Faith that Justifies the Christian at the Judgment of God
Justification is God’s declaration that a believer in Jesus is “not guilty.” The Bible presents Abraham as the prototype believer. He is the one who trusted God when the Almighty issued some remarkable promises (Gen 12, 15). Abraham believed God, and more specifically, God’s Word spoken to him as revelation from God. God promised. Abraham believed.
The Bible is God’s full revelation to man. It reveals that which God has determined man should know about God, man, and salvation. The central protagonist of the Bible is the God-man Jesus Christ, the seed or offspring promised to Abraham, when he was a very old man. God promised. Abraham believed. God delivered what He promised.
Revelation was not just for Abraham, but it is for everyone who believes. God promised impossible things for Abraham and the greater revelation is imparted to us. The essential question is, “How can a man be right with God? What kind of faith justifies one before God?”
People have faith in all sorts of things, but those things cannot justify a man before God. There is a faith that is an integral element in God’s gift of salvation. True Christian faith believes God and this faith glorifies God because it is from God (Rom 12:3; Gal 3:22; 5:22; Eph 2:8–9; Phil 1:29; Heb 12:2).
The object of Christian faith is the Word of God. This is why Christians speak of believing in Jesus (Incarnate Word), along with believing the Bible (written Word). Formerly, God spoke His Word through the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us in His Son (Heb 1:1–2).
Jesus Christ is the divine logos (Jn 1:1). He is the Word of God who took on flesh (Jn 1:14). In the same way, we trust the Word of God. It is the same Word of truth that constrains our trust in the Trinity revealed in God’s Word. Thus, true Christian faith is Trinitarian. We believe the biblical revelation of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Many people believe in a god. Others believe in gods. Still others claim to believe in the God of the Bible, but some of these deny the deity of God’s Son, while some others deny the deity, even the personage of the Holy Spirit. There is only one revealed truth about the persons of the Godhead, and the fact there is only one God (Dt 6:4). They are unity in diversity. God is one (unity) in three Persons (diversity).
To believe something other than what the Bible reveals about the persons and works of God is to have a misplaced faith. Faith knows truth. The foundation of faith is the truth revealed on the pages of Scripture. Because God is true and Jesus Christ is truth, then knowing God and knowing Christ is to know the truth. Faith embraces the whole of revealed truth (Bible).
The Christian who denies parts of the Bible or doctrines clearly revealed in Scripture, denies the Spirit who illumines truth for the believer. To deny the Bible in whole or in part is to call the Holy Spirit a liar. This is blasphemy. The Holy Spirit is God, and God is not a liar (Rom 3:4).
The Spirit of truth guides the regenerated believer into all truth (Jn 16:13). The born again Christian loves the truth, even the hard sayings and difficult doctrines. The flesh is weak and naturally desires to suppress the truth (Rom 1:18), but the Spirit gives grace to the child of God to grow her faith, by increasing her knowledge of God/truth.
The true believer in Jesus/Bible, embraces the revelation of humanity’s total depravity (Rom 3:10–12). Abraham listened to the impossible scenario presented by God, but he trusted God. Why would this moon worshiper from Ur of the Chaldees believe Yahweh? He believed for the exact same reason Christians believe in Jesus, today…the Holy Spirit.
The unconditional covenant of God makes no provision for sinful flesh (ie. choice, decisions, etc.). God will do all His holy will (Eph 1:11), and He has promised that reality by oath and covenant. When God elected Abraham to be the father of many nations, the man was asleep, as God cut the covenant and obligated Himself to do exactly what the terms of the covenant revealed. Whereas Abraham received the promise in shadows and types, Jesus Christ was the reality, the promise fulfilled.
Knowledge of God is a spiritual matter because God is spirit (Jn 4:24). The natural man cannot apprehend the spiritual things (1 Cor 2:14). He must first be made spiritual, which is exclusively the work of the Holy Spirit (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3). For a man to believe the Law/Word of God, which is spiritual (Rom 7:14), He must have the Spirit of God make him new (2 Cor 5:17).
He that is spiritual is Spirit-baptized, Spirit-sealed, Spirit-indwelt, and Spirit-filled. The Holy Spirit is the singular catalyst that differentiates the believer from the unbeliever. Without the indwelling Spirit, a man cannot have faith in God, in Jesus, in the Bible as the revealed, written Word of God. Not all have faith (2 Thess 3:2) because not all have the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:9). He who does not have the Spirit does not have Christ the Son, and He who does not have the Son does not have life (1 Jn 5:12).
He who does not have the life of God has not been given that life by the Son (Jn 10:28). He who the Son has passed over with eternal life, has been passed over because He does not belong to God (Jn 8:47; Rom 8:9). Those who belong to God hear God and are graciously given faith in Christ (Phil 1:29), by the Spirit given to them as the gift of God (Acts 2:38; 10:45), so that their faith rests in the power of God not in themselves (1 Cor 2:4–5). Hence, justification is by the blood of Christ, by the grace of God, and by the faith given to the believer. Any other kind of faith simply will not justify a man before God.
Spokane Valley, Washington
April 16, 2022