Judged by Our Works?
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Will

Since 1981, when I began preaching in high school, I have preached in many churches from Chiclayo, Peru, to Torrington, Connecticut.  I have spoken to large and small congregations with various needs.  I have illustrated to some conservative churches the need to be a little more liberal, and to liberal churches, how to be a little more conservative, as we all seek a Christ-like balance.

One Sabbath several years ago, I was preaching in one of the most conservative churches I […]

Forgiveness Is Not Saying It Is Okay
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Carrying the Cross

One Sabbath afternoon I received a phone call from the mother of a child I had corrected earlier at church, who had smarted off to me, when I told her to stay out of a room that was off-limits. The mother told me, “My daughter wants to tell you she is sorry, but before she gets on the phone, I wanted to ask you, when she says she is sorry, don’t tell her it is okay. Just tell her she […]

Further Study: Justification by Faith Alone
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future_study

“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 […]

04: Holding On in the Flood – Discussion Questions
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The river had been well past flood stage for days, and as darkness settled on the streets and rooftops of the city that night, the wind picked up and howled its fearful message that destruction had arrived. A board worked its way loose outside Sam’s apartment on second floor and crashed against the street light. A short display of fireworks and then darkness. Sam could feel the floor sinking and then rising again, his knees giving way […]

Thursday: Does Faith Promote Sin?
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10-20

One of the main accusations against Paul was that his gospel of justification by faith alone encouraged people to sin (see Rom. 3:8,6:1). No doubt the accusers reasoned that if people do not have to keep the law to be accepted by God, why should they be concerned with how they live?

How does Paul respond to the accusation that a doctrine of justification by faith alone encourages sinful behavior? Gal. 2:17, 18. 

Paul responds to his opponents’ charges in the strongest terms possible: “God […]

04: Justification by Faith Alone – Teaching Plan
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Key Thought: Sinners can be justified in God’s sight only by accepting what God has done for them in Christ. Through faith we may die to self and let Christ live His life in us.

Lesson for October 22, 2011

1. Have a volunteer read Galatians 2:15-17

A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.

B. Why does Paul state that the Jews by nature and not sinners of the […]

Wednesday: The Obedience of Faith
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10-19

Paul makes it clear that faith absolutely is foundational to the Christian life. It is the means by which we lay hold of the promises we have in Christ. But what is faith exactly? What does it involve?

What do the following texts teach us about the origin of faith? Gen. 15:5, 6; John 3:14–16; 2 Cor. 5:14, 15; Gal. 5:6. 

Genuine biblical faith is always a response to God. Faith is not some kind of feeling or attitude that humans one day decide to have because […]

Tuesday: The Basis of Our Justification
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10-18

“And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Phil. 3:9, NKJV).

We should not assume Jewish Christians were suggesting that faith in Christ was not important; after all, they were all believers in Jesus. They all had faith in Him. Their behavior showed, however, that they felt faith was not sufficient by itself; it must be supplemented with obedience, […]

Living by Faith
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“…just as it is written: `The righteous will live by faith.’” Romans 1:17, NIV

While I was attending Walla Walla College in the late 1970s, a professor asked his class an impromptu quiz. “How many believe,” he asked, “that we can work our way to heaven by our good deeds?”

Only one or two hands went up.

“How many believe that our salvation is totally a gift of grace without regard to our good deeds?”

This time a few more hands went up.

Finally, he […]

Monday: Works of the Law
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10-17

Paul says three times in Galatians 2:16 that a person is not justified by “works of the law.” What does he mean by the expression “works of the law”? How do these texts (Gal. 2:16, 17; 3:2, 5, 10; Rom. 3:20, 28) help us understand his meaning?

Before we can understand the phrase “the works of the law,” we first need to understand what Paul means by the word law. The word law (nomos in Greek) is found 121 times in Paul’s letters. It can refer to a number […]