characterized the human race as proceeding from fallen Adam. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit, a distinct creation in the womb of the virgin, and thus He entered this world through the portals of birth, but as the Second Man, the Lord from heaven. Herein lies the importance of the doctrine of the virgin birth, which some today insist has no real bearing upon the question of His Saviourhood. But His incarnation must be sinless and impeccable, or He could not be the Savior of sinners. If there were within Him the least evil or tendency to evil, He must needs have a Savior for Himself, and He could not stand in the breach for us.

We speak of His sinless incarnation. On the other hand, it is quite inaccurate to apply the term “the immaculate conception” to this wondrous mystery. This latter term is used very loosely by many Protestants who fail to realize, or forget if they ever knew, that it is the name given by the Roman Catholic Church to the Romish doctrine of the sinless, yet natural conception of the blessed virgin Mary. No such term is ever used in the Bible, nor does such a term belong in Protestant theology in connection with the sinless incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. These truths need to be emphasized more than ever today, for if we lose sight of them we become confused in our thinking, and we shall be further confused as we go on to consider the work of His Cross. He had to be what He was in order to do what He did. If He had been in any sense less than God manifest in flesh, He could not have offered up Himself in the power of the Eternal Spirit for our redemption. If He had been other than the One of whom it was written, “He knew no sin,” He could not have been made sin for us.

While we are not saved through His incarnation, and our present union with Him is not because He took our humanity upon Himself, but because we have been linked to Him, the glorified Man in heaven, by the Holy Spirit, yet it is of all importance that we hold fast to the truth that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19). Bethlehem must precede Calvary. He became Man that He might die for men.

Propitiation
In the second chapter of Hebrews, we are told in verse 17, “Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” The word here translated “reconciliation” could be rendered “propitiation” as in 1 John 2:2 and 4:10: “He is the propitiation for our sins;” “God . . . sent His Son to be the propitiation.” This word is used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, made in the third century before Christ, commonly called the Septuagint, and expressed generally as the LXX, to translate the Hebrew term which occurs again and again in the Old Testament, and is rendered in many different ways in the English Version, a few of which are as follows:

1. “Pitch,” in Genesis 6:14, as used for the “covering” of the ark.
2. “Appease,” used in Genesis 32:20, where it means literally “to cover the face.”
3. “Atonement,” used in many places in Leviticus 16, and particularly in Leviticus 17:11.
4. “Satisfaction,” used in Numbers 35:31.
5. “Ransom,” used in Job 33:24.
6. “Put it off,” in Isaiah 47:11.
7. “Reconciliation,” used in Daniel 9:24.
8. “Pacified,” used in Ezekiel 16:63.

Here we see that in the death of Christ, God has found a ransom for sinful men and that a covering has been provided to shield us from the storm of judgment. Atonement has been made for our sins, full satisfaction has been rendered to the divine justice for our iniquities. God’s judgment is appeased; sin is expiated, and God is pacified toward us for all that we have done, because of the perfection of the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now He Himself is our propitiation and we come to God alone by Him.

Resurrection
But although the death of our Lord Jesus Christ has accomplished the putting away of sin so that every believer is justified by His blood, it is through His resurrection that we know God is satisfied with the work that His Son accomplished when He took our place in judgment and bore our sins in His own body upon the tree. He “was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25). It is not that we are justified by His resurrection, but it is that His resurrection proves that the work which justifies has been accomplished, and we come into the benefit of it all when we put our trust in the Risen One. Everywhere the apostles went they preached Jesus Christ and the resurrection. Just as incarnation without propitiation is in itself unable to save us, so propitiation without resurrection would be incomplete. None could know certainly that God was satisfied with the work of His Son if Christ had not burst the bands of death asunder and risen in triumph from the tomb.

More than this, had He remained enthralled in the arms of death, it would have given the lie to His entire testimony and redemptive program. It was imperative that He rise again the third day. It was this that proved Him to be in very truth the Son of God and the all-sufficient Sacrifice for sin. And so today the message that goes out to all mankind is as of old, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9,10). It is the Risen One whom God has exalted to be a Prince and a Savior. He has been made both Lord and Christ to give repentance and remission of sins to all who turn to Him in faith.

Intercession
As the risen Christ, our Lord is carrying on a special service now on behalf of all believers here on earth as the minister of the heavenly sanctuary. Therefore we are told, “He is able also to save them to the uttermost [that is, forevermore], that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). He ministers in the holiest of all as our great High Priest with God, giving every believer a perfect representation before the eternal throne. He is there also as our Advocate with the Father, keeping the feet of His saints, and insuring the restoration of every failing Christian.

We often speak, and rightly, of the finished work of Christ. This refers, of course, to the work of propitiation, as we have already seen. To this nothing can be added, nor can anything be taken from it. It is complete. To attempt to add to it would be only to try to spoil His finished work. But on the other hand, it is just as correct to speak of the unfinished work of Christ, for He began a service in behalf of His people when He ascended to heaven, which has been going on ever since, and will not be finished so long as there is one saint left on earth in the place of testing and possible failure. We have a sample of His intercession in John 17, where we find His great high-priestly prayer. In that wonderful chapter, He anticipates the Cross, and we are permitted to listen reverently to the tender words He speaks on behalf of His own to the end of time. In John 13, we see Him acting as Advocate, washing the defiled feet of His disciples, thus picturing the work He has been carrying on ever since He returned to the glory. He is the girded Servant still, and will be so as long as we need Him. “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous,” (1 John 2:1) and “He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). His advocacy is based upon His propitiation.

Were it not for this present service of our Lord Jesus Christ, the first sin committed by a believer after his conversion would destroy communion with God, and there would be no way to restore that communion again. It needs to be remembered that there are two links that bind every saint to the Savior, and these are union and communion. The link of union is indissoluble. Once formed, it can never be broken. The link of communion is delicate indeed. The least sin will break it, and it would never be formed anew were it not for the intercession of our Lord Jesus. He meets every accusation of the enemy. He presents our case before the Father. He, through the Holy Spirit, brings the Word to bear upon our consciences, and thus He brings us to contrition, confession, and restoration.

How full is our salvation! How wonderfully has God provided! The Incarnate Son became Himself our propitiation. Resurrection attests our justification, and His intercession carries us on to the end of the journey. If it be asked, “Why do we need an advocate?” the answer is, “Because we have an accuser, Satan,  accuser of our brethren . . . which accused them before our God day and night'” (Revelation 12:10). But “who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:33,34). Jesus Christ meets every charge of the adversary. His propitiatory work is the answer to every accusation. And He will minister all needed grace to meet present need and restore the souls of His failing saints, until the glad hour when He will call us all to meet Him above and to share the joys of the Father’s house.

NEW BOOKLET: What Does it Mean To Be Justified by God?

NEW BOOKLET TRACT: What Does it Mean To Be Justified by God? by Harry A. Ironside is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract.  The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of What Does it Mean To Be Justified by God?, click here.

rp_BKT-IR-JST.jpgBy Dr. Harry A. Ironside

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:38-39)

Justification! It is a big word, and very often people miss its true meaning. What is it to be justified? It is to be cleared of all blame, to be freed from every charge. It is the sentence of the court in favor of the prisoner. The prisoner stands there, charged with certain things; the evidence is all heard, and the jury brings in a verdict of “Not guilty.” The man is justified.

Notice a most remarkable thing in these two verses. We have two things here, which God does for the believing sinner that no man could do for anyone else. You could not both forgive a man and justify him at the same time. If you forgive him, he cannot be justified. He must be guilty, and therefore, there is something to forgive. On the other hand, if you justify him, then you do not need to forgive him. Suppose, for instance, one had been charged with a certain crime, and after everything had been heard, the jury says, “Not guilty,” and the judge pronounces him free. As that man comes out of the courtroom, a friend says to him, “It was kind of the judge to forgive you, wasn’t it?”

The man replies, “He did not forgive me; I did not require his forgiveness. I was justified; I was proven not guilty and did not need to be forgiven.”

OUR RIGHTEOUS GOD IS INCAPABLE OF ERROR

Of course, human judges may sometimes make a mistake. You have heard the story of the man who was arrested, charged with stealing a gold watch and chain. After all the evidence of the complaining witness had been heard, the judge looked down at the prisoner and announced, “The sentence of this court is acquittal.”

The man leaned forward and said, “What was that you said, judge?”

“I said, the sentence of the court is acquittal.”

The man looked puzzled and said to the judge, “Judge, I just don’t understand what that means.”

“Well,” the judge explained, “I mean you are acquitted.”

“Well, judge, does that mean I gotta give the watch back?”

You see, the man was guilty, and the judge himself had been deceived.

But God will never be deceived. Nobody can ever put anything over on Him. He knows every sin that you and I have ever been guilty of—sins in thought, sins in word, and sins in deed; and then in addition to all of these, failure to do the things we know we ought to do can be just as truly sin as to commit overt acts of evil. And God knows all about it, and “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

But God undertakes both to forgive the sin and to justify the sinner—to clear him of every charge when he puts his trust in His blessed Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. You could not do that for anyone, but God can, and He does it because the Lord Jesus Christ in infinite grace condescended to take our place, to bear the judgment that our sins deserved, so that when we come to God, confessing our sins, over against all that sin and over against all that wickedness stands the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. And on the basis of that, God says, “I forgive this man and accept him before My presence as though he had never sinned at all. I count him as righteous and justify him fully and completely.” That is the meaning of justification.

JUSTIFICATION OFFERS A NEW STANDING

You who have just recently come to trust the Savior, I wonder if you have entered into that. I wonder if you realize that the moment you trusted the Savior, that instant God gave you a new standing before Him. You stand before Him now as if you had never sinned at all. You say, “Well, I can’t forget my sins. They come up before me when I lie down at night; they come before me when I kneel to pray; and they are before me even in the daytime. There are so many things that I wish had never happened, and I sometimes wonder, since they come crowding in upon my mind as they do, whether they are really forgiven.”

Let me assure you, if you have really trusted Christ, they are not only forgiven, but forgotten. God says, “Your sins and iniquities will I remember no more,” and if God has forgotten them, then you and I may well say, “I too will seek to forget, and say with Paul, ‘Forgetting those things which are behind . . . I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus’” (Philippians 3:13-14).

God Himself is the author of our justification. We read in the Epistle to the Romans, chapter 8, and really in one sense I am beginning at the wrong end; I am beginning where God leaves off here in the Epistle to the Romans, but I am beginning where I think you and I as sinners need to begin. In Romans 8, we read that it is God Himself who justifies. Take verse 33:

Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

We are justified by God, the source of it. It is He who has taken up this question, who has gone into it fully and completely, and He says, “Now I am satisfied to acknowledge as righteous the man who trusts My blessed Son.”

A TRULY WICKED AND VILE SINNER

Some years ago a friend of mine was preaching in a certain place, and somebody came to him one day and said, “Could you come and see a woman who is very sick? We are afraid she is dying. She is troubled about her soul and doesn’t seem to understand the way.” Of course he gladly went as any of us would under such circumstances. As he entered the room and sat down beside the bed, the woman said, “Tell me what is necessary in order that my soul may be saved and my sins forgiven.” He told her the old, old story, the story of the Cross. He told her how “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He told her how, hanging on that cross in those awful hours of darkness, our blessed Lord Jesus, as the substitute for sinners, drank the cup of wrath that we deserved and made full satisfaction for iniquity; and now God can justify everyone who believes in Him, whom He raised from the dead.

When he finished, she said, “Oh yes, I know, I understand all that, but I don’t see how I can know that my sins are forgiven.” So again, very patiently, he went over the same story, but tried to present it in a little different light. He told her that the Lord Jesus was the one great sacrifice for sin, that He offered Himself for our sins, that He was made sin for us, He who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. And when he finished, she said, “Yes, I understand that, but is that all that is required?”

The evangelist sprang from his seat. He was a very fiery man by nature, and sometimes the fire came out even after he became a Christian. He said in a tone that shook the room, “You wicked woman!”

And she, lying there so sick, was almost terrified and said to him, “Oh, sir, why do you talk to me like that?”

“You wicked woman, you vile woman! You ask me what is necessary in order that you may be saved. I tell you how God has bankrupted Heaven to save your guilty soul. I tell you how He has sent His own blessed Son to give His life for you. I tell you how He was forsaken of God upon that Tree, and you have the insolence to look up into the very face of God and say, ‘Is that all?’ What more would you want? It is all that God Himself could do.”

She burst into tears and exclaimed, “Oh, sir, I understand. I did not realize what I was saying. Oh, I thank God for what He has done. It is enough! If it is enough for God, it surely is enough for me!”

EVEN THE WICKED MAY BE JUSTIFIED

Oh, that is it! The Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself. He loved me, and gave Himself for me.

God sent Him. God saw you and me in our deep, deep need, and He sent Him to die for us, and now it is God who justifies the ungodly. God justifies the godly, the good, the pure, the true, and the noble! No, God justifies poor, lost, guilty sinners when they “believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:24-25). It is our faith in the Word of God and the work of Christ that is counted for righteousness. Read Romans 4:5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” The basis of it all is given in Romans 5:9, where we read, beginning with verse 8: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”

We who believe are now justified. It is not that we may, as some people put it, have a good hope of salvation, that we may hope that we shall be justified at last, that we may hope that in the day of judgment everything will be all right; but we are now justified—every believer in Christ.

Oh, so many of our hymns were written by people who hadn’t full assurance of salvation, and they express so often the desire that they may be cleansed and justified. How many real believers sing, “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow!” And yet everyone who has truly trusted the Lord Jesus Christ is already washed, made white by the blood of the Lord Jesus, justified by God.

WHAT IS THE BASIS FOR JUSTIFICATION?

His blood! It is because of what He did. It is because of the blood He shed—the shedding of His precious blood; it is the giving up of His life. It is His life for ours—His holy, spotless life over against our sinful, wicked lives. The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me.

Somebody might say, “Well, I just do not understand what you mean. You talk about being justified by blood. In what sense could one be justified or cleansed by blood?” Let me give you an illustration. Out in the state of Washington, at the time of the first World War, four or five convicts in some way or another got over the wall of the penitentiary and escaped. After several weeks, they were all captured except one who was never located, at least not until the circumstances which I am going to mention.

He was able to get away, and eventually under an assumed name he joined the Army. After a period of training, he was sent across to France. One day, however, some other soldiers were added to the number, and one of them looked at this man and said, “I remember him. I knew him back in the state of Washington years ago. That’s so-and-so. He is not going by his right name. I remember when he was condemned to the penitentiary for burglary.”

He went to the officer in charge and told him what he knew about the man. The officer in turn wrote to the War department and asked, “What am I to do with this man? He is an escaped convict.” Washington sent word back to arrest him and return him to America as a prisoner. But in the meantime something had happened which made that impossible.

THE VALUE OF A MAN’S BLOOD

One night a number of men were wanted for a very, very dangerous duty, and the Captain said, “I am not going to ask any man to do the thing that I am going to tell you about, but I hope some of you will volunteer. I want some men to crawl out in the dark across No Man’s Land and find out what the foe is planning to do. It is a very dangerous undertaking—you may not get back—so I am not going to appoint anyone, but will ask for volunteers.”

Four men stepped right out, and among them was this convict. Under cover of darkness, they crawled out over No Man’s Land. There were shells falling all around them, but three of them got through safely. The fourth man, the convict, apparently had got clear through to the enemy and secured the information and was coming back, when a shell fell and burst so near him that he was killed. They brought his mangled body in, and when the officer received the word from Washington to return that man a prisoner to this country, the officer wrote back, “He has washed out his crimes in his own blood.” He had given himself, he had given his life, and the giving of his life had washed out his crime against the government, though of course this did not touch the question of his sin against God.

JUSTIFICATION IS FREELY GIVEN
The Lord Jesus Christ was absolutely without offense. He was the holy Son of God, but He looked upon us poor sinners in our deep need, and He took our place in judgment. He went to the Cross, and He bore what our sins deserved. He poured out His life in the shedding of His precious blood, and when we receive Him, we can say that He has washed out our sins in His precious blood. He had no sins of His own for which to die. He was there for our sins.

Oh, why was He there as the Bearer of sin,
If on Jesus thy guilt was not laid?
Oh, why from His side flowed the sin-cleansing blood,
If His dying thy debt has not paid?

He took your place. Have you trusted Him? Do you believe God’s sure promise? If you have, you are justified by His blood.

“Well,” you say, “on what principle does God thus justify? The Epistle to the Romans, chapter 3 and verse 24, tells us:

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

God justifies men by grace, not because of merit. You and I had no merit. Everything was against us. Demerit was ours, and no merit did we have to plead. But now God says in grace, “I am ready to take up that man and save him, if he will but receive and confess My Son as his Lord.” It is so hard for people to understand this. Men always seem to get the idea that they must do something in order to merit God’s favor. It would not be grace if it were merited. Grace is unmerited favor, and it is favor to those who have merited the very opposite. That is grace.

GRACE TO THE UNDESERVING
Suppose, just to use a very hackneyed illustration, that my sons were still school boys and there is a rowdy, regular bully in the neighborhood, and he falls upon one or the other of them and knocks him down and steals his books and his lunch basket, and then when I go out to talk to him, this bully turns on me and strikes me and stones my house, breaking my best plate-glass window. I have every reason to be thoroughly provoked with him. I would have a perfect right, you know, to go to the police and have him arrested and charged with assault and battery, and one thing or another. But suppose, instead of that, I wait, and on some cold winter day, I happen to see that young rowdy, and, as I am watching, I see him fall in the snow, and I run out after him. I learn that he has had no one to care for him. He is an orphan and has no father or mother to look after him, and I find he staggered and fell because of lack of food, he was so weak. When he sees me coming, he staggers to his feet and tries to run away. But he cannot get away because I have hold of his arm. He looks up at me and pleads, “I’ll never do it again, if you will let me go.”

But I say, “You won’t get away.” I bring him into my own home, warm him up, feed him, and give him a suit of clothes belonging to one of my sons. I take care of him and show him every kindness. He can’t understand it, but his heart is won. This is grace. He merited the very opposite, did he not?

Grace is favor shown to the undeserving. If people deserved it, it would not be favor; and so you cannot deserve God’s salvation. Often when I say to somebody, “I hope you are on your way to Heaven,” I receive the reply, “Well, I am doing my best to get there.” It is not a question of doing your best. It is a question of receiving the grace of God as manifested in Christ Jesus.

HOW DO YOU MAKE IT YOUR OWN?
In what way is salvation applied to you individually? We read in Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Justified by faith!

Faith is believing God and asking no questions. It is taking God at His Word. God says, “I am satisfied with the work which My Son has done. Because of that work, I raised Him from the dead and now offer to justify any poor sinner who comes to Me in My Son’s name and trusts in Him.” If you have come, you have a right to say: “Being justified by faith, I have peace with God [everything settled between me and God] through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Have you said it? If not, say it now. “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach” (Romans 10:8).

The resurrection of Christ, you know, is the declaration, the seal of it all. In the previous verses, at the end of the fourth chapter of Romans, we read, beginning with verse 22: “And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.” That is, when Abraham believed God, it [his faith] was imputed to him for righteousness. And then we read:

Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:23-25)

That is justification by His resurrection. Why? Because His resurrection tells of God’s satisfaction in the work that His Son has done. When He hung upon that Cross, He was bearing our sins, He was taking our place, dying there in the sinner’s stead. Now, if He had never come out of that tomb, it would show that redemption was never accomplished. If that tomb remained sealed and the body of Jesus remained in it, then it would show that it was all a farce, and I would not dare to trust Him as my Savior at all. But see, it is the third day, and His resurrection is the divine declaration that all who believe on Him and rely on Him are justified from all things.

ISN’T THERE ANOTHER SIDE OF ALL THIS?
But I know that some of you have been saying in your hearts, or thinking subconsciously at least, “Yes, but there is another side to it. Doesn’t the Bible say somewhere that faith without works is dead?” Yes, it does, for we read, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24).

“Well,” someone asks, “does not that contradict what you have been telling us?”

Not at all. You need to see exactly what it is that various writers of the Epistles are dwelling on. The apostle Paul (and practically all of our references have been from his writings), is telling how poor sinners may be justified before God. But now we turn over to the Epistle of James to find out how we who have professed to believe in Christ may be justified before men.

Suppose I say to my companions in the world, “I have just come to Christ, and I am justified from all things.” They have a right to look at me, at my life, to see for themselves whether there is any change in my life. You see, in order to be justified before them, in order to be justified before men, I have to manifest by my good works the fact that I have received a new and a divine nature. Let me read it to you.

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? (James 2:14)

That is, what kind of faith? A faith that has no works? Where there is real faith in Christ, one’s work will be different. His life will never again be what it used to be. Everything will be changed.

If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (James 2:15-17)

REAL FAITH IS MANIFESTED BY YOUR WORKS

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:18)

I cannot show my faith without works, but I can show my faith by my works. If I put my faith in Christ and have trusted Him as my Savior, I have been justified before God, justified freely, justified for nothing, justified without cost, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Now as I live for the One who has justified me, as I devote my redeemed life to the glory of the One who has saved me, my confession is justified before men. Men who get to know me will say, “That man is real; that man is genuine; he lives what he professes.” Do they say that of you? Does your life testify to the reality of the faith that you profess? If you have trusted Christ, you are complete in Him, you are justified freely by His grace. Now by a life devoted to His interests, you are to prove to those around you the reality of that faith of which you speak.

To order copies of What Does it Mean To Be Justified by God?, click here.

The Difference Between the Cross and the “Higher Self”

cross on wall background

photo: bigstockphoto.com; used with permission.

By Ray Yungen 

The New Age and Christianity definitely clash on the answer to the question of human imperfection. The former [the New Age] espouses the doctrine of becoming self-realized and united with the universe, which they see as God but in reality is the realm of familiar spirits. On the other hand, the Gospel that Christians embrace offers salvation to humanity through grace (unmerited favor). Romans 3:24 boldly states: “… being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” In Romans 6:23 we read: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This gift is not earned or given as a reward for earnest or good intentions as Scripture clearly states:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

This Scripture that tackles the issue of pride sharply distinguishes all of man’s religions from Christianity. Religion persuades us that man is innately good and, therefore, can earn his way to heaven through human perfectibility or, better yet, through the realization of his own divinity. Christianity emphatically states the opposite view that man needs to humbly recognize his own sinfulness and fallibility, and consequently needs salvation through grace.

The Holy Spirit, through the Scripture, convicts the sinner of his sinful and lost condition and then presents to the despairing and repentant man God’s solution–salvation through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on the Cross: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7) and then:

[I]f you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9-10)

Salvation is entirely a gift of grace bestowed on whoever believes in Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross as both God and man. Consequently, we must receive Him as Lord and Savior, understanding that it is by grace and grace alone that we are made acceptable in Christ before a holy God. Justification is God’s gift to the believer. This saving faith, also a demonstration of God’s grace, is more than an intellectual belief in Jesus’ death on the Cross but involves committing and entrusting one’s life to Jesus as both Lord and Savior–Christ’s going to the Cross was a finished work, and we as believers are now complete in Him. Nothing else can be added to this. How totally opposite from New Age thinking is God’s plan of salvation!

It all comes down to the preaching of the higher self versus the preaching of the Cross. New Agers may say God is synonymous with a person’s higher self, and the experience of God can only be discovered by way of meditation. However, the Christian admits his or her sinfulness before a Holy God and remembers he is saved only by the grace and mercy of God through the sacrificial shedding of Christ’s blood for his sins.

The message of Jesus Christ reaches out to the lost human race with the love of God who sacrificed His only begotten Son for the Swami Muktanandas of the world. The Bible teaches that man has an inherently rebellious and ungodly nature (which is evident), and his ways are naturally self-centered and evil in the sight of God. The Bible teaches that God is not indifferent to us. The sacrifice of Christ for the ungodly to reconcile us to God reveals the Lord’s love toward Man.

This explains why Christianity must be steadfast on these issues. If a belief system does not teach the preaching of the Cross, then it is not “the power of God” (I Corinthians 1:18). If other ways are correct, “then Christ died in vain,” rendering His shed blood unnecessary and immaterial (Galatians 2:21).

Because of this conflict, we can safely assume that Christianity is the most formidable obstacle to the New Age, standing like a bulwark against this tidal wave of meditation teachers and practical mystics. But, incredibly, many of the most successful practical mystics are appearing from within Christendom itself. Ironically, instead of stemming the momentum of New Age spirituality, it is our own churches that may very well be the decisive catalysts to propel this movement into prominence. Certain spiritual practices are becoming entrenched in our churches that, like an iceberg, seem beautiful and impressive on the surface but in reality will cause severe damage and compromise of truth. (from A Time of Departing, pp.24-26)

Ironside: What Does it Mean to Be Justified Before God?

Open Law Book With A Judges GavelBy Harry A. Ironside

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:38-39)

Justification! It is a big word, and very often people miss its true meaning. What is it to be justified? It is to be cleared of all blame, to be freed from every charge. It is the sentence of the court in favor of the prisoner. The prisoner stands there, charged with certain things; the evidence is all heart, and the jury brings in a verdict of “Not guilty.” The man is justified.

Notice a most remarkable thing in these two verses. We have two things here, which God does for the believing sinner that no man could do for anyone else. You could not both forgive a man and justify him at the same time. If you forgive him, he cannot be justified. He must be guilty, and therefore there is something to forgive. On the other hand, if you justify him, then you do not need to forgive him. Suppose, for instance, one had been charged with a certain crime, and after everything had been heard, the jury says, “Not guilty,” and the judge pronounces him free. As that man comes out of the courtroom, a friend says to him, “It was kind of the judge to forgive you, wasn’t it?”

The man replies, “He did not forgive me; I did not require his forgiveness. I was justified; I was proven not guilty and did not need to be forgiven.”

OUR RIGHTEOUS GOD IS INCAPABLE OF ERROR
Of course, human judges may sometimes make a mistake. You have heard the story of the man who was arrested, charged with stealing a gold watch and chain. After all the evidence of the complaining witness had been heard, the judge looked down at the prison and announced, “The sentence of this court is acquittal.”

The man leaned forward and said, “What was that you said, judge?”

“I said, the sentence of the court is acquittal.”

The man looked puzzled and said to the judge, “Judge, I just don’t understand what that means.”

“Well,” the judge explained, “I mean you are acquitted.”

“Well, judge, does that mean I gotta give the watch back?”

You see, the man was guilty, and the judge himself had been deceived.

But God will never be deceived. Nobody can ever put anything over on Him. He knows every sin that you and I have ever been guilty of — sins in thought, sins in word, and sins in deed; and then in addition to all of these, sins of omission. Failure to do the things that we know we ought to do is just as truly sin as to commit overt acts of evil. And God knows all about it, and “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” “There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.”

But God undertakes both to forgive the sin and to justify the sinner; to clear him of every charge, when he puts his trust in His blessed Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. You could not do that for anyone, but God can and He does it because the Lord Jesus Christ in infinite grace condescended to take our place, to bear the judgment that our sins deserved, so that when we come to God confessing our sins, over against all that sin and over against all that wickedness stands the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. And on the basis of that, God says, “I forgive this man, and accept him before My presence as though he had never sinned at all. I count him as righteous, and justify him fully and completely.” That is the meaning of justification.

JUSTIFICATION OFFERS A NEW STANDING
You who have just recently come to trust the Savior, I wonder if you have entered into that. I wonder if you realize that the moment you trusted the Savior, that instant God gave you a new standing before Him. You stand before Him now as if you had never sinned at all. You say, “Well, I can’t forget my sins. They come up before me when I lie down at night; they come before me when I kneel to pray; and they are before me even in the daytime. There are so many things that I wish had never happened, and I sometimes wonder, since they come crowding in upon my mind as they do, whether they are really forgiven.”

Let me assure you, if you have really trusted Christ, they are not only forgiven, but forgotten. God says, “Your sins and iniquities will I remember no more,” and if God has forgotten them, then you and I may well say, “I too will seek to forget, and say with Paul, ‘Forgetting those things which are behind, . . . I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus’.”

God Himself is the author of our justification. We read in the Epistle to the Romans, chapter 8, and really in one sense I am beginning at the wrong end; I am beginning where God leaves off here in the Epistle to the Romans, but I am beginning where I think you and I as sinners need to begin. In Romans 8, we read that it is God Himself who justifies. Take verse 33:

Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

We are justified by God, the source of it. It is He who has taken up this question, who has gone into it fully and completely, and He says, “Now I am satisfied to acknowledge as righteous the man who trusts My blessed Son.”

A TRULY WICKED AND VILE SINNER
Some years ago a friend of mine was preaching in a certain place, and somebody came to him one day and said, “Could you come and see a woman who is very sick? We are afraid she is dying. She is troubled about her soul and doesn’t seem to understand the way.” Of course he gladly went, as any of us would under such circumstances. As he entered the room and sat down beside the bed, the woman said, “Tell me what is necessary in order that my soul may be saved and my sins forgiven.” He told her the old, old story, the story of the Cross. He told her how God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. He told her how, hanging on that cross in those awful hours of darkness, our blessed Lord Jesus as the substitute for sinners, drank the cup of wrath that we deserved, and made full satisfaction for iniquity; and now God can justify everyone that believes in Him, whom He raised from the dead.

When he finished, she said, “Oh yes, I know, I understand all that, but I don’t see how I can know that my sins are forgiven.” So again, very patiently, he went over the same story, but tried to present it in a little different light. He told her that the Lord Jesus was the one great sacrifice for sin, that He offered Himself for our sins; that He was made sin for us, He who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. And when he finished, she said, “Yes, I understand that, but is that all that is required?”

The evangelist sprang from his seat. He was a very fiery man by nature, and sometimes the fire came out even after he became a Christian. He said in a tone that shook the room, “You wicked woman!”

And she, lying there so sick, was almost terrified, and said to him, “Oh, sir, why do you talk to me like that?”

“You wicked woman, you vile woman! You ask me what is necessary in order that you may be saved. I tell you how God has bankrupted Heaven to save your guilty soul. I tell you how He has sent His own blessed Son to give His life for you. I tell you how He was forsaken of God upon that Tree, and you have the insolence to look up into the very face of God and say, ‘Is that all?’ What more would you want? It is all that God Himself could do.”

She burst into tears and exclaimed, “Oh, sir, I understand. I did not realize what I was saying. Oh, I thank God for what He has done. It is enough! If it is enough for God, it surely is enough for me!”

EVEN THE WICKED MAY BE JUSTIFIED
Oh, that is it! The Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself.” He loved me, and gave Himself for me.”

God sent Him. God saw you and me in our deep, deep need, and He sent Him to die for us, and now it is God that justifies the ungodly. God justifies the godly, the good, the pure, the true, and the noble! No, God justifies poor, lost, guilty sinners when they “believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:24-25). It is our faith in the Word of God and the work of Christ that is counted for righteousness. Read Romans 4:5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” The basis of it all is given in Romans 5:9, where we read, beginning with verse 8: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”

We who believe are now justified. It is not that we may, as some people put it, have a good hope of salvation, that we may hope that we shall be justified at last, that we may hope that in the day of judgment everything will be all right; but we are now justified—every believer in Christ.

Oh, so many of our hymns were written by people who hadn’t full assurance of salvation, and they express so often the desire that they may be cleansed and justified. How many real believers sing, “Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow!” And yet everyone who has truly trusted the Lord Jesus Christ is already washed, made white by the blood of the Lord Jesus, justified by God.

WHAT IS THE BASIS FOR JUSTIFICATION?
His blood! It is because of what He did. It is because of the blood He shed — the shedding of His precious blood; it is the giving up of His life. It is His life for ours; His holy, spotless life over against our sinful, wicked lives. The Son of God loved me, and gave Himself for me.

Somebody might say, “Well, I just do not understand what you mean. You talk about being justified by blood. In what sense could one be justified or cleansed by blood?” Let me give you an illustration. Out in the state of Washington, at the time of the first World War, four or five convicts in some way or another got over the wall of the penitentiary and escaped. After several weeks they were all captured, except one who was never located, at least not until the circumstances which I am going to mention.

He was able to get away, and eventually under an assumed name he joined the army. After a period of training, he was sent across to France. One day, however, some other soldiers were added to the number, and one of them looked at this man and said, “I remember him. I knew him back in the state of Washington years ago. That’s so-and-so. He is not going by his right name. I remember when he was condemned to the penitentiary for burglary.”

He went to the officer in charge and told him what he knew about the man. The officer in turn wrote to the War department and asked, “What am I to do with this man? He is an escaped convict.” Washington sent word back to arrest him and return him to America as a prisoner. But in the meantime something had happened which made that impossible.

THE VALUE OF A MAN’S BLOOD
One night a number of men were wanted for a very, very dangerous duty, and the Captain said, “I am not going to ask any man to do the thing that I am going to tell you about, but I hope that some of you will volunteer. I want some men to crawl out in the dark across No Man’s Land and find out what the foe is planning to do. It is a very dangerous undertaking—you may not get back—so I am not going to appoint anyone, but will ask for volunteers.”

Four men stepped right out, and among them was this convict. Under cover of darkness, they crawled out over No Man’s Land. There were shells falling all around them, but three of them got through safely. The fourth man, the convict, apparently had got clear through to the enemy and secured the information and was coming back, when a shell fell and burst so near him that he was killed. They brought his mangled body in and when the officer received the word from Washington to return that man a prisoner to this country, the officer wrote back, “He has washed out his crimes in his own blood.” He had given himself, he had given his life, and the giving of his life had washed out his crime against the government, though of course this did not touch the question of his sin against God.

JUSTIFICATION IS FREELY GIVEN
The Lord Jesus Christ was absolutely without offense. He was the holy Son of God, but He looked upon us poor sinners in our deep need and He took our place in judgment. He went to the Cross and He bore what our sins deserved. He poured out His life in the shedding of His precious blood, and when we receive Him, we can say that He has washed out our sins in His precious blood. He had no sins of His own for which to die. He was there for our sins.

Oh, why was He there as the Bearer of sin,
If on Jesus thy guilt was not laid?
Oh, why from His side flowed the sin-cleansing blood,
If His dying thy debt has not paid?

He took your place. Have you trusted Him? Do you believe God’s sure promise? If you have, you are justified by His blood.

“Well,” you say, “on what principle does God thus justify? The Epistle to the Romans, chapter 3 and verse 24, tells us:

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

God justifies men by grace, not because of merit. You and I had no merit. Everything was against us. Demerit was ours, and no merit did we have to plead. But now God says in grace, “I am ready to take up that man and save him, if he will but receive and confess My Son as his Lord.” It is so hard for people to understand this. Men always seem to get the idea that they must do something in order to merit God’s favor. It would not be grace if it were merited. Grace is unmerited favor, and it is favor to those who have merited the very opposite. That is grace.

GRACE TO THE UNDESERVING
Suppose, just to use a very hackneyed illustration, that my sons were still school boys and there is a rowdy, a regular bully in the neighborhood, and he falls upon one or the other of them and knocks him down and steals his books and his lunch basket, and then when I go out to talk to him, this bully turns on me and strikes me and stones my house, breaking my best plate-glass window. I have every reason to be thoroughly provoked with him. I would have a perfect right, you know, to go to the police and have him arrested and charged with assault and battery, and one thing or another. But suppose instead of that I wait, and on some cold winter day, I happen to see that young rowdy, and, as I am watching, I see him fall in the snow, and I run out after him. I learn that he has had no one to care for him. He is an orphan, and has no father or mother to look after him, and I find he staggered and fell because of lack of food, he was so weak. When he sees me coming, he staggers to his feet and tries to run away. But he cannot get away because I have hold of his arm. He looks up at me and pleads, “I’ll never do it again, if you will let me go.”

But I say, “You won’t get away.” I bring him into my own home, warm him up, feed him, and give him a suit of clothes belonging to one of my sons. I take care of him and show him every kindness. He can’t understand it, but his heart is won. This is grace. He merited the very opposite, did he not?

Grace is favor shown to the undeserving. If people deserved it, it would not be favor; and so you cannot deserve God’s salvation. Often when I say to somebody, “I hope you are on your way to Heaven,” I receive the reply, “Well, I am doing my best to get there.” It is not a question of doing your best. It is a question of receiving the grace of God as manifested in Christ Jesus.

HOW GOOD DOES A MAN HAVE TO BE TO GET TO HEAVEN?
I was very much struck by an incident, which I heard our friend Dr. Chafer relate. He was riding in a train going down from Kansas City to Dallas, and they were getting near to Fort Worth when he realized that he had not spoken a word to the porter about his soul. He always tries to be conscientious about speaking to those who serve him and wait upon him in restaurants, hotels, and trains. So he went to look for the porter and found him just finishing up the last of the shoes he had to shine. He sat down there beside him and said, “May I ask you a question?”

“Yes sir,” replied the porter, “what’s your question?”

So Dr. Chafer asked him, “How good does a man have to be to get to Heaven?”

“Well, I can’t tell you just how good a man has to be, but I know he has to be mighty good,” he replied.

“Well, do you ever expect to get to Heaven?”

“I don’t know. I’ve just about given up tryin’. I’ve tried and tried for a long time but it don’t seem to do no good, and I’m afraid I’ll never make it.”

Then Dr. Chafer asked the porter, “Where do you check in? at Kansas City or Forth Worth?”

“I have to check in at the Pullman office at Fort Worth half hour after the train pulls in.”

“Oh, I see,” said Dr. Chafer. “This train is due at Fort Worth at eight o’clock, and you should check in by eight -thirty. Well, we’re late now; we’ll never make it to Fort Worth by eight o’clock. Aren’t you afraid that you are going to be pretty late this morning? Don’t you think that you’d better get off at the next stop and start running for Fort Worth?”

The porter looked at him and said, “Why sir, what you talkin’ about? You trying t’ make a fool out of me? I never could make Fort Worth running for it as quick as I can make it by staying right on this train. I just trust the man who runs the train to get me there.”

And Dr. Chafer said, “My dear fellow, that is exactly how I am going to Heaven. ‘It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.’ and I am trusting the One who runs the Gospel train, the Lord Jesus Christ, and He is going to get me there. I never could get there through any goodness of my own.”

The porter looked at him in amazement and said, “Tell me a little more about this. I never heard anything like this before.” Dr. Chafer explained the way of salvation to him, and then left a little booklet and a Gospel with him.

About six months later Dr. Chafer was again riding from Kansas City to Dallas, and again the thought came to him that he must speak to the porter. When he found him, he asked him the same question: “How good does a man have to be to get to Heaven?”

The porter looked at him and grinned, “You’re not going to catch me twice on that. You’re the man that asked me that question about six months ago. Well, I looked up all those Scriptures you showed to me and I’ll tell you, sir, I just found there wasn’t anything I could ever do to get to Heaven, no matter how good I tried to be, so I am trusting Him who love me and died for me, and I’m telling others about Him, and I know my soul is saved.” Well, that’s it—”Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

BUT HOW DO YOU MAKE IT YOUR OWN?
In what way is salvation applied to you individually? We read in Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Justified by faith!

Faith is believing God and asking no questions. It is taking God at His word. God says, “I am satisfied with the work which My Son has done. Because of that work, I raised Him from the dead and now offer to justify any poor sinner who comes to Me in My Son’s name and trusts in Him.” If you have come, you have a right to say: “Being justified by faith, I have peace with God [everything settled between me and God] through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Have you said it? If not, say it now. “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach” (Romans 10:8).

The resurrection of Christ, you know, is the declaration, the seal of it all. In the previous verses, at the end of the fourth chapter of Romans, we read, beginning with verse 22: “And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.” That is, when Abraham believed God, it [his faith] was imputed to him for righteousness. And then we read:

Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:23-25)

That is justification by His resurrection. Why? Because His resurrection tells of God’s satisfaction in the work that His Son has done. When He hung upon that Cross He was bearing our sins, He was taking our place, dying there in the sinner’s stead. Now, if He had never come out of that tomb, it would show that redemption was never accomplished. If that tomb remained sealed and the body of Jesus remained in it, then it would show that it was all a farce, and I would not dare to trust Him as my Savior at all. But see, it is the third day, and His resurrection is the divine declaration that all who believe on Him and rely on Him are justified from all things.

ISN’T THERE ANOTHER SIDE OF ALL THIS?
But I know that some of you have been saying in your hearts, or thinking subconsciously at least, “Yes, but there is another side to it. Doesn’t the Bible say somewhere that faith without works is dead?” Yes, it does, for we read, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”

“Well,” someone asks, “does not that contradict what you have been telling us?”

Not at all. You need to see exactly what it is that various writers of the Epistles are dwelling on. The apostle Paul, and practically all of our references have been from his writings, is telling how poor sinners may be justified before God. But now we turn over to the Epistle of James to find out how we who have professed to believe in Christ may be justified before men.

Suppose I say to my companions in the world, “I have just come to Christ, and I am justified from all things.” They have a right to look at me, at my life, to see for themselves whether there is any change in my life. You see, in order to be justified before them, in order to be justified before men, I have to manifest by my good works the fact that I have received a new and a divine nature. Let me read it to you.

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? (James 2:14)

That is, what kind of faith? a faith that has no works? Where there is real faith in Christ one’s work will be different. His life will never again be what it used to be. Everything will be changed.

If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (James 2:15-17)

REAL FAITH IS MANIFESTED BY YOUR WORKS

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (Jam. 2:18)

I cannot show my faith without works, but I can show my faith by my works. If I put my faith in Christ and have trusted Him as my Savior, I have been justified before God, justified freely, justified for nothing, justified without cost, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Now as I live for the One who has justified me, as I devote my redeemed life to the glory of the One who has saved me, my confession is justified before men. Men who get to know me will say, “That man is real; that man is genuine; he lives what he professes.” Do they say that of you? Does your life testify to the reality of the faith that you profess? If you have trusted Christ, you are complete in Him, you are justified freely by His grace. Now by a life devoted to His interests you are to prove to those around you the reality of that faith of which you speak.

(This article is taken from Dr. Ironside’s book Great Words of the Gospel, chapter 4 – in the public domain.)


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