Today, we are going to talk about being justified by faith because I believe it is something we need to understand fully. We use this quote all the time as Christians, but as I walk around and look at how people are living their lives within the Christian community, I don’t see the life that has been justified.
I might come across as some self-righteous pinhole to some because I seem to come across as if I know it all, I don’t know it all, I only know what the Lord told me, and standing here, I’m here to tell you, I do not see the life that is justified among us. What I do see is the coming together of Christians, the worship, and the praying we do, but then we go home, and we seem to forget why we were together.
To be quite honest, I don’t even believe we understand why we come together, for most; and if not all of us, I believe when we come together it is to sing songs, pray, and stick to our timelines. But how many of us know when we come together it is to deal with the things concerning God’s kingdom? We seem to become accustomed to the building we called Church. But the Church is not the building, and if we listen to what Isaiah has to say, we would come to realize why we come together each Sunday, Monday, or any day we come together.
Isaiah 9:6- 9 speaks of God sending his Son into the world to become our savior, that is if we are willing to take up the cross and follow him. That cross for many might seem a bit too heavy, so we come together, listen to the message, then we go home, and it’s back to normal. I believe this is why we are not seeing the traction we should be having in this world. Sure, the world will reject the gospel, and that is OK, but what about the millions that are waiting on God to move on their behalf.
We seem to forget Jesus came to establish a kingdom on earth, Isaiah completed his thought by saying Isaiah 9:7 “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” And reading Isaiah, how do we believe the increase of his government was to be accomplished? Will it be by our saying that we believe in Christ without works, or is it by us doing what Jesus said we are to do? James asked us the question, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” James 2:14-26
Let us consider what we are preaching so that we might have full understanding of what we are communicating to the world, and what we are telling the world is that, “Jesus is the only way” Sure he is, and we understand this from scripture, but what do we have to show that He is. We are telling the world, “God is all-powerful” And we know this from scripture, “He made the heavens and the earth simply by speaking the word.” Genesis 1:1-3. But again, what do we have to show this is true? We come to Church, we sing a few songs, but what are the impacts, where are the results, and why does it seem as if we are losing the battle?
I believe we are not seeing the impact and seem to be losing the battle because we do not understand what it means to be justified by faith. We speak the word, “We are justified by faith in Christ Jesus” but what we do, doesn’t show this reality. We must lean on scripture to understand what it means to be “Justified by faith in Christ Jesus” Because to simply believe we are justified without proof and actions is laughable to those looking at our lives for proof.
Do we even understand we are the proof that God is “All-powerful? And do we understand, “We are the glory of the Lord?” The very visible image of God made in the likeness of his son. Let us reason among ourselves with an invitation to Christ to join us and let us together discover what it truly means to be “Justified by faith alone in Christ.”
Let us now read what the scripture has to say about Justification, we know Christ died for us and that is good, and we know through his resurrection we have the evidence of our hope. We also know through the covenant of his blood we are saved being set free from the penalty of sin that is if we accept his provisions. And reading the scripture, we must understand justification is an act of faith, not the simple confession we are “Justified by faith.” Because our very confession is a statement that faith must be involved for us to be justified.
Paul wrote, “Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” It is clear, justification is by and through faith, and to have the peace of Christ we must engage God with faith.
But what does it mean to be justified? The understanding of what it means to be justified by faith is fundamental to our Christian walk. But to help us along, we will look to scripture for us to understand what it means to be justified by faith. And reading John’s gospel, we can find a clear answer to this question. John declared, “John 1:12-13 “But as many as received him, to them he gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Justification is the right to be God’s son and to become God’s son we should know what that means. But if we do not know what it means, we should look at the rights Jesus had when He walked among us.
Because Jesus was sinless, he had the right to subpoena the powers of heaven to do what he needed to be accomplished in the earth and the lives of those he touched. When Jesus had the need to heal the blind, the deaf, and the lame because he had the right to God’s power as a son, He called into action the things he had need of and the power of God was available for him to carry it out. Not having the right, or to be unjustified, it will be impossible for us to take the position Jesus took but is it not amazing, Jesus said he gave us this power to cast out devils and to heal the sick. John 15:7-8.
Luke 9:1-2 tells us that Jesus “called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.” He did this because we are justified by our faith in him. But what does it mean to be justified by faith? We still haven’t answered this question, but I hope the actions of the disciples Jesus sent out to demonstrate his authority over the devils is enough for us to understand what it means to be justified by faith.
In Luke nine, we see Jesus giving a command to his disciples that they were to go and preach the kingdom of God, but with that said, He also told them they had power and authority over all devils and to cure diseases. And as they go preaching the gospel, something begins to happen, and when they returned with their report here is what they had to say to Jesus:
The scripture in Luke said this, Luke 9:6-8 “And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing everywhere. Now, Herod, the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John rose from the dead; and of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets rose again.”
The works and power that was with the disciples reached the ears of the king, the scripture told us he was perplexed, stunned because of all the miracles, and report of people being raised up from the dead along with being healed of their diseases. And as the disciples returned, here is their report to Jesus: Luke 10:17 “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.” to which Jesus reply;
Luke 10:18-20 “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and overall the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”
The power of justification was at work in the disciples of Jesus Christ, but why do we think that was? Was it because they believed Jesus, went home and cook a meal and said, “We’ll do this again but until next time we meet at Church” Or, was it because after hearing the instruction of Christ and going out and doing what he commanded, were they justified? They were justified because of the latter, because they did what Jesus instructed them to do, and because of their actions, they showed they believed, and because they believed they went out and do what they believed.
Justification is not a thing we hear and say we believe, Justification is something we hear and do, and I believe with all my heart, we are not witnessing the power of God among ourselves simply because we do not believe. For many of us, our faith in Christ stopped at the door when we leave the Church, and that is why when faith shows up and said, let us go out into the world and proclaim the power of God, let us go and raise the dead, we put up a stumbling block preventing those who believe from doing the work God has called us to do.
I know this from experience because a stumbling block was placed in my path as a young man coming to birth in Jesus Christ. Because while I was out proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ becoming a witness to God’s miracle healing power that fell upon a young girl around the age of ten or elven, as best as I can remember who had water on her brain, a situation that was preventing her from being normal, a girl that was instantly healed confirmed by her doctor, the Church was in the building.
And when I showed up for Bible study declaring the scripture and my faith in Christ, I was directly attacked by someone who was a member of the Church who asked me “Are you, Jesus?” The Pastor deadened me, but what do you think that did to my faith? And what do you believe my thoughts were about what we called the Church after that experience? That’s right, I realize the Church was dead, so I left and until this day when I visit any Church it is only for the fellowship because the scripture said we are to come together, but when it comes to the power and word of God, I close my ears. Because what we called the Church today is dead.
When Jesus was with us, he would visit the synagogues of his day, and every time he visits one, he would run into those who would object to his message. Even when He proves his power to heal the leper, they attacked him for some foolish religious notion concerning the Shabbat. Jesus had to waste his time asking the Church at that time what was better, Matthew 12:11-12 “And he said unto them, “What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.”
Jesus’ response to their foolish objection was an attempt to open their eyes, but he knew they had already missed the big picture. He was the Messiah, what he did among them proves that but because they were so religious, they were more interested in their Church laws and rules. Because for them to be holy was to obey the law of the Church.
I have something to say about that, the law and policies of what we called the Church today has no power to raise the dead, cast out demons, and cause our leaders today to be perplexed. They are not the instructions of God to his disciples, rather, they are men’s view of holiness, but if we understand what God’s policies are and what it means to be justified, we will begin to do what God commands us to do and we will see the results. But we won’t see the results unless we begin to show our faith unless we are justified by our faith.
Faith calls for action, where are the reports among us of the president being perplexed because we are doing what God calls on us to do. Where are our faith and the proof of it? It is easy for us to come together, sing a few songs, pray empty prayers and go home after our formal meetings. People do that every day, you know what they call that, “A potluck.” Are we coming together for a “Potluck” when we come to sing and pray, or are we coming together to report on what God has been doing and how the king of this nation and its government are perplexed?
Justification is not to say we believe and do nothing, it is to say we believe and do what God calls on us to do and that is to ‘go in all the world and proclaim the gospel to every nation “ with the knowledge that the proclamation of the gospel is the full work of the kingdom that involves preaching, healing, casting out devils and raising the dead.” That is the command of the king.
Do you believe this?