Monday, June 1, 2009
Justification by Faith, apart from works
6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:6)
Abram heard the promise that God gave him and he believed that what God said He would do (make a barren woman fertile and a man without a child by the ordinary means become a patriarch of an uncountable number of progeny both physical and spiritual) would come to pass.
Abraham was justified by faith; he was accounted as being righteous, quite apart from any attempts at doing good works to chalk up as brownie points towards his salvation.
None of us can ever be good enough to earn our own justification. Our only hope of being declared righteous by God is through believing in the Lord Jesus Christ: believing that what He said is true Truth; believing that He is the Son of God who has taken on flesh and become the Son of Man at the same time as being fully the Son of God; and believing in what He did: through dieing on the cross of Calvary He satisfied God's just wrath against the sins of the elect, and through rising from the dead He qualified the elect to received God's gift of justification.
This is the foundation of our salvation. However, it is not the sum total of our salvation. God did not save us by good works, but He did save us for good works. The ongoing work of salvation is our sanctification. Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit, working out the imputed righteousness into practical expressions of that state into which God brought us through faith.
James said, "You show me your faith without any works (by implication, "You cannot.") and I will show you my faith by my works" These works, then, are the works of sanctification arising out of justification which is received apart from works. If there are no works of sanctification following, then there is no evidence that there was true justification in the first place.