Monday, November 02, 2015

Justification By Faith

On October 31, you probably saw articles and Facebook posts about Reformation Day. What was the issue with the Reformation? There were several, but the main one was the doctrine of justification. Justification is the state of being declared righteous by God. The Reformers insisted that justification was by faith alone. The Roman Catholic Church taught it was by faith and works.

Paul devoted much of the book of Galatians to this concept. A group called the Judaizers convinced some of the Galatian Christians of the necessity of keeping the law, after conversion, to be saved. Paul condemned this harshly. He called it “another gospel”. He said anyone who taught any gospel other than justification by faith is accursed. (Galatians 1:9) Also, anyone who relies on works is under a curse. (Galatians 3:10) No one is justified before God by the law. (Galatians 2:15; 3:11)

God justifies believers for the sake of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21) His righteousness is imputed to us. It is credited to our account. (Romans 5:18) When we believed in Jesus, God justified us, he declared us righteous. (Galatians 2:16)

That was the heart of the Reformation debate. Why does that matter to you now? It matters because there are people who will constantly put you back under the law. They add requirements to faith, saying you must do this or refrain from that to be saved. If you succumb to this pressure, you will lose the joy of salvation because of the oppression of the law.

In this sense, the church must constantly be reformed. Believers must stand firm on the doctrine of justification by faith. Believers must be allowed to rejoice in the freedom provided by Christ’s sacrificial death, thanking God for salvation and spreading the good news.
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