want to study with you briefly about a wonderful, wonderful subject.
It is a subject that is so wonderful that the apostle Paul wrote
whole books in the New Testament in which he concentrated on this
subject. I have some notes here from one of his books where he
talks about this subject, but maybe instead of going into that in
detail, maybe we will try to make it a little more simple.
want to introduce what we are going to study, by saying what happened
during that period in the Adventist Church when there was an attempt
made to show that we were in error on what we had believed about
1844, about the Sanctuary, and about the Investigative Judgment.
what came to be called a new theology was introduced into our colleges,
our universities, and long before the year 2000 they were introduced
in almost all of our churches. This new theology, we discovered,
had a radical new interpretation of righteousness by faith. I want
to talk to you a little bit about the subject of righteousness by
grew up in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. My father was not
a minister, but my parents were missionaries. We were missionaries
for a time in Rangoon, Burma—now the land of Myanmar. My parents
also worked at the Madison Sanitarium and Hospital. So I grew up
among Seventh-day Adventists and among Seventh-day Adventist physicians
and ministers, going to Seventh-day Adventist schools.
studied theology at Walla Walla College and later at the Seventh-day
Adventist Seminary at Berrien Springs, so rightly or wrongly, I
thought that I knew something about what Seventh-day Adventists
believed and taught.
years before the major attack against some of our principal doctrines
occurred, there were rumblings about some new ideas about righteousness
by faith and what it meant. I remember well when those things were
going on. I remember when my brother, Marshall, was attending Union
College and I was a pastor at that time in North Dakota. He came
to visit me and we started discussing some things in Romans. It
was then I heard about some of these new ideas.
me try to explain to you as briefly as I know how, the difference
between what we were taught when I was growing up in the Adventist
Church and the new ideas about righteousness by faith.
I was growing up in the Adventist Church, we were taught the subject
of righteousness by faith, but we were taught that the subject of
righteousness by faith involved two things. We were taught that
the subject of righteousness by faith involved first of all, the
forgiveness of sins, which is sometimes called “justification” or
just pardon. But it involved more than that. It involved a second
step. Righteousness by faith involved not only forgiveness of sins,
but also it involved the act of Christ imparting His righteousness
to you so you were enabled to live a different life. We called
that “sanctification,” or sometimes living holiness. We were always
taught that righteousness by faith involved those two things.
in the 1960s and 1970s we began to hear new teachings. If you want
to read a book on this, a book was written in 1976 by a man who
was not a Seventh-day Adventist. His name was Paxton, and he wrote
a book called, The Shaking of Adventism.
goes into detail and says that the Adventists did not believe the
same about righteousness by faith as Martin Luther and the sixteenth
century reformers. It was said that these people in the sixteenth
century, the reformers, taught, and they believed in a completely
different idea of righteousness by faith than did Adventists.
the way, there was some truth in that. It was not all true, but
there was some truth in it. He claimed that righteousness by faith
was justification alone, the forgiveness of sins alone, and it was
on the basis of the forgiveness of sins alone and justification
that a person was saved.
not only heard tapes, we read articles, we looked in journals and
I again started taking out my Greek New Testament and studying things
word by word by word. Is this really what it said? Is this not
what it says?
friends, you know that God used Martin Luther to teach truth about
righteousness by faith—you know that! But here is what many people
do not understand. God has a particular truth that needs to come
to His people at different times. He has certain truths that He
sends to His people at different times in world history.
you understand a certain truth at a certain time does not necessarily
mean that you understand all truth for all time. You see, it is
not that historically we did not believe what Martin Luther taught
about righteousness by faith, because we happen to believe that.
We believe what Martin Luther taught about righteousness by faith,
plus we believe something more that was not revealed to him.
rather than go through verse by verse in Romans or Galatians, I
thought that we would study, very briefly, about righteousness by
faith from the standpoint of the Sanctuary. Maybe this will help
you see, very easily and clearly, where it is that we are different
from the sixteenth century reformers, even though we believe what
is some confusing terminology even in the Bible about the Sanctuary.
Ellen White said that the same word does not always mean the same
thing. If you look back in the writings of Moses, then go forward
in the Bible and study what it says about the Sanctuary, you will
find something interesting.
are two different terminologies in the Old Testament for the two
different apartments of the Sanctuary. In one terminology the tent
is called the Tabernacle of the Congregation. In the Bible, that
is a name for the first apartment. When the first is called the
Tabernacle of the Congregation, then the second one is called the
you follow that? Sometimes it is called the Tabernacle of the Congregation
and the other apartment is called the Holy Place. The second apartment
is sometimes called the Holy Place in Leviticus.
there is also another terminology; the one with which Adventists
probably are more familiar, in which the first apartment is called
the Holy Place and the second apartment is called either the Holy
of Holies or the Most Holy Place. So when you are reading in the
Bible about the Sanctuary, you have to pay attention to which set
of terms is being used: the Tabernacle of the Congregation and the
Holy Place or the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.
these two apartments, there was some furniture. In the Most Holy
Place there was just one article of furniture, and that was the
ark. Of course, inside the ark were the Ten Commandments and the
top lid of the ark we call, in English, The Mercy Seat. In the
first apartment there was an altar of incense, sometimes called
the golden altar. It was overlaid with gold.
altar outside, in the court, was not overlaid with gold, it was
brass. There was the candlestick and there was the Table of Shewbread,
Bread of the Presence. Now, this is what the reformers understood.
We are not going to talk in their language; we are going to talk
in the language of the Sanctuary.
Roman Catholic Church had taught the people—now they say that they
do not believe this, but this is what the common people believed.
In fact, Tetzel said, “As soon as the coin hits the bottom of the
bucket, the soul will be released from Purgatory.” And so they
taught a system of indulgences—and, by the way, they still teach
this. If you look in a Roman Catholic Catechism, they still teach
and they still believe in the doctrine of indulgences.
in the Roman Catholic Church, the people believed that when you
paid money, the souls of your relatives were released from purgatory.
If you paid money, anything could happen. You could have your sins
forgiven by paying money. Now, think this through, if you can get
your sins forgiven by paying money for a high mass or whatever it
is, what is the difference between that and righteousness by works?
is no difference. That is righteousness by works. Now technically,
the Roman Catholic theologian would say to you, Well, no, we really
do not believe it that way, we believe that you are saved by grace
and the Church dispenses the grace. But, of course, if the church
will not dispense the grace unless you pay money, what is the common
person going to think? What conclusion is he going to make?
they would say, No, we believe in salvation by grace, but if you
have to pay money to get the grace, the average person on the street
cannot tell the difference between that and salvation by works,
or righteousness by works. That is what Martin Luther attacked,
this idea that you could be saved by works.
short time after Erasmus had first published an edition of the Greek
New Testament, Martin Luther took that and translated it into German.
the same time, William Tyndale was doing the very same thing for
the English people. When William Tyndale was captured and put in
prison, he sent a letter, a very pathetic letter. He went to a
public official who had a lot of power, and pled with him. For what
would you plead, if you were in prison?
he has to have a little bit warmer clothing because he was suffering
from the cold. But the main thing that he asked for was, “Could
you arrange for me to be sent a Hebrew Bible and a Hebrew grammar?”
see, he was still trying to finish translating the Bible into English.
And when the common people in England and Germany got the opportunity
to read the Bible in their own language and saw what the Bible said
and saw that there was no such thing as salvation by paying money
to the church, the Bible does not teach that, they found out that
your sins are forgiven by grace alone through faith.
is righteousness by faith. It comes to you through the grace of
Christ, but it comes to you, not when you pay money to the church,
but when you exercise faith in the Lord. When that happens, the
sinner is outside of the Sanctuary, in the court, the sacrifice
was made outside of the Sanctuary. The sacrifice was made in this
world and when the sinner has faith in Jesus and puts his trust
in Jesus, his guilt is taken away. Where does his guilt go? The
guilt is transferred to the sacrifice.
the way, in the Hebrew language it is very interesting, the word
sin offering and the word sin is the very same word. Did you know
that? In the Hebrew Bible the word “sin offering” and the word
“sin” is the very same word. You have to look at the context to
tell which way to translate it.
says, concerning Jesus, that God made Him to be sin for us who knew
no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
does that mean? When you come to Jesus as your Saviour from sin,
you confess your sins and you put your trust in Him. Your sin,
your guilt, is taken away from you and transferred to Him and His
righteousness is taken and transferred to you.
we will not get into all the refineries of debate that the Protestants
and the Catholics got into over the terminology of what we have
just described. But when you come to Jesus, your sin is transferred
to Him. How is it transferred to Him? It is through His blood.
Without the shedding of blood, Paul says in Hebrews 9, there is
no forgiveness. You can also read that in Leviticus.
is the blood that makes the atonement for the soul. So when I come
to Jesus as a sinner and I confess my sins, and I put my trust in
Him, my guilt is transferred to Him. Now He is up there in the
heavenly Sanctuary. My guilt is transferred to Him and through
His blood, my sin is covered. The blood atonement. No atonement
without blood is one of the main teachings of the Bible, in both
the Old and the New Testaments.
is no atonement; there is no forgiveness without the shedding of
blood. That is why Jesus poured out His blood on the cross of Calvary,
to pay the price of sin. Notice what happens when I pray—I confess
my sins to the Lord; I put my trust in Him; my guilt, the guilt
of my sin, is transferred from me to Jesus, in the Most Holy Place.
the Old Covenant whenever the sinner came and put his hands over
the head of the animal and confessed his sins, which was typical—the
type—then the priest did one of two things. You can read about
this in Leviticus. The priest either went into the Holy Place and
ate part of the sacrifice, bearing the sin himself in type, or he
took the blood and he sprinkled it on the mercy seat. Now the reformers
did not understand this as far as I know, in terms of the Sanctuary.
That understanding came later. But we are explaining what they
taught in terms of the Sanctuary and you are going to be able to
see in a few moments how it is, that although we believe what they
taught, we believe more than what they taught.
guilt of the sin comes into the Sanctuary. Daniel 7:9, 10 talks
about the Investigative Judgment, and the Investigative Judgment
takes place in the Sanctuary—that is where the books are opened—and
those books, my friends, contain a record.
blotting out of the sins of the living, I do not believe has occurred
yet. And since that has not yet occurred, those books contain a
record of every sinful thought that I have ever thought; they contain
a record of every sinful word that I have ever spoken; they contain
a record of every sinful feeling that I have ever felt, and they
contain a record of every sinful action that I have ever done.
It is all recorded in detail.
is why, when the doctrine of the Sanctuary was attacked by the New
Theology by Desmond Ford, people heaped reproach upon people who
believed in the date 1844. They had to attack the Sanctuary teaching,
because the Sanctuary teaching is linked up with everything that
Adventists believe. In fact, Ellen White said that the understanding
of the Sanctuary led us to a perfect chain of truth. The reformers
taught that our sins were transferred to Jesus, that He was our
High Priest; that you did not need to go to a human priest, because
Jesus was your priest and you could confess your sins directly to
reformers would quote to the people the text where it said that
there is one God and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ
Jesus, as Paul wrote to Timothy. So when that happens, my guilt
is transferred from me to my Saviour. He bears my guilt through
His blood. My guilt is in the Most Holy Place. When you read in
Leviticus 16 about the cleansing of the Sanctuary, if you look at
verses 16 and 19, you will see that it was because of the sins and
the uncleanness of God’s people that the Sanctuary had to be cleansed.
see, if there is guilt, if there is sin in the Sanctuary, sin and
guilt defiles and makes something unclean. Therefore, it needs
to be cleansed.
this Sanctuary in heaven, there are books. I do not know what kind
of books they have, far better than any kind of books we have in
this world, but they are called books in the Bible, and these books
contain exact records—until your sins are blotted out—those books
contain exact records of every sin, of every kind, that you have
ever committed. The record of your whole life is in those books.
order for the Sanctuary to be cleansed, the guilt has to come out—the
sin has to come out—and how is that going to happen?
second step of the cleansing of the Sanctuary, I want you to see
that it is the opposite of what happened in the first part of the
service. In other words, what happens in the yearly service is
the opposite of what happens in the daily service. People who do
not understand that say, Well, you Adventists, you do not believe
at all what the reformers taught.
we do believe what the reformers taught, but we understand that
the Sanctuary service has two stages. We believe what the reformers
taught, but they only understood the first part. The reformers
did not understand what the Bible taught about the cleansing of
the Sanctuary. That was not the present truth yet for 1520. It
was present truth in the nineteenth century.
is the Sanctuary going to be cleansed? Notice, this is the exact
opposite of what happens in the first part of the service, and both
of these are taught in the New Testament as righteousness by faith.
I will use common language here. In the daily service, the Sanctuary
becomes dirtier and dirtier. Is that not what happens? If more
people come and confess their sins and their guilt is transferred
into the Sanctuary, it just keeps getting dirtier and dirtier, more
and more defiled.
is what happens in the daily service—the longer it goes on, the
more defiled it becomes. But in the yearly service, something different
is going to happen. That which has become dirtier and dirtier is
going to be cleansed. How much is it going to be cleansed? It
is going to be cleansed to the point where there will not be a single
sin, or guilt, or anything defiling left in there.
let us look at this. Sometimes theologians get to talking with
such abstract theoretical terms that nobody can follow. So let
us try to put it down in real simple, concrete terms so that it
is easy to understand. In Hebrews, the apostle Paul teaches very
clearly that we are to come boldly, he says, unto the throne of
worship down here in our churches today, but the church on earth
and the church in heaven is all one, Ellen White says in Testimonies,
vol 6. While we are down here, our faith reaches clear up to heaven.
Is that true? Yes, it is. So actually, while we are down here
in the body, we are in heaven in spirit. Paul said one time to
the Corinthian Church, I am absent but in the spirit I am with you.
I am even casting my vote. I am with you in spirit.
we are down here in the world, by faith, our faith reaches clear
up to the Sanctuary in heaven. In fact, our faith reaches clear
into the Most Holy Place.
let us think this through. God’s Church, as you can read in Hebrews
12, is all registered in heaven. God’s Church is registered in
you have professed faith in Jesus, and you are a Christian, your
name is in a book. Underneath your name is every single detail,
or record, of your life history. Every good deed that you have
ever done; every kind and affectionate word you have ever spoken;
every tender thought you have ever thought; every act of sympathy
and courtesy that you have ever done, is all recorded in that book.
every sin that you have ever committed, spoken, thought, or felt.
It is all in that book. So here is a record, not only of the good
things that men and women have done and thought, but also of the
evil. So you have all the sin. Now remember sin always defiles,
so there is only one way that this Sanctuary can be cleansed. The
blood, of course, has to be sprinkled there.
the way, the blood is only sprinkled once. In the old covenant
the blood was sprinkled every year, but Paul makes it very clear
in Hebrews 10 that in the new convenant, the blood is only sprinkled
one time at the end of the ages to blot out sin. And once that
is sprinkled, Paul says, there is no more forgiveness. That time
your sins are blotted out, they will not be blotted out twice.
They will only be blotted out once. That will be it. There will
not be any more forgiveness; there will not be any more plan of
salvation. Once that is done, once this blood is sprinkled, at
the end of the ages, the plan of salvation is over. It is only
done one time.
that is the case, if the Sanctuary is going to be cleansed—just
cleansed once at the end of the ages as Paul says. The blood is
sprinkled in the Most Holy Place, and as soon as Jesus is through
sprinkling this blood, what does He do?
comes out of the Most Holy Place, and we are going to see Him in
a very few days in the clouds of heaven. Once this occurs and this
blood is sprinkled, one time only, some days after that happens,
we do not know how many, there will be a number of days, Jesus will
come out of the Most Holy Place and He will come, and we will see
Him in the clouds of heaven. But, think this through in concrete
name and your name is in the Most Holy Place. Below your name
there is the record of every sin you have ever committed, and if
you have committed any today, God keeps up-to-date records. Any
sin that you or I have committed today, is in the book already.
Now, if this Sanctuary is going to be cleansed, there are only two
ways that this can happen.
is the way that you do not want it to happen. There is the record
of my name and all my sins, and as long as the record of all my
sins is in the Sanctuary, it is defiled. So one way that the Sanctuary
can be cleansed is by just tearing out my page. God can just take
it out, tear out my page, take my name out. My name is not in the
book any more.
now that my name is taken out; the record of my sins is all taken
out, my name is not even in the book any more. That is one way
the Sanctuary can be cleansed. You see, the Sanctuary is going
to be cleansed of all sin. Whether you overcome or not, the Sanctuary
is going to be cleansed of sin.
other way, the way that you want it to happen, is that your name
is retained in the book, but your sins are blotted out. So now
your name is in the book and there is no sin there, and your name
does not pollute or defile God’s Sanctuary any more.
of course, it would not do any good to blot out your sins if you
sinned again the next day. Does that make sense? Would it do any
good to blot out my sins if I sin the next day? It would not do
any good at all. The plan of salvation would have failed. So,
before your sins can be blotted out, you must have an experience
in living without sin, or overcoming sin.
is why, when you go to historic Adventist meetings, preachers are
preaching so much about the necessity of overcoming sin, because
we are living in the time, friends, when this is actually going
to happen, and it is only going to happen once. One of two things
is going to happen— either your sins are going to be blotted out,
or your name is going to be blotted out.
in your Bible in Revelation 3:5. It says the one who conquers,
the one who overcomes, this one will be clothed in white garments
and I will most certainly not blot his name out of the Book of Life
and “I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”
Jesus says, If you overcome; if you overcome the world, the flesh
and the devil; if you overcome, then your name will not be blotted
out, your sins will be blotted out.
my friends, is what the reformers did not understand, and that is
why when somebody looks at the doctrine of righteousness by faith,
they say, Well, you do not teach what the reformers taught. No,
we do not. The reformers only taught that which had to do with
the daily service. There was nothing wrong with that, but that
is just a part of the plan. After the daily service, eventually
there has to be a yearly service to cleanse the Sanctuary and to
remove the sins and to remove all defilement.
it is true that the yearly service does do something that is just
the opposite from the daily service, because in the daily service,
the defilement is constantly getting greater, but in the yearly
service the defilement is going to be totally removed.
friends, this is the truth that God has committed to Seventh-day
Adventists, which the rest of the Christian world does not understand.
This is why the devil has contrived to have us called cults and
every kind of other name imaginable of a hated sect, because the
devil hates the truth of the Sanctuary that God is going to deliver
His people totally and completely from sin. The devil has persuaded
the majority of other churches that pardon is all there is. There
are a few other churches that understand Sanctification very similar
to us, but not very many.
devil has persuaded people that they can be saved in sin and that
they will just go on sinning and confessing their sins all of their
lives and they lose total sight of the Bible teaching that we are
to overcome sin. Now the doctrine of overcoming sin, my friends,
is not something that was to be confined to the last generation.
understand it, perhaps more clearly today than it was understood
in past ages, but if you read what Paul wrote to the Romans, or
what he wrote to the Galatians—when the apostle Paul writes about
righteousness by faith, he always writes also about the necessity
of overcoming sin. Read Romans 6, Romans 8, Romans 12, Romans 9
and 10, Galatians 5 or 6, and you cannot miss it.
the apostle Paul writes about righteousness by faith, he does not
only write about this, he also writes about overcoming sin and living
without sin. So righteousness by faith, involves this.
have no argument with the reformers, but it also involves more than
they understood. It involves not only obtaining a pardon, it involves
a transformation of life where the Holy Spirit gives you the power
to overcome. As the Holy Spirit gives you the power to overcome,
you can come to the place where the Lord can look down upon you,
and He can say, This person is now, through the power of the Holy
Spirit, living without sin and I am going to be able to blot out
whole record is going to be blotted out. The whole record of sin
is going to be blotted out. And, my friend, when you get to heaven—this
to me is one of the most marvelous and amazing things about the
character of God—throughout eternity, God is never going to hold
up your sins before you! He is not going to do it!
is not going to parade your sins out for other people to look at;
He is not going to embarrass you by all the sinful things that you
have done; He is going to have blotted it out. It is all taken
care of, it is all finished.
we talk about this subject, and we show that righteousness by faith
involves not only the first part, but the second part, people cannot
of the things that happens in our generation is that we are living
in a pessimistic age. Since the development of the atomic bomb,
the world has become very pessimistic. The world was optimistic
until about World War I. People used to say, We are getting better
and better. They are not saying that any more. In Ellen White’s
time one of the problems they used to have was people going around
saying, I am sanctified. I am perfect. Ellen White said that we
should never say that. We should never teach anybody to say that.
In my whole ministry, I have never had a problem with people saying,
I am not a sinner, I am perfect, I am sanctified, and I am holy.
have just the opposite problem in our day. We have people who,
just as soon as you teach that you can overcome sin and they are
in bondage to some sinful habit that they have tried a thousand
times to overcome and they cannot, they say, in effect, Pastor John,
I guess I will have to be lost. I have had people come and say
this to me. Pastor John, I cannot overcome, I guess I will just
have to be lost.
do you say to a person who is feeling like this? The reason they
feel like this is because they do not understand the subject of
righteousness by faith and how it works.
do want to read to you a brief account that explains how righteousness
by faith works, and this is in Romans 4. We will start reading
in Romans 4:16–20. “[On account of this] Therefore, it is of faith
that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be
made sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law,
but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father
of us all (as it is written, ‘I have made you a father of many nations’)
in [that he] the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives
life to [the one making alive] the dead and calls those things which
do not exist as those that did [that are not as those that are].”
love that verse. God calls the things that are not, as if they
were. “Who, contrary [against] to hope in hope believed, so that
he [might be] became the father of many nations, according to what
was spoken [as it is written, as it was said, like this] so shall
[be your seed] your descendants be. And not being weak in faith,
[neither accounting] he did not consider his own body, already [having
been] dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness
of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver [and not staggering] at the promise
of God through unbelief, but was [being] strengthened [empowered
by] in faith giving [he gave] glory to God.”
this, friend, is a story that the apostle Paul tells from the Old
Testament to explain what righteousness by faith is all about.
And the story is about Abraham and Sarah. God promised Abraham
and Sarah a son when Abraham was approximately 75 years old, and
Sarah was about 65. Abraham and Sarah, oh, they were so excited
when they heard that promise.
month they were expecting Sarah to be pregnant. “She is going to
have a son. We know it, because God has promised it.” But month
after month after month went by and Sarah did not get pregnant.
Month after month, year after year until finally, over ten years
had gone by and Sarah went through menopause. She could not get
pregnant any more, so She said to Abraham, “I guess I am not ever
going to be able to have a son.”
could not figure that out. God had promised him a son and now it
looked like it was impossible. But Sarah had a way to figure it
out. She said to Abraham, Look, I have a servant girl here. Her
name is Hagar. She had not gone through menopause yet.
is easy for us to criticize people of other generations and cultures,
but polygamy was common in those days. So Sarah thought, I will
give my servant girl to Abraham and that way I will have a son.
Later Leah and Rachel did the very same thing to get more children.
So, she gave Abraham her servant girl because she knew that she
could not have a son any more and she knew that God had planned
for Abraham to have a son, so she was going to help God out.
you ever tried to help God out? Do you know what God often allows
to happen when we try to help Him out? He lets us get into a worse
mess than ever! And God let Abraham get into a worse mess than
ever. Now Abraham and Sarah both knew that Sarah could not have
children any more, she was too old to have children. God said,
We will just wait a little longer.
time came when Abraham became impotent. So now you have a double
problem. Sarah cannot have a son any more, she is too old to become
a mother, and now Abraham is too old to become a father. Now you
are stuck. You are stuck on both ends of the line. You cannot
is when God came to Abraham and said, “Abraham, next year about
this time according to the time of life, you are going to have a
said, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You.”
said, “No, that is not what I am talking about. Your wife, not
the harlot girl that you made a harlot, but your wife, is going
to bear to you a son.” And when Sarah heard that, she had passed
her menopause so long before that she started laughing in the tent.
That was crazy.
Lord said to Abraham, “How come Sarah laughed?”
Sarah was embarrassed. She had just been laughing silently; she
did not want the Lord to hear, and she said, “Oh, I did not laugh.”
Lord said, “Yes, you did laugh. You were laughing at Me, but I
am telling you next year you are going to have a child.”
That is why they named him Isaac, because Isaac means laughter.
Sarah said, “God made me laugh.”
said that is what righteousness by faith is all about. Do you understand
what it is? Can anybody living in a body, a temple of sinful flesh
like you and me, can we ever be righteous? Can we ever live a righteous
life? We cannot do it any more than Abraham and Sarah could have
a son. But God said to Abraham, You and Sarah—not some other man,
not some other woman—you and Sarah are going to have a son. And
Abraham started thinking about that.
had known the Lord for quite a while by now, and he had found out
that when the Lord said something, the Lord always told the truth.
He knew Who he was dealing with and he said, we just read it in
Romans 4, If God says that we are going to have a son, we are going
to have a son. I do not know how, but God said that we are going
to, so we are going to.
they did. And Paul said, when he talks about this again in Hebrews,
By a man that was as good as dead and by a woman whose womb was
dead, there came forth a multitude as the stars of heaven of number
is what righteousness by faith is all about. People say to me,
Pastor John, it is impossible. I guess I will have to be lost.
I cannot overcome. No, you cannot overcome unless you understand
righteousness by faith! Righteousness by faith is when you trust
God to work in your life and do something that you cannot do. Oh,
I cannot control my thoughts. Ellen White says you cannot control
your thoughts, you cannot control your passions or your affections,
Bible says that no human being can tame the tongue. No, you cannot.
People are looking for a New Theology because they do not understand
what righteousness by faith is all about. Righteousness by faith
means that you are trusting God to work in your life and that He
is going to work in your life to make it possible for you to do
something that you cannot do!
I hope that you will study this story. Study it in Hebrews, in
Romans 4. Forget about all the big words that the theologians talk
about. You cannot figure out the difference between imputed and
imparted and all these different things. Just trust God that He
will work a miracle in your life and He will enable you, if you
follow the directions, to do something that you cannot do, just
as much as Abraham and Sarah could not have a son.
could not become a mother and he could not become a father, but
God said, This is what is going to happen, and when Abraham trusted
in God, it happened. When you trust in God, things that cannot
happen are going to happen, too. I have seen it happen over and
over again and I love to tell people about the victories that I
have seen happen in other people’s lives.
have seen people who were absolute slaves to tobacco, slaves to
alcohol, slaves to drugs, slaves to the wrong kind of language,
slaves to the wrong kind of music, slaves to all kinds of sin—and
I have seen God deliver them.
do not know what your besetting problem in life is, but whatever
your besetting problem is, what you need to understand, friend,
is righteousness by faith. That is the illustration that Paul gave
to explain what it is all about. It is trusting that God will do
something in your life that you cannot do, and you know you cannot
do it, but He can!
you put your trust in Him, a miracle is going to happen inside,
and one of these days, when Jesus is in the Most Holy Place, and
He sprinkles that blood, your sin, the record of your sin, is going
to be blotted out. When the record of your sin is blotted out,
you are going to be sealed and you are going to be on your way,
in a few days, to the New Jerusalem.
you want that experience? Do you want to experience the righteousness
that comes by faith? You can. Let us ask the Lord that we may
each one have this experience. We must have it if we are going
to go to glory soon.