The Most Important Questions: A Matter of Life and Death

Grace For The Journey

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28June  There are many questions in life which the answer matters not at all.  Here are a few examples:

  • Why do “fat chance” and “slim chance” mean the same thing?
  • Why are there Interstates in Hawaii?
  • Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

However, there are questions that we simply cannot afford to misunderstand or ignore!  Our answer to these questions will determine our destiny … it is a matter of life and death.  Here are a few examples:

  • “How then can man be righteous before God?” (Job 25:4)
  • “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”  (Luke 18:18)
  • “What must I do to be saved?”  (Acts 16:30)

Let me just deal with Job’s question today.  I will answer his question by addressing several other questions that help us answer it.

(1) What is justification?

The Bible teaches that justification is being accounted righteous, even though we are not, through the redemptive work of Christ (Romans 4:20-25 – “He (Abraham) did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory ot God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.  And there ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness.’  Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us.  It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”)  When brought into a justified state we are treated as if we were altogether righteous.  We don’t get this righteousness from ourselves or any excellence in our human nature.  We must be accounted righteous, and justified before God, by other merits than our own.

It is to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that we are indebted!

(2) How is a person not justified?

  • Not by repentance …
  • Not by amendment of life …
  • Not by our sincerity …
  • Not by any works whatever of our own.

The Bible tells us in Romans 8:32-34, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?  Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect?  It is God who justifies.  Who is he who condemns?  It is Christ who died, and further more is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”

(3) How then can a person be justified?

We are accounted righteous before God only through the life and work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or merits.  The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, now of works, lest any man should boast.” And, the Bible says again in Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit?

(4) Why does faith alone, faith without works, justify us?

Because faith is the only medium by which we can receive Christ.  The Bible says in Romans 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

(5) Why can a man not be justified any other way?

  • It is God’s determination that “no flesh shall glory in His sight.”
  • God has determined that His Son alone shall be exalted in the justification of a sinner.
  • It is God’s determination to magnify His name and Word above all the philosophy and traditions of men.
  • It is a merciful God’s gracious determination to afford grounds of the most abundant pardon to the humbled and believing sinner.

That is why the above questions are so all-important.

It is good be in good standing our brethren,

To have good character and witness before our fellow men;

But to be right with God is a point on which only Christ can provide.

Justification through faith in Christ alone satisfies two difficult realities that each person is faced with:

  1. The extreme holiness of God.

The text says that there is not in any of the shining orbs of heaven, there is not to God the beauty that we see. So it is also with respect to moral excellency and spiritual perfection. Characters that we call shining actions that we count pure, exalted, are not in His eyes what they are in ours. In the Book of Job it is said God “charges His angels with folly,” and “the heavens are not clean in His sight.” How can man be justified before that God who is so pure, so holy, so requiring – Who sees dimness in the moon, imperfection in the stars, and folly in His saints?

2. The extreme unholiness of man.

This speaks of man’s miserable baseness and corruption. Man is here called a “worm.” It is the very picture for weakness and helplessness. But look at the place where the worm is found – the dunghill.  Look at its vile habits and propensities. It is the emblem of spiritual baseness and corruption.  Man is spiritually vile in the sight of the most holy God.

Put the two statements of the text together you are confronted with a very stark reality.

God so holy that the very moon and stars have no glory in His eyes.

Man so polluted with sin that he is totally unable appease or approach such a holy God.

Then, how can man be justified with God?  There is only way in which so difficult a question can be answered – The Gospel supplies it.  In Christ alone is the question entirely satisfied.  The answer is – by coming to Jesus; by casting our whole soul upon the Savior’s life and works; by ceasing from that hopeless work of endeavoring “to establish our own righteousness,” and by submitting ourselves wholeheartedly to that which Christ has wrought for us.  Are we doing this?  Are we making Christ the “Lord our Righteousness,” by looking only unto Him for recommendation in the sight of God?

Looking to any object other than God for happiness and fulfillment is looking for salvation in what someone has called “an inadequate functional savior.”  And we need to all realize: everyone is looking to some sort of functional savior(s), until they meet Jesus Christ.

Take a moment to prayerfully consider what some of your “functional saviors” might be.  Here is a quick self-examination.

I am preoccupied with _________________________.

I would be happy if I could only get _______________.

I would be absolutely shattered if I lost ____________.

When I daydream, my mind goes to _______________.

I get my sense of significance from ________________.

I get up early for ________________ and stay up late for ________________.

The greatest love in my life is  ____________.

The Bible presents to us many examples of people looking to “functional saviors.”  Zacchaeus had his money, Peter his fishing, and Paul his religion . . . until they met Jesus and He changed them all from the inside out.  Jesus reoriented their lives with the truth of the Gospel, a truth that would be clearly demonstrated in changed lives that all the world could see.

So . . . what is your answer to these most important questions?  Paul and Silas answered it this way: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your house” (Acts 16:31).  Peter explained, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

You see, functional saviors can never do for us what only Jesus can do.

You have been created by God, for God, and . . .

You will never be able to get from created things

What only the Creator can give you.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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