WONDERFUL WORDS OF LIFE RADIO SERMON May 23, 1976
SINCE MEN ARE JUSTIFIED BY FAITH
Romans 3:29 31
Justification by faith is consistent with all that we know about God and His ways. It is consistent with all that is
revealed of God in the Old Testament. The Jewish man was inclined to reject this Gospel on the basis that it
was totally out of step with what he had already learned of God and His ways. Paul sets up a situation where
such a hearer is asking questions, and he is responding to the questions.
We have already listened to the first of the questions. The Jewish listener wanted to know about boasting.
The answer was direct. All boasting is excluded by the Gospel of Justification by faith. If man has to receive
this work of God as a gift of grace, then he has nothing of which he can rightfully boast. All of the praise and
glory will have to be given to God.
This leads to another question. How does this doctrine relate to God being the God of all men? This leads to
another question yet, and a most serious one, how does this relate to the place God has given to the law? Is
the law abolished by this Gospel of justification by faith? In answering these questions, the Apostle sets forth
some wonder¬ful results of justification by faith. This is truly a tree that bears good fruit.
SINCE MEN ARE JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, ALL MEN ARE ALIKE BEFORE THE ONE GOD
How many gods are there in the world? "Is he the God of the Jews only?" Do the Jews have their own
exclusive God? Is God Jewish Himself? Is He not also God of the Gentiles? Is not the God of Israel also the
God of the nations of the earth?
Every Jewish student of the Old Testament was ready to affirm that there is only one God in the universe.
"The Lord our God is one Lord", was the basic affirmation of their faith. They would also admit that He was the
God of all nations. Yet in a practical way they were seeking to deny this. They were claiming that God was
giving special treat-ment to the Jews, and that God was saving them on the basis of their being circumcised
and their having the law of God. However, this would not stand the test of Biblical truth.
Let us examine what Paul is saying in a practical way. He is affirming that there is only one God in this
universe. There are many to which men render worship that belongs only to God, but in truth there is only
one infinite God of glory and grace. This one God is the Creator of all men and consequently is the God of all
men. God did not create Jewish men and Gentile men. He created just one man and one woman, and from
this pair was born the whole human family. So there is not only just one God in the universe, so there is just
one humanity. While today differences have developed in the human family, it is still one before the Creator.
Part of the family is white, a part is black, a part is brown; a part of the family speaks English, a part speaks
Spanish, another part another language; a part of the family lives by one style and another part with another
life style, but still the humanity is just one. The unity of humanity before God is a basic revelation of Scripture.
This leads to the logical conclusion the Apostle is presenting. God has just one plan of salvation. "Seeing it is
one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith." God has never had
but one way to save guilty sinners. It has always been by faith. He saves men who have been circumcised
under the old covenant by faith. He saves men who have never received the law of the old covenant by faith.
He saves men by faith regardless of who they are and what they have done morally or religiously. God is one,
humanity is one, and God's way of saving men is one.
This means that the Christian faith with its Gospel of justification by faith is the faith for the whole world. The
Christian faith does not know any racial or geographical boundaries. It is the message of good news for the
whole world. It is the faith that puts all men on the same footing before the one God of the universe. If a
Jewish man is going to have entrance into the presence of God, he must come through faith in Jesus Christ. If
a Hindu man is going to have access into the holy presence of God, he must come by faith in Jesus Christ.
The mission of the Christian is to go forth and declare that there is just one God, and this one God just has
one way of saving sinners. That without exception men must come to God through the Lord Jesus Christ by
faith. That the only way a man can ever receive this gift of divine righteousness is by faith. So the truth of
justification by faith makes us all alike before God. He removes any artificial differences men have imagined.
SINCE MEN ARE JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, THE LAW IS ESTABLISHED
"Do we then make void the law through faith?" The relationship of this doctrine of justification by faith to the
law is a critical point. The Jewish man who had been depending upon his relationship to the law for his
salvation felt that the message of Paul was a com¬plete destruction of the law. It certainly destroyed his
understanding of what the law was supposed to do. Nothing could have been further from the understanding
of Paul. His reaction to the question was immediate and intense. "God forbid: yea, we establish the law." While
it will take a major section of this letter to expound the meaning of this statement, this is the basic claim of the
Gospel. The Gospel does not claim to be a re¬placement for the law, but the establishment and confirmation
of the law.
In understanding this claim of Paul, we must ask what he meant by the word "law". It really does not matter as
far as the truth of the statement is concerned. Whatever you want to understand by the word, justification by
faith establishes it.
Suppose you under¬stand the more general sense in the word, the Old Testament itself. There are times
when the word is used almost as a synonym for the Old Testament. If that is the way Paul uses the word, then
justification by faith is truly the establishment of the law. The Old Testament is prophecy and justification by
faith is the fulfillment. The Old Testament is the shadow, and this Gospel is the substance. The Gospel is the
revelation of that toward which the Old Testament was pointing. The authenticity and place of the Old
Testa¬ment is not threatened by this truth that God justifies men apart from works and on the basis of faith
alone. Rather it is the confirmation of all that the Old Testament declared.
Suppose that we understand the ceremonial section of the Mosiac law by the word. Still it is true that this
section of the law is established by this truth that God justi¬fies sinners by faith. As the writer of Hebrews will
explain so fully, Jesus the Son of God was "the once for all" fulfillment of the ceremonial law. All that the
section of the law was setting forth, He satisfied. He established it. He fulfilled it fully. This truth does not
destroy the ceremonial law.
But even more importantly, suppose we understand by this the moral law as set forth by Moses and the Old
Testament. If a man is not saved by works, but is saved by faith alone, does this destroy the moral law of the
Old Testament. Indeed not! Rather the justification of sinners by faith establishes the law as found in the
moral codes of the old order. God's declaring sinners by faith to be righteous, makes it possible for sinners to
have the very righteousness that the law described. It makes it available to those who can never know it
because of their inability to live by the precepts of the law. The sal-vation of the sinner by faith does not
lessen his desire to keep the law of God. Rather it gives him a new and better motivation for keeping it. In the
Old Order he was motivated by fear of the Holy God and the consequences of breaking the law. In the new he
is moti¬vated by a love and gratitude which comes when he realizes how gracious God has been in declaring
him to be righteous when he was actually guilty.
Furthermore while the law made no provision of power to enable a man to keep the law, the truth of
justification by faith does this. Those whom God justifies by faith, he places within them a new principle of life,
the Holy Spirit, who works out in the life of the justified sinner the righteous¬ness which he has received by
faith. Paul will develop this truth later in this letter.
Many today cast an aspersion at this truth by suggesting that what you are preaching is "Be saved and then
live like you want to." They accuse us of preaching that how a man lives has nothing to do with being saved.
The opposite is true. When you declare that men cannot earn salvation by good works, you are not declaring
that good works are not important. Rather you declare that good works are important as an evidence of
salvation, but not as the basis of salvation. The evidence of justification by faith in the life of a man is the
establishment of the law of God as his pattern and guide for life.
Justification by faith is a wonderful work of God. The fruit of this work of God are blessed. Since God justifies
men by faith, there is no basis for human boasting in His presence. Since God justifies sinners by faith, all
men stand on the same footing before God. Since God justifies sinners by faith, the law of God is established
and con¬firmed in the life of God's people. This work of God is consistent with everything we know to be true
Is this the way you know God? Do you know Him to be the God who justifies the ungodly on the basis of the
death of His Son by faith? If this is not the God you know, then you do not know the true.