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Archive for the ‘Salvation & Justification’ Category

is-justification-by-faith-taught-in-the-old-testament

Is Justification by Faith Taught in the Old Testament?

Justification is the act of God declaring a sinner righteous before Him.

But first why is this question important:

This question is important if one believes in the continuity between the Old and the New Testament.

This question is also important if one believes that Christianity has its root in the Jewish Scripture.

Moreover if you love the truth that God has justified sinners by faith, you will appreciate that this was always God’s intention.

This is also helpful for Jewish evangelism and apologetics to the Jews.

It is useful for doctrinal apologetics of Christianity.

I have found Paul in Romans 4 to be quite insightful of his argument from the Old Testament in which he argues and defends the thesis that the doctrine of justification by faith has Old Testament roots.

For this post we will look at Abraham in Genesis.  Specifically we will look at Paul’s argument concerning Abraham and you will notice in Romans 4 that Paul’s argument was faithful to the context of Genesis.

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When I was a young Christian I was so foolish to have thought that the doctrines of Redemption, Propitiation, Justification and Adoption were so deep, I didn’t need to go out of the way to know what they are.  I assumed that the average person wouldn’t understand it.

I couldn’t be more wrong.

Actually I would say the Bible gives us natural analogies to reach all cultures and people with the concept of redemption, propitiation, justification and adoption.  Those terms were terms used in culture and societies before the Bible used it as an analogy for the Gospel.  It might be counter-intuitive but the more one understands the biblical context and cultural context of those terms the more it enrich our understanding and appreciation of the Gospel.  And don’t forget its the hearing of the Gospel that leads to salvation.

Here are two videos that touches on four of these doctrines courtesy of South Bay Alliance Church.

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interrelationship

Doctrines are interrelated.  Sometimes they are interconnected more than we realize.

There was a quote from a denomination’s statement of sanctification that led me to think more about the relationship between how one present the Gospel and the sanctification of one’s “convert.”  The quote is as follows:

Today most people initially trust in Christ with very little theological understanding. Moreover, initial salvation frequently is offered by appeals to personal needs. Consequently almost no one is prepared at conversion to yield himself to the Spirit in surrender and faith.

How is it possible that this denomnational document might alleged that “almost no one at conversion” would surrender himself to the Spirit through faith?  Some quick thoughts:

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What is Justification by Faith Alone

J.V. Fesko. What is Justification by Faith Alone?  Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, February 15th, 2008. 32 pp.

This is a booklet in the Basics of the Reformed Faith series.  I picked it up out of the curiosity of wanting to see what an example of a short theological summary of the doctrine of justification looks like and also for my spiritual edification and whether this booklet is something I can recommend to others.  This booklet is divided into five parts.  The first part surveys how God intended to create and judge Adam and His creation.  The second part looks at God pointing to His Son as the one who will justify us in the Old Testament with the third looking at how Jesus’ life death and resurrection is the building blocks of the doctrine of justification by faith alone.  The fourth survey how this doctrine was expressed historically within the Reformed tradition and lastly the fifth part answers some common questions.

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Saved without a Doubt

 Purchase: Amazon

I appreciated this book by John MacArthur on the topic of the Christian assurance of salvation. This book is biblical, pastoral and practical; it will certainly help the believer understand the Gospel better and applying it to the subject of assurance. The book is divided into three parts: After establishing the biblical warrant for the Reformed doctrine of the perseverance of the Saints, part two feature 11 tests on whether or not one is a believer according to 1 John followed by part three that ties the loose ends: Dealing with doubt, adding virtue which thereby adds more assurance of one’s salvation and biblical encouragement to persevere. I particularly enjoy chapter 7, “Adding Virtue upon Virtue” which is an exposition of 2 Peter 1, with MacArthur’s insight into the Greek terms and what it means. MacArthur does a masterful job of encouraging the believer with the reality of what God has done and promise to do. I recommend it to every believer whether they are struggling with whether or saved or whether they are already assured.

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Martin Luther Galatians

After reading the Bible, every Christian should at least one time in their life read something by Martin Luther to understand the man who has been responsible for the Protestant Reformation and the issue of justification that was at stake. Luther’s commentary of Galatians was a delightful read. I was surprised that there was not a strong polemical taste to this work but instead one feels the pastoral heartbeat of Luther as he expounds the meaning of the text and often showing how a promise in Galatians should be applied to combating wrong thoughts and demonic discouragement. Again, a delightful read, but more than reading the words of Martin Luther this commentary made me read more carefully on my own the book of Galatians itself.

 

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John MacArthur’s most famous work is “The Gospel According to Jesus” which defends Lordship Salvation.  If one has to read at least one work by MacArthur, this is probably it.  Apparently there is a free PDF in German!  In German the Title is “Lam pen ohne Öl.”  You can access it by clicking HERE.

[HT]

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Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

Short work on the Reformed view of justification. Expect the doctrinal devotional flavor that one would expect of Puritan work. The book is largely an attempt to defend against the charge that the Protestant doctrine of justification will lead to antinominalism. This works shows that this is not the necessary implication of Reformed soteriology.  It was originally written as a letter to someone in defense of the Prostestant view of justification and it’s relationship to sanctification.  I would recommend the book–it’s short and readable.

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Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

The author Dan Phillips is perhaps best known for being one of the bloggers at TeamPyro. This work is an exposition of the Gospel saving message which Dan Phillips makes clear in the beginning of the book is world-tilting. The Gospel is suppose to be radical and life changing, and no doubt it is. Given the terrible state of Christianity today when it comes to Gospel and Biblical literacy, this work would be good for the hands of the people in the pew or even those who do not believe in Christianity so that at least they understand the biblical message of the Gospel. Written for a general reading audience, Phillips talks to his reader like the way you expect he would in his blog: informal, at times witty and funny, and to the point. His message is derived from Scripture and the quotation and references to chapters and verses are sprinkled throughout the work. Phillips’ work is largely a positive presentation of Christianity rather than a negative critiques of what he described as Evangellybeans (weakened comprimising forms of Christianity). I found the most fascinating part of the book was his chapters that dealt with sanctification. Here he does engage in a little polemic concerning three faulty view of sanctification and I thought the chapter devoted to the mystical view of “Let Go, and Let God” was probably the best chapter in the book since this view has largely been ignored in written treatment yet it is one that Christians sometime even assume as a faulty view of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. I would recommend this work for new Christian, non-Christian or older Christians to be reminded of the Gospel. I enjoyed this work, with it’s illustrations from time to time and also the author’s own original translation. Definitely a work worth buying as a gift for others.

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Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

With the recent Evangelical discussion of Rob Bell and the issue of Emergent theology, salvation and hell, this book does make a contribution even though the book was published in 2010 and a year before the whole Bell’s “Love Wins” controversy. It would seem to me that the issue of “theology of religion” is largely not the subject of conscious focus in these debates, though they are foundational to the discussion. Here the author Todd Miles explore what the Old Testament and New Testament’s view of other religions are, especially in regards to it as means of salvation. But don’t expect that the four hundred page work to be nothing more than a glorified bible study of proof text regarding the Bible’s view on other religion. The author does engage the text of Scripture in an accurate way with care and consideration of the context. Miles also interact with Universalism, Annhilationism and Inclusivism and their particulars, such as their history, scriptural arguments and what contemporary advocates are saying. Miles does an excellent job documenting and giving extensive quotations of what advocates believe in their own words. One might even fault the author’s extensive quotations to a fault–it seems that at times entire chapters are devoted to quoting people multiple times when Miles has already made it the point that this is what these people believe and why they believe what they believe. Readers will also be intrigued with a footnote reference that discusses the Emergent movement and a comment on Rob Bell in a charitable light that he has not openly embrace universalism, at least in light of the literature at that point. What a difference in a year makes! The book seems to indicate that this was an adaptation of the author’s doctoral dissertation with the extensive quotation of those whom Miles disagree with. The author completed his doctoral studies at Southern Seminary, where his advisor was Ben Ware. Dr. Ware’s area of expertise is largely in the area of theology proper, and is known for his role in the Open Theism debate and the issue of the Trinity’s ramification for the Biblical manhood and womanhood issue. Given Ware’s conscious reflection on the Trinity, one sees that Miles was also very conscious of the Trinity in his critical assessment of Inclusivists make Pneumatological arguments for their view. The book provided a correction on the inclusivists and universalist’s Pneumatological arguments and discusses what Scripture has to say concerning the Holy Spirit’s relationship to Jesus when it comes to salvation. For the fact that Miles offers readers the paradigm of a “theology of religion” (as opposed to comparative religion, religious studies, etc) and being Trinitarian conscious in assessing soteriological views, I would recommend this book for readers to think about.

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This is the preaching of Dr. Bahnsen on this very topic; though it was years ago, it is eerily timely….

As a courtesy, we recommend those who want to see more lectures by Bahnsen in other areas to visit CMF.

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A post about eternal salvation causes Mike’s blog to make the (currently 20) top posts on wordpress. Currently with 37 comments thus far, it looks like the comments may keep increasing. Join the discussion.

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THere’s an interesting website with a Brother in the Lord who took notes from this year’s Resolved Conference by illustrating (stick figures!) it here:

http://oscarchu.com/biblenotes/albums.php?albumfolder=./resolved2007

I thought this was a good Gospel presentation (its six pages long):

http://oscarchu.com/biblenotes/albums.php?albumfolder=./resolved2007/01-Pierced%20Hands

Example of the notes can be seen by clicking here:

http://oscarchu.com/biblenotes/resolved2007/01-Pierced%20Hands/image005.jpg

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When I preach, I want this guy to take notes!

Quite amusing yet edifying!

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