LandMarks Magazine      
   

February 2008 Table of Contents

 
    March 30, 2008 - April 5, 2008
 
 

Justification

 

Key Text

“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”  II Peter 1:1.

 

Study Help:  Faith and Works, 103–109.

 

Introduction

“Through all the ages the great truth of justification by faith has stood as a mighty beacon to guide repentant sinners into the way of life.”  The Acts of the Apostles, 373.

 

1    What is justification?  Romans 5:18.

Note:  “Pardon and justification are one and the same thing.”  Faith and Works, 103.

“Justification is the opposite of condemnation.”  Ibid., 104.

 

2    What is the only acceptable way to be justified?  Romans 3:21, 22; 5:1.

Note:  “The Lord does not save sinners by abolishing His law, the foundation of His government in heaven and in earth.  The punishment has been endured by the sinner’s substitute…  In the councils of heaven, before the world was created, the Father and the Son covenanted together that if man proved disloyal to God, Christ, one with the Father, would take the place of the transgressor, and suffer the penalty of justice that must fall upon him.”  “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1070.

“When the Spirit of God controls mind and heart, the converted soul breaks forth into a new song; for he realizes that in his experience the promise of God has been fulfilled, that his transgression has been forgiven, his sin covered.”  The Acts of the Apostles, 476.

 

3    How does Paul explain God’s way to justify sinners?  Romans 5:14–19.

Note:  “Christ, in the wilderness of temptation, stood in Adam’s place to bear the test he failed to endure.  Here Christ overcame in the sinner’s behalf, four thousand years after Adam turned his back upon the light of his home.  Separated from the presence of God, the human family had been departing every successive generation, farther from the original purity, wisdom, and knowledge which Adam possessed in Eden.  Christ bore the sins and infirmities of the race as they existed when He came to the earth to help man.  In behalf of the race, with the weaknesses of fallen man upon Him, He was to stand the temptations of Satan upon all points wherewith man would be assailed.”  “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1081.

“In what contrast is the second Adam as He entered the gloomy wilderness to cope with Satan single-handed.  Since the Fall the race had been decreasing in size and physical strength, and sinking lower in the scale of moral worth, up to the period of Christ’s advent to the earth.  And in order to elevate fallen man, Christ must reach him where he was.  He took human nature, and bore the infirmities and degeneracy of the race.  He, who knew no sin, became sin for us.  He humiliated himself to the lowest depths of human woe, that he might be qualified to reach man, and bring him up from the degradation in which sin had plunged him.”  Review and Herald, July 28, 1874.

 

4    Since we all are sinners, what is our only hope and assurance?  Romans 3:23–26; Titus 3:5–7.

Note:  “Righteousness is obedience to the law.  The law demands righteousness, and this the sinner owes to the law; but he is incapable of rendering it.  The only way in which he can attain to righteousness is through faith.  By faith he can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of His Son to the sinner’s account.  Christ’s righteousness is accepted in place of man’s failure, and God receives, pardons, justifies, the repentant, believing soul, treats him as though he were righteous, and loves him as He loves His Son.  This is how faith is accounted righteousness; and the pardoned soul goes on from grace to grace, from light to a greater light.”  Faith and Works, 101.

 

5    What is the role of the blood of Christ in our salvation?  Romans 5:9.

Note:  “God calls for faith in Christ as our atoning sacrifice.  His blood is the only remedy for sin. 

“It is not God’s will that you should be distrustful, and torture your soul with the fear that God will not accept you because you are sinful and unworthy…  You can say: ‘I know I am a sinner, and that is the reason I need a Saviour… have no merit or goodness whereby I may claim salvation, but I present before God the all-atoning blood of the spotless Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.  This is my only plea.’   The Faith I Live By, 102.

 

6    Why is the blood a key so essential in the plan of salvation?  Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22.

Note:  “We are to have free access to the atoning blood of Christ.  This we must regard as the most precious privilege, the greatest blessing, ever granted to sinful man.  And how little is made of this great gift!  How deep, how wide and continuous is this stream.  To every soul thirsting after holiness there is repose, there is rest, there is the quickening influence of the Holy Spirit, and then the holy, happy, peaceful walk and precious communion with Christ…  Its cleansing virtue gives strength and vigor to faith, power to prayer, and happiness in cheerful obedience.”  Sons and Daughters of God, 224.

“Christ has made reconciliation for sin, and has borne all its ignominy, reproach, and punishment; and yet while bearing sin, He has brought in everlasting righteousness, so that the believer is spotless before God…

“But there are many who claim to be children of God who are resting their hopes upon other dependencies, rather than on the blood of Christ alone.  When urged to rest their faith wholly upon Christ as a complete Saviour, many reveal the fact that they have faith in something that they think they can do. …  They imagine that they have a great deal to do themselves to save their own souls, and that Jesus will come in and piece out that part which is lacking, and give the finishing stroke to their salvation.  These poor souls will not be strong in God until they accept Christ as a complete Saviour.  They can add nothing to their salvation.”  Ibid., 227.

 

7    Among the Israelites, what was the only way of escape from destruction when they were about to leave Egypt?  Exodus 12:13.

Note:  “The Israelites were required to sprinkle the doorposts with the blood of a slain lamb, in order that when the angel of death passed through the land, they might escape destruction.  But if instead of doing this simple act of faith and obedience, they had barricaded the door, and taken every precaution to keep the destroying angel out, their pains would have been in vain. …  When the blood was seen upon the doorpost, it was enough.  The salvation of the house was assured.  So it is in the work of salvation; it is the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanseth from all sin.”  Sons and Daughters of God, 227.

 

8    How can we be clean before God?  1 John 1:7–9.  What attitude will this inspire in our heart?

Note:  “Thank God that He who spilled His blood for us, lives to plead it, lives to make intercession for every soul who receives Him.  [1 John 1:9 quoted.]  The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.  It speaketh better things than the blood of Abel, for Christ ever liveth to make intercession for us.  We need to keep ever before us the efficacy of the blood of Jesus.  That life-cleansing, life-sustaining blood, appropriated by living faith, is our hope.  We need to grow in appreciation of its inestimable value, for it speaks for us only as we by faith claim its virtue, keeping the conscience clean and at peace with God.

“This is represented as the pardoning blood, inseparably connected with the resurrection and life of our Redeemer, illustrated by the ever-flowing stream that proceeds from the throne of God, the water of the river of life.”  “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 947, 948.

“None but God can subdue the pride of man’s heart.  We cannot save ourselves.  We cannot regenerate ourselves.  In the heavenly courts there will be no song sung, To me that loved myself, and washed myself, redeemed myself, unto me be glory and honor, blessing and praise.  But this is the keynote of the song that is sung by many here in this world.  They do not know what it means to be meek and lowly in heart; and they do not mean to know this, if they can avoid it.  The whole gospel is comprised in learning of Christ, His meekness and lowliness.”  Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 456.

 

9    How can we be overcomers over Satan and his devices?  Revelation 12:11.

Note:  “We become overcomers by helping others to overcome, by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.  The keeping of the commandments of God will yield in us an obedient spirit, and the service that is the offspring of such a spirit, God can accept.”  “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 974.

 

10  What will be our song in heaven?  Revelation 15:3.

Note:  “I urge you to prepare for the coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven.  Day by day cast the love of the world out of your hearts.  Understand by experience what it means to have fellowship with Christ.  Prepare for the judgment, that when Christ shall come to be admired in all them that believe, you may be among those who will meet Him in peace.  In that day the redeemed will shine forth in the glory of the Father and the Son.  The angels, touching their golden harps, will welcome the King and His trophies of victory—those who have been washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb.  A song of triumph shall peal forth, filling all heaven.  Christ has conquered.  He enters the heavenly courts, accompanied by His redeemed ones, the witnesses that His mission of suffering and sacrifice has not been in vain.”  The Adventist Home, 550.

 

Additional Reading

 

“As the penitent sinner, contrite before God, discerns Christ’s atonement in his behalf and accepts this atonement as his only hope in this life and the future life, his sins are pardoned.  This is justification by faith.  Every believing soul is to conform his will entirely to God’s will and keep in a state of repentance and contrition, exercising faith in the atoning merits of the Redeemer and advancing from strength to strength, from glory to glory.

“Pardon and justification are one and the same thing.  Through faith, the believer passes from the position of a rebel, a child of sin and Satan, to the position of a loyal subject of Christ Jesus, not because of an inherent goodness, but because Christ receives him as His child by adoption.  The sinner receives the forgiveness of his sins, because these sins are borne by his Substitute and Surety.  The Lord speaks to His heavenly Father, saying: ‘This is My child, I reprieve him from the condemnation of death, giving him My life insurance policy―eternal life―because I have taken his place and have suffered for his sins.  He is even My beloved son.’  Thus man, pardoned, and clothed with the beautiful garments of Christ’s righteousness, stands faultless before God. 

“The sinner may err, but he is not cast off without mercy.  His only hope, however, is repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is the Father’s prerogative to forgive our transgressions and sins, because Christ has taken upon Himself our guilt and reprieved us, imputing to us His own righteousness.  His sacrifice satisfies fully the demands of justice.

“Justification is the opposite of condemnation.  God’s boundless mercy is exercised toward those who are wholly undeserving.  He forgives transgressions and sins for the sake of Jesus, who has become the propitiation for our sins.  Through faith in Christ, the guilty transgressor is brought into favor with God and into the strong hope of life eternal.”  Faith and Works, 103, 104.

“It is the righteousness of Christ that makes the penitent sinner acceptable to God and works his justification.  However sinful has been his life, if he believes in Jesus as his personal Saviour, he stands before God in the spotless robes of Christ’s imputed righteousness.”  Ibid., 106.

“We have a living Saviour.  He is not in Joseph’s new tomb; He is risen from the dead and has ascended on high as a Substitute and Surety for every believing soul.  ‘Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’  (Romans 5:1.)  The sinner is justified through the merits of Jesus, and this is God’s acknowledgment of the perfection of the ransom paid for man.  That Christ was obedient even unto the death of the cross is a pledge of the repenting sinner’s acceptance with the Father.  Then shall we permit ourselves to have a vacillating experience of doubting and believing, believing and doubting?  Jesus is the pledge of our acceptance with God.  We stand in favor before God, not because of any merit in ourselves, but because of our faith in ‘the Lord our righteousness.’  [Jeremiah 33:16.]”  Ibid., 107.

   
   

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