“How is One Justified?”
July 2, 2017
I’m a curious person. I always have been. Do you know how young children ask “why?” and “how” incessantly? That’s me. Raye Jeanne didn’t fully comprehend that when we got married. Then in our first year or two of marriage, there was a massive power outage in Dallas — more than a hundred thousand homes were without power, and if I remember rightly, we were without power for 2-3 days. Finally the power company came by to fix the transformer on our power pole and I went to talk with him about what he was doing. When I came back in Raye Jeanne asked, “What were you doing?” “Oh, I was just curious about what he was doing, so I was asking him about it and his job…” Shaking her head, she said, “That’s going to get you in trouble some day…”
Well I don’t know that it has gotten me into trouble yet, but this week, as I came to the text in Romans 4:13-16, I was really satisfied, because it answered some of my “how” questions about justification.
How is it that a man is justified? That’s an important question in theology. And it’s an important question for all believers as we think about how we will function in the church and share the gospel and teach sanctification. How we understand justification will shape the way we live in relation to God and in relation to one another. It’s a massively important question.
As we examine this passage, we will see that Paul’s theme in these verses is very similar to a portion of the statement about justification that came out of the Reformation 500 years ago. That’s because the Reformers (and Luther in particular) were building on biblical concepts found especially in Paul and Romans:
Justification is received only by grace through faith.
In these verses we will find three statements/truths about how justification is received:
- Justification Fulfills God’s Promise (v. 13)
- Justification Can Never Come By the Law (vv. 14-15)
- Justification by Law Renders Faith Void (v. 14a)
- Justification by Law Nullifies the Promise of God (v. 14b)
- Justification by Law Obscures Man’s True Position (v. 15)
- Justification Can Always Only Be Through Faith (v. 16)
- Justification by Faith is in Accordance with Grace (v. 16a)
- Justification by Faith Guarantees the Promise of God (v. 16b)
- Justification by Faith Makes Justification Available to All (v. 16c)
Download the rest of this sermon on Romans 4:13-16.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.