HOW DOES GOD JUSTIFY?
The Doctrine of Justification
By Pastor George D. Cutler
Grace Gospel Ministry
Download Acrobat Reader Click Here----> http://www.acrobat-reader.download-uk.us/
Download Adobe Reader Click Here------> http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html
OUTLINE OF CONTENTS
Introduction ------------------------------------------------------ 5
PART 1 -------------------------------------------------------------13
PART 2 -------------------------------------------------------------30
PART 3 -------------------------------------------------------------42
PART 4 ------------------------------------------------------------ 53
PART 5 ------------------------------------------------------------ 63
CONCLUSION -------------------------------------------------- 69
An Understanding of the Doctrine of Justification is the Basis of Which the Church Either Progresses or Digresses
Among the rank and file of Christendom, the doctrine of justification and its related doctrines are either grossly misunderstood, unknown, or ignored and thus misapplied. From time to time various precise scholars have attempted to align the church on the right course on these vital and necessary doctrines of salvation by grace through faith alone.
The Body of Christ is certainly in dire need of bible scholars today who will rightly and unselfishly divide the word of God. Those who are such will pain-stakingly wale through the light of the scriptures to focus God’s people on these blessed doctrines, which all work in harmony to convey justification. From the inception of justification by faith or "faith righteousness" as revealed to the Apostle Paul, there has been a concerted effort to place a vial upon this vital truth. This has been and continues to be the target of the satanic forces.
Sadly, it is the misinformed Christian who has and continues to misunderstand the cornerstone of salvation to the extent of placing the Church under the bondage of the doctrine of "works-righteousness". This occurs as a result of a lack of knowledge of the precise elements of the doctrine of Justification and its related doctrines. Unfortunately it is not in the scope of the average child of God to articulate adequately the rational and Biblical response if posed the question, "How and why are you saved?" It is astounding that so many have such a skewed understanding of such an important truth; yet there does not seem to be any concerted effort on the part of mainstream church ministries to guide God’s elect to the light of the provisionary work which has been so graciously supplied to effectuate our eternal security.
It should be the benefit of all of God’s children to dwell epistemologically in the fact of "Justification by Faith alone", but sadly such is not the case because it (justification) has been misapplied or even restated in some off-centered manner. The misstating of the facts of God’s eternally designed plan of salvation occurs mainly when the absolute ramifications of the Sovereignty of God is misconstrued. The misconception of justification is foisted by imprecise pastors in the pulpits, who preach in reality a partial meritorious or none-grace salvation that binds the constituents of grace thus confusing the true concept of this doctrine. This miscarriage of the truth must be met with the utmostprecision of the knowledge of God’s eternally executed work of salvation before creation. It is glaringly accurate to state that this precision has mostly been lost in the majority of Christian circles today.
The litmus test to evaluate whether God’s people really understand the true foundation of their salvation is to ask a very simple question, i.e., does the doctrine ofjustification have anything to do with what one physically or emotionally experiences or does in receiving ones salvation in any manner? If their answer lies anywhere in the confines or realm of "yes", then it is obvious that their understanding of justification is severely flawed. If one thinks that justification is evidenced by what one experiences or does physically rather than what God has previously accomplished on ones behalf, it will inevitably result in the forfeiture of the comfort of ones full assurance.
Notice, with this mindset, the provisions of God’s eternal work are non-existent and the terms (doctrines) of salvation are befuddled. It is vital, yes even critical, to grasp the concept that the doctrine of justification is something completely independent from anything that any man can do, desire to do, or have something done; and most importantly it is not something that is physically or emotionally experienced. In essence it is something God alone accomplished in a single declaration, thus it is independent or it stands apart from the one who is justified. The simple yet precise truth of the doctrine of justification is that those for whom justification is granted are those who have not rendered any contributions either physically, mentally, nor emotionally; thus those who have not worked for it in any manner whatsoever or done anything to deserve it. If one says or teaches otherwise, the biblical concept of Justification is distorted.
JUSTIFICATION, THE TOTAL WORK OF GOD
The assurance of one’s justified standing with God serves as the basis of one’s confident walk in the essence of those who are members of the Body of Christ. The most blessed of God’s people are those who first understand the eternal benefits of salvation and as of a result, have internalized this truth and translated it into the practical aspect of daily walking in Him, as we move toward eternity. To many of God’s people, it is very difficult to transition the written or spoken word of God into the living manifestation of it in our daily lives. We must fully comprehend the fact that our true status in life begins with our eternal relationship with God. In essence our peace in this life is directly linked and dominated by our peace with God (Romans 5:1). Our peace with God is culminated from our eternal peace from God (Romans 1:7). Thus the enactment of justification engenders the peace of God (Philippians 4:7; Colossians 3:15), who is the God of peace (Romans 15:33; Philippians 4:9; 16:20; I Thessalonians 5:23). Justification denotes peace and acceptance with God.
In Romans 15:13 it reads (KJV), "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost". Now from the Greek text, "And may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace while believing, unto the end that you may abound in the hope in the power of the Holy Spirit". Hope or "earnest expectation" is not the illusive entity that some deem it to be. Hope is actually the derivative of justification. It depends upon justification; it is in proportion to justification. But many of God’s people have very little if any understanding of what justification is, accordingly they find themselves in no position to either affirm or deny anything concerning it. Thus it is encumbered upon the ministry to carefully define and explain the doctrine of "justification", endeavoring to show both what it signifies, as well as what it does not connote.
The meaning of the term justify does not mean to make inherently righteous and holy but it signifies only to formally pronounce just or legally declare one to be righteous. Justification is our acceptance by which God receives His elect into His favor and esteems us as righteous persons. It consists of the eradication of our sins and the imputation of the righteous of Christ to our account. Thus we are not righteous in ourselves but we are considered righteous in Christ.
There was a relatively brief period in the 16th century during the so called "Reformation Era" when the blesseth truth of justification was one of the best known doctrines of the Protestant Christian Faith, when it was regularly expounded through preaching and teaching by the clergy of that day. At that period in church history, the rank and file of those influenced by Martin Luther’s prioritizing of the epistles written by the Apostle Paul was constantly exposed to the principle aspects of salvation by grace alone.
Justification by faith, in light of the sovereign grace of God through election, was at the very nucleus of this doctrinal teaching. Its origin was derived through the prioritizing and distinguishing of the epistles of Paul, as having supreme value contents over the law and other Old Testament doctrinal instructions. Oddly, the proponents of these two doctrinal persuasions (election by sovereign grace and division of the bible according to dispensations) are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
The underlying culprit of this rift between these groups can be traced to the doctrine of synergism, which teaches man’s partnership or cooperation with God and ultimate influence upon the enactment of His will. Subsequent to the emergence of synergism and the corresponding diluting of the doctrine of election and ultimate diversion of the true principle of grace; generations have drifted from the actual factuality to this present point wherein the vast majority of Reformation and Evangelical Christendom are mostly ignorant of this precious theme. In this present day and time, with rare exceptions, it is no longer given a prominent place in the pulpits of ministries. Indeed any writings on it are scarce in this era of men’s synergistically contrivance of propagating their conception of "how to", i.e., "the proper method for receiving the things that one desires from God".
Consequently, comparatively few of God’s elect understand what justification actually connotes and still even less are clear as to the grounds on which God justifies the ungodly. Unfortunately as we view the spiritual welfare of God’s people, this places genuine grace ministers out of the accepted main stream of ministering. Those who hew strictly to the meat of the message, i.e., the spiritual invisible everlasting association of the elect linked to their eternal relationship with God in eternity; will automatically shun the more physically attractive yet superficial treatment of God’s directives to The Body of Christ. Thus such faithful ones will find themselves resoundingly in the minority.
In spite of this, God is to be praised as he continues to call and equip faithful ministers to dedicatedly declare and vindicate the truth unto the instruction and edification of those whom He has caused to love it in sincerity. The extent of the scope of genuine ministry is to extricate the minds of God’s people from the difficulties of secular peculiarities, which so many have endeavored to cast on all gospel ministries. The true crux of feeding the flock of God must be to direct the consciences of those who sincerely inquire after abiding peace with God and to establish the minds of those who believe the things that are actually directed to the Church in this dispensation.
This, in spite of its unpopularity, must be the aim of informed ministering in this age of Grace; that is, to present the doctrines of salvation i.e., Justification, etc., as the vital subjects that they are. This requires going into them deeply and entering into great details, even every revealed aspect of these truths. This we must do even through it may seem to cause a heavy taxation upon the spiritual mentality and patience of the average child of God. But the truly called one of God is mandated to teach and preach accordingly. Thus we respectfully urge all of God’s people (and those in Grace Ministries in particular) to make a concerted effort to girdup the loins of our minds and seek to prayerfully master the foundational doctrines of salvation.
In examining the subject of justification and outlaying the exegesis of what the word of God conveys, we will present the facts of the doctrinal side of the truth as we correlate it judicially. This is distinguished from the practical or experimental side. Yet when taken in light of the full knowledge of Gods’ grace working for and in sinful mankind, it becomes apparent that the doctrine of Justification is not by any means to be viewed as impractical, no, indeed far from it.
The judicious act of God declaring His elect justified, in practice entails the external enactment of the account of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, to be conferred, deposited or credited to the worth or standing of the believer before Him. This does not take into account the personal worth or contributable input of the conferee, but it only weighs the enumeration of the assessment as a transaction of imputation. Thus justification before God cannot be viewed in both the legal and evangelical sense. The distinct nature of the two viewed in partnership (legal and evangelical) form a phantasm or mirage; as the former gives credit to and singularly glorifies God, while the latter is derogatory to the merit of Christ if it ascribes even partial credit to the recipient, rather than total credit to the blood of Christ.
Consequently true or scriptural justification gives no countenance to any amalgamation (blending or mixing) of the actual and practicing aspects of righteousness, holiness or sanctification. All justification that could be merited is over- thrown by this distinction. This dissimilarity is marked by: on the one hand, the actuality or factuality of justification based on faith alone and on the other hand, the visible manifestation of the functions of those who are justified. It must be clearly understood that the former is the essence of our acceptable standing before Him and is sufficient within itself. Thus while the latter is a noble testimony to the accomplishment of God’s work of imputing righteousness to His elect; it, in itself is not a continuation of the act of justification. It depends on faith alone, not on one’s so-called "personal righteousness", which is not acquirable in ones daily walk. In other words, is justification a once completed judicious act in all it’s cause and effect of it or does the commanding power of the Law constitute an obligation of obedience to effectuate a continuation or sustenance of it? Does the continuation of the actual pardon and justified estate depend upon the performance of its recipient?
The scriptural principles of justification teach that nothing is required here unto but the application of righteousness imputed. This alone is the pleadable basis of the continuation of our approved standing before God. Thus ones personal obedience does not constitute God’s pleasure in His acceptance of one, even though God is definitely pleased with the exemplification of righteous deeds on the part of the one to whom righteous has been reckoned. Consequently in essence, acceptability to God is that which is externally conferred, not that which externally manifested.
The perpetrators of arminianism as well as those who are synergistically inspired do in fact both foist and affirm various forms of so-called "evangelical personal righteousness." The very nature and usage of such terminology engenders in many respects (whether intended or not), a connotation of angelical justification on their so-called evangelical personal righteousness. It is indeed puzzling how this is by some affirmed and even applauded. How is it possible, in light of Paul’s writings (our gospel in the Dispensation of Grace), that evangelical personal righteousness could be asserted as a condition of one’s righteousness or the pardon of sin? There is no personal righteousness required in the Gospel of Grace; otherwise grace would not be grace (unmerited favor). Contrariwise, the nature of the Law induces a requirement for inherent and habitual righteousness, sanctification and holiness. In this sense righteousness (the standard of God) is required from a source from whence there is no such substance. This is the reason why all must accept the verdict that all the progeny of Adam are depraved creatures, thus the requirement of denominational righteousness by the believer is a loss cause. Evangelical personal righteousness should never be asserted as the condition of our righteousness nor could there ever be any evangelical justification attached to our personal expressions of God’s righteousness.
Those who espouse the teachings of the contents of the Epistle of James (justification by faith and works) have a lack of comprehension that they are doctrinally and dispensationally out of synch with the epistles of Paul, which teaches justification by faith alone. There is a vast difference between the terms and non-conditions of the Grace Covenant (Grace Mystery Gospel) verses, the terms and conditions outlaid in the New Covenant (Kingdom Gospel), though justification in both gospels is antecedently originated in the merit of Jesus Christ alone. Even in James teachings there is no assertion that one may be justified by their inherent personal righteous. A clear understanding of the doctrine of the New Covenant plainly teaches that the accomplishment of justification is invested in the fact that the deeds of the Law originally written on tablets of stone in the Old Covenant; is now (and will be) written in their hearts through identification with the workings of Christ in the spirit of God, which shall dwell in them. Thus, it will not be them (nor could it ever be) but the spirit of God in them implementing the deeds of the law unto justification. For those who are under the Grace Covenant there are no stipulations of works whatsoever; there is only the transference of righteousness, sanctification and holiness by the imputation of the merit of Christ, which is unmerited by the elect of God.
Now one must be very careful not to construe this distinction between Faith Righteousness (which is by imputation), and so-called Evangelical Person Righteousness, (which is viewed as the character of the believer), to be antithetical to the appeal for moral conduct in the believer. Conversely, it is an unbiased knowledge of true justification through imputation of the righteousness of God by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ that should serve as the foundational basis for dedication and discipline living before Him.
Thus the term "evangelical personal righteousness" is flawed nomenclature, even when it is used to denote the practice ofmanifesting godly principles in response to our justified position, which has been acquired for us! If one use it as a basis of self-aggrandizing worth or value rating that is offered as contribution to the process of justification, he is grossly in error, for it is not the nature of any justification affirmed in the scriptures. All judgments or assessments of the believer’s worth must be directly linked to the merit of the propitiation (acceptable Sacrifice), which is the only plausible substratum for justification or any declaration of righteousness.
Now as we begin in earnest our expository discourse of this very important subject of Justification; there are certain premises upon which our dissertation must ultimate rest; namely:
All of mankind is born with the sinful nature after the similitude of fallen Adam (Romans 5:14).
All men, as a result of this sinful nature are guilty before God (Romans 3:19).
No man can be justified by his own personal character or conduct (Romans 3:20).
No man of his own accord has the ability to seek after God (Romans 3:11-12).
Righteousness is not a relative term; it is an absolute term and is ultimately defined as the divine standard of God (Romans 10:3).
Man can only be just or righteous because of the righteousness, which is through the faithfulness of Christ, the righteousness that is of God by His (Jesus’) faithfulness (Philippians 3:9).
Man can only be justified through faith, i.e., "the faithfulness of Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1) and thus brings forth the fruits of the righteousness of justification (Philippians 1:11).
Justification is a legal term meaning to remove the guilt (i.e., the liability to punishment) of the sinner. It does not involve making one inwardly holy, but merely declares that the demands of justice have been satisfied. Justification is a change in man’s relationship or standing before God. It has to do with the relationship that originally was and now is as a result of the effect of sin. Now we shall observe throughout this study that our individual relationship with God is personal.
Justification is a change from guilt and condemnation, to acquittal and acceptance (Romans 5:1). It is a divine legal act on the part of (God), the judge of the entire universe. Justification is an act done purely on a legal basis only i.e., that Jesus, who is God incarnate-in flesh, died (the supreme sacrifice) to satisfy the perfect divine universal law of God’s demands (Galatians 3:11-13). Now, in view of Jesus’ faithful act of love, God who is the only Judge, can remain just in justifying all the elect who through the gift of faith; shall believe on the finished efficacious work that Jesus accomplished in eternity, which was manifested on the cross at Calvary (Rom. 3:25-26).
Note the difference between Regeneration and Justification. Regeneration is a subject matter we shall exclusively deal with in other writings as it entails the change of the believer’s nature. Justification entails the change of the believer’s legal standing before God. Regeneration is subjective, whereas justification is objective. In other words, regeneration is concerned with the state of the believer, but justification is concerned with the status of the believer’s standing. Thus in essence, to justify does not mean to make one righteous but to count one righteous (Galatians 3:6). Now it should be clearly understood that the purpose of justification is to set forth as righteous, to declare righteous in a legal sense or to place the believer in a righteous relationship with God.
Justification does not deal, at lease not directly with character but it is a question of relationship. Now some of the legalists are going to construe this in the wrong way, so we note that both character and conduct are fruits of and controlled by the relationship. In other words, no acquired righteousness on the part of the one justified is to be asserted as the believer is declared to be righteous and is treated by God as such. Strictly speaking then, justification is the special act of God whereby those who are caused to exercise faith in Christ are declared righteous in Him and are thus free from both the guilt and punishment of sin. Now those who are proponents of so called corporate election should understand that saving faith, i.e., the faith that enables one to believe; is not self generated by any means and could not possibly be sourced from mankind. Faith is a gift that is gifted out of God Himself, therefore no flesh can boast (Rom. 3:27; 4:2). Now the basis of the ministry of the Grace Gospel Church is found in Ephesians 2:8-9. This text sheds great light upon the subject of justification, which is the essence of salvation by grace and faith alone!
Now we should soberly and sincerely ask ourselves these questions...."Does the faith, which we exercise in believing in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation come from us or does it come from God? In our unsaved state, upon hearing the gospel, do we generate the faith to believe from within ourselves or does God deposit that faith within us? This study of the doctrine of justification will clearly demonstrate that God, and God alone provides the faith to believe the gospel. Now as we study and share the doctrine of the believer’s justification, it can be established that the faith that is supplied in God’s act of declaring the sinner to be counted as righteous; is exclusively provided by God. The faith itself is not extant from the believing sinner, but gifted from God. Romans 5:1, which we shall extensively exegete in our studies, teaches us that the faithfulness of Jesus Christ is the only basis by which God can and will declare the judicial act of justification. Paul states a summation in this verse, "Therefore having been justified by (through the means of) faith (the faithfulness of Christ), we have peace with God". "Peace with God", as we shall see in our detailed examination of this verse, is rendered "face to face", as it testifies that we have been pardoned from the judicial curse of the original sin or sin nature, which the entire human family inherited from the first man Adam. Ephesians 2:1 states that we were dead in our trespasses and sins. Here one must concede that dead persons do not have the capacity to do anything. They can absolutely make no decisions. We were spiritually dead, thus God had to reach into us to give us life. It is a fact that we could not reach out to Him (John 6:44; Ephesians 2:5) so God reached down to us. Thus, as the elect of God chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), our salvation is totally the work of God, even to the point of giving us the faith to believe in receiving the act of justification (Philippians 1:29). Now one should not allow legalistic or denominational dogma to cloud ones thinking. May the understanding of this truth give each of us great joy in our Lord; thanking God only for the provisions He made in effectuating our eternal justification and thus our eternal salvation.
Justification consists of two elements:
The forgiveness of sin, thus the removal of its guilt and punishment.
The imputation of Christ’s righteousness and restoration to God’s favor.
It is difficult for one to fully relate to God’s feelings toward sin. In the thinking of mankind, God’s forgiveness for sin may seem to be easy, mostly because as sinful creatures we are basically insensitive toward sin. But to a righteous and Holy God it is absolutely and totally different. Note how we as humans find it so very hard to forgive someone when we believe that they have wronged us, nevertheless God has gladly and freely forgiven (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 3:24). Even in other dispensations God’s forgiveness is demonstrated in the prophecy of Micah 7:18, wherein he states, "Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage"? He retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy...he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Also, in the 130th Psalms there is the wonderful expression of God’s forgiveness.
In this sense, forgiveness may be considered as cessation of the moral anger and resentment of God against sin or as a release from the guilt of sin, which oppresses the conscience or as a remission of the punishment of sin-----which is eternal DEATH. In justification then, all of our sins are forgiven and the guilt and punishment thereof removed (Acts 13:38-39; Romans 8:1). Thus God sees the believer as without sin and guilt in Christ (Romans 8:33-34). Now the forgiven sinner is unlike the discharged prisoner who has served out his term and is discharged from further punishment, but such one has no rights of citizenship. No! Justification entails much more than mere acquittal (Romans 5:9-10). In essence justification functions as follows: the repentant, after being gifted by God with the ability to change his mind and heart toward God, receives as a result of his pardon, the full rights of citizenship, which is in heaven (Ephesians 2:19). There is also the imputation of the righteousness of Jesus Christ to the redeemed. His righteousness is "Unto all and upon all them that are gifted of God to believe" (Romans 3:22; 5:17-21; I Corinthians 1:30).
And now we begin our verse-by-verse expository exegesis:
We open our scriptural exegesis in Romans 3:19 from the King James Version, "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and the entire world may become guilty before God". And from the Greek text, "And we know that as much as the law says, it says it to those in the law, that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become guilty before God". In verse 19 and the following verse (20), the Apostle Paul, tersely sets forth the underlying purpose of the Law of Moses. Notice in perusing the proceeding verses 10 through 18, the word of God testifies that there is none righteousness not even one; thus it is declared that the entire human race is under the domination of sin. It further states that there is none who understands or none who has spiritual insight into the mind, will and purpose of God (Romans 11:34; I Corinthians 2:16). All men are born into this world dead in trespasses and sins, alive only in the physical sphere, so it follows that mankind will not and cannot seek God who is in the spiritual sphere (John 4:24). Now actually, to the contrary, mankind has turned away from and shunned all that which is profitable and godly. True kindness and goodness is the exception rather than the rule because men are not prone to minister to the needs of others outside of their own selfish motives. The true description of man’s nature is defined in Romans 3:13-18. Now again in verse 19 Paul discloses three things:
The Purpose of the Mosaic Law
The contents of the Law
The sphere of the Law
Now one point must be clearly understood; and that is the fact that the Law is specifically addressed to Israel (Romans 3:1; 9:4). The only way for a Gentile to come within the sphere of the Law was to become a Jewish proselyte, and even then, his privileges were limited (Matthew 23:15; Acts 2:11).
Note the Greek phrase tho•sah o no•mahs leh•yee translated "as much as the Law says", is a quantitative phrase. It means that all, i.e., everything that the Law says is to be observed by those in or under the Law. The Law was a single package of stipulations and commands, and it had no options, no deviation, but it had to be kept in its entirety. If the one under it failed to keep every aspect of it, he was deemed a sinner and came under its curse (Galatians 3:10). In verse 19, the Greek conjunction ee•nah translated "that" or in order that, as it is used with the subjunctive mood, indicates what the purpose of the Law is, i.e., "that every mouth may be stopped". Here the Greek word phrah•yee translated "stopped", means that every mouth may be fenced in, closed up and silenced. Earnestly speaking, outside of the accomplishments of Jesus, we have absolutely nothing to boost or brag about. Now those who abide under the Law and have not perfectly kept all the requirements of the Law are under the curse of the Law and have no excuses, alibis nor basis for justification (Galatians 2:16).
Observe further in verse 19, Romans chapter 3; that beyond stopping every mouth, the Law puts men in a position that "all the world may become guilty before God". Note that the Greek phrase pahs o kos•mos rendered "all the world", suggests that the Law impresses guiltiness on the mind of all those who are subject to it. Those who are legalistically or denominational inclined to wave the deed of the Law as their banner, must wake up and realize that it will not justify them... no to the contrary, it will absolutely condemn them. It cannot solidify but instead actually destroys ones position before God. Notice the Greek word eep•oth•ee•kos translated "guilt". Here the Greek proposition eep•o means "under" and the noun thee•kos rendered "justice", speaks of one who is under justice or judgement or one who is under obligation to make restitutions. So it conveys the idea of bringing the world to trial, accusing it and making it liable for its sin. Now this speaks of an extended significance of the Law, strictly limited to sinners (I Timothy 1:9), beyond the Jews to whom it was specifically given (Exodus 20:1-22; I Corinthians 9:20-21).
Now we move to Romans 3:20 from the King James Version, "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin". And from the Greek Text, "wherefore no flesh will be justified in His sight out of the works of the law, for through the law is a knowledge of sin." Now upon face value this verse immediately sets forth two things and they are:
The Law cannot justify anyone before God.
The Law reveals knowledge of Sin.
Thus if we try to us to use the Law to acquire a justified position before God, we are using it (the Law) unlawfully. Contrariwise, when it is used to impress upon sinful mankind the unrighteousness that is inherent in human flesh; it is lawfully being used. Here the Greek conjunction thee•ot•ee translated "wherefore" literally means on account of that which is stated in verse 19 and that is, again …. it is impossible for any flesh to be justified by the Law. The Greek verb theek•eh•o•thee•seh•teh rendered "justified", is in the passive voice, which means that as far as the Law was concerned it was unable to make one right, upright, faultless and just before God. This utter failure on the part of the Law was due to the weakness of the flesh as it is a fact that all men are sinners in their nature (Romans 8:3; Ephesians 2:1-3).
It is of the utmost importance for us to understand that the works of the Law are not able to justify in God’s ehn•o•pee•on rendered "sight". Most human religions and humanistic persuasions of Christianity revolve around justification in the sight of men. But the gospel of the grace of God (as revealed to the Apostle Paul) has only one concern and that is justification in the sight of, before the eyes of and in the presence of God Himself (II Corinthians 4:2). Here we see the essence of the policy of the Law Covenant (economy) and that was, the Law promised the Jews that if they did it they would live by it (Romans 10:5). Since no one perfectly kept the Law, no one was made righteous or justified by it, hence they could not live by it (Galatians 3:21). Now as Paul looked at the Law, he did not see it as having failed its mission, but as having accomplished a more profound purpose; and that is proving to men generally and Israel specifically, one’s inability to meet God’s standards (Romans 7:7-13).
So, through endeavoring to keep the Law but simultaneously breaking it, the elect Jews were forced to acknowledge that they were sinners (Romans 9:6-11); thus through the inadvertent breaking of the Law, there evolved a knowledge of sin.
Now we examine Romans 3:21 from the King James Version, "But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets". And from the Greek Text, "But now a righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, being witnessed to by the law and the prophets," After having pointed out in the earlier verses of this chapter that all men are totally depraved sinners, that there is not a single good thing in anyone and that the real purpose of the Law was to give mankind knowledge of this sin, the Apostle Paul now proceeds to unfold the answer to the sinful dilemma in which all men are trapped. In this verse as we will see, the heart of his answer is that God has provided His righteousness for His elect through their identification with Jesus Christ.
Verse 21 of Romans chapter three opens with the Greek adversative conjunction ahl•lah rendered "but", to contrast the thoughts of the preceding verses to the flow of information that he now expresses in this verse. The Greek adverb neen translated "now", calls our attention to the present time or to a given point of time in history. Prior to the time designated "now", the Jews had been under the Law as God’s program for them, but now God has ushered in a new apart-from-the-law plan (Galatians 3:19-25). Paul frequently uses the adverb "now" in the writings of his epistles to indicate that which was and has passed away and now it has been replaced by something new and different. Note! This change in God’s method of dealing with His people is commonly called a change from one dispensation or economy to another. Now, if we fail to recognize these changes; and as a consequence, drag passed-away truth into the present; it becomes the major cause for the widespread confusion among God’s people today. The main point of this verse is that the righteousness of God has been manifested. Note here the absence of an article before the Greek word theek•eh•os•ee•nee translated "righteousness", and also the influence in a legalistic sense, of the concept of Law-Righteousness. As we seek to clarify the intentions of Paul’s flow of information, we are compelled to designate the article "a" to differentiate this righteousness from that which has been embraced by the Jews. Now in contrast to the potential yet unattainable righteousness of the Law that had been given by God, Paul introduces another righteousness of God. In this case this is a righteousness, which belongs to God. Note that even as what is right and wrong is determined by God, likewise His righteousness embodies all that is right according to His standard. The righteousness of God is absolute righteousness, which is the only true righteousness, as this term cannot be accurately expressed in a relative sense.
Now we observe the fact that this righteousness "has been manifested apart from the Law". Note the Greek verb peh•phahn•ehr•o•teh translated "has been manifested", is in the perfect tense, which means that at a given point of time in the past it was brought to light, revealed, disclosed and thus presently exists. In determining when this righteousness was manifested, we need to keep in mind that Jesus Christ incarnate in human flesh is the embodiment of this righteousness (I Corinthians 1:30).
Furthermore, we can affirm that His sacrificial offering in eternity as it is manifestly expressed in time by His death on the cross, made this righteousness available to all who are His elect (II Corinthians 5:21). Jesus who is the revealed righteousness of God in His very essence is revealed as a righteousness nee•nee theh kho· pees nom•oo theek•eh•os•ee•nee literally rendered, "that now is apart from ... separated from or severed from the Law righteousness". In reading the account of the Kingdom Church in transition recorded in the 21st chapter of Acts, it doesn’t appear that those in Jerusalem had comprehended this apart-from-the-law righteousness (Romans 4:21-25). All Biblical records infer that the Apostle Paul was the first one to receive the revelation of the fact that God’s righteousness and redemption are in Jesus Christ (Acts 13:38-39; Galatians1:2; 3:16). Now it cannot be pinpointed exactly when it was revealed that God’s righteousness in Christ supplanted the Mosaic Law, but one thing is certain; Paul is clearly teaching the Roman believers that their righteousness is in Christ and that the Law has nothing to do with it.
As we exegete the latter portion of Romans 3:21, it states that the righteousness of God is "being witnessed to by the Law and the prophets". It must be clearly understood that the principle of the righteousness of God being based upon faith was not a part of the Law, but it also was not something new, for the Prophet Habakkuk has stated as well as Paul that "the just shall live by faith" (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17). Abraham is a supreme example of one who received righteousness on the basis of faith. In Genesis 15:6, we read of Abraham: "and he believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for righteousness" (Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6). David also speaks of the person who the Lords makes righteous apart from works (Psalms 32:1-2; Romans 4:6-8). Peter, in corroboration to Paul’s revelations, earlier affirms this same principle as he speaks to Cornelius and his friends (Acts 10:43). In light of this statement, we embrace the position that the principle of the righteousness of God was revealed to Paul and either directly or indirectly to Peter, as they were given insight into the confirmation of this Old Testament blessing (Galatians 1:12).
Now we move to Romans 3:22 from the King James Version, "Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:" And from the Greek Text, "even a righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ unto all those believing: for there is no difference;" In this verse Paul explains two things: (1) the one through whom this righteousness is channeled. (2) Those who are the recipients of this righteousness. Now the most important truth in this verse, but at the same time the most misunderstood truth involves how God has extended His righteousness to the believer. Observe the key word in this verse, "faithfulness", which in effect involves how God has extended His righteousness, even though it has been commonly misinterpreted in such context. Here we note the Greek word pees· teh· os, as it appears in the nominative case, singular number and in most contexts is correctly translated, "faith". On the other hand there are several contexts whereby it is necessary to translate the insertion of this Greek word pees· teh· os with the translation, "faithfulness" i.e., (Matthew 23:23; Romans 3:3;Galatians 5:22; Colossians 2:12; Philippians 5; I Timothy 4:12; 6:11; II Timothy 2:22; Titus 2:10). In each of these contexts the name of Jesus Christ is in the genitive case, indicating that it is a characteristic He possesses (Romans 3:26; Galatians 2:16; 3:22; Ephesians 3:12; Philippians 3:9). John the Baptist declared (through divine revelation) that Jesus is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29,36).
So as the eternal Lamb of God, it was imperative that He be without blemish or spot, i.e., sinless (I Peter 1:19). Now the righteousness of God is inextricably amalgamated with the perfect faithfulness of Jesus Christ. As the Son of God, He was put through the most stringent testing. Yet He never wavered, but remained apart from sin and was faithful even unto death on the cross (Hebrews 4:4-15). Note the faithfulness (pees•teh•os) of Jesus Christ, which reached its zenith on the cross, as the manifested basis for our being made the righteousness of God in Him (II Corinthians 5:21).
Now as we further exegete this verse (Romans 3:22), notice Paul’s answer to the implied question, "to whom is the righteousness of God available? The statement given, "unto all believing", is in the present tense, which means that His righteousness is freely given to all those trusting, relying upon, and exercising faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16). Now the real issue is what is the source of this faith? If it is humanly generated or if it is possible to originate in the mind of a sinner would not it in itself be considered a work? But if on the other hand this faith is implanted in the minds of those chosen in Him (Ephesians 1:4; 2:8) and exercised in conjunction with the Holy Spirit, isn’t this necessarily the proper function and classification of salvation by grace? Any human contribution or input destroys the aspect of grace or the concept of no merit. Any human function as it relates to faith or righteousness or sanctification or holiness or justification, annihilates the grace equation. Now in the final phrase of this verse (22), the apostle Paul states that there is no thee· ahs· to· lee rendered "difference". So there is no distinction, nor separation between Jews and Gentiles. All are equally under sin and all are treated equal under God’s sovereign purpose (I Corinthians 1:30; Romans 8:28; 9:11).
Now we move to Romans 3:23, a verse of scripture that many who are of the legalistic persuasion would rather discount. We view it first from the King James Version "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." And from the Greek Text, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". Now as we observed in Romans 3:22, God’s offer of righteousness through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ is extended to all those believing, whether Jews or Gentiles; there is no difference between us as we are all sinners (by nature) and we all need true righteousness if we desire a right relationship with God. We must keep in mind that sinners by nature, when left to themselves, do not desire a right relationship with a totally righteousness God (John 3:19-20) because all are totally depraved (proponents of corporate election must understand this). Total depravity means that not a single depraved individual desires God’s righteousness in Christ unless he is efficaciously drawn by God through the Holy Spirit (John 6:44). Pastors and Ministers must understand this in their church services when they extend so-called altar calls or invitations for discipleship for salvation. Furthermore, when we see individuals genuinely trusting Jesus Christ as their Savior, we can posit the fact that God, prior to their believing, gave them the faith with which to believe based on His chose of election. If the sinner generates faith within himself, it is no longer salvation by grace but by human works. This is explicitly demonstrated in the contents of Act 13:46-48, but more importantly the prayerful consideration of Ephesians 2:8-9.
This 23rd verse, interspersed between verse 21-22 and that which follows, is an additional summary of the plight of the entire human race. Now this statement leaves no room for exception. We have here the Greek word pahn· dehs translated "all", thus all have ee· mahr•ton or "sinned", missed the mark, missed the way, erred, and failed God. In keeping with what Paul has already said in Romans 1:18-3:18, this verse recapitulates the fact that sin is the universal problem for all of mankind (Romans 5:12; John 1:8,10). Now the consequences of the fact that all men have sinned are that we fall short of the glory of God". The Greek word thox∙ees translated "glory", as used here basically refers to the opinion that may be assigned to a particular person or thing, more specifically it may be a very high opinion of one’s person, character, or reputation. This same meaning predominates in the New Testament, i.e., it represents our opinion and presumption of what a person is like. So it is indicative of the truth that God has revealed concerning Himself, thus we are able to form a relatively accurate opinion of what He is like, i.e., that which is pertaining to His glory; the sum total of whom He has revealed Himself to be i.e., an omnipotent, loving, merciful and gracious God ---- and ones rational opinion of it, constitutes ones perception of the glory of God. Now to ee∙stehr∙oon∙deh rendered, "fall short" of the glory of God is to fail, to lack, or to be void of God’s characteristics. We need to remember that man was created in the image of God, and in this respect shared in the glory of God. But sin deeply marred this image, and has caused mankind to fall far short of the glory, which he was formally associated with (Genesis 1:27).
Now we move to Romans 3:24 from the King James Version, "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:" And from the Greek Text, "being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus". Now as we continue in the discourse, we do so first on the basis that all have sinned and are guilty before God, thus God’s justification is applied to designated ones who believe by His grace. This is the epitome of that which is displayed in Christ’s redemptive death upon Calvary. Here notice the Greek participle theek∙eh∙oo∙meh∙nee translated "being justified", which is in the present tense and the passive voice. It denotes that God Himself is continuously declaring righteousness, and vindicating designated sinners in this present Church age. Previously in verse 22, the Apostle Paul spoke about the righteousness, which God has provided through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Now it is on the basis of this divinely imputed righteousness that the believer is justified. Here the Greek adverb tho∙reh∙ahn is rendered "freely" or "without a cause", which means that God’s justification of the believer, is not caused by any human input or any contribution outside of God Himself. Those who may be legalistically or denominationally persuaded or otherwise, must understand that no one can have anything to do with the divine act of justifying or declaring one to be righteous. Justification is without cause or merit on the believer’s part, therefore no one can influence God’s gracious act on one’s behalf.
As we further exegete verse 24, notice the Greek preposition thee∙ah rendered "through", as it is used with the genitive case; specifies the action through which this justification is effectuated. Now in order for God to be just and at the same time to justify the believer, someone had to assume the penalty of the sinner’s sin, namely death (Romans 6:23). The fact that God freely justifies by His grace is inseparable from the ahp●ol●ee· tro· seh· os translated "redemption"; which denotes freeing for a ransom paid or the liberation from sin procured by Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death in eternity as it was manifested on Calvary (Isaiah 53:4-6; I Corinthians 15:3).
The definite article tees noted prior to the Greek phrase ehn Khrees•to Ee•ee•soo structures the translation in the verse, "that is in Christ Jesus". This clearly, absolutely and exclusively establishes redemption in the essence of (Jesus Christ), which is in the locative case and also by means of (Jesus Christ), which is in the instrumental case. In other words, this statement limits redemption, hence justification to God in Christ Jesus, the essence of God, incarnate in human flesh (Acts 4:12). Hence, Jesus is the only solution or remedy as there is no room for any self-styled false saviors. Jesus is the only true savior whose bodily sacrifice is sufficient to pay the ransom that is required to remove the curse of sin. God’s people must not be hoodwinked into believing that there is another way or remedy for receiving justification. It is of the uttermost importance that all those who are saved, thoroughly understand the true basis of their acceptable and righteous standing before God. This is accomplishable only by receiving the righteousness of God that is obtained through the merit of the worth of Christ Jesus.
Now we move to Romans 3:25 from the King James Version, "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;" And from the Greek Text, "whom God previously placed a propitiation through faith in His blood, to show His righteousness because of the passing over of previously committed sins, in the forbearance of God;" Here we note one brief comment regarding the ending, "in the forbearance of God". Now some translations place this statement in the following verse (26), but on the basis of thought content, it seems to blend better with the conveyance of this verse (25). In the opening statement of this verse (25) Paul states, "whom God set forth a propitiation". Note, the Greek verb pro· eh· theh· to translated "previously placed", is derived from the Greek preposition pro and verb tee•thee•mee and literally means that God "placed beforehand", i.e., previously purposed and determined that Jesus Christ would be an eel•ahs•tee•ree•on rendered "propitiation". This Greek noun describes Jesus as the one "acceptable sacrifice" who appeases, makes atonement and who Himself is the mercy seat, the only place where sinners can find mercy before a Holy God (Hebrews 9:5).
Now the manifested establishment of the mercy seat originated in the Old Testament. In Exodus 25:17-22, God instructed Moses to make a mercy seat of pure gold as He gave its design details and location above the Ark of the Covenant between the Cherubim. It was where the High Priest qualified the people to meet with God based upon the acceptance of the sacrifice that was offered as the appeasement for sin. More specifically the mercy seat was the lid or covering of the Ark of the Covenant made of pure gold. It was on and before the mercy seat, which the High Priest was to sprinkle the blood of the expiatory sacrifice on the great Day of Atonement as it was the place where the Lord promised to meet His people (Exodus 25:17,22; 29:42; 30:36; Leviticus 16:2,14,15). Now again, here in Romans 3:25, the Apostle Paul uses the application of this word to assert that Christ was the true mercy seat, the antitype of the cover of the Ark of the Covenant (Hebrews 9:5). Therefore, eel●ahs●tee●ree●on translated propitiation, means a place of conciliation, expiation or an altar or place of sacrifice. Now it does not only reference the expiatory sacrifices themselves. Note here in Romans 3:25 and in Hebrews 9:5, Jesus Christ is designated as the propitiation because He is designated not only as the place where the sinner deposits the sacrifice for sin, but He Himself is the acceptable sacrifice or means of expiation. Elsewhere in our writings, there is further study of the subject matter, propitiation, which entails greater and more detailed in-depth study of this doctrinal truth.
Here having observed that God made Jesus Christ the essence of mercy for sinners, the question arises as to, on what basis is this mercy given? As we further exegete verse 25 the Apostle Paul states that believers are identified with the mercy seat "through faith in his blood". Everyone who exercises this faith, thereby shows that they have been chosen before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), that their faith in His blood has been divinely implanted otherwise, His blood which was shed on the cross would be foolishness unto them (I Corinthians 1:23-24)). Note how important it is for us to understand that the object of the faith given to believers is that our confidence might be totally in the substitutionary death of Jesus and not in anything we might do in the flesh (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:20).
Now as we move to the latter portion of verse 25, we tackle a basic problem that Paul is dealing within this verse and that is can God patiently forbear sins, which had been committed in the past, and still be righteous? The answer to this problem is Jesus Christ’s propitiatory death, which was determined and thus enacted in eternity, as the Lamb of God "was slain from the creation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). The value of His blood poured out is more than adequate to cover all past, present and future sins. Thus we see that Christ’s propitiatory blood shed in eternity and as viewed in the process of its manifestation in due time, made it possible for God to pahr•ehs•een translated to "pass over" or to "be beside" committed sins and to simultaneously be righteousness (Romans 5:13-14).
In view of the basic meaning of the Greek verb pahr•ehs•een translated "passing over"; it is derived from the combination of the words pahr•ah and eem•ee and is consistently used by the Apostle Paul with the meaning of present or presence. A more descriptive translation of the latter portion of verse 25 would be "to show his righteousness because of the presence of previously committed sins, in the forbearance of God". So here in essence God purposed that Jesus Christ should be a propitiation (in the beginning) unto the end to point out His righteousness, even as it allowed Him to forbear and put up with the presence of previous sins, thus sins that were committed prior to the cross were in effect previously paid for prior to the cross.
Now we turn to Romans 3:26 from the King James Version, "To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus". And from the Greek Text, "to show His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the one justifying out of the faithfulness of Jesus". Now in order to fully understand the truth that is conveyed in this verse, it is necessary to transfer from verse 25 the fact that God predetermined and thus Christ actually died as an expiator of the believer’s sin (Acts 3:23). He died that God might "show His righteousness at the present time". Here the Greek word ehn•theex•een translated "show", conveys the thought of God, pointing out, manifesting and displaying His righteousness during ehn to neen keh•ro rendered "during the present time". In other words, the righteousness of God has been publicly manifested to all men in the death of Jesus on the cross. Now in dealing with this subject, we must keep in mind foremost, the fact that the wages of sin is death or to equate it, sin equals death.
The fact that sin equals death is an inviolable Biblical principle (Genesis 2:17; Romans 1:32; 5:12,21; 6:16,23). Now for God to declare that sin equals death, and to forbearingly and patiently put up with previously committed sins; would be a challenge to the integrity of His righteousness. Thus Jesus Christ in eternity assumed the penalty of mankind’s sin, i.e., death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8). This means that in eternity, Jesus took upon Him the burden of responsibility and liability of our sin nature. So in Christ’s substitutionary death, God has made a full payment for the believer’s sin. This payment is effectual for all those who have been designated to exercise faith in Christ’s blood. Thus God is free to simultaneously maintain His righteousness and mercifully and graciously deal with believing sinners. Furthermore, the propitiatory death of Jesus Christ was necessary for God to be just and the one justifying out of or because of the faithfulness of Jesus. Now of course, by His very nature, we recognize that God could not be other than theek•eh•on or "just", equitable, fair and righteous in His divineness. Note, God’s divine justness demands strict adherence to the moral principles He has established for governing the universe. For example sin leads to death; so for God to arbitrarily recompense sin with life; would destroy His integrity, which of course He would not do. Please understand this; there was no way for God to remain just and righteous and at the same time to justify believers apart from any outside acceptable and perfect sin substitutes. Jesus Christ, the sinless God-Man was both qualified and willing to assume the sin of everyone believing (Romans 3:22) and exercising faith in His blood (Romans 3:25). So on the basis of His propitiatory death, God remains just in His character and is also able to justify believers.
Note, as we turn our attention to the last phrase in verse 26 of Romans chapter three, it states, "the one justifying out of the faith (faithfulness) of Jesus", as this is a literal rendering of the Greek phrase keh theek•eh•oon•dah ton ehk pees•teh•os Ee•ee•soo. Here the preposition ehk indicates that the source, which makes it possible for God to justify sinners, is the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Now it is clear that purely grammatically speaking, the Greek translation is literally the "faith of Jesus Christ", but rendering it the faithfulness of Jesus Christ more accurately conveys the intended thought as one cannot be nor do faith. Any expression of faith must be "faithful". This is in full accord with Paul’s use of this grammatical construction (Romans 3:22; Galatians 2:16; 3:22; Philippians 3:9). So the absolute faithfulness of Jesus Christ, including His life and death, is the essence of His righteousness, which is imputed unto sinners; the reason God is able to justify them (II Corinthians 5:21). It is sheer folly to talk about God being just and the justifier of sinners apart from the faithfulness of Christ as initiated by its actuation in eternity and as finalized by its manifestation of His death on Calvary.
We now continue our discourse in Romans 3:27 from the King James Version, "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith". And from the Greek Text, "Where then is boasting? It is excluded. Through what kind of law? Of works? No, but through the law of faith." Now granting from the contents of the previous verses that justification depends entirely on the faithfulness of Christ; as it is epitomized in His substitutionary death on the cross; we must insist that there is no room for boasting as far as the provision for justification is concerned. One very important element of the believer’s mindset is ones assessment of the appropriation of justification. Here we must in earnest understand that if we are able to self generate the faith by which we presume to appropriate justification, then it would generate an avenue and place for human boasting or bragging.
But if on the other hand, we acknowledge that God Himself gives us the faith in His appropriation of this justification and that justification and faith are an integral gift from God; then it follows that there is no room or place for boasting or bragging.
Next we observe the Greek word kahf· khee· seen translated "boasting" or "bragging", as it describes one of the most disgusting traits that an individual can display. In Galatians chapter six verses 12 through 14, the Apostle Paul exposes the despicable practice of some Jewish believers who had only one supreme desire, and that was to exhibit a form of righteousness and justification based on circumcision. As we look at these three verses of scripture found in Galatians 6:12-14, we view verse 12 from the King James Version, "As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ". Now from the Greek Text, "As many as want to make a good showing in the flesh, these compel you to be circumcised, only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ". Here verse 12 gives a classic example of certain misguided groups of believers found unfortunately in the Body of Christ (the Church); whose primary aim is to make a ehf· pros•o· pee· seh rendered, "good showing" in the flesh, i.e., they are determined to exhibit a good face and have a good or perfect outward appearance.
We consistently find this among many legalists and even certain denominations that pride themselves in so-called looking and walking Holy before God. In this particular instance, Paul makes reference to some Judaizers who had followed his tracks through Galatia and they were apparently emissaries of a legal faction of Jews, probably located in Jerusalem, though they were not associated with James, Peter and John (Acts 15:14; Galatians 2:9). As it evolved, the main object of these Judaizers was to make a good showing and appearance in the flesh. They wanted to take back to Jerusalem (their headquarters) a good report of numbers they had circumcised and convinced to keep the Mosaic Law. In view of all that which is expressed concerning their intentions, it does not appear that they were genuine, but that they were promoting the Law to further their own selfish ends (Galatians 1:7; 2:4-5; 5:7-12). Unfortunately we observe too much of this same practice in the Church today.
Now with respect to the Judaizer’s emphasis on circumcision, Paul states that these ahn•ahg· kah· zoo•seen translated "compel", make it necessary and constrain you to be circumcised. In Acts 15:1, it documents the incident that Paul and Barnabas encountered as they returned to Antioch of Syria from their first Missionary journey to Galatia; certain men of this group came down from Judea and were teaching that, "except you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses you are not able to be saved". Note, they were saying this with respect to the Gentile believers; insisting that their faith in Jesus Christ and His substitutionary death was not nearly enough but that they were required to be circumcised in the same manner as the Jews who had been under the Law. Now as a result of the difficulty these men stirred up over the issue of circumcision, Paul and Barnabas immediately went up to the Jerusalem council or conference where it was judged that the Gentile converts were not required to be circumcised. But these diehards in Galatia; in spite of the Jerusalem council’s decision, were incredibly still compelling the Gentiles to be circumcised (Galatians 2:3-6).
Note the amazing reason offered by the Judaizer for compelling all the Galatian believers to be circumcised, "that they would not be persecuted for the cross of Christ". Oh what subversion! What an arrogant distortion of the truth! Any dependence on any aspect of the Law or any dependants on anything outside of that which was manifested on the cross, testifies that there is no need for the cross. It actually testifies that the Christ’s sacrifice has no redemptive value or significance; hence no offense. Now these Judaizers apparently recognized that Jesus was the Messiah of the Old Testament, however they held to His Messiah-ship strictly within the context of the Mosaic Law. They obviously rejected the principle of justification by faith (Acts 15:24; Galatians 1:7-9; 2:4-5). The cross of Jesus Christ apparently had no redemptive significance for them; they openly rejected its sacrifice as the sole basis for salvation! Here in this verse the two reasons the Apostle Paul gives for their rejection of the cross was their desire to make a "good showing in the flesh" and that "they may not be persecuted". It is critical for us to understand that the cross does not condemn us but we are born condemned. Contrariwise, the cross is the only place of manifestation (remember the mercy seat) where we are freed!
And now for corroboration, we focus on Galatians 6:13 from the King James Version, "For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. And from the Greek Text, "For neither are those being circumcised keeping the law themselves, but they desire that you be circumcised, in order that they may boast in your flesh". Now as we examine this verse, it is obvious that Paul uses the phrase "those being circumcised", with reference to the Judaizers. Note the present tense and passive voice suggest that while they are imposing circumcision on others, they themselves are not taking seriously the keeping of the Mosaic Law. Here they make a big issue about the physical rite of circumcision, but neglect the rest of the Law according to their own whims. As we observe the current operations of Christendom, this seems very familiar, i.e., men compelling others to do what they are not committed to do themselves.
Now Jesus severely criticized this same kind of conduct by the Jewish religious leaders (Matthew 15:6; 23:23). Paul likewise, as he writes to the Roman believers points out the inconsistencies between what the Jewish leaders demanded and how they themselves actually lived (Romans 2:21-25). Now in view of this inconsistency on the part of the Judaizers in demanding that the Galatians be circumcised while they they were not keeping the Law; Paul here draws the conclusion that they were spurious religious opportunists. They were not really concerned about the spiritual welfare of the Galatians, but only with their own personal advantages. These types of individuals have infiltrated the ministry today and many of God’s precious people are enslaved victims of such. Paul points out here that circumcision was not important to them as a requirement of the Mosaic Law. Their main purpose in requiring it was that it gave them a basis for kahf•khee•son•deh rendered "boasting, glorying and bragging". Now according to the literal meaning of this verse Paul definitely writes these Judaizers off as religious charlatans who were totally motivated by their own personal interests (Galatians 4; 17,21,29: 5:7-9). Now it is sad but there are many who can be classified in this category today.
Here we continue in Galatians 6:14 from the King James Version "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world". And from the Greek Text, "But for me, may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world". Here Paul so thoroughly abhorred the desire of the Judaizers to boast in flesh circumcision that he literally cries out a prayer (optative mood), "May I never boast in anything except the Cross of Christ". In other words the only thing that we can boast in is God and His accomplishments through the efficacious work of Jesus Christ as determined in eternity and manifested upon Calvary. For the Apostle Paul to see these Judaizers graveling and wallowing in the mire of flesh boasting, it must have been a disgusting sight! It is even more disgusting today. In I Corinthians 3:21, Paul condemns all human boasting, wherein he states -----"So then let no one boast in men". In II Corinthians 10:17, Paul states, "Let the one boasting boast in the Lord". Thus again we see that the only legitimate object of boasting is the Lord and His finished work of redemption! Man’s boasting is an exceeding foul odor and stench before our Holy and righteous God! No one should ever be found guilty of glorifying except in that which has been accomplished through the blood of Jesus, which was shed for His elect. One must realize that it and it alone represents the power of God unto salvation to everyone believing (Romans 1:16). Here Paul goes on to elaborate on the significance of the cross to him personally. Again, boasting should be confined to the one who has accomplished salvation and that eliminates all of mankind.
And now we revert to Romans 3:27 again from the Greek Text, "Where then is boasting? It is excluded. Through what kind of law? Of works? No, but through the law of faith." As we further exegete this verse, Paul now raises the question "through what kind of Law was boasting excluded? Now expanding this question, Paul is asking through what sort, type, and form of Law was boasting eliminated? Now there are many types of different laws and principles, which govern human behavior. These fall into two general categories: (1) those, which operate on the basis of works (ehr•gon) and (2) those, which operate on the basis of faith (pees•teh•os). Here Paul flatly denies that a Law, which functions according to works, will exclude boasting; in fact it will produce it. Now on the other hand, the Law (principle), which operates according to faith, links believers to the Savior through His faithfulness as it definitely locks out all boasting. So this verse of scripture should eliminate every vestige of human effort and works from salvation in that it is totally a free gift provided by God (Ephesians 2:8-9). The worth and value of every ministry should be gauged from one standard; and that is who is magnified and who is glorified and upon whose work and accomplishment is the foundation resting upon (I Corinthians 3:9-15). Our faith, which God has deposited in us, is not of us or out of us. God is the author, originator and initiator of faith. It is only ours because God granted it to us.
Now we move to Romans 3:28 from the King James Version, "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law". And from the Greek Text, "For we consider that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law". Note the Greek verb loy•ee•zom•eh•thah translated "counted", "regarding" or "concluded". Here Paul concludes that believers are justified solely by faith (Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8). Note the usage of the Greek present passive infinitive theek•eh· oos· theh rendered "justified", discloses that God Himself is actively and continuously engaged in declaring His elect just, rightly approved, acquitted and thus vindicated in His sight.
Notice that God initiates and moves the act of justification to its fruition. God’s method of identifying the believer with the Savior is "by faith" (pees•tees), i.e., trust, belief and confidence in the redemptive power of the blood of Christ (Romans 3:25).
Now one must understand that this justification by faith is "kho· pees", that is "apart from", separated from, and totally independent of the Mosaic Law (Romans 3:20). It must be clearly established that faith is an inextricable part of grace, thus faith cannot be untied or unraveled from grace. Faith is the medium through which the provision of God’s grace is channeled to the believer. Faith is a function of grace, but Law functions by works. So not only is the believer justified apart from the works of the Law, but these two principles are mutually exclusive to the extent that if they are mixed they destroy each other.
Now to further illustrate this point, we direct your attention to Romans 11:6, wherein the Apostle Paul makes reference to the incompatibility of grace and works. Here from the King James Version," And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work". And from the Greek Text, "And if by grace, it is no longer out of works, for then grace is no longer grace." First, we note that in many translations including the King James Version and the majority Greek Text, there is an added duplicate statement "And if out of works, no longer is it grace for then the work is no longer work". This added gloss does not affect the meaning of the content except as it may distract from focusing on the main thought conveyance. In this verse, the Apostle Paul succinctly defines what grace is and is not. Since this verse makes it clear that grace and works are at opposite ends of the spectrum, they are mutually exclusive. Note it is very important that we consider the exact meaning of both words (grace and works). Here the Greek noun kahr•ees translated "Grace", as used in this verse conveys the meaning of a free gift, free favor, thus God freely giving all that is necessary for salvation and the free provision God has made for us in Christ (John 1:17; II Corinthians 8:9; 9:15). Grace focuses on what God has done for us in Christ, the benefits of which are freely proffered to us (II Corinthians 5:21).
Finally, God’s offer of salvation by grace includes both the provision of it and the means by which it is appropriated, namely the faithfulness of Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). The Greek noun ehr•gon rendered "works", as used in this verse, refers to that which man endeavors to produce in his flesh to gain acceptance with God. This word is basically linked in conjunction with the works of the Law. Now salvation by grace is a free gift from God, whereas the effort to obtain salvation by any form of works is futile, due to the weakness of the flesh (Romans 8:3). Note again, if you mix grace and works, you end up eliminating both of them. In other words they effectively cancel each other out. So we need to be aware of the deleterious results, which follow simultaneously holding to different portions of the Bible that teach both Law and grace. Now as we have already observed, Law avers that man saves himself by his works whereas grace avers that God in Christ has done the work necessary for salvation. Law makes salvation totally dependent upon what man does; therefore there is no assurance that one is saved. Grace makes salvation totally dependent upon what God has done, it is an accomplished fact for a believer; therefore we have assurance that we are saved. Law states that the person who has done its works will live (Romans 10:5), whereas grace states that believing, i.e., exercising one’s God-given faith identifies the believer with the life that is in Christ (Romans 8:2; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3-4; II Timothy 1:1; I John 5:20).
Note that the express differences are only some of the basic differences between Law/work and grace. These two systems operate according to opposite principles, which if mixed, cancel the effectiveness of each other. Now to confuse the Law/Works Covenant of the Old Testament with the Grace/Faith Covenant given to the Church destroys the effectiveness of both as to their respective intents. Also to confuse the Law/Work Covenants of the Messianic Kingdom, presented in the Synoptic Gospels and the first eight chapters of Acts with the Grace/Faith Covenant presented in the New Testament epistles, more specifically the epistles written by and through the Apostle Paul; is to be faced with many conflicting and contradictory statements. Now the thinking elect of God who recognizes these obvious contradictions as one approaches the Bible in a very literal manner; will be forced to acknowledge that these portions of the Bible deal with different subjects, different economics, some which are governed on the basis of Law while others are governed on the basis of grace. The non-thinking elect of God with a more cynical frame of mind and we say this in love who is too involved in other matters to investigate just what the Bible really teaches, may in his slothful academics abandoned it as a trustworthy document due to these seeming contradictions.
Notice, the most subtle, and perhaps the most devastating result of mixing Law/works with Grace, is the subconscious effect it has on those who do so. Now it is sad, but it is a fact that most, yes most believers do not personally and prayfully study their way through the scriptures. Most believers depend upon some other person or persons to tell them what the Bible teaches. Consequently if their teacher or Pastor or mentor does not adequately distinguish Mosaic and Kingdom Laws, with their work covenants from Grace Mystery truth for the Church, then inconsistent conflicting thoughts will be impinging upon their minds. As this insidious process goes on and on, at a conscious or subconscious level, without ever being reversed; it will tend to dilute their devotion and attitude toward the truth of the word of God.
In essence, Grace Mystery Truth, given to the Church should be explicitly obeyed. However, when opposed by misapplied Laws and principles from the Mosaic Law or Kingdom, the internal mental struggle that ensues robs believers of a keen appreciation for Grace Truth, the Gospel of the Grace of God including the knowledge to understand and readiness to obey it. So instead of enjoying the blissfulness of spiritual buoyancy in the body of Christ, they often drift into a state of spiritual indifference and coolness. This, as the record will testify is the most widespread and devastating resulting of canceling out grace by mingling Law with it. This is why an uncompromising stand has to be taken against injecting the Mosaic Law or Kingdom Law into this Church age. The works of the Law mitigate grace, in fact as Paul states in this verse 6 of Romans chapter 11, "grace is no longer grace".
Now we turn to Romans 3:29 from the King James Version, "Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:" And from the Greek Text, "Or is God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the Gentiles? Yes, also of the Gentiles," Here dispensationally speaking, Paul posed a very probing question; and he answered it. Now the question was asked in light of the blessings that Israel enjoyed as a result of God’s promise to Abraham, and in light of the historical background that God has dealt with His covenant people Israel from Abraham on, this was a question that needed an answer.
This answer must be linked to another question Paul posed in Romans 3:1; where we read first from the King James Version, "What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Now we read from the Greek Text, "What then is the advantage of the Jew, or what is the profit of the circumcision?" Here, It is critical for one to cling to the provisions afforded through the grace dispensation, thus forsaking all other dispensations as they relate to ones salvation.
Now in the previous context, Paul has been rough on the inconsistent Law-breaking Jews. In view of the tough stance he has taken against the self-righteous Jews, it is appropriate that he cites some of their advantages. Note that in spite of all the problems the Jews have, when they are compared to the pre-grace debased Gentiles, there are some very distinct advantages. Note that the Greek noun pehr•ees•son translated "advantages" as used here, means that the Jews has something over and above and out beyond the pre-grace Gentiles. Now the second part of this question is an integral of the first, namely "What is the profit of the circumcision of the Jew? Here, Paul asks, "What is the o•phehl•ee•ah rendered "profit, help or benefit" of belonging to the concision or Jewish Commonwealth? Thus the basic question posed in Romans 3:1 is, "What is the advantage and profit of being a Jew?
The answer is found in Romans 3:2 from the King James Version, "Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God". And from the Greek Text, "Much in every way. For indeed first, because they were entrusted with the oracles of God". Notice the phrase "Much in every way", may also be translated, "Great in every way" or "great in every respect". Now the essence of this phrase is that under the grace dispensation, the Jews have many advantages (Romans 9:4-5). As it is conveyed, the pro•ton rendered "first", or "chiefly" or "most important" advantage is that God has entrusted to them His loy•ee•ah rendered "oracles" or that which he had spoken, i.e., His word or His messages for past dispensations. Now for each of the four times the word loy•ee•ah or "oracles" is used in the New Testament, it depicts words revealed by God (Acts 7:38; Hebrews 5:12; I Peter 4:11). God’s entrustment of His oracles with Israel is a confirmed historical fact (Deuteronomy 4:7-8; Psalms 103:7; Psalms 147:19-20).
So why did God reveal His word to Israel? That question includes another question, "Why did God call Abraham, the father of Israel (Genesis 12:1-4)? The answer is not in Abraham but in God, the one who sovereignly chose Abraham to be the progenitor of a new nation, Israel (the Jews). Now God’s choice of Abraham, the Father of His special people, the Jews, is the reason He has entrusted His word with them. God revealed His word to Israel because and only because it was the pleasure of His will.
Here in Romans 3:29, Paul asserts through the grammar he uses that God is also the God of the Gentiles. It is absolutely true that God has given the Israelites some special privileges prior to this present church age (Romans 3:1-2; 9:45). But now both Jews and Gentiles are equally dependant on the mercy of God for their salvation (Romans 11:28-32). It is true that during the transition period, the gospel was first preached to the Jews (Romans 1:16), but now God is equally interested in justifying believers regardless of their race or origin. The fact that God is also the God of the Gentiles testifies that we have now moved our welfare out of the dispensations of past darkness into the glorious light of the dispensation of the Grace of God where Jews and Gentiles equally share the unequaled blessings of those who are placed into the Body of Christ.
Now we move to Romans 3:30 from the King James Version "Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith". And from the Greek Text, "If indeed God is one, who will justify the circumcision out of faith and the uncircumcision through faith". This verse begins with the Greek word ee•pehr, which consists of the Greek conjunction ee with the enclitic particle pehr joined to it, which emphasizes the meaning of the conjunction ee (if). The Apostle Paul uses this compound Greek word several times in the New Testament (Romans 3:30; 8:9,17; I Corinthians 8:5; 15:15; II Thessalonians 1:6). In each of these passages it strengthens the condition or premise posed, and it may be translated "if indeed", "if truly", "if it’s a fact" or "since". In this verse, there was no question in Paul’s mind about God being one, He God is truly one; it is a fact (I Corinthians 8:6). Here Paul’s main burden is to explain how the one true God will justify both Jews and Gentiles. First he states that God "will justify the circumcision out of faith". Now the Greek verb theek•eh•o•seh translated "will justify", is in the future tense, denoting that God will esteem as righteous, just and acquitted the circumcision, i.e., the Israelites or Jews. But how will He effectuate this justifying? The answer is ehk pees•teh•os rendered "out of faith". Here the Greek preposition ehk as used in the ablative case, points to faith as the source, which takes hold of justification. So if this faith were humanly generated it would be derived from works not grace. But since it is the result of grace (Ephesians 2:8-9), it is the gift of God freely imparted to those chosen (Ephesians 1:4; II Timothy 2:10).
Now speaking with reference to the Gentiles, the ahk•rov•ees•tee· ahn rendered "uncircumcision", Paul states that God will justify them thee•ah tees pees•teh•os rendered "through faith". Here in this phrase, we have the preposition thee•ah or "through" as used with the genitive case which points to faith as the agency through which justification is obtained. Note this same phrase "through faith" is used in Ephesians 2:8 as well as Romans 3:25,27,31. Now on the basis of the manner in which Paul uses these two Greek phrases in his epistles: (1). ehk pees•teh•os rendered "out of faith" and (2). thee•ah tees pees•teh•os rendered "through faith"; there is no justification for distinguishing between how God justifies Jews and Gentiles. Both are justified by the faithfulness of Christ, as there is only one source and means of God justifying and identifying His elect, i.e., through the faith in the faithfulness of Jesus Christ that God implants in them (Romans 10:17). Possibly for the sake of variety and greater breadth of thought flow, we have the conveyances of the two expressions thereby giving a more comprehensive view of faith as both the source and agent through which God justifies believers. Therefore we must conclude that justification is both by and through the effectuation and exercise of the gift of faith, which God freely gives.
Now we turn to Romans 3:31 from the King James Version, "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law". And from the Greek Text, "Therefore do we annul the law through faith? Let it never be, but we establish the law." Note the burden of this verse is to show that faith has not made the Mosaic Law ineffective, but has established the purpose for which it was given. Here the apostle Paul raises the question, "Do we annul the Law through faith? Since this verse is open to misinterpretation we need to carefully consider the meaning of the two leading verbs in it. First, the Greek verb kaht•ahrg•oo•mehn translated "annul", is comprised of the Greek preposition kaht•ah (down) prefixed to the Greek verb ahry•eh•o, which denotes the state of being inactive, inoperative, or idle. This compound verb infers the act of downgrading the Law to a position of uselessness, hence to abrogate, nullify and make it void of any value. Now according to all of Paul’s writings, the Law was not an intrinsic part of God’s eternal purpose, but was added for a given period of time until Christ came and the ushering in of faith (Galatians 3:19-25). Note the Law was an essential forerunner of faith because it developed a consciousness of the exceeding sinfulness of sin; the prerequisite to incite believers to be justified by faith Corinthians 3:19-20; 7:13). Now in view of what is written in I Timothy 1:8-10, the moral principles of the Law are still applicable to Lawless sinners, in condemning their abominable practices but not to those who are justified in Christ (Romans 6:14).
Now as far as faith annulling the Law was concerned, Paul uses the Greek grammatical construction mee yehn•ee•to rendered "let it never be". In other words absolutely not! In Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus declared "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled". Now the inability of the Law to free us was not due to any fault of the Law itself. The Law within itself is holy and righteousness. Romans 8:3 states (KJV), "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: Now from the Greek Text, "For the impotency of the law, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, having sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh." Note it was the weakness of the flesh that caused impotence of the Law to free us, thus God sent Jesus in the "likeness of sinful flesh" and though His righteousness, "condemned sin in the flesh", in order that the right acts of the Law might be fulfilled in us. So the Mosaic Law in a preparatory sense was in full effect until the faithfulness of Jesus Christ was consummated on Calvary. Note from that time on God has been justifying believers who are identified with the faithfulness of Christ through faith (Galatians 3:22; 24-25; Philippians 3:9).
Now we view the final phrase of this verse (31), "But we establish the Law", particularly the Greek verb ees•tah•no•mehn translated "establish". This verb basically denotes that the Law stands firm or confirmed. Note if God’s underlying reason for giving the Law was to make men righteous, it would have to be stated that He utterly miscalculated the weakness of the flesh for it never made any man righteous (Romans 8:3). It is absolutely true what Moses wrote regarding the righteousness out of the Law, "that the one who has done it will live by it", but it failed because no one ever did it (Romans 3:20; 7:21-23). Now in the total gamut of God’s ultimate purpose in giving the Law, it was to make men righteous, but this necessitated making men conscious of their sinfulness, that the elect of God would forsake their human efforts and believe in Christ, who is the end of the Law unto righteousness (Romans 10:4).
ROMANS 4:2-12; 20-25
As we examine the beginning of Romans chapter 4, Paul recapitulates the fact of Abraham's position as the progenitor and Father of the Jews. Here Paul also reviews the established principle that Abraham believed God and as a consequence, he learned that God counted it unto him for righteousness (Galatians 3:6). Romans 4:1, indicates that Abraham did not believe God in order to become righteous, but having believed God, he discovered that God imputed it to him for righteousness.
Now we examine Romans 4:2 from the King James Version, "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. And from the Greek Text, "For if Abraham was justified out of works, he has boasting; but not before God." In continuing the thought of the previous verse, If Abraham ehv•ree•keh•neh or "found" that he was justified out of works, ehkh•ee kahf•khee•mah rendered "he has boasting. In other words, if through his encounter with God, Abraham discovered that he was justified out of the source of, or ehz ehr•gon rendered "out of works, then he obviously had reason and ground to boast and brag. If the man Abraham produced his own righteousness, a prerequisite for justification before men, he would be entitled to boast according to human standards.
For the sake of argument, Paul says, if we grant that Abraham was justified out of works and had reason for boasting, then we must emphatically affirm that this justification and boasting was "Not before God". Men who haughtily brag about their so-called good works, justness and humanitarianism, should listen to this pungent statement------They are not justified pros Theh•on rendered "with God" or in His presence. In this sense only can one boast of one’s accomplishments but this is not possible concerning righteousness and justification.
Now we move Romans 4:3, from the King James Version, "For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness". And from the Greek Text, "For what does the Scripture say? And Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness." Here the Apostle refers to the Old Testament Scriptures as he deals with the subject at hand; more specifically Genesis 15:6 and Galatians 4:6-14. With respect to the subject of Grace Mystery Truth, there was no such corroboration, because nothing was written regarding it (Ephesians 3:5,9). Both the Old and New Testaments represented the final court of appeal for Paul in their respective spheres (II Timothy 3:14-17). Here the authority of the scripture settles the issue, without a doubt justification is by or through faith!
Now granting that Abraham was a totally depraved sinner by nature (Ephesians 2:3) and was the recipient of divine faith (Romans 10:17; Ephesians 2:8), it logically follows that his faith was counted for righteousness, as it was the work of God on his behalf. We will further deal more extensively with the corroboration of the Old Testament scriptures to the writings of Paul as we move through the latter verses of this section of the study.
Now we move to Romans 4:4 from the King James Version, "Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace but of debt". And from the Greek Text, "But to the one working the wages are not counted according to grace but according to debt". This verse clearly infers that Abraham’s belief in God was an expression of the grace of God. If God had required Abraham to do something for his righteousness, such as to self-generate a faith-mind-set or to do certain physical works, then the righteousness given to him would absolutely be considered payment for what he had earned, hence God paying His debt to Abraham. Here the use of the Greek conjunction ahl•lah, the strong adversative, rendered "but", emphasizes that the reward for works, in contrast to grace is figured as a debt. This verse identifies the act of believing God with Grace. Now inverting this statement ... grace enables God -hating enemies of God to believe God (Romans 3:24; 11:5-6). To this end, we can definitely state that works and rewards are antithetical to grace and imputation.
Next we turn to Romans 4:5 from the King James Version, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifeth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." And from the Greek Text, "But to the one not working, but believing on the One justifying the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Here we note that unlike Romans 4:4, verse 5 deals with the elect not working but believing on God. According to this verse there is absolutely no room for justification to be acquired through both works and faith. As we have stated many times in our previous discourses, these two principles are mutually exclusive, and cannot be mixed; works incur debt and grace incurs righteousness. In this verse, the Apostle Paul refers to God as "The one justifying the ungodly". The Greek noun ahs•eev•ee rendered "ungodly", depicts those who are wicked, profane and void of respect for God (Romans 5:6; I Timothy 1:9; I Peter 4:18). It is so irrational to think that any ungodly man has inherent in him either the desire or capacity to believe on God whom he despises (John 3:19-20; 6:44). The language used in this verse portrays God as the sole justifier of the ungodly; which means that he convicts them of sin (John 16:8) and imparts to the elect faith in Himself (I Timothy 1:14) on the basis of which he declares that they are righteous.
Now the grace that God extends to believers includes both the substitutionary death of Christ that which makes it possible for Him (God) to be just and the justifier of the ungodly and the faith, which identifies the sinner with His death. Note, as we have previously observed, the very essence of the righteousness of God is Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 1:30; Philippians 3:9). Finally, understand that after God has given faith to the believer, it belongs to that person, i.e., as it is designated pees•tees ahf•too or "his faith". It must be clearly understood that ones faith does not belong to such one because it did not originate in or from such one but it is theirs simply because God has deposited it in their heart and they have become the possessor of a glorious gift from God.
Now we consider Romans 4:6 from the King James Version, "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works." And from the Greek Text, "Even as David also spoke about the blessing of the man to whom God counts righteousness apart from works." Here Paul makes reference to God's dealing with King David as he continues to focus on God's beneficial blessings to men in ages prior to the grace dispensation. In corroborating the fact that God counts believers righteousness on the basis of faith rather than works, Paul has already appealed to the example of Abraham in the Old Testament (Romans 4:3).
For further evidence from the Old Testament, Paul now appeals to that which the Holy Spirit has spoken through David as recorded in Psalms 32:1-2. There are a number of quotations from the Old Testament in the epistle to the Romans, which certainly suggests that there were many Jewish believers in the church at Rome. Here Paul refers to David's testimony concerning ton mahk•ar•ees•mon rendered "the blessing", or happiness of the man whom God reckoned righteous apart form works. This Greek phrase conveys the idea that the person who has imputed righteousness apart from works is a happy, blessed and felicitous individual in an enviable position. The happy state is the result of a sovereign act of God ------- A divine declaration that believers are accounted righteous kho•rees ehr•gon rendered "apart from works", i.e., distinct from, separated from and independent of works (Romans 3:28; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:9).
We continue with Paul's statement of David's testimony as we read Romans 4:7 from the King James Version, "Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered. Now from the Greek Text, "Bless are those whose iniquities have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered." In this and the following verse, Paul cites the evidence for what he said in the preceding verse as recorded in Psalms 32:1-2. Here Paul continues to quote David who describes a group (plural) of people who have an enviable status because they are blessed or happy above all others. So what have they done to obtain this status? The passive voice makes it clear that they did absolutely nothing. It is apparent that God is the one who is wholly responsible for their felicitous state (John 20:29). Now according to David this happiness is the result of God’s sovereignty doing two things. First, those who have had their iniquities forgiven are blessed ones. The Greek verb ahph•eh•thee•sahn translated "Have been forgiven", is in the aorist tense and passive voice and means that their ahn•om•ee•eh rendered "iniquities" thus lawlessness, and transgressions have been forgiven, sent away dismissed and pardoned. Second, those who have their sins covered are blessed ones. The Greek verb ehp•eh•kahl•eeph•thee•sahn translated, "have been covered", is also in the aorist tense and passive voice and means that their ah•mahr•tee•eh or sins, i.e., missing the mark of God's standard and errors have been covered or had a cover placed on them or covered over. It certainly must be recognized that prior to the cross God was able to forgive iniquities and cover sins in view of his foreordained redemptive purpose in Jesus Christ Acts 2:23; 4:28; Romans 3:25-26). Now on this side of the cross we understand that there is no need for a covering, because it has now been manifested that the blood of Jesus has completely eradicated and wiped away the sins of His elect in this dispensation (Hebrews 9:22,26,28; 10:10,14,18).
Here we view Paul’s final statement of David's testimony in Romans 4:8 from the King James Version, "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." And now from the Greek Text, "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord never counts sin." Now earlier in Romans 4:6 we observed that Paul used the singular number instead of the plural. Since we have the Greek singular, ahn•eer rendered "man" in this verse; we logically assume that its summary truth most accurately confirms the point Paul is making; that a man is counted righteous and justified apart from works. David's forgiven iniquities and covered sins spoken of in Romans 4:7 are summed up as "not counted sin" in verse 8. Again, note the Greek verb loy•ees•ee•teh that is translated "counts", may also be rendered "reckons, imputes or calculates". The use of the double Greek negatives oo mee in this verse, suggests that David had in mind one of God's elect, a blessed man, when he said that the Lord never counts or reckons sin to him (Acts 13:48; Ephesians 1:4; II Timothy 2:10).
For God not to count a person's sin against him on the basis of the redemption in Christ (I Corinthians 1:30) is an essential step in reckoning him righteous in Christ (II Corinthians 5:21). In summarizing Romans 4:6-8, we can assert that what David says negatively fully affirms what Paul states positively and that is, where sin is not counted, there is righteousness,
Now we look at Romans 4:9 from the King James Version, "Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteous." And from the Greek Text, "Therefore, is this blessing upon the circumcision or also upon the uncircumcision? For we say, "faith was counted to Abraham for righteousness." Here having cited examples of two Israelites (Abraham and David) who have been blessed with the righteousness of God, Paul does not wish it misunderstood that this righteousness is for the Jews only. So he deals with the issues by raising the question, "Has it been given to thecircumcision (Jews) or also to the uncircumcision (Gentiles)? Now there was no question about it having been given to the Jews, which is obvious from these two examples, but was it keh rendered "also", given to the Gentiles? Here Paul recognized that his statement, "Faith was counted to Abraham for righteousness", would on the surface at least, be interpreted to favor the Jews. However the determining issue is whether Abraham's faith was counted for righteousness before or after he was circumcised.
The answer to this is given in Romans 4:10 from the King James Version, "How was it then reckoned? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision but in uncircumcision." And from the Greek Text, "Therefore, how was it counted? While he was in a state of circumcision or in uncircumcision? Not while he was in a state of circumcision but in uncircumcision." This verse answers a very simple question and that is, Faith was counted unto Abraham for righteousness while he was still an uncircumcised Gentile. The fact of the matter is that righteousness is not dependent upon circumcision but faith alone, completely independent of circumcision or anything else. Paul's main point is to demonstrate that there can be no substitution of circumcision as a perquisite for righteousness and that the function of circumcision does not result in righteousness. Paul's argument is that if faith were counted for righteousness to Abraham while he was uncircumcised as a Gentile, then it would follow that God's righteousness is also available to Gentiles. It is a fact that today in this age of grace, God is counting both individual Jews and Gentiles righteous on the basis of faith alone (Galatians 3:6,7,29).
Now we continue in Romans 4:11 from the King James Version, "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also." And from the Greek Text, "And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness of faith which he had in uncircumcision, unto the end to be the father of all those believing among the uncircumcision, unto the end to reckon to them righteousness." Here we note that this verse defines the spiritual significance of circumcision to the Jews. It was first given to Abraham as a see•mee•on rendered "sign" or "mark" or "token" and as a sphrahy•ee•tah rendered "seal" or that which fastens and secures. It is very important to note that as a sign (which was required in that dispensation), circumcision sealed and secured the righteousness of faith, which was given to Abraham while he was uncircumcised.
Now God's ultimate purpose for doing this was unto the end to make Abraham the Father of all believers among the Gentiles, that in turn He might give to them righteousness based upon faith (Romans 1:5; 16:26; Galatians 3:8).
Here to further illustrate this point, we focus on Galatians 3:8 from the King James Version "And the scripture foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed." And from the Greek Text, "And the Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles out of faith, preached the good news to Abraham, that all the nations shall be blessed in you." Note that God's promise to Abraham included three things:
1. A specific locale in which to dwell
2. That his seed will become a great nation
3. All (elect of) the Gentile nations would be blessed in his progeny.
Now as we survey the essence of this promise we must do so in light of dispensational arrangements. Clearly the primary historical setting of this promise, very obviously refers to the time when all the nations will share in Israel’s Messianic Kingdom Blessings. The coming and establishment of this Kingdom is the great burden of Old Testament prophecy. The Messianic Kingdom message vividly details how God will fully accomplish the fulfillment of His promise. Here Paul makes reference to the grahph•ee rendered "scripture", i.e., the documentation in the Old Testament, which looked down through the corridor of time and foresaw the day when God would justify "tah Ehth•nee" rendered "The Gentile", by faith. In view of this, the scripture recorded this promise of future blessing in Abraham that was to encompass all the nations. In Paul's documentation we should be reminded that the Holy Spirit is the writer, therefore the spiritual meaning is validated as a legitimate corroboration of this promise. Thus we see the relevancy of the truth in this present dispensation regarding the spiritual meaning of this promise in the process of being fulfilled today, i.e. all believers in all nations are sharing the application of the Abrahamic blessing of justification by faith.
As we return to Romans 4:11, we note that which Paul writes in this verse pertains to Abraham’s circumcision as a sign and seal as it was specifically given to him to mark and secure his faith - righteousness while he was in a state of uncircumcision. It must be fully understood from this fact that neither circumcision, baptism, the gift of tongues nor any other conditional ceremony, is relevant to justification. Abraham's uncircumcision relates to him as the father of those believing among the Gentiles. Nowhere in any of Paul's epistles does he make the slightest suggestion that circumcision or any other substitutes for it have spiritual significance for members of the Body of Christ. God’s elect are reckoned, counted, imputed, calculated and declared righteous solely on the basis of the gift of faith, which God has freely imparted to us. No ceremony, ritual, rite nor any other man made or man-contributed entity could ever contribute to one’s declared standard of Godliness which God and God alone bestows upon those who are sanctified independent of everything except His grace.
Now we move to Romans 4:12 from the King James Version, "And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised." And the Greek Text, "also the father of the circumcision, to those not out of the circumcision only, but also to those walking in the steps of the while-in-uncircumcision faith of our father Abraham." In the previous verse Paul establishes the fact that Abraham is the father of the believing Gentiles faith-wise and now he states in this verse that he is also the father of circumcision. In this regard, he is not only the father of those who are not out of the circumcision, namely the Gentiles, but he is also the father of those exercising the same faith he exercised when he was uncircumcised like the Gentiles. Note in this verse Paul affirms that Abraham is the father of three groups:
1.The Jews in the flesh who are his progeny.
2. The Gentiles who believe according to divinely implanted faith.
3. The believers in this church age who follow the pattern of Abraham’s faith.
The strong adversative conjunction ahl•lah rendered "but" as used in this verse emphasizes the importance of the third group. Here he states that there are those who are stee•zoo•seen translated "walking", as in a straight line advancing in a row and fashioning their conduct according to the eekh•neh•seen rendered "step", thus footsteps or tracks of Abraham's faith. Now the Greek grammar is very clear but very awkward in attempting to express this conveyance in English. Here it is expressed as "the while-in uncircumcised faith of our father Abraham." The specific Abrahamic faith Paul speaks of this third group (believers) following is that which Abraham had before the rite of circumcision was given to him. This third group (believers) indiscriminately includes all who today are counted righteousness on the basis of their Abrahamic type faith.
Now we add Romans 4:13 to our study from the King James Version, "For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith." And from the Greek Text, "For the promise to Abraham or his seed, that he would be heir of the world, was not through the law, but through the righteousness of faith." The book of Genesis positively affirms that God promised to make Abraham and his seed a great nation in whom all the families of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:2-3; 18:18; 22:17-18). Now what were the conditions and circumstances surrounding the giving of this promise? Paul states that it was not given thee•ah or "through" the Law, i.e., through the agency of the Law; and this is logical because the Mosaic Law was not given until over 400 years later (Galatians 3:16-18). On the other hand, the promise was given thee•ah or "through" the righteousness of faith, i.e., God having infused faith into Abram, a Chaldean sun worshipper, then counted him righteousness on the basis of his faith and through the agency of this faith gave him and his seed the promise. We must keep in mind that Abram in himself had no faith in God. But when God infused faith in him, this faith became his own personal faith, which enabled him to be counted righteousness, and hence qualified to be given the promise. So it must be understood that if there is any good in any person it has it origin in God (Matthew 12:34; Luke 18:19).
As we continue with the theme of justification, we now move to Romans 4:20 from the King James Version, "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;" And from the Greek Text, "but with respect to the promise of God he was not caused to waver in unbelief, but was made strong in faith, having given glory to God." Here we proceed to the portion of Paul's discourse where he focuses on God’s pro-active dealings with Abraham. In this regard, note God's power to dominate and control the responsive and passive actions of Abraham. Here the Greek prepositional phrase ees theh teen ehp•ahyy•ehl•ee•ahn too Theh•oo translated "But with respect to the promise of God', may also be rendered "But with regarding the promise of God". Now even though Abraham observed the physical factors, which militated against the fulfillment of the promise of God given to him, he was not "caused to waver in unbelief". The Greek verb and negative adverb "oo thee•ehk•ree•thee" translated "he was not caused to waver", is in the aorist tense and passive voice, which means that He (God) did not permit his (Abraham’s) depravity to cause him to waver, vacillate or fall into a quandary of unbelief. We can be assured that Satan undoubtedly did everything he could to get Abraham to reflect on the obstacles, which stood in the way of the fulfillment of the promise, such as the sexual deadness of his wife and himself, but God did not allow him to sway to and fro in unbelief (James 1:6; 2:4).
Here the Apostle Paul uses the strong adversative conjunction ahl•lah translated "but" to emphasize that instead of wavering in unbelief, Abraham "was made strong in faith". Again, it is very important to note that the Greek verb ehn•eh•thee•nahm•o•thee translated "was made strong", is also in the aorist tense and passive voice, which makes it obvious that God was the one who made him strong, powerful and able to excel in faith. Since God gave Abraham faith in the first place, it logically follows that he would be the strengthener of his faith (I Timothy 1:12-14). The last Greek phrase in this verse speaks of Abraham as "Having given glory to God". The key word in this verse is the aorist participle thoos translated "having given", which means that Abraham gave glory to God prior to the time when God made him strong in faith. In spite of Satan's efforts to destroy Abraham's confidence in God's promise, the very opposite resulted, i.e., Abraham was divinely stimulated to give thox•ahn rendered "praise and honor", to God. Subsequent to Abraham glorifying God, Paul states that God strengthened his faith.
Generally speaking, in divine-human relations, God is always the initiator, the one who in His sovereignty calls, gives grace including faith and makes righteous and alive in Christ (Ephesians 1:4; II Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:4-9). So after the believer is made alive and is capable of responding to God; it appears that this verse is teaching that in response to being glorified, God increased or energized Abraham's faith. By carefully adhering to the significance of the two passive voices used in this verse, we have observed that Satan was vying against God for the control of Abraham. Satan's strategy was to destroy Abraham's faith in God's word, the promise that God made to him. Abraham however did not succumb to this satanic device, but as one chosen and given faith by God he persevered and gave glory to God (Matthew 10:22; II Timothy 2:12). Abraham was caused to utilize his God-given faith and through it withstood the onslaught of Satan; glorified God and as a result, God made him even stronger in faith. Here we observe the principle that as we use that which God has given to us, He increases it. In summarizing this verse, the process of God’s workings are, that Abraham exercised his God given faith by giving glory to God and as a result God strengthened his faith.
As we continue this vein of study, we move to Romans 4:21 from the King James Version, "And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform." And from the Greek Text, "and being fully convinced that what He had promised He is also able to do." This verse gives insight into the dept of Abraham's faith. Here the Greek aorist participle plee•roph•or•ee•thees translated "being fully convinced"; is a Greek compound verb derived from plee•rees and phor•ehs. It literally means to fully and completely bear or carry, hence, as used in this verse, it has the thought of being fully assured, completely convinced and entirely persuaded. Since this verb is in the passive voice, it means that God was the one who had fully convinced Abraham that his promise was true. So when we recognize that God was the initiator of Abraham's faith and that apart from God he would have fallen flat on his face before Satan, as he had certainly done in the past; then it would necessarily follows that God is the one who completely convinced him to believe His word. God not only gave Abraham the promise, but he also gave him the faith that fully persuaded him that it would be fulfilled.
To further illustrate this point we focus on Hebrews, chapter 11 and observe the actions of the so-called heroes of faith. Here we pose the question, what is faith? In Hebrews 11:1, in the King James Version, a general definition of faith is given as the "substance" of things hoped for. Here the Greek word eep•os•tahs•ees is rendered "essence" or "confidence". It literally means to be placed or stand under -------- in general something that has been put under; thus that which is used for a base or foundation or subsistence, or existence. As used in this verse, "substance" denotes confidence or confident expectation (Romans 8:19; II Corinthians 9:4; 11:17; Hebrews 3:14). In Hebrews 11:1, faith is also described as the "evidence" of things seen or unseen. Hence the Greek word ehl•ehg•khos is rendered "proof" or re-proof or conviction; it is used only twice in Paul's writing, i.e., in this verse and also in II Timothy 3:16. It implies not merely the basis of which one is convinced or convicted, but also the manifestation of the truth or essence of that basis.
The Greek word pees•tees rendered "faith", is defined as total unconditional trust and commitment. The key word here is unconditional; this can only be applied to God and God alone. Only God and God alone can be the substance or the basis or foundation or sub-stance that engenders confidence or a confident expectation against all odds. Only God is able to convince or convict our minds on the fact that He (God) is the very essence and manifestation or truth (John 1:14,17; 14:6,17; 15:26; 16:13; 17:17,19; II Corinthians 4:2; 6:7; Galatians 2:5,14; I John 2:27; 3:18,19; 4:6; 5:6). Thus faith is defined as that which gives substance or essence to hoped-for things and proof to not-seen things. These ingredients are noted in God's dealing and the resultant witness of His elect, not only in the testimony of those recorded in this eleventh chapter of Hebrews, but in all the dispensations. Notice the grammatical construction of all the testimonial verses of this chapter. God's input is always in the active voice whereas everything that is ever attributed to the testimony of His elect (Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Rehab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, David, Samuel, as well as the prophets); including all the noble acts of all of these men and women, are in the aorist tense and the passive voice.
They were all convinced and convicted by God to do the things they did. In other words, God caused them to believe and caused them to exercise the faith that he gifted to them for the purpose of carrying out His will. There is an old song that is still sung in some churches and the expression of the words is: "When you see or observe me walking, talking, thinking or doing that which is right. …… God is using or controlling me". The Apostle Paul exhorts in Ephesians 5:18, "be filled or controlled" by the spirit of God. So the subject in Hebrews, chapter 11 as well as Paul's writings in Romans chapter 4 is faith, which is the gift of God.
As we revert to Romans 4:21, we exegete the latter portion of this verse in focusing on what Abraham was convinced God would do, namely: "that what he had promised he is also able to do". The Greek phraseo ehp•eeyy•ehl•teh translated "What he had promised", is in the perfect tense and passive voice. It refers back to the promise, which God Himself had made to Abraham at a given point of time in the past and affirms that it is still in effect. Granting the validity of the promise and that it is still in effect, Satan's argument was that God could not fulfill it due to physiological conditions. God's thee•nah•tos rendered "power" and might was being challenged. In spite of this, Abraham was fully convinced that God did have the ability and power pee•ee•seh rendered "to do" or "to perform" what He promised.
Now we move to Romans 4:22 from the King James Version, "And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness." And from the Greek Text, "Wherefore also it was counted to him for righteousness." This verse reverts to the truth introduced in Romans 4:3 and restated in Romans 4:9, namely, Abraham's faith was counted to him for righteousness". Having related the historical facts of how Abraham believed God against all odds in Romans 18-21, Paul states thee•o rendered "wherefore", "on which account" or "for this reason", it was eh•Ioy•ees•thee translated "counted", reckoned or calculated for righteousness. Note, Paul gives a glimpse of the circumstances involved in Abraham's believing God in spite of Satan's efforts to get him to doubt the word of God; he (Abraham) persisted in his faith in God's promise. This verse (22) gives the grand conclusion; God’s evaluation of Abraham's unswerving exercise of faith in his word, which is ----- faith is equivalent to righteousness. Finally, as we conclude the fact that Abraham's faith was counted for righteousness, we need to consider the rationale behind the principle that faith in God’s decrees equals righteousness. The very fact that Abraham believed the promise of his perfect God is significant as it tells us something about Abraham himself. In view of what Jesus states in John 3:19-21, sinners within themselves do not seek God who is light (I John 1:5). So this leads us to conclude: (1). God infused or deposited in Abraham faith that identified him with the one who is perfect (light). (2). As one made perfect by the gift of divine faith (Ephesians 2:8), Abraham had faith in God's word, the external evidence of his faith righteousness.
Now we progress to Romans 4:23 from the King James Version, "Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;" And from the Greek Text, "And it was not written on account of him only, that it was counted to him." The preceding verses have made it crystal clear that the faith that God gave to Abraham was counted or imputed for righteousness. The main point in this verse (23) is why did God cause this statement to be written in the book of Genesis (15:6)? Was it because of Abraham? Of course not, for Abraham was physically dead when this portion of God's word was written.
Now God obviously communicated this truth so it was undoubtedly rendered in writings that were later incorporated into the book of Genesis, for the sake of those who would read it. Thus the evidence is clear, the principle of faith righteousness was latent or hidden in the Old Testament scriptures waiting to be revealed. It (faith righteousness) was buried under the law, with the exception of a few instances (Isaiah 53:5-6; Jeremiah 31:34; Acts 10:43; Romans 4:6-8).
In today’s dispensation, on this side of the cross, the principle of (faith-righteousness) has sprung into full bloom. In this age, there is now immediate and complete expiration instead of atonement for sins. Notice the word atonement is Old Testament terminology. Its usage (atonement) is not relevant in the New Testament. Now someone is going to immediately point to its alleged usage in the King James Version in Romans, but in the Greek Text that word is kaht•ahtl•lahy•een. Its root word is kaht•ahl•lahs•so, which is translated "reconcile". Kaht•ahl•lahs•so is a compound verb derived from the Greek preposition kaht•ah translated "down" and the verb ahl•lahs•so, which means to "restore", thus God reaching down to restore mankind. So atonement in Romans 5:11 should be reconciliation. Now this interpretation is supported by the two preceding verses (Romans 5:9-10) wherein it states, "we shall be saved through Christ from the wrath and that we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son. Thus the meaning of the context supports the usage of the word "reconciliation" not "atonement". Atonement is derived from the Hebrew root word ka•phar, which means to "cover". Now in time it came to mean to expiate, make atonement or to placate. It conveys the sense of appeasing or pacifying by the appeasing of an animal representing a sin substituted sacrifice; conveying the sense of purging or putting off, but its inference is to hide or temporarily cover. Now as we move back to the contents of Romans 4:23, note again that there is now immediate and permanent expiration or removing of sins. Faith identifies the elect of God with Christ, who is our sin substitute and with Christ who is our righteousness (I Corinthians 1:30; II Corinthians 5:21). The fact that this principle (faith-righteous) was clearly revealed to the Apostle Paul and eventually Peter is both evident and documented in their epistles (Romans 3:22,26,28; Galatians 1:12; 2:16,21; 3:7,11; I Peter 1:8-9,19-21; 2:24; 3:18).
Now we continue into Romans 4:24 from the King James Version, "But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;" And from the Greek Text, "but also on account of us to whom it was about to be counted, to those believing on the one who raised Jesus our Lord out from the dead." Here, this verse specifically expresses that the statement, "faith was counted to Abraham for righteousness", was written in the book of Genesis.... thee ee•mahs rendered "on account of us". Notice, the context makes it clear and evident, that the Greek pronoun ee•mahs rendered "us", does not refer to the Jews who were under the Law, who had the book of Genesis as a part of their scripture, but it refers to "us" who are the elect in this present age of grace. The fact that this verse begins with the Greek adversative conjunction ahl•lah rendered, "but" emphasizes that this faith-righteousness statement was not written for Abraham but rather for us, those who are by faith members of the Body of Christ. This statement was written for the sake of us to whom this righteousness "was about to be counted".
Here the Greek word mehI•lee rendered "about", commonly expresses the idea of "at the point of", on the brink of or that which is going to happen soon". The Jews looked for the imminent coming of the Messiah. He was always on the brink of coming to establish His kingdom in their midst. As Paul writes the truth in this verse, he recognizes that the Messiah did come; that He offered His Kingdom to Israel and according to God’s foreordination, it was rejected and the Church inserted, which was an unrevealed - secret -spiritual entity. One should not confuse the Kingdom Dispensation (Gospel of the Kingdom) with the Church Dispensation (Gospel of the Grace of God, the Mystery). NOTE, the Church is not the Kingdom. Oh what a tragedy that these two diverse entities are confused and mixed together as one. All of God’s people must learn to "rightly divide the truth", according to dispensational arrangements and their respective covenants (II Timothy 2:15). While the "word of truth" is written for all classes of God’s elect, in all ages and for our learning, it is not addressed to all in general. Part of it is specifically addressed to Israel, part of it concerns the Gentiles and part (Gospel of Grace, Mystery-Truth) is specifically addressed to the Church. The elect of this dispensation need to clearly understand that while the whole Bible was written for the understanding of the Church, it is not all written to and about the Church.
While most believers who study God's word have little trouble in separating the basic economy of the Law with its practice of the sacrifice of animals and its types of shadows, from the basic format of relating to God in salvation, praise and worship today. What is confusing to most is the distinct line of demarcation of the Kingdom Messianic from the Grace Economy. What must be clearly understood is the definite identification of the Kingdom message, gospel and its church age from the Body of Christ grace message, gospel and its church age. The church (Body of Christ) as defined in this dispensation is not, a continuation of the Jewish dispensation under another name (grace). So the church plan in this dispensation operates on the basis of grace. God gives faith whereby He counts His elect righteous on the basis of the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. Here as Paul looks back, he reflects on this age of grace as on the brink of coming, like the Savior associated with it, even though it did not actually begin until over 1,400 years after the statement regarding Abraham's faith-righteousness was written in the book of Genesis.
Those to whom faith is counted, reckoned and imputed for righteousness are "those believing on the one who raised Jesus our Lord out from the dead". Here the Greek phrase tees peest•ehv•oo•seen translated "those believing", consist of the definite article and a present participle and may also be rendered "those exercising faith" and "those trusting and fully persuaded". The present tense implies that believing is a continuous process since faith is the gift of God, given to those chosen in Christ (Ephesians 1:4; 3:8) and what God gives, He does not withdraw (Romans 11:29; Hebrews 11:6). According to this verse (24), the object of our faith is God. To have faith in God is to have faith in what He has said in His word and in what he has and is doing. The Greek preposition ehp•ee as translated in this context is rendered faith "on" God; very literally it may be rendered faith upon or on the basis of God. This should be interpreted to mean that our faith should be fixed on God in His total essence; He is God almighty who raised Jesus Christ out from the dead.
In closing out Romans chapter 4, we examine verse 25 first from the King James Version, "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." and from the Greek Text, "who was delivered on account of our trespasses and was raised on account of our justification." This verse speaks of two things that God effectuated for us through Jesus Christ. First, He was "delivered on account of our trespasses". The Greek compound verb pahr•ehth•oth•ee translated, "delivered", comes from the Greek words pahrah and thee•tho•mee and since it is in the passive voice, it means that God the father delivered up, gave over and handed over His Son Jesus, as the supreme sacrifice as manifested by the cruel death of the cross. Oh what LOVE! (Acts 2:23; Romans 8:32; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:2). So the question is --"Why did the Father (God) make this supreme sacrifice of His son Jesus"? The answer is He was motivated by love and mercy (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:4). He did it thee•ah that is "on account of", "because of" ------ the reason was our trespasses. It must be clearly understood that for God to remain just and to simultaneously justify the elect, who are sinners under the sentence of death, His moral integrity demanded that a sinless substitute assume our sin and death penalty (Romans 3:23-26). "OH THANKS BE TO GOD"! Jesus Christ was willing to be made sin and death for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (II Corinthians 5:21).
We observe in Romans 4:25, that Jesus Christ "was raised on account of our justification. Here the passive voice indicates that the father was the one who eey•ehr•thee rendered "raised up", and resurrected (Jesus) out from the sphere of dead men (Acts 3:15; I Corinthians 6:14). Again according to this verse, why did God raise him? It was thee•ah rendered "on account of", because of ------ the purpose was for our theek•eh•o•seen rendered "justification", i.e., to make us riqht, just and vindicated before God. Now since the living Christ is the very essence of our righteousness (I Corinthians 1:30), which is a prerequisite for our justification, it follows that no resurrection would mean no identification with the living Christ. Thus no righteousness equals no justification.
Romans 5:1-2; 6:9,15-21
We will now move to Part III of our study of the doctrine of Justification as found in Romans 5:1-2; 6:9,15-21.
Here as we examine the beginning of Romans chapter 5, let us briefly recapitulate the scope of parts one and two in our study of justification as found in Romans chapters three and four. Paul’s thesis in the above discourse is that God has now in this present church age, manifested righteousness apart from the Mosaic Law. Now the basis for this righteousness of God is the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, which was consummated in eternity and manifested by His death on the Cross. Remember that the Apostle Paul emphasizes in these first verses that this righteousness is obtained through faith and not through works. In one sense it is a righteousness, which has been presently manifested (Romans 3:21), but in another sense it is evident in God’s dealings with Abraham, David and some of the prophets. As earlier noted, Paul incorporated the evidence from the Old Testament, which is pertinent in Romans as well as his other epistles (Galatians 3:6-29). Here and elsewhere Paul has documented these truths under the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit and it is available to us as we study all of his epistles.
Now before we begin our expositional discourse in Romans 5:1, let us revert to a portion of a passage found in Romans 4:16 from the King James Version, "Therefore it is of faith, that, it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all." And from the Greek Text, "Because of this it is out of faith, that it may be according to grace, unto the end to confirm the promise to every seed, not only to the [seed] out of the law but also to the [seed] out of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of all of us," Here it is vividly expressed and documented, the impossibility of the promise being given through the Law "because it is out of faith". In the first phrase this verse (16), the Greek phrase thee•ah too•to translated "because of this", may also be rendered "on account of this" or for this reason, the promise is out of the source of faith. Notice God’s purpose for doing it this way was in order that it may be according to grace. As we have documented, even as Law and works are inseparable, likewise grace and faith are united together. Here grace makes faith available to believers thereby making it possible for God to count their faith for righteousness. Now apart from the grace of God, which has provided Jesus Christ as our sin-substitute and the faith by which we are identified with Him, it would be impossible for God to count believers righteous (II Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 2:16; Philippines 3:10).
Observe this verse as it is stating that the Abrahamic promise was given out of faith according to the principle of grace, --------- "unto the end to confirm the promise to every seed". Here note the Greek words vehv•eh•ahn translated "confirm", as it denotes making the promise firm, certain and sure, and pahn•dee to spehr•mah•tee rendered "to every seed" or to "every single seed".
So if the promise were out of the Law, it would have been limited to those under the Law. But since it is out of grace, it includes every individual whether in or out of the sphere of the Law. The word seed in this verse refers to every individual to whom God gives faith to believe in the faithfulness of Jesus Christ unto righteousness, including the Jews who were under the Law, as well as those identified with the faith of Abraham (Romans 11:11-12,15,22,24,32). Notice the intention of Paul’s statement at the end of this verse. Some have misinterpreted it to classify God’s elect in this dispensation as recipients of an extension of the Jewish economy. Now according to the flesh, Abraham was the forefather of the Jews (Romans 4:1). But according to the principles of grace and faith wherein his faith was counted for righteousness, he (Abraham) is the "faith-father" of all believers in this age of grace (Galatians 3:5,29).
We now begin part III with the exegesis of Romans 5:1 from the King James Version, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." And from the Greek Text, "Therefore having been justified out of faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," Here after having explained in Romans chapter four how believers are justified before God, Paul now seeks to enlarge the understanding of those who have been justified, particularly with reference to their present and future privileges. The aorist passive participle theek•eh•o•thehn•dehs translated "having been justified", gives God the total credit for making us right, just and giving us a clean slate. So the question is, "How did God do this"? Paul's answer is ehk pees•teh•os rendered 'out of faith" or" out of the source of faith". Now the emphasis of the preposition ehk rendered "out" as used with the ablative case, is on the source, origin and fountainhead of justification and that is, "it is derived from faith. Here it must be clearly understood that even as ones justification is totally of God; likewise ones faith which is the source of justification is, also totally of God.
Now as we further exegete this verse (1), Paul states that as a result of being justified out of faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Here the Greek verb "we have", is in the present tense and indicative mood and it denotes that that as justified ones, we continuously enjoy the status of a peaceful relationship with or before God. The Greek noun ee•ree•neen translated "peace", literally means to join and to set at one again, hence face to face. Here it describes the new face-to-face relationship between the believer and God brought about by the removal of the curse of the sinful nature. Notice that even the heathen and idol worshipper fears and dreads interfacing with their god. In this case, there is implied enmity because their god(s) is dissatisfied with them and requires appeasement in face-to-face confrontations. In contrast to an idol or man-made god; as we view the case of the true and living God, who is the God of all creation, He is at odds with mankind because of his (mankind’s) sinful unholy and unrighteous nature. It is certainly true that our God is light; and light cannot fellowship with darkness (John 1:5,9; I John 1:5-7; Ephesians 5:8-11).
Paul further states in this verse (1) that justification removes that barrier of strife and enmity. Peace denotes a state of untroubled, undisturbed well being and thus when contrasted with strife conveys the thought of God's elect becoming the object of His divine promise which is brought about by His mercy; granting deliverance and freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as a result of sin.
Here peace exudes the essence of both mercy and grace in that it refers to mercy as the antidote for the consequences of sin and grace as the effectuation of God's acceptable evaluation of the character of those who are recipients of His favor. Peace is the spiritual blessing or that state which is brought about by His grace. This is expressive of the loving mind of God, wherein the derangements and distresses of life caused by sin are removed. In Romans 10:15 and Ephesians 6:15, the message of the gospel of salvation is designated "The Gospel of Peace". In Philippians 4:7, reference is made to the peace of God (genitive case), that is, the peace which is owned by God as in many of Paul's greeting in his epistles (Romans 1:7; I Corinthians 1:3; II Corinthians 1:2), reference is made to peace with God. So we have the peace of God, peace from and in this verse, peace with God. These references are all describing the new face-to-face relationship brought about by the reconciliation, (Romans 5:9-11). So the big question is how does justification by or through faith bring about this peace or face-to-face relationship with God?
Now the last phrase of Romans 5:1 states that as a result of being justified out of the source of faith, we have peace with God "through our Lord Jesus Christ". As stated earlier, the Greek verb ehkh•o•meen translated "we have", is in the aorist tense and indicative mood, and thus makes a statement that as justified ones, we continuously enjoy a peaceful relationship with or before God. The inference of the perpetuality of this face-to-face relationship rests on the premise of the Greek preposition thee•ah rendered "by or through", as used with the genitive case and affirms that Jesus Christ is the agent who has acquired this peace for us. His faithfulness, the cross being its manifested pinnacle was an absolute and only requisite for reconciliation and peace between God and His elect (Romans 3:22; Ephesians 2:14-17). Now we must keep in mind that sinners do not have the capacity to take the initiative in seeking peace with God (Romans 3:17) but contrariwise, God sovereignly takes the initiative in reconciling believers to Himself. Now those who preach and teach conditional salvation and conditional justification and conditional security in Christ do so in the vein of turning the spotlight away from the deeds of Jesus and His efficacious-righteous work of propitiation; to the unrighteous dead works of men that are ministered on the basis of the Mosaic Law through ordinances, rituals, rites and the traditional manifestation of so-called self-righteous living.
It is impossible to either obtain or retain the peaceful face-to-face relationship with God on the basis of one’s own merit. The only methodology available to absolutely guarantee anyone’s justification is by grace through Christ’s faithfulness (Ephesians 2:8). Note faith is a gift from God as it is cannot originate out of mankind. None can stand face-to-face before a righteous and Holy God based on one’s dead unrighteous works. The only way to insure one’s peaceful, face-to-face relationship with God is through justification by or through faith, which God has deposited in such one, to believe and identify with the blood that Jesus shed for His elect as manifested on the cross (Romans 6:3-14). If one depends upon Jesus and Jesus alone for ones salvation, justification and peace with God (face-to-face) it will be everlasting and uninterrupted today, tomorrow and throughout all eternity (Romans 8:31-39).
Now we turn our attention to Romans 5:2 from the King James Version "By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." And from the Greek Text, "through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we boast in the hope of the glory of God." Now as we exegete this verse, we note the declaration in Romans 5:1, that Christ is the agent through whom we have peace (face-to-face) with God. Likewise, this verse states that Christ is the agent through whom we have access into this grace in which we stand. Here the Greek compound word pros•ahg•oy•een translated "access", is derived from pros and ahg•o and basically means "to lead to", hence to gain access and admission. The verb associated with this verse is in the perfect tense which denotes that subsequent to the manifestation of the sacrifice on the cross, we have had and continue to have the right to access and admission, and to enter into 'this grace in which we stand". The two cases of faith in verses one and two of Romans chapter 5 entail the locative case denoting faith to be the source of justification. In Romans 5:2 we have the instrumental case, which denotes faith as the means of our justification.
Now as we continue the exegesis of this verse, we examine the phrase, "this grace in which we stand". Here we note three other passages where Paul uses the Greek word kahr•een translated "grace". First, in Romans 3:24, Paul states that "We are freely justified by His grace." Second, in Romans 4:4, grace is identified as a gift; not something earned. Thirdly, in Romans 4:16, Paul states that grace provides faith as a free gift to those who are chosen in Christ. These passages suggest that to stand in grace is to base our relationship to God on His free gift of faith-righteousness. Now the opposite of this would be to stand in works, i.e., to base our salvation on the works of the Law. Here the Greek verb ehs•tee•kah•mehn translated "we stand", is in the perfect tense, which denotes the grace in which we have begun and continue to stand. The grammatical construction of this phrase (we stand) leaves no room for one to be separated from the grace, faith and righteousness which God has provided (Romans 8:35-39; Galatians 5:4).
As we will exegete the final phrase of verse 2, we do so on the premise that we stand solely on the grace of God; thus "we boast in the hope of the glory of God'. Here the Greek verb kahf•khom•eh•thah translated "we boast", implies that Paul was continually "exulting, lauding and rejoicing ehp rendered "in or on", the basis of the hope of the glory of God or "we boast or rejoice on the basis of the hope of the glory which belongs to God'. As we look to the essence of our future, we see the brightness of our hope in being glorified together with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:30). Now this hope of being glorified with Christ was divinely revealed to the Apostle Paul (Galatians 1:12; I Corinthians 15:51-54). Here the Greek phrase thox•ees ton Theh•oo rendered the "Glory of God", implies that God is the one who gives us glorified bodies which conform to the glorified body of Christ (who is head of the Church), fully suited for God's will and purpose (Romans 8:28; Philippians 3:21). Therefore, we receive grace through faith, as God is the source of both (Ephesians 2:8). Now because of this we rejoice and boast in the hope of being glorified in Christ, read (II Thessalonians 1:10-12).
Now we move to Romans 5:6 from the King James Version, "for when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." And from the Greek text, "For while we were infirm, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." As we move into a new vein of the text in chapter 5, we note that verses 6-11 contain a closely-knit context with a single argument, so we will limit our context to the salient parts, basically stated in verses 6-9, seeing that we have already focused on the base points of verses 10 and 11 elsewhere in our studies. In verse 6 we reflect back to a time when we were eht•ee ahs•thehn•on rendered "yet infirm" or weak and spiritually sick. It was a time when we were ungodly, egocentric sinners and it was particularly for this that Christ died for the ahs•ehv•on translated "ungodly", impious and wicked. The most important thing we need to acknowledge in this verse is our unattractive sinful plight and in spite of this, Christ died eep•ehr rendered "for", "on our behalf" or "in our stead".
Now we examine Romans 5:7 from the King James Version, "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die." And from the Greek Text, "For scarcely for a righteous man will one dare to die: for on behalf of a good man perhaps one might even dare to die;" This verse depicts the illustration of God’s great love for us by comparing the severity of his sacrifice with the unworthiness of its benefactors. In contrast to the fact that Christ died "on behalf of" or in the stead of the believer, the Apostle Paul states there is no precedent for such a sacrifice, for it would be hard to find one who would be willing to die for a good man. Paul does not describe what possible difference there is between the "righteousness and goodness" of men. On the precise reference of this there can be stated a diversity of opinions. In this regard, everything depends on the sense in which the words "righteous and good" can be viewed. The basic conveyance is, "for scarcely is an instance to be found among men of one dying even for those of good character," as men’s love for mankind, even in the rarest cases do not stretch to that extent. So the most important thing pointed out in this verse is that there is no precedent among men for what Jesus did and that is dying for some totally depraved sinners.
We continue the unfolding progression of this thought in Romans chapter 5:8 from the King James Version, "But God commendeth His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." And from the Greek Text, "but God commended His own love unto us, that while we were yet sinners Christ died on behalf of us." Here the statement is given that God seen•ees•tee•seen translated "commended", or "placed with" and extended His own love unto us at a time when we were still sinners. It is more striking than this that the determination of God love was fixed and assigned in eternity regardless of the fact that its recipients were destined to be sinners in time. The extension of God's eh•ahf•too rendered "own" personal love unto us is seen in the fact that Christ died on behalf of us. This is corroborated in I John 3:1 as he writes (in the King James Version), "Oh what manner, (what sort, what type) of love the Father hath bestowed on us". In other words, the death of Christ on Calvary for no good worthless sinners is the expression of God's own unheard of love, the death of His beloved Son, Jesus (Matthew 3:17; John 3:16; I John 4:9-10). Now it is important to observe in this verse that the death of Jesus Christ is in essence the extension of God's perfect love unto us, while we were yet (to be) rebellious sinners. Of course, there is no precedent for such love in the universe!
We now turn to Romans 5:9 from the King James Version, "Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." And from the Greek Text, "Much more then, having been justified now by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath through Him." Now the cogitative flow is that if God commended His own love unto some in the face of them being sinners, then much more He will save those whom He has justified from the coming wrath. Here the Greek phrase pol•lo oon mahl•lon translated "much more then," may also be rendered "much more therefore" or "to a far greater extent," he will save us justified ones from the wrath. So since God lavished His love upon us as sinners, we can to a far greater extent expect Him to save us justified ones from tees or•yees rendered the "wrath," i.e., the coming wrath of God (Romans 2:5; Ephesians 5:6; I Thessalonians 1:10). Here we must keep in mind that we have two distinct groups, progressively speaking in this context: namely, those designated sinners who are designees of His love and those who have been justified. Since God has treated certain sinners so good by loving them to the extent of sacrificing His Son for them, He can be logically expected to treat those whom He has justified, even better. In fact the least of what He has done is to save us from the coming wrath. Even as our justification is made possible by means of the blood of Christ, likewise our being saved from the coming wrath is through the personal agency of Christ. Thus our secured place in Him is solidified through the enactment of His eternal decree of justification.
We now move to the latter context of Romans chapter 5 as we focus on verse 15 from the King James Version, "But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded to many." And from the Greek Text, "But not as the trespass, thus also is the free gift; for if by the trespass of the one many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by grace of the one man Jesus Christ abounded unto the many." Here as we examine the statement "But not as the trespass, thus also is the free gift", this verse begins with the strong adversative Greek conjunction ahl•lah rendered 'but", emphasizing the contrast between the trespass of Adam and the free gift of Jesus Christ. In order to aid in fully understanding the significance of the adverb oo•tos rendered "thus" in this statement; an expanded version translation is offered. So restated it would read, "But not like as or according as the trespass, oo•tos or "thus" in the same way or in like manner; is the free gift". Now the thought is that there is definite similarity, likeness and identity between the trespass and the free gift. However the negative adverb ookh translated "not", puts these two similar phrases in a reverse or opposite relation, i.e., they are on the one hand alike, but on the other hand, they convey opposite meanings. Thus the trespass and free gift are effective in accomplishing there opposite functions, but the free gift is more effective in its operation.
This is better illustrated as we move to the second part of verse 15. Here Paul posits a condition: "For if by the trespass of the one many died" then it follows that "much more the grace of God and the gift of the one man Jesus Christ (has) abounded unto the many". In view of the preceding context we must grant that by the trespass of Adam many died, in fact all died.
Therefore as night follows day, we must also grant that much more God's grace, even the gift of the one man Jesus Christ has eh•pehr•ees•sehv•sehn rendered "abounded" or "been over and above" and has been richly furnished unto the many. This statement implies that the redemptive work of Christ is unlimited as it has the potential for saving all sinners. The undeniable arguments of this verse is that even as the result of Adam's trespass spread to all men likewise, the result of Christ's substitutionary death possesses the potency to spreads to all men (I Timothy 2:4; II Peter 3:9) except it moves according to the determination of God’s eternal decree.
We now move to Romans 5:16 from the King James Version, "And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification." And from the Greek Text, "And the gift is not as through one who had sinned; for the judgment was out of one unto condemnation, but the free gift is out of many trespasses unto justification." In this verse we observe the statement "The gift is not as though one who had sinned"; as it denotes that the gift is the opposite of what came through the agency of the one who sinned, the opposite of Adam's trespass. Since the Greek particle mehn and theh are used in the sequel in what follows in this verse, their explanations will incorporate their grammatical significance. Here Paul states that "on the one hand, the judgment was out of the source of one trespass unto the end of condemnation but on the other hand, the free gift is out of the source of many trespasses. In light of the preceding and following context, this statement would be totally unexpected at first glance. But on closer examination it is apparent that it means that the many trespasses elicited and evoked the free gift that is unto Justification. So according to this interpretation the desperate plights of elect sinners evoked God's mercy to provide the gift of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which was an act of righteousness unto the end of justification (Romans 5:6,8,10).
Now we turn to Romans 5:17 from the King James Version, "For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." And from the Greek Text, "For if the trespass of the one death reigned through the one, much more those receiving the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ." Here this verse reverts to the thought of Romans 5:14, adding that death reigned through the one namely Adam. Now in contrast to this, those who have received God's abundant grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in the sphere of life through the one namely Jesus Christ. Note that in this verse the contrast is between death reigning through Adam on account of that which he did, and those who are righteous reigning through Christ on account of His sacrifice. Now beyond this contrast it is significant to note that those who have been made righteous by the grace of God reign ehn zo•ee rendered "in life" or "in the sphere of divine life" (John 6:57).
And now we turn to Romans 5:18 from the King James Version, "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." Here because some have utilized their translation of this verse to espouse the doctrine of "unlimited redemption of all men", we herein convey the actual Greek rendering, i.e., Ahr•ah oon os thee eh•nos pahr•ahp•to•mah•tos ees pahn•dahs ahnth•ro•poos ees kaht•ahk•ree•mah oo•tos keh thee eh•nos theek•eh•o•mah•tos ees pahn•dahs ahnth•ro•poos ees theek•eh•o•seen zo•ees. This is literally translated, "Then therefore as through one trespass unto all men unto condemnation, thus also through one act of righteousness unto all men unto justification of life." Here we observe an ellipsis or elliptical construction as denoted by the absence of verbs with their corresponding tenses, thus there is no apparatus to define the kind of action that is implied (present, aorist, future, etc.). The same is true concerning the moods, thus there is no defining information referencing the characteristics of the implied actions. In this sense, this verse conveys the fact that all it took to bring the entire human race under condemnation was the one trespass, i.e., one act of disobedience on the part of Adam. Likewise all that it took to bring justification and divine life to all men was the one act of obedience on the part of our Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, this one act of obedience was His submission to the ignoble death as manifested on the cross, even the sacrifice in eternity, which was His once and for all substitutionary death. Also it should be noted that the fact of this one act of obedience, i.e., Jesus’ death, is unto all men unlimited in its power. In effect, the power of the blood of Jesus Christ is efficacious enough to save the entire human race (Hebrews 2:9); but His power to save is directed by His will to save those whom He has called and elected in Him before creation (Ephesians 1:4). This one act of righteousness resulted in theek•eho•seen zo•ees translated "justification of life", i.e., justification that belongs to life. Now understand this, the two are inseparable, hence justified believers are joined together with Christ in resurrection life (Romans 4:25). Thus it is imperative for one to understand the basic implication of this free act of righteousness performed on behalf of those who are justified, in that the blood of Jesus completely wiped out the offense and trespass of Adam against God’s elect.
Now we turn to Romans 5:19 from the King James Version, "For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." And from the Greek Text, "For even as through the disobedience of one man many were made sinners, likewise also through the obedience of one many will be made righteous." Here the Greek word pahr•ahk•o•ees translated "disobedience", is derived from the Greek preposition pahr•ah prefixed to the verb ahk•o•oo and literally means to "hear beside", thus as used in this context it means, "not to listen" or "not to pay attention to what is said". The thought is that what God said about not eating of the tree of life, Adam let go by the side or he allowed it to slide by. In this sense, his disobedience began with his failure to carefully listen to God’s word given to him. When God confronted the first man Adam with the supreme test, which involved pleasing God verses the desires of his flesh, he heard askance or he did not take God’s message seriously and performed the very first act of man’s disobedience.
So as a result of Adam’s disobedience "many were made sinner". Here the Greek phrase ee pol•lee translated "many", may equally be translated "the many". Now as used in this verse and verified in all of Paul’s epistles, this means the masses and multitude were "made sinners". Here the Greek verb kahth•ehs•tah•thee•sahn translated "were made"; comes from combining the Greek preposition kaht•ah and the verb ees•tee•mee, which literally means "to place down, to establish and to fix" all men as sinners (Romans 3:9-12,23).
Even as Adam’s disobedience established many as "ahm•ahr•to•lee" rendered "sinners", "misses of the mark" or even depraved ones, ---oo•tos, rendered "likewise", in the same manner and way Jesus Christ’s obedience will make many righteous. Here the contrast is between Adam’s disobedience as against Christ’s obedience and many being made sinners over against many who are made righteous. So Adam and Christ are looked at as the heads of two distinct groups, namely those who are sinners and those (the elect) who are to be made righteous. In the case of Adam, the aorist tense and passive voice indicates that subsequent to act of disobedience God fixed his progeny as sinners. But in the case of Jesus Christ, the future tense and passive voice indicate that God will establish many, (the elect) as righteous. The many that are identified with Adam represent all his flesh and blood progeny, i.e., the entire human race, whereas the many who will be associated with Christ are those (the elect) who are caused to believe in Him (Romans 1:16; 3:22; 4:3). Here for comparative reasons, Paul uses the same phrases ee pol•lee rendered "the many", but the context demands that the many with Adam are all men while the many with Christ are all believers (God’s elect).
Now as we further exegete Romans 5:19 we examine the statement, "through the obedience of one many will be made righteous". Here the Greek word eep•ahk•o•ees translated "obedience", is derived from the Greek preposition eep•o prefixed to the verb ahk•o•oo and literally means to "hear under", i.e., to "be under what is heard" and "to be submissive and obedient to it" (Hebrews 5:8). Jesus Christ’s great single act of obedience was the manifestation of His submission to death on the cross (Philippians 2:8). This act of obedience on His part made it possible for God to maintain His just position and at the same time justify and make those who are caused to believe (the elect) righteous. All who are legalistically or denominationally inclined to practice self-righteousness or self sufficiently must understand that ones righteous position before God does not, depend upon ones obedience to God nor on what one has done nor what one can do. Contrariwise it depends upon Jesus Christ and His obedience unto death as our sin-substitute. When we are identified with Him through baptism into His death (His righteous act of obedience), i.e., through faith, then His righteousness becomes our righteousness (Romans 6:3-7; I Corinthians 1:30; II Corinthians 5:2). When we were caused to believe in Him (Jesus), God made, fixed and established us as righteous ones. Thus we must understand that "we are saved by (His) grace through (His) faithfulness and that not of ourselves, it (our salvation) is the free gift of God not of works, lest any of mankind should dare to boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Now we move to Romans 5:20 from the King James Version, "Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:" And from the Greek Text, "And the law came in beside that the trespass might abound; but where sin abounded, grace superabounded." This is a verse that must be understood in its correct context, less one may construe its meaning to lessen the impact of the immoral nature of sin and God’s extreme intolerance of it. In Romans 5:13, Paul states that sin was in the world prior to the Mosaic Law, but that it was not imputed during that time. In this verse, he states the reason God gave the law, i.e., it "came in beside that the trespass might abound". Note the triple compound verb pahr•ees•eel•thehn, which conveys the fact that the law "came in beside." This phrase is derived from the Greek prepositions pahr•ah and ees prefixed to the verb ehr•khom•eh and literally means that the law "came in beside", the sin which was in the world or it "occupied" a place beside sin and in this contiguous relation to sin, the law amplified sin as sin (Romans 4:7-9,13). So the specific purpose for which God gave the law was in order that the trespass pleh•on•ah•see rendered "might abound" or might reveal the magnitude of the consequences of Adam’s pahr•ahp•to•mah rendered "trespass", transgression and defection that is inherent in the nature of his progeny (Romans 5:14; I Corinthians 15:22).
Here in this context the Greek words pahr•ahp•to•mah and ahm•ahr•tee•ah rendered "trespass and "sin" respectively; are used to describe the disobedience which the law made obvious. Now the two are not necessarily used synonymously, but give a more comprehensive picture of the wrongdoing, which the law revealed, i.e., it was both a "falling beside" and "missing the mark" of God’s standard. So where the law served its purpose of making sin eh•pleh•on•ah•sehn rendered "abound", or of impressing its exceeding greatness on men’s consciences; thus Paul states that grace "super abounded". Here the Greek verb eep•ehr•eh•pehr•ees•sehv•sehn translated "super-abounded", is derived from the Greek preposition eep•her prefixed to the verb pehr•ees•sehv•o and literally means to "abound out beyond", "over and above" or "exceedingly". So the essence of this verse is, regardless of the excessiveness and greatness of sin uncovered by the law, the grace of God, the free gift, His love, His mercy, His perfect sacrifice, far exceeded and overpowered it (I Timothy 1:14; John 1:17).
And now we move to the last verse in Romans chapter 5 verse 21 from the King James Version, "That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." And from the Greek Text, "That even as sin reigned in death, likewise also grace might reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." In Romans 5:14 and17, Paul depicts death as reigning. In this verse he drops back to the cause of death, sin, as that which had reigned. Here the use of the aorist tense suggests that Paul is referring to the sin revealed by the Law, but not necessarily limited to it, but sin which eh•vahs•eel•ehv•seen rendered "reigned", "ruled" and "governed" in the sphere of death. So in reality, failure to keep the Law developed a consciousness of sin, the consequences of which is death. Hence the sinner was caught in the jaws of death. But even as sin reigned in death, Paul’s desire in this context is that likewise "grace" might reign through righteousness unto eternal life.
Now the reign of sin in death was normal during the 1,400 years the Law was in effect, but in contrast grace should now reign unto the end of eternal life. Note, that this reign of grace is thee•ah theek•eh•os•ee•nees rendered "through righteousness" or "through the agency of righteousness", and the end or result of this righteousness is eternal life. So the sequential order is as follows:
God’s grace is manifested in Jesus Christ
He is the embodiment of righteousness
Because we are righteous in Him, we have eternal life.
Now even as sin equals death, likewise righteousness equals life (Romans 6:23). Originally God created man in His own image and likeness (genesis 1:26-27), as one who would share in His righteousness and life, but man sinned and lost the right to life. Now on the basis of His grace, God has made it possible for His elect to be restored to righteousness and life thee•ah Ee•ee•soo khrees•too rendered "through Jesus Christ", i.e., through the agency of Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 1:13; II Corinthians 5:21). Accordingly this righteousness and life is transmitted to the elect through their faith-relation to the living Christ (John 6:57; Romans 3:22; I John 5:11-12).
As we begin Part IV in the second chapter of Galatians, we do so in light of many truths that have been unveiled in our study of Parts 1 thru 3 of our subject matter Justification. It has been distinctly pointed out in the above discoursing concerning those who have been baptized into Christ, i.e., those whom have put on Christ (Galatians 3:27), that there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles. Note this is the main reason we must divide the scriptures dispensationally. Now in certain past and future dispensations or economies (Promise, Law, and Kingdom), the Jews have a definite advantage over the Gentiles but in the economy of grace there is no difference. Ones race, gender nor status in life has any bearing on ones position in the Body of Christ (Galatians 3:28). Note the greatest division in the Body of Christ today is along denominational lines. There are those, who because of the influence of their legalistically doctrines and dogmas; have declared their particular group to be the only people saved. In other words they declare their creed to be the only solution to justification before God. This attitudinal thinking was endowed in the minds of certain Jewish believers who preached to the Church at Antioch as depicted in Acts chapter 15. Here the account from the King James Version in verse one through 19 is as thus: 1 "And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. 3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. 4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. 5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. 6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. 12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. 13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: 14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. 19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:" Now we also focus on verse 20 through 27. 20 "But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day. 22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: 24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: 25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth."
Paul later writes to the church at Galatia and recounts the documentation of the events of the conference in Jerusalem. Thus it was indeed decreed by all in authority and sanctioned by the Holy Spirit that salvation was available to the Gentiles through that gospel which had been delivered unto Paul (Galatians 2:8-9). Afterwards Paul confronts Peter because of his reluctance to accept the fellowship of the Gentiles in the presence of other Jewish believers. The major issue at hand was whether uncircumcised Gentiles, who were not committed to keeping the Law; were acceptable in the fellowship of the Church. These same types of issues, doctrines and dogmas exist in the Church today mainly through denominations. If we notice, each group has its own set of rules and guidelines as to how salvation is obtained or how the sinner’s sins are eradicated.
Some groups carry the banner of washings through baptism even though there are many different versions of the means and method of baptism. Some groups exclude all from salvation that do not speak in a foreign language or "in tongues". Some groups foist that a self-generated righteousness based upon one’s own merit must be displayed before God in order to be justified. All these types of persuasions and notions can be traced back to the attitudes of those self-righteous Jews in the early churchwherein men sought to magnify themselves through their own dead works, rather than magnify God through the righteous efficacious work performed by Jesus Christ. As we have pointed out and will continue to point out, ---the traditional dead works of doctrines and rituals and ceremonies, cannot satisfy the demands of justice from a just and holy God. Righteousness can only be obtained through faith in the finished work that Jesus Christ blood accomplished as manifested upon the Cross. Again, as it is documented in Romans 5:1, justification can only be obtained through faith, which is the free gift of God, and our access to God is exclusively through the merit of Jesus Christ, who is our righteousness.
Here we focus on Galatians 2:15 from the King James Version, "We who are Jews by nature and not sinner of the Gentiles." Now from the Greek Text, "We are Jews by nature, and not sinners from the Gentiles." The thought in this verse is whether a person is by nature a Jew or a Gentile, as it relates to sin there is no difference, for no flesh is justified by the works of the Law. In fact a Jew who doesn’t recognize that he is a sinner, is further away from God that a Gentile who recognizes his sin. However, to recognize one’s sin is only a first step, and unless one is caused to sense a need to be saved from ones sin and trusts in Jesus Christ the Savior for salvation, one is lost and without hope. In this day and age of grace there is no room for either racial or religious preference. In this case Jews have no advantage over Gentiles (Romans 1:16). Here the reference to the Jew pro•ton rendered "first", pertained to the period of time before Israel was set-aside as a nation and was only true through the period prior to the revelation of the Mystery. There is no difference chiefly because regardless of the special advantages of Judaism, including the possession of the Law, there is no justification aside from the merits of Jesus Christ.
Now we move to Galatians 2:16, from the King James Version, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." Now from the Greek Text, "knowing that a man is not justified out of works of the Law except through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, that we might be justified out of the faithfulness of Christ and not out of the works of the law, because out of the works of the law no flesh shall be justified." In essence both Paul and Peter clearly, knew that the works of the Law could not justify a man (Acts 15:9,11). The inability of the Law to justify was due to the weakness of man’s flesh (Romans 8:3). The only way a man can be justified is through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:22; Ephesians 3:12).
The Greek word pees•teh•os rendered "faithfulness", is the genitive of pees•tees and it may be translated either faith or faithfulness, depending upon its use in the context. This is most logical since the basic meaning of pees· tees that is, "faith" is really inseparable from "faithfulness". In essence, the one who has "faith" would be "faithful". For a believer to say that he has faith and then fail to faithfully carry out what is entailed in "faith" testifies that his confession of faith is lacking in its maturity. Thus we see that "faith", as it is used in this context as well as others implies faithfulness (Acts 17:31; Romans 3:3; Galatians 3:22; Ephesians 3:12; Colossians 2:12; I Timothy 4:12; 6:11; II Timothy 2:22; 3:10,15; Titus 2:10; Philemon 5). So this passage is really stating that the only way for a man to be justified is thee•ah rendered "through" the agency of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. The basis for righteousness under the Mosaic Law was to have perfectly kept the Law (Romans 10:5; Galatians 3:12) whereas the basis for righteousness in this Church age is the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. He is the embodiment of the righteousness of God and the one who is the end of the Law unto righteousness to every one believing (Romans 10:3-4).
Jesus Christ miraculously became incarnate in human flesh; He lived a sinless and perfect life before God His Father and it should be noted that He is the only one of which this testimony can truthfully be given (Hebrews 2:14; 4:15). Our Lord was obedient unto death as manifested on the Cross (Philippians 2:8). This is what is involved in the faithfulness of Christ!
So in contrast to the righteousness based upon keeping the Law, which no man ever kept, our righteousness is based on the perfect faithfulness of Christ summed up in His substitutionary death! Note His faithfulness unto death is in essence the righteousness of God, and this righteousness becomes our righteousness through identification and personal faith in Him (Philippians 3:9).
Paul further states that we have believed in Christ Jesus in order that we might be justified out of the source of the faithfulness of Christ instead of out of the works of the Law. The previous statement emphasized the fact that the faithfulness of Christ is the agency through which justification is obtained; this statement emphasizes the fact that the faithfulness of Christ is the source of justification. Thus these are two different Greek constructions emphasizing the same thing, namely that the faithfulness of Christ is the basis for our justification. In this verse, the Apostle Paul states that we eh•peest•ehv•sah•mehn rendered "believed", (aorist tense) that we might be justified. We have believed for the purpose of being justified on the basis of Christ’s faithfulness instead of on the basis of Law- works. If we were depending upon the works of the Law it would have been futile, because no person has ever been justified by the works of the Law (Romans 3:20; Galatians 3:11).
Now to translate and interpret this passage in any other manner, than that which we have done; is to produce redundancies between the Greek noun pees•teh•os rendered "faithful" and the Greek verb eh•peest•ehv•sah•mehn rendered "believed" (Romans 3:21-22; Philippians 3:9). We should never stop thanking God for the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, our Lord, who became our substitute for sin that those who receive the gift of faith will believe in Him and as a result on that belief; be justified from all sin!
Now we move to Galatians 2:17 from the King James Version, "But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid". And now from the Greek Text, "And if while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves also were found to be sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? Definitely not!" Now again, Paul’s writings in these verses are in the context of refuting Peter’s hypocritical actions in the Church at Antioch. In view of Peter’s inconsistent actions, Paul endeavors to stimulate all those inclined to exhibit such conduct, to think. The principle thought here is that if one professes to be justified in Christ yet ones actions of "work-righteousness" reveal that he still considers himself a sinner or one who has not received righteousness by "faith"; does this mean that such believes Christ to be the minister of sin rather than the minister of justification? Paul immediate answer to this question is in the form of the Greek grammatical construction mee yehn•ee•to that can be rendered "let it never be"! Absolutely not! Or certainly not!!! In other words Paul is attempting to provoke Peter and all others like him to recognize what such actions would portray.
The fact is that those who again subjected themselves to keeping the Law (for justification) after having professed trust in Christ for justification; thus indicate that they believe the penalty of sin to be continually in their lives. Furthermore those who are supposed to be justified in Christ who still consider themselves to be condemned as sinners; must come to terms with the question of what could possibly be the source of sin that is deemed to be removed by the blood of Jesus Christ? Christ the one who is the source of justification could not possibly be associated with those who revert to keeping the Law, thereby showing themselves to be sinners seeking justification through their works.
Now we move to Galatians 2:18 from the King James Version, "For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor". Now from the Greek Text, "For if I again build the things which I destroyed, I prove myself a transgressor." Notice the strong Greek word kaht•ehl•ees•ah rendered "destroyed", as used in this verse. Paul’s reference is to the Mosaic Law as to that which he had torn down and thrown out of his life in the past. It no longer had any control over his thinking and actions. So his thought is, if after having broken with the Law, Paul began doing the same thing as Peter and the others, such as keeping the Law, i.e., building again that which he had torn down; he would be seen•ees•tahn•o translated "proving" or "showing" or "identifying", himself as a transgressor. Now the crux of this verse is that those seeking to keep the Law for righteousness sake; reveal a consciousness of sin and an inadequate understanding of the fact that the believer is complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10). Now when one considers who Paul is addressing in this context, that is the Antiochan Jews in general and more specifically the Law-keeping Jews who had come from James; he is certainly taking a bold and fearless stand for grace apart from the Law! Here Paul expresses this message in no uncertain terms, that one should absolutely cease any inconsistent mingling of the Mosaic Law with justification, which is through (or by) the righteousness of the work of Christ.
Now we move to Galatians 2:19 from the King James Version, "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God". And now from the Greek Text, "For I through the Law died to the Law, that I might live to God." Paul’s argument in this verse is that he was no longer under the Law. So the righteousness that is of the Law depended upon a perfect keeping of the Law (Romans 10:5). Since no one was able to perfectly keep the Law, due to the weakness of the flesh (Romans 8:3), it ultimately became a revealer of sin rather than a giver of life.
An illustration of this point is demonstrated in Romans 7:7-14 from the King James Version, "7 What shall we say then? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. 8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. 9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. 12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin."
And now the translations from the Greek Text, " 7. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Let it never be; but I had not known sin except through the law, for I had not known coveting except the law said, you shall not covet. 8. but sin having taken occasion through the commandment produced in me every kind of coveting; for apart from the law sin is dead. 9. And I was living apart from the law once; but the commandment having come sin revived, and I died; 10. and the commandment which was unto life, this was found to be unto death; 11. for sin having taken occasion through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12. So that the Law is indeed holy, and the commandment is holy and right and good. 13.Therefore did that which is good become death to me? Let it never be; but sin that it might be manifest to be sin, through that which is good it produced death to me; that sin through the commandment might be exceedingly sinful. 14. For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, having been sold under sin." Note the contents of this passage clearly states that the Law, which is good within itself, revealed how exceedingly sinful sin is. Now when one considers that in all of Paul’s teachings he consistently states that the Law has no relevance for members of the Body of Christ; verse 7 begins with the question "What shall we say then? or "What therefore shall we say? Thus the question is posed "is the Law sin? In other words, is the Law in itself and in its essence sin? Here Paul’s emphatic answer is the Greek grammatical construction mee yehn•ee•to which can be expressed "let it never be" or "may it never be’ or "absolutely not" or as recorded in the King James Version, "God forbid!"
Notice, having refuted the idea that the Law is sin; Paul proceeds to point out in this verse that it has been and still is a revealer of sin. Here he states, "I had not known sin except through the Law". What Paul means is that apart from the Law that is, without its value standard of right and wrong, no one could determine what was and what wasn’t sin before God. Now the Law specified what a person shall do and what he shall not do and to act contrary to these stipulations was and is sin. The Greek noun ahm•ahr•tee•ah translated "sin", in this verse basically means to miss the mark, to deviate and trespass from the standards set forth in the Law. Here the apostle Paul illustrates how the Law revealed sin; for he states "for I had not known coveting except the Law said, "you shall not covet". The Greek word ehp•ee•thee•mee•ahn rendered "coveting", basically it infers to have an earnest desire, craving, and longing for something. But when that strong desire or craving is for that which is evil; it is commonly translated lust or lusting.
In Romans 7:8, we focus on the statement "for apart from the Law, sin is dead". Here again the Greek noun ahm•ahr•tee•ah rendered "sin" or "to miss the mark" or to be error" or to be "involved" in wrong doing; implies that there is a mark to be hit and in this verse that mark is the Law, the divine standard for those who were under the Law. So the declaration is made that sin is nehk•rah rendered "dead", thus "not counted", "not reckoned" and "not imputed" (Romans 5:13) apart from the divine standard embodied in the law. Notice in Romans 7:10, the word commandment and its relationship to the word Law. In the 7th chapter of Romans, observe that Paul uses the Greek word nom•os rendered "Law", 23 times and the Greek word ehn•tol•ee rendered "commandments", seven times. Note when referring to the Mosaic Law, the word nom•os or "Law" is always used in the singular, i.e., the Law. When the Greek word ehn•tol•ee is used in context in conjunction with the Mosaic Law, it is commonly used in the plural, i.e., many commandments that make up the Law (Romans 13:8-9; I Corinthians 7:19; Ephesians 2:15; Hebrews 9:19).
Here in Romans chapter seven, ehn•tol•ee that is "commandment" is consistently used in the singular, apparently with reference to specific commandments, but its overall meaning is synonymous with the word nom•os or Law.
So in verse 10 of Romans chapter 7, Paul’s reference to "the commandment which was unto life", undoubtedly points back to that which God has commanded in Leviticus 18:5, namely "you shall therefore keep my statues, and my ordinances; which if a man do, he shall live by them: I am Jehovah (Romans 10:5; Galatians 3:12). Hence, the command was to keep God’s statues and ordinances. Now it must be clearly understood and acknowledged that the result of this commandment is no one ever kept them, therefore no one ever lived by them (Galatians 3:21-22). Notice in Romans 7:10, Paul declares that instead of this commandment giving life it resulted in death. The exact statement is "This was found to be unto death". Here the Greek verb ehv•reh•thee is in the aorist tense and passive voice and implies that in the process of time, it was found, discovered and recognized that this commandment was not being kept, that God’s statues and ordinances were being broken and that instead of there being evidence of life, there was evidence of sin everywhere. Now since the wages of sin is death this means that the ultimate result of the broken commandment was death. Summarizing, the commandment promised life to the one keeping it but since no one kept it, the result was sin and the consequence of sin was death. In other words, through the Law Paul was faced with the fact that he was a sinner (Romans 3:20), which ultimately caused him to see his need of Christ.
In Romans 8:2, Paul states that the "Law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus freed me from the Law of sin and death". Thus we see that through the Law Paul gained knowledge of his sin, which in turn caused him to find life in Christ apart from the Law, which in turn freed him to live to God. All those who are legalistically or denominationally inclined to seek justification through the Law or through the works of the Law, must understand that the only way one can find life is to turn away from the Law and its work as a means of obtaining or retaining salvation and embrace the efficacious works of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for salvation.
And now we move to Galatians 2:20 from the King James Version, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me". And from the Greek Text, "I have been crucified with Christ; and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me." Since the apostle Paul has been speaking about his death to the Law in this course of his writings, here it should be obvious that this being seenehs•tahv•ro•meh translated "crucified with Christ" or his being "identified with Christ," in Christ’s death; pertains to the fact that in Christ he died to the Law (Romans 7:4). Here Paul teaches that every believer in God’s sovereign purpose was crucified with Christ in eternity as it was manifested on Calvary in time (Romans 6:3-6). So if Paul was crucified with Christ, it logically follows that he no longer lived under the Law; and if he no longer lived, i.e., (under the Law) he could not possibly have any relation to the Law.
Note that reference is made to the old "Saul of Tarsus" who was once under the Law but now has died with Christ to the Law and here he declares, "Christ lives in me!" Paul affirms this same thought in writing to the Corinthians, wherein he states, "always bearing about the death of Jesus in the body, that also the life of Jesus might be seen in our body" (II Corinthians 4:10). The old Saul who had lived for self under the Law died and the new Paul, controlled by the Holy Spirit, now showed forth the life of Jesus in his body! Paul had lived his former life under the Law by sight, i.e., on a physical plane. Now he lived his new life in Christ by the faith of the Son of God (II Corinthians 5:7). Translating this very literally, Paul lived by the faith that had been graciously imparted to him by Christ Himself (Ephesians 2:8; I Timothy 1:14). In God’s sovereign purpose He extended faith to us for both salvation and daily living and we are responsible in conjunction with the Holy Spirit, to exercise and utilize this faith (Galatians 5:24-25; II Corinthians 4:10-11).
Now according to this verse (Galatians 2:20), this faith was given to Paul through Jesus (the Son of God), the one who loved him and pahr•ahth•ond· os that is "gave" himself for him or literally, who "delivered himself up on his behalf." Note the emphasis here is that the love of Christ caused him to become a sin-substitute for all those whom he has chosen. As we exegete the last portion of this verse, note the statement recorded in Ephesians 5:2, "Christ loved us and He gave Himself on behalf of us; an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smell (Romans 4:35; Ephesians 5:25). The expressions "loved" and "gave" are aorist participles, thus they convey the thought that this action occurred at a specific point in the past. This expresses the predetermined plan of God; who was delivered for our offenses and raised again for or because of our justification. In light of all of this, the Apostle Paul certainly makes it clear here that everything he has and everything he is has been made available to him through the grace of God in Christ!
Now we turn to Galatians 2:21, the focal point of this passage, from the King James Version, "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. And from the Greek Text, "I do not reject the grace of God; for if righteousness is through the law; then Christ died without purpose." Here Paul’s main argument in this verse is that all those (including Peter) who turned back to the keeping of the Law for justification, actually and in fact ahth•eht•o rendered "are rejecting", "doing away with" and "refusing to be governed by" the grace of God.
In Galatians 5:4, Paul states that to those who follow this course of action, from the King James Version, "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the Law; you are fallen from grace." And from the Greek Text, "You who are justified by the law have been severed from Christ, you have fallen from grace." Now it seems incredible that many legalists and even some denominations actually attempt to use this verse to repudiate the doctrine of absolute security in Christ. They ignorantly quote (completely out of context) Paul’s expression (in the King James Version), "you are fallen from grace". It is impossible to fall from grace or to be "moved" from grace. What Paul is actually conveying in this verse is that those who insist on seeking to be justified by or through the Law; do so at the expense of being estranged from the meritorious work of Christ. Again, from the Greek Text Paul states that "You who are justified by the law have been severed from Christ" and as a result of your action of seeking justification by the law; you have fallen from or forsaken grace" (Romans 9:31; 11:7).
The actual Greek New Testament reads, kaht•eer•yee•thee•teh ahpo Khrees•too translated "severed from Christ." The Greek word kaht•eer•yee•thee•teh translated "severed" literally means to "make idle" or "ineffectual". Now it is interesting that this Greek verb is in the indicative mood, aorist tense and passive voice. Here as it is used with the Greek preposition ahpo rendered "from", conveys the idea of "being made idle" or "ineffectual" from Christ, i.e., they have no vital and effective relation with Christ. So Paul speaks of those who are seeking to be justified by the works of the Law of Moses as having been separated from Christ. The indicative mood suggests that Paul considered his statement here a fact and not a question and the aorist tense and passive voice undoubtedly refers to those of the commonwealth of Israel whose eyes (minds) have been blinded to the fact of justification through the righteousness of Christ (Romans 9:31; 10:2-4; 11:7-8).
Here Paul looked upon those who professed faith in Jesus Christ as belonging to Him unless there was a lack of subsequent spiritual evidence (I Corinthians 15:2). Note the basic principle by which God saves men in this Church age (dispensation) is grace. The central expression of this grace is the total faithfulness of Jesus Christ, including His substitutionary death as manifested on the Cross. As Paul observed some of the Galatians turning back to keeping the Law (for righteousness or justification), this naturally disturbed him, for it was evidence that they were not depending upon the faithfulness of Christ for their justification (reference Galatians 2:16). The ground for justification under grace is dependence upon the faithfulness of Christ, even his obedience unto the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8). As the Galatians were endeavoring to keep the Law they were thereby revealing a dependence upon the Law for a right relation to God. Now keeping their actions in the proper perspective and judging on the basis of their actions, Paul perceives their efforts to keep the Law as an absolute dependence upon the Law for their justification.
The basis for justification is either "the faithfulness of Christ" (Galatians 2:16) or the works of the Law (Romans 10:5). Now one thing is absolutely certain and that is it cannot be both of these because these two principles (Law and grace) excludes one another. Here the Apostle Paul makes it very clear that justification is not acquired through keeping the Law. For out of the works of Law "no flesh shall be justified" (Galatians 2:16). The fact that these Galatians were turning back to keeping the Law, particularly circumcision, which symbolized the whole Law; seemed to exclude a vital dependence upon Christ’s finished work; hence Paul here concludes that they no longer have a vital and effective grace relationship with Christ. According to Paul, the absolute faithfulness of Christ in eternity, which culminated in His death on Calvary in time, is the sole basis for our justification from sin. Any dependence upon anything else, such as the Law; would be to cancel "faith in Jesus Christ out" and reveal an ineffective relationship to Him. A very important fact for all believers to understand is there is no possible way of obtaining justification through the keeping of the Law.
Now as we exegete the latter portion of Galatians 5:4, we can now agree that those who are endeavoring to be justified by the Law are not only severed from Christ but they also have fallen from grace. Here the Greek verb ehx•ehp•ehs•ah•teh translated "fallen", means to "fall out of", fall away from", "forsake" or "forfeit" the principle of justification by or through grace.
Note, the Galatians have been called by (in) the grace of Christ (Galatians 1:6) and Paul had been called thee•ah rendered through the grace of God (Galatians 1:15). In Ephesians 2:8, Paul declares that all believers are saved by grace through faith, the source of which is not, (is not) man, but it is the gift of God. Again and we will continue to drive home the point that human works contribute absolutely nothing to a person’s salvation (Ephesians 2:9). Trying to keep the Mosaic Law has never saved anyone, for no one has ever perfectly kept the Law (Galatians 3:10-12; Romans 10:5). If one is going to be saved, one’s salvation must be on some other basis than human works and law keeping.
It is imperative for all believers to understand that (1) The only way God saves mankind is by or through grace (Ephesians 2:8). (2) The only way God recognize righteousness is on the basis of the faithfulness of Christ (Romans 3:22). (3) The only way He justifies is through faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:11). Thus we need to see clearly that God is the one who provides salvation, righteousness and justification for believers in Jesus Christ, as a free gift of His grace. When a person who has been saved on the basis of the principle of grace, reverts to the impotent principle of law keeping; demonstrates what Paul means by the statement "fallen from grace". Now it is possible for even the elect (Romans 8:33), through ignorance to revert back to the principles of legalism and unfortunately many do, because of the doctrines of their denominations, but this does not mean that they are unsaved. Understand this, when God sovereignly saves a person by His grace, he perfectly saves such one for now and for all eternity as he shares with him His own eternal life (John 6:57-58).
Now as we discourse the final portion of verse in part IV as found in Galatians 2:21, we note that the grace of God is not only the basis for our salvation from the original sin but also the basis for the production of God’s work in our daily lives (Ephesians 2:8-10). Paul states in writing to the church at Corinth that the grace of God energized in him, thus causing him to labor more abundantly than all the other apostles (I Corinthians 15:10). The final point that Paul endeavors to get over to Peter and others is the fact that if righteousness is through the agency of the Law, then Christ died without purpose (thor•eh•ahn), without reason or His death did not accomplish anything. Paul knew what it was to try to establish his own out-of-the-law righteousness; he knew from experience the utter futility of it, and this prompted him all the more to totally depend upon the righteousness based on the "out-of-God righteousness" obtained by believing (Philippians 3:9).
One final note is that this verse makes it obvious that righteousness cannot be based on both the death of Christ and the Law. Note we have already seen that the Law failed to produce righteousness due to weakness of the flesh (Romans 8:3) therefore the faithfulness of Christ, which involves the death and blood of Christ is the only valid basis for righteousness acceptable to God (Romans 3:21-25).
As we move to the final segment of our exegesis of scriptures documenting the Doctrine of Justification we again emphasis the utmost importance of understanding this doctrinal truth. We are currently in the first decade of a new millennium calendar wise, accordingly we believe that we are also moving toward the close of the Dispensation of Grace. Now we believe that one of the greatest benefits and blessings of this era is the knowledge that we are justified, i.e., we have an acceptable standing before God, which includes a righteous position. Thus we are confident that we have peace with God and will never again be separated from Him. This justified or righteous or acceptable position in Christ assures the elect of God that as a member of the Body of Christ, we have a perpetual and everlasting relationship with God through the meritorious worth and value of our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh what a relief it is when we know that we are not burdened with the responsibility of providing our own contribution to effectuate and maintain our peaceful (face to face) standing before God. What a joy to dwell in His presence, not based upon our own works but upon the efficacious accomplishment of Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and rose for because of our justification.
Part V of this discourse is found in Galatians 3:19-25. In Galatians 3:6, Paul reiterates the thought in Romans 4:3 that Abraham believed God and it was counted or imputed unto him for righteousness. It has also been established in Galatians 2:16 and 3:11 that no man can be justified out of the works of the Law and the "righteous shall live by faith". In Galatians 3:13, it is documented that "Christ has redeemed us out of the curse of the law; having become a curse for us;" thus His efficacious death fulfilled the requirement of deliverance both of the Jews under the Law and the Gentiles from exclusion from deliverance from the curse placed on the entire human race as the result of Adam’s sin. Therefore, "the blessing of Abraham (through the faith medium) might come unto the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive he promise of the Spirit through faith" (Galatians 3:14). Now we must remember that the seed of Abraham (according to promise) is Christ (Galatians 3:16); the identification of Christ as the seed is very significant for the duration of the Law was until Christ, the seed, might come; thus there could be no basis for extending the Law beyond this time. So the Law did not annul or make void the promise (Galatians 3:17); thus God’s inheritance can not possibly be out of the Law, but out of promise. Note, the inheritance of God is always out of promise (as a free gift) Romans 8:32; I Corinthians 2:12. God did not give the promise to Abraham because of any merit on his part. There is no evidence that he was personally any better than the other men of his generation. So God sovereignly selected Abraham (in eternity), and gave to him the promise of the inheritance solely on the basis of grace (Galatians 3:18; Romans 4:2,11).
Now as we open this series, we first exegete Galatians 3:19 from the King James Version, "Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator". Now from the Greek Text, "what therefore is the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the seed might come to whom it was promised; having been arranged through angels by the hand of a mediator." Note, the question with which this verse opens may be interpreted as: (1) what is the Law there for, or what purpose does it serve? (2) Why does the Law exist or why did God give it to Israel? First, Paul’s answer to these questions is that the Law is an addition. It was pros•eh•tehth•ee rendered "added"; "placed to" or "against", or it was "superimposed" during much of the same time as the promise.
Second, what was the khar•een translated "cause", of its addition or what was its purpose? The answer is it was added because or on account of transgressions, to reveal transgressions as disobedience to God and though such disobedience, to make the one under the Law conscience of his sin, i.e., to give a knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20). Third, for how long was the Law added? Paul states in this verse that it was added, ahkh•rees translated "until’, "up to a given time" or "until a certain event came to pass.
Now here we have good news to the recipients of the Kingdom Gospel message i.e., the coming of the Messiah (the seed in essence, the Christ) was the event to which the Old Testament prophets looked forward. Notice that the duration of the Law (even to them) was until the seed came, the one to whom the promise was made, even Christ. Since the promise, which was in the form of the Abrahamic covenant, depended upon the death of Christ for its enactment, the phrase "until the seed came" must be understood to involve Jesus’ entire incarnate life in the flesh including His death (Galatians 3:13; Luke 23:45; Romans 4:25).
So the purpose of the Mosaic Law was fulfilled at Calvary’s Cross-and since that time God’s method of making men righteous and justifying them is solely by grace (Romans 6:14). Furthermore, we need to observe that the Law was inferior to the promise in the manner in which it was given. It has been thee•aht•ahy•ees rendered "arranged", "ordained" or "dispensed" thought the agency of angels (messengers). Now this was accomplished through the hand of a mediator, namely Moses. But on the other hand, God Himself gave the promise directly to Abraham so there were no intervening angelic intermediaries or mediators. Thus we see that the direct method used in giving the promise made it superior to the indirectly revealed Law, hence it is superior because of the results it produces.
Now we move to Galatians 3:20 from the King James Version, "Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one". Now from the Greek Text, "And the mediator is not one, but God is one." Notice that the ongoing argument here is that What God gives directly and personally is better than that which is indirectly through a go-between mediator. Now where a mediator is involved such as the angles and Moses with the Law, there are actually two mediators or intermediaries standing between God and man. Thus we see that the promise, the Abrahamic covenant, is superior to the Mosaic Law because God Himself directly gave it to Abraham. In this age of grace, God is directly speaking His promise to us (the Grace Covenant) today through His word, namely that our faith is counted for righteousness or that the just shall live by faith!
As we move to Galatians 3:21 from the King James Version, "Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law". Now from the Greek Text, "Is the law therefore against the promises of God? Absolutely not; for if a law was given that was able to make alive, righteousness would indeed be out of the law." This verse again asks a very pointed question and that is, is the Law in opposition to the promises of God. The obvious and emphatic answer to this question is conveyed in the strongest Greek expression namely mee yehn•ee•to. This Greek grammatical construction may be translated "let it never be", "absolutely not" or away with the thought that the Law is kaht•ah rendered "against" or "contrary" to the promise of God. Note, the same God who gave the promises also gave the Law, and He does not contradict His promises that He gave to Abraham by the Law that He gave to Moses!
Now the Law is good when it is nom•eem•os khree•teh translated "properly used", i.e., lawfully used according to its intended purpose (Romans 7:12,16; I Timothy 1:8). Paul never takes an antinomian attitude toward the Law of Moses; however, he does strongly condemn the misuse and misapplication of the Mosaic Law. If the Law of Moses had the thee•nah•meh•nos rendered "power", "dynamic" or "ability’ to make men spiritually alive; then the source of righteousness would be the Law. Now according to this verse righteousness and divine life are inseparable; so the promise of righteousness would indicate the presence of life.
In the book of Romans Paul states, "For Moses writes of the righteousness that is out of the law, that the man who has done it shall live by it" (Romans 10:5). Now the problem is that due to the weakness of the flesh (Romans 8:3), no man has gained righteousness and life through the Law of Moses, for no one has perfectly kept the Law. But all men have fallen under the curse of the Law (Romans 3:10). Paul’s argument is that if the Law had been able to make men spiritually alive, then the Law would be the source of righteousness. The apostles Paul and Peter both recognized that the Law of Moses never justified nor made any man righteous (Galatians 2:16), therefore it never imparted life to any man. In other words, since the Law was not able to identify men with the life and righteousness of God, and this was never the purpose for which it was given, there had to be another source of life and righteousness, namely the faithful person of Jesus Christ who died as our sin-substitute (Galatians 2:16).
Now as we turn to Galatians 3:22, we read from the King James Version, "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe". Now from the Greek Text, "But the Scripture shut up all things under sin, in order that the promise out of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ might be given to those believing." Here the Greek word grahph•ee rendered "scripture", is used with reference to the Mosaic Law. Paul states that the scripture (Law) seen•eh•klee•seen translated "shut up", "locked up completely" and "enclosed all things", eep•o rendered "under", "under the umbrella" and subject to the covering of sin. Instead of the Mosaic Law giving life and righteousness, it was given to make those under it (the Jews) aware of their sins (Romans 7:10). Paul states in Romans 7:7, "But I did not know sin except through the Law, for I did not know lust except the law said, you shall not lust". The Law served as a divine standard declaring what men should do and should not do. Failure to meet this standard, to carry out the commandments contained in the Law, was disobedience to the word of God given to Israel for that time and thereby produced a sin-conscience.
The Law made the fact obvious that men were sinners by nature. Its purpose was to make sin appear as sin and to impress upon the minds of men the exceeding sinfulness of sin (Romans 3:19,20; 7:13). Thus we see that the basic purpose of the Mosaic Law was not to produce life and righteousness in those under it, but to shut them up unto a consciousness of sin in order that the faithfulness of Jesus Christ might be the basis for giving the Abrahamic promise. The promises made to Abraham involved counting faith for righteousness (Galatians 3:16). This was incorporated in the fact that the Gentiles would be blessed with him on a faith basis (Galatians 3:8-9) as it was accomplished through his faithful seed, Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:16,19). The Mosaic Law completely enclosed all those under it in a sphere of guilt, in a sphere in which they were forced to recognize that they were disobedient sinners before God.
The purpose of the Law in this was that the promise might be given to those believing. In literally following what the scriptures says, here we have two distinct thoughts: (1) That the source, the basis for giving the promise was the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, the summation of which is His obedience until death as manifested on the Cross (Philippians 2:8; Romans 5:10). (2) The promise is given to a specific group of people namely tees peest•ehv•oo•seen rendered "those believing" or "those trusting", i.e., to those identified with the seed, Jesus Christ, through faith (Acts 16:31). So the substitutionary death, i.e., the faithfulness of Jesus Christ is the source of our justification (Romans 3:24-25; 5:9). Now when we are caused to exercise our God-given faith in Jesus Christ, it is the means of manifestation by which we are justified and made partakers of the Abrahamic promise of justification by faith (Ephesians 2:8; I Timothy 1:14; John 6:44)!
Now we move to Galatians 3:23 from the King James Version, "But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed". Now from the Greek Text, "But before faith came we were being guarded under the law, being shut up unto the faith about to be revealed." Here the statement "before faith came", indicates that there was a definite time when God began dealing with men in a different way. There was a change in His method or policy of relating to men because faith is now the key to a right relationship to God (Romans 1:17; 5:2; II Corinthians 1:24; 5:7). Now we have already observed that Abraham believed what God said and it was counted unto him for righteousness (Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6). Furthermore, the scripture foresaw (but did not specifically Fore-state) that at a given time God would begin justifying the Gentiles by faith therefore extending the Abrahamic faith-blessing to believers in this present church age (Galatians 3:8-9). There are other predicate statements in the Old Testament that imply or set forth the principle of justification by faith. David spoke of the "blessethness of the man to whom God counts righteousness apart from works (Psalms 32:1-2; Romans 4:6). Habakkuk also declared that ‘the just (righteous) shall live by faith" (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17). The Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, uses this Old Testament evidence to support the fact that today, during this present church age, God is justifying believers by faith in Jesus Christ.
Now prior to this age, in which God is pouring out "the exceeding riches of His grace upon us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:7), the Jews were eh•phroo•room•eh•tah translated "guarded", "protected" and "confined’, under the Mosaic Law. This being locked up under the Law was preparing them for the faith that was mehl•loos•ahn rendered "about", "at the point of" and "on the brink of " being revealed. Here the present participle seeg•klee•o•meh•nee rendered "being shut up", suggests that this was a continuous confinement under the Law, which was for a limited duration, i.e., to the point of time when faith would be ahp•ok•ahl•eeph•theen•eh rendered "uncovered", and would become God’s governing principle.
Again, notice the Greek word eh•phroo•room•eh•tah (guarded), it implies that the Mosaic Law was keeping watch over, preserving and restraining the Jewish Nation until the era of faith came. Note Paul uses this same word in Philippians 4:7 in explaining the "guarding preserving and stabilizing" effect that the peace of God has on the hearts and minds of believers, for he states ‘the peace of God", which is beyond all understanding shall phroo•ree•s•eh rendered "guard" or preserve your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. The Apostle Peter likewise uses this same word phroo•room•eh•noos (guard), in speaking of how God’s power preserves believers, for he states, "those being guarded by the power of God through faith unto a salvation prepared to be revealed in the last time" (I Peter 1:5). Thus we see that according to the basic meaning and usage of phroo•reh•o, the confinement of Israel under the Mosaic Law helped to guard and preserve her from the excessive sins of the Gentile Nations (Romans 1:18-32).
And now as we turn to Galatians 3:24, we read from the King James Version, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith". Now from the Greek Text, "So that the law had become our pedagogue unto Christ, that we might be justified out of faith." Here the English word "pedagogue" is a transliteration of the Greek word peh•thahg•o•gos, which literally means "child-leader". This name was given to trusted servants responsible for supervising the conduct and morals of Greek and Roman boys up to the age of manhood. The pedagogue had to enforce obedience to the moral codes applicable to the boys; therefore he had to be strict, stern and severe!
Likewise Israel was under the strict and stern requirements of the Mosaic Law (Galatians 3:10; James 2:13) until Christ’s death on Calvary, when He cried, "It has been finished" (John 19:30). Note the Law as a merciless discipline, developing within the Jews a consciousness of sin (Romans 7:7-11) and a longing for their redeemer (Luke 2:25-32; 36-38). Observe that the main verb yehg•on•ehn (had become) is in the perfect tense, which indicates that the Law had been made a pedagogue up to the time of Christ’s suffering and sacrificial death on the cross (Isaiah 53:4-11; Matthew 27:51). Now the purpose for which the Law had been made a pedagogue for the Jews was that they theek•eh•o•tho•mehn translated "might be justified"; out of faith or out of faithfulness.
Now since the chief end of the Law as that of a pedagogue leading Israel to Christ; therefore the main emphasis here may be on the faithfulness of Christ as the source of their justification. On the other hand, Paul’s thought here may be that the source of their justification is faith that is counted for righteousness. Now both of these thoughts are according to the scriptures and they are inseparable: (1) Justification by faith apart from the perfect faithfulness of Christ unto death is impossible for a just god (Romans 3:25-26). (2) God’s method of identifying believers with the faithfulness of Christ, the epitome of which is the manifestation of His substitutionary death on Calvary (Romans 3:22).
Now we move to Galatians 3:25 the King James Version, "But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster". Now from the Greek Text, "Faith having come we are no longer under a pedagogue." Here we note that when the time came for Jesus Christ to fulfill Isaiah fifty-three as God’s servant, the benefit of His substitutionary death was immediately available to Israel and there was no longer need for the Law-pedagogue. When the Law had accomplished its intended pedagogue purpose of leading an elect remnant to Jesus Christ (Romans 9:11,15-18); with its mission fulfilled and its purpose accomplished, then it ceased to exist as a part of God’s workings. So as members of the Body of Christ, the church, we are not under the Law but under grace (Romans 6:14).
As we close our discourse of study in the Doctrine of Justification, we note our identification as "Sons of God", i.e., we are in a sonship relation to God (Galatians 4:6; Romans 8:14). Now, through our knowledge of justification, we understand that this new relationship is obtained through the faithfulness that is in the essence of Jesus Christ or through the exercise of faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:26). Notice, the basic theme of justification places the burden and accomplishments of both, our deliverance from the sin nature and the sustenance of our justified, peaceful-face to face position before God; squarely, exclusively and completely on the shoulders of our Lord Jesus Christ. So in this case the emphasis is always on the faithful redeemer or our faith in the faithful redeemer, Jesus Christ.
A true knowledge and understanding of justification causes one to recognize that these two concepts are inseparable; both must be present and are requisites for salvation. Now ones faith must not be in oneself, but ones faith must be in an adequate, faithful Savior (Jesus Christ). So our Sonship relation to God rests upon the promise of faith in the one who was obedient unto death (Philippians 2:8). Accordingly, faith (God’s median for justification) must be in the perfect God-Man, who was tried and tested in all areas of human temptation, but never succumbed, for He was kho•rees, i.e., he was "apart’ or ‘separated’ from "all" sin (Hebrews 4:5).
Now as we close out the textual examination of justification, we have pointed out numerous scriptures and documentation that define this very extensive subject matter. Here we have only attempted in a much-abbreviated way, to disclose the unlimited truths expressed in the essence of God’s method for justifying mankind. We will, of course continue to reiterate the message of justification; for it is a very intricate part of our salvation and also it is the basic foundation for many other doctrines of God’s grace. So we once again affirm that our faith is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God. Also we are justified freely by this gift of faith, which God has so graciously deposited in our hearts. Oh bless His name for our justification!
The general nature of justification is identified in the fact that the state of its recipients is antecedently matriculated therein (Romans 1:32; 3:19; 4:5; Galatians 3:10,22; John 3:18,26). The sum of the inquiry into this doctrinal subject entails basically three questions concerning the status of one’s declared righteousness; in essence they are whether:
Is it anything that is of one’s own inherency?
Is it that which is solely imputed?
Is it a combination of the above (two) inquiries?
In other words, what is the basis of one’s acceptance to God? The brief writings submitted within this discourse are intended to declare and vindicate the truth of this precious Doctrine of Justification by (through the faithfulness of Christ) faith. These scriptural cogitations have been so expressed to document the instructions and edifications of the word of God, in conveying such to God’s people. The above writings are submitted in love and sincerity with the hope of extricating confused minds from the difficulties that impinge those who struggle to accomplish, that which is impossible through the flesh.
To this end, the endeavor of that which is outlaid herein is to direct the conscience of them that inquire after abiding peace with God and to establish the minds of them that do believe in the efficacious work of Jesus Christ on behalf of the believer. The Doctrine of Justification pleaded for in this positional document is charged by many with an unfriendly aspect; in that they would rather embrace "righteousness" in their conception of the sense of the necessity of personal (evangelical) holiness, good works and total obedience to the gospel as the prerequisite to accomplishing such.
The fiercest charge of the legalist against any doctrine they oppose as inconsistent with their sense of the necessary motive unto godliness is, they foist that any inducement to conform one must be compelled by some threat of loss. In this view, regulations and penalties engender duty and devotion. There cannot be a more effectual engine plied for the ruin of sound salvation teaching than for God’s people to declaim against the doctrine of justification by faith alone and other doctrines concerning the grace exhibited by our Lord Jesus Christ. Contrary to the thinking of some, the doctrines of salvation enrobed in grace do not overthrow the necessity of moral duties, good works and gospel obedience. The gospel of grace solidifies ones adherence to sound conduct as it embraces the power of the truth upon the hearts of the believer as a greater motivator than the creeds of religions. The effectuation of the gospel of grace is the truth which really targets godliness; declaring and exhibiting that which teaches us (Greek Text), "that having denied ungodliness and worldly lust we should live sensibly and rightly and godly in the present age (Titus 2:12).
During these times of great and fierce contests about notions, opinions and practices in religion, there is a horrible decay in true gospel purity and holiness of life among the current generation of Christians. There are those who make it their rallying course to cavil at certain expressions and points of justification and even grace in an attempt to wrest away the key wordings of them and draw conclusions from them that are not expressly stated nor inferred. They seek to revile and cast unfounded advantages to their teachings through wiredrawn inferences in any occasional passages or other parts of the doctrine. Rather than hold to sound Biblical doctrines as the only standard of truth, there has evolved a secondary enclave of doctrines proposed and contended that espouse the so-called modernistic ways of living and walking in God with its prioritized focus on mankind. When such doctrinal teaching is pleaded, it ensues in licentiousness and corrupts mindsets through the prevalence of the depraved nature of mankind.
The ways and means of justification and such doctrines must be endowed in the heart of God’s elect as its efficacy and influence into maturation engenders obedience unto God in righteousness and true holiness. These attributes are not discernable without some beam of spiritual light nor can there be an experience of their power unto the minds (hearts) of those who are utterly destitute of the true principle of spiritual life. If the Doctrine of Justification is really believed and received in its proper light and power, in the experience of former and present times (Law and Grace), it will bring contentment to its recipients. This is the basic fruit that is to be gleaned from an informed comprehension of light that has been given for assurance and stability.
The principle design and purpose of this discourse is devised to state the Doctrine of Justification from the scriptures and to confirm it by the testimonies thereof. None of its correct teachings can be esteemed as spoken against unless the exposition of scripture testimonies and their applications are disproved by just rules of Bible exegesis (interpretation) and another plausible sense of them are evinced. The proper means of teaching and learning the doctrines of salvation in general and Justification specifically is that we may treat them usefully unto their proper ends, which are the glory of God in Christ with peace and stability and unto the furtherance of the obedience of believers; based on the knowledge of God’s will, plan and purpose. It is to this end that we must have respect unto in the entire process of conveying the subject matter Justification.
The initial inquiry in this matter is to ascertain the proper relief of the conscience of those who are pressed and perplexed with a sense of guilt of sin. In addressing such ones, Justification is the only ways-and-means whereby a person can obtain acceptance before God, with the right and title unto a heavenly inheritance. The basic premise that all must adhere to is that the one who is to be justified is in oneself ungodly and thereof answerable to God as an obnoxious subject who is liable to the righteous sentential judgment of God. The bottom line is that he who commits sin or is in any way guilty of it, is worthy of death. Hereupon all of humanity finds itself under the curse and sentence of the wrath of God abiding on mankind. In this position, all are without plea or excuse for all mouths are silenced, as all are susceptible to the consequent of sin.
With respect unto this statement and condition of mankind, the inquiry is, "what is there upon one’s account whereof that God pardons all their sins, receives them into His favor, declares or pronounces them righteous and acquitted from all guilt, removes the curse and turns away all wrath from them, giving them right and title unto a blessed immortality or life eternal?
The writings of the Apostle Paul (our Gospel) in effect outlays in the minutest details how God accomplish this and yet maintain His justness. The gospel of Grace states this whole matter and in answer to all such inquires, declares the nature of justification and all the workings of it. We do not believe that this vital information is available elsewhere as it is confined to the directives given in the grace contract (covenant). The writings in the epistle of the kingdom Apostle James should not be construed to manifest the workings of ‘’faith righteousness’’ unto justification and salvation. It does not speak unto this inquiry or give and answer unto it; but it is of the terms and conditions of the New Covenant. Hence it is to justification and faith in another sense and purpose and is usefully treated in that doctrine.
Thus it is the grace doctrinal application of scripture and its resolutions and discourses of justification that serve as the direction for its satisfaction and peace of the consciences of mankind and not the curiosity of notions or subtlety of disputation or any designed duty of religion. In this light, all true analysis of this subject matter must avoid all such philosophical terms and distinctions wherewith this doctrine has been perplexed rather than exegetically illustrated.
To this end Paul’s revelation from Jesus Christ answers the inquiry as to what or who’s account or for what cause and reason the elect has been acquitted, discharged of sin and accepted with (of) God. The declaration definitely answers the inquiry as to whether one’s entrance to God’s favor entails any thing within human merit or even one’s self-generated faith and repentance. This excludes any other self-renovation of one’s nature, inherent habits or works of righteousness that one has done or may do. Nor does justification engender any human acts of obedience, righteousness, or satisfaction, but solely the merit of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only mediator.
The surety of faith righteousness (in Christ) rest in the fact that all is imputed into the believer’s account. The only plausible stratum is that righteousness unto justification cannot possibly be something that can be attributed to the influence of the flesh. Contrariwise, it is the influence of the Grace of God and the sovereign workings of God in election to salvation!!!! To this end, the gospel of grace, even Mystery Truth revealed to the Apostle Paul, documents that righteousness is not anything in or of oneself, nor can it be so. These provisions of God are all eternally decreed and enacted in infinite wisdom and grace by the mediation of Christ, His obedience and death therein. The historical setting of these occurrences, i.e., ‘’in eternity’’, testifies that they exclude any input, participation, or contribution from anyone outside of God, thus settling all contradictions.
The fundamental principles of the gospel of grace confess for the declaration of the truth and order of the Dispensation of Grace. In this covenant, the true nature of justifying faith is necessarily insisted on including the place and use of it in justification. The cause comprise the terms of the Grace and New Covenants, which is the true notion of the mediation and surety of Christ, as it provides a stable and abiding foundation of acceptance with God. The Doctrine of Justification must be the foundational directive of Christian practice. No other evangelistic truths can suffice for the foundation, reasons and motives of worship and service toward God.
Wherefore, the proper order is that justification by faith (faithfulness of Christ) alone ought to be correctly taught, such that one will learn in it and by it and though it obtain and maintain peace with God and live unto Him. One is without doubt acceptable to God because of what He has accomplished through Jesus Christ. Accordingly, it is of the utmost importance that God’s people comprehend that the precious Doctrine of Justification does not engender speculative notions and distinctions, as they are disserviceable unto the faith of the church. Exegetical inaccuracies of the scriptures and the artificial skills employed to propagate such error gives countenance to the mishandling of the sacred doctrines of salvation. In this sense the spiritual amplitude of divine truths is restrained therein while low, mean and philosophical dogmas are imposed on the recipients of Grace. In addition to this, endless divisions and contentions are occasioned and perpetuated.
It is the prayers of the Grace Gospel Ministry that all those who have viewed this humble document will as least glean the true nature of saving faith and justification unto salvation by faith alone. We believe that such understanding will result in the securing of the spiritual comfort of believers in this life as it is of the highest importance. This is the way wherein justification by faith does display itself in the souls and consciences of believers unto their support and comfort under all conflicts of sin, with all its trials and temptation. This is evidenced by its inherent, diligent and constant endeavor in the true exercise of grace, which excels over all ordinances of works, services and worship.