Justification by Faith- Example 2: Abraham
Sermon Notes September 5, 2010
by Joshua Winslett
Romans 3:27-31, 4:1-8
– Biblically speaking, justification means to declare righteous, as a judge would declare a defendant innocent after being proven thus. It does not mean to make righteous or to impute righteousness. You have to be innocent or made innocent before you can be justified (declared righteous).
Legal justification recap
-Legal Justification (justification before the throne of God) only comes through the grace (meritless favor) of God. No actions by man can indebt God to justify a single person. It is all by grace!
Justification by Faith recap
-Justification by faith is a glorious and often misunderstood biblical principle. “Sola Fide” is often used by “theologians” to describe Justification by faith. Sola Fide is Latin, it means: “by faith alone”. When theologians say sola fide, they generally mean that we have eternal life given to us, by the new birth, when we believe in Jesus. There is a big problem with that; we are told in countless places that we are “justified freely by his grace.” If it is by grace alone, then it cannot be accomplished by anything else, including faith. Grace and works (man’s action) do not mix.
-David was justified by faith after he confessed his sin to God that he had committed with Bathsheba. That was not the point at which he was born again, he was born again at a young age; it was the point when he had a conscious understanding of God forgiveness of his sins.
-Does Abraham’s example parallel the example of David of being “born again” before being “justified by faith”? Yes!
-Abraham was justified by faith in Genesis 15; let’s look at the preceding chapters to see Abraham’s spiritual character.
Genesis: 11:31 Abraham (then Abram) leaves Ur to follow God’s will.
Genesis: 12.1 Abraham speaks verbally with God.
Genesis: 12.8 Abraham built an altar to God.
Genesis: 14.19 Melchisedec testified that Abraham was blessed by God.
Genesis: 14.10 Abraham gave tithes to Melchisedec, a priest to God.
Hebrews 11.8 states that in Genesis 11.31 Abraham left Ur by faith. If Abraham had faith then he was already born again. Galatians 5.22 lists faith as a fruit of the Spirit. You have to have the Spirit to have its fruit. Therefore Abraham had the Spirit when he left Ur 10 years before he was justified by faith.
-Knowing that Abraham was “born again” before he was “justified by faith”, what did Abraham experience?
-Abraham followed God’s will for at least 10 years with the promise that through his seed all nations would be blessed. You can imagine that Abraham, at about 85 years old, was starting to have doubts about the fulfillment of this promise. He even went as far as to offer a child from Eliezer as his heir. Nevertheless, God told Abraham that Eliezer’s child would not be his heir. God then reaffirmed his promise to Abraham. Abraham then believed God and rested in what God had promised him.
-Whether or not Abraham believed God, God would have still brought his purpose to fruition. Yet by believing God Abraham was able to find peace and rest in God’s will for Abraham’s life. Let us also find rest and consolation in the promises of God and the gospel.
Primary verse references used during Sunday service:
Romans, 4:1-8; 16-25
Note: This is not an exhaustive outline of the entire sermon. This is only the cliff notes.
Sermon preached at Antioch PBC on 9/5/10 by Elder Josh Winslett