Tuesday, November 23, 2010
the purity & simplicity of justification by faith
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The truth of this verse, if it was the only fact I ever knew from God, would be enough to keep me trusting Christ in this life and for eternity. This powerful concept is what kept Christians passionate in their pursuit of Christ at the threat of death. It led Paul to take this message to every place that God led him. It is how in one century Christianity went from being the message of a dozen Palestinian Jews to a passionate religion that caused the most powerful government in the world at the time to feel threatened.
And when the organized church went stagnant and heretical and worldly in her focus, it is the doctrine of this verse that fueled men like Luther, Calvin, Knox and Zwingli to preach once again a pure gospel. As reformation fires burned, the liberating gospel of justification by faith melted away the bonds of legalism, heresy, false authority, and money-hungry religion. Justification by faith is a doctrine with a fascinating history. And I believe there is more that God will write in and with it.
A pure gospel is preached by Paul in the Book of Romans. It is one reason why I find myself drawn to it. In my younger days, I found myself slightly intimidated by the deep doctrines of Romans. But today, I see their purity, their beauty, and even in their depths I find a simplicity that is frankly lacking in much of the contemporary church. I find most pastors and leaders caught up in methodology. The contemporary church is most interested in one leader aping another leader's ideas, particularly if it is packaged and marketed well! And the older I get, the more drawn I am to just wanting to be a simple preacher of the gospel... someone who is a man of one message and one method: justification by faith resulting in peace with God through Jesus Christ.
- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13