Further Study: Justification by Faith Alone
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“The danger has been presented to me again and again of entertaining, as a people, false ideas of justification by faith. I have been shown for years that Satan would work in a special manner to confuse the mind on this point. The law of God has been largely dwelt upon and has been presented to congregations, almost as destitute of the knowledge of Jesus Christ and His relation to the law as was the offering of Cain. I have been shown that many have been kept from the faith because of the mixed, confused ideas of salvation, because the ministers have worked in a wrong manner to reach hearts. The point that has been urged upon my mind for years is the imputed righteousness of Christ. . . .

“There is not a point that needs to be dwelt upon more earnestly, repeated more frequently, or established more firmly in the minds of all than the impossibility of fallen man meriting anything by his own best good works. Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ alone.”—Ellen G. White, Faith and Works, pp. 18, 19.

“The law demands righteousness, and this the sinner owes to the law; but he is incapable of rendering it. The only way in which he can attain to righteousness is through faith. By faith he can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of His Son to the sinner’s account. Christ’s righteousness is accepted in place of man’s failure, and God receives, pardons, justifies, the repentant, believing soul, treats him as though he were righteous, and loves him as He loves His Son.”—Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book 1, p. 367.

Discussion Questions:

 1  In the first passage quoted above, Ellen G. White says no subject needs to be emphasized more than justification by faith. As a class, discuss whether her comments are as applicable for us today as they were when she wrote them over a hundred years ago and, if so, why.

2 Why does Paul say that Christ would have died for no purpose, if justification were through the law? Gal. 2:21. What does he mean by that?

Summary:

Peter’s behavior in Antioch suggested that ex-pagans could not be true Christians unless they were first circumcised. Paul pointed out the fallacy of such thinking. God cannot pronounce anyone righteous on the basis of that person’s behavior, for even the best humans are not perfect. It is only by accepting what God has done for us in Christ that sinners can be justified in His sight.

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Further Study: Justification by Faith Alone — 8 Comments

  1. I think this lesson deserves an Amen.
    All that could be said , was said.
    But,...to all those who insist on the notion that their is something else we have to do in order to be fit or to be qualified to wear that crown,...
    you may say, justification is only the first step which God imputes to us sinners, but sanctification is a lifetime of our right doing,...

    Let me stop you their and let us see what the BIBLE says.
    Acts 26:18
    To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

    This shows that the only sanctified life that is worthy of any praise, is the one imputed on me by way of Jesus Christ my Lord.
    What a wonderful savor. I don't serve Him to be saved, but I serve Him because I'm saved by His Loving Touch.

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    • Amen! Actually I was having a conversation with God when I suddenly became acutely aware of my own inadequacy and unworthiness, and "saw" His graciousness and mercy in even hearing my prayer. All I could do was thank Him and praise Him for loving me and forgiving me in spite of me! Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

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  2. In the first passage quoted above, Ellen G. White says no subject needs to be emphasized more than justification by faith. As a class, discuss whether her comments are as applicable for us today as they were when she wrote them over a hundred years ago and, if so, why?

    The world has only gotten worse in almost every way these last hundred years. All manner of crimes are committed, and a lot of them have become socially acceptable. Openly gay pastors, child abuse by ministers, false teachings in churches and class rooms have all lead many astray of Jesus and His salvation through belief in Him. With faith in Christ that is true and understood, the pit falls of Satan and his temptations of our souls, can be recognized and avoided. Through constant contact with Jesus through the Holy Spirit we can have a better understanding of the concept of obedience of the law. Many may believe that their “good works” ensures them a place in Heaven, but without believing in Jesus and His role in our lives can lead us astray.

    Why does Paul say that Christ would have died for no purpose, if justification were through the law?
    What does he mean by that?

    The inability of humans to follow the law completely through their entire lives would have ensured victory for Satan, in his claim that God was unjust, and it is impossible to follow the law. If we as sinners did not have a way to repent and find redemption through Christ’s sacrifice, all would be lost.

    I often wonder what life would be like without temptation. How much easier would life be without always feeling the stress of Satan’s whisperings? Greed, impatience, lust, selfishness, etc. would all be gone and our minds would be free to dwell on only what is good and right, in helping others with no though of self gratification, but only in the act of bringing happiness to someone else. Personally I look forward to those days.

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    • Christ died for us, the ungodly, because we had nothing to bring to God to satisfy the claims of His holy law. Even at our very best we justly merited the wages of sin - death. But Christ came in sinful nature to give to God what we could not - a perfect righteousness and unwavering obedience - and then made His righteousness available to us through faith as a free gift in exchange for our filthy rags righteousness (the Great Exchange - Glory to God!). If we through our obedience to the works of the law could render to God what God required, Christ came and lived and died in vain. God concluded us all under sin so that our mouths could be stopped and the whole world become guilty before God. And then God in His goodness and great mercy offered up His only Son for us all, the innocent Lamb of God, to take away our death penalty and give to us the gifts of justification, the forgiveness of sins, and eternal life and peace, reconciliation with God, through the merits of Jesus our Savior. Hallelujah somebody!

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  3. I really love the lesson this week,what Peter did in Antioch was unexcuseable,I think that at time,he wanted more to be accepted by his fellow Jews.More then share and encourage the gentiles more,he changed as soon as the Jews got there,this shows that we sometimes try to compromise the truth in order to be accepted by fellow believers,rather then truly listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit about what we should do.Even though Iam not proud of it,I sometimes to do it.But this weeks lesson has taught me alot.

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  4. Wow what I can say at the monent is this is one of the great lessons we ever had. May God bless us all, happy Sabbath saints.

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  5. Paul's view in regard to faith has however brought misunderstanding among other denominations and preachers. They promote doing away with God's commandments and dwell on just having faith. However faith without obedience is counterproductive spirtually. Due to one having faith, obedience of God's requirements is therefore automatic. The obedince is a fruit of manifestation of faith.

    Conrad Kanjo

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