Romans 3:25-30

25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. 29 Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. NIV

Romans 4:3

3 What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." NIV

Romans 4:9

9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness. NIV

Romans 4:5

5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. NIV

John 6:28

28 Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" NIV

Philippians 1:29

29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, NIV

The New Testament sometimes seems to speak of justification by works. For example, Jesus spoke of justification (and condemnation) "by your words" (Matthew 12:37). Paul said, "the doers of the law will be justified" (Romans 2:13). And James concluded that "a man is justified by works, and not by faith only" (James 2:24).

Matthew 12:37

37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." NIV

Romans 2:13

13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. NIV

James 2:24

24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. NIV

These statements seem to conflict with Paul's many warnings that "by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight" (Romans 3:20), and that the attempt to be justified through law is equivalent to being "estranged from Christ" and "fallen from grace" (Galatians 5:4).

Romans 3:20

20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. NIV

Galatians 5:4

4 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. NIV

The solution to this problem lies in the distinction between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25). Not only is Christ's righteousness legally accounted to the believer, but Christ also dwells in the believer through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:10), creating works of faith (Ephesians 2:10). Certainly God's works may be declared righteous (Isaiah 26:12). If this is true, then the order of events in justification is grace, faith, and works; or, in other words, by grace, through faith, resulting in works (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Galatians 5:16

16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. NIV

Romans 8:10

10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. NIV

Ephesians 2:10

10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. NIV

Isaiah 26:12

12 LORD, you establish peace for us;
all that we have accomplished you have done for us. NIV

Ephesians 2:8

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— NIV

The Results of Justification. The negative result of justification is what we are saved from: "Having now been justified...we shall be saved from wrath" (Romans 5:9). The positive result is what we are saved to: "Whom He justified, these He also glorified" (Romans 8:30).

Romans 5:9

9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! NIV

Romans 8:30

30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. NIV

Paul also notes "peace with God" (Romans 5:1) and access to God's grace (Romans 5:2) as positive benefits. The believer in Christ may look forward to the redemption of his body (Romans 8:23) and an eternal inheritance (Romans 8:17; 1 Peter 1:4).

Romans 5:1

1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, NIV

Romans 5:2

2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. NIV

Romans 8:23

23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. NIV

Romans 8:17

17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. NIV

1 Peter 1:4

4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, NIV

(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

False Justification and True

A Sermon Delivered on Lord's Day Evening October 15, 1876


SERMON TEXTS: JOB 9:20 and ROM. 8:33,34

"If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me."-Job 9:20.
"It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?"-Romans 8:33-34.

The great question for this human race to answer has ever been this, "How can man be just with God?" It is clear to every conscience that is at all awake that the thrice-holy God demands obedience to His law, and that disobedience to the divine law will certainly entail punishment. Hence the grand essential for each one of us is to be right towards God,-to be accounted just even at His judgment-bar. This is a most important matter at all times, but it appears to increase in importance as we advance in years, and get nearer to that great testing time when the Lord shall put everyone into His unerring balances, to weigh him, and so to prove what he really is. Woe unto the man who shall stand before the bar of God unjustified; but happy shall he be who, in that last dread day, shall be approved and accepted by the Judge of all the earth.

I am going to speak about the way in which we are justified in the sight of God, and I have taken two texts because so many people seem to have thought that there are two ways by which sinners can be justified before God. The first way that I shall describe is the false one, the second is the true way; the first is that which is mentioned by Job, the way of self-justification, of which it may be truly said that it is self-condemning instead of self-justifying. The second mode of justification is the one that is ordained by God, and of that it may be rightly said that it never can be condemned. It challenges heaven and earth and hell in those grand words which I have just read to you, "It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?"

I. First, for a few minutes, let us consider THE SELF-JUSTIFICATION OF WHICH JOB SPEAKS: "If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me" Job 9:20.

I call to your remembrance the fact that it is Job who speaks thus, because, if there ever was a man, in this world, who might have been justified before God by his own works, it was Job. Did not the Lord Himself say of him to Satan, "There is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil" Job 1:8; 2:3? Yet, so far was Job from imagining that he had attained a sinless condition, that he here declares concerning himself, "If I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life" Job 9:20. In addition, to Job's excellence of character, he paid devout attention, to religious observances. When his children met together for feasting, he offered special sacrifices on their behalf, saying, "It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts" Job 1:5. Job was evidently as devout towards God as he was upright towards man; yet, you see, he tells us that, if he were to justify himself, his own mouth would condemn him. Further, as if to show us how notable Job was in all respects, he had, in addition to his excellent character, and his devotional spirit, most remarkable afflictions; but, putting together all his good works, all his religious observances, and all his afflictions, he says, "If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me." Job, at any rate, was not one of those who have imagined that they could work out a righteousness of their own which could be acceptable in the sight of God.

Let us try to find out what he meant when he said, "If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me" Job 9:20. I think he meant, first, that it would not be true. He could not, and dare not say that he was just before God; it would be a lie for him to stand up before the Lord, and say, "Great God, I deserve commendation at thy hands, for in me is found true righteousness." Instead of talking like that, Job says, "If I were to say that, my own mouth would contradict me while I was trying to say it. I could not say it; I dare not say it." I hope there are many here who feel that, to talk about any righteousness of their own, would be utterly absurd. If I were to attempt to justify myself before God, I should have to belie my conscience, my self-knowledge, and my whole being. Whatever anyone else may think or say, I know that I must be saved by the grace of God, or else that I shall never be saved at all. I have not done a single good work in which I cannot see any faults,-not one solitary thing which I cannot perceive to be marred and stained, and, like a vessel spoiled even while it is on the potter's wheel, not fit to be presented before God at all. That is what Job meant when he said, "If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me."

But he meant, next, that his words themselves would be sufficient to condemn him. I know that I am addressing a large number of persons whose lives are apparently blameless. The most observant critic here would be unable to bring any very grave or serious charge against you; and yet, my dear friend, if you were to try to justify yourself before God, your words themselves would be enough to condemn you, for what sort of words do you use? I do not suppose that you use profane words; I will not imagine that you take the name of God in vain; though, alas! that is a sin that is not at all uncommon. But do you not often utter proud, boastful words? Do you not often speak in a very lofty way concerning yourselves and your own doings? Do we not all use far too many light and trifling words,-not merely such as