Drippings from the Honeycomb
More to be desired are [the rules of the Lord] than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. (Psalm 19:10)
What is the biblical teaching (doctrine) of justification by faith alone (known in Latin as sola fide)?
Martin Luther said it is “Easy to talk about; difficult to grasp.” Yet because justification answering the question, "what must I do to be saved (or justified)?" it is of fundamental importance. This is why Martin Luther said it was, “the doctrine on which the Church stands or falls,” and John Calvin would likewise describe it as “the hinge on which all true religion turns.”
Justification means to declare someone as just, righteous or perfect.
Justification is necessary because of our sinfulness and inability to justify ourselves. God's demand is perfection (Mt 5:48). Yet who can keep the whole moral law every day all the time? No, if we break one law (Ja 2:10) we are a lawbreaker and guilty before the Judge and deserving of hell.
Justification is the irrevocable and instantaneous act whereby God, by virtue of the finished work of Christ in His life, death and Resurrection, declares the penitent believer in the Gospel to be not only pardoned but just, right or perfect in His sight. Jesus’ righteousness is imputed, or credited, to our account. It follows that we are made acceptable to God, gain acceptance into His family and receive the gift of the Spirit to practically impart righteousness (or justness) until the day we are actually made just. Justification is the great fountainhead in the order of salvation.
Read more here.
Justification teaches us that we are helpless to help ourselves. Our works cannot save us. We may only be saved by the works of another.
This is perhaps best illustrated by quicksand.
When stuck in quicksand one must be rescued by the works of another. If we move we sink. We must cry out that someone else rescue us and trust them to do so.
When we confess we are sinners (recognize we are in trouble) and repent (turn from our works to Jesus), turning instead to the Son of God (perfect, crucified and risen) and ask Him to forgive us and grant us eternal life by virtue of what He has done then He promises to forgive us and impute His righteousness to us. He bears our sin and in return we receive His righteousness and resurrection life.
My hope is built on nothing less...all other ground is sinking sand.
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