by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year

Volume XXVII

May, 1948

Number 10

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.

"Yet now, apart from law, a righteousness of God is manifest (being attested by the law and the prophets), yet a righteousness of god through Jesus Christ's faith, for all, and on all who are believing, for there is no distinction, for all sinned and are wanting of the glory of God.

"Being justified gratuitously in His grace, through the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus, where, then is boasting? It is debarred. Through what law? Of works? No! But thru faith's law", Rom. 3:24, 27, 28. (Verses 25 and 26 are parenthetical).

Paul had just said that the entire world became subject to the just verdict of God, and that there is no justification in works of law. Not works of THE law. Works of ANY law. In other words, there are no works that one can do that will justify him.

In chapters 1, 2 and 3 Paul has told us what the human family does. He mentions almost every form of sin. In view of this we would expect that the verdict of God is "Guilty!" But we must remember that God will not be satisfied with anything less than a JUST verdict.

In court an accused person is declared to be justified, if circumstances were such that it was necessary for him to do the deed of which he is accused. There is no denial that he committed the deed. Circumstances justify him, and the jury says so.

We are not dealing with the subject of pardon, which admits guilt but shelters the offender from the consequences. Justification DENIES guilt. We are guilty before the bar of our own conscience. Those under law are guilty before law. But no one can be guilty before God, since it is a fact that all is on God, through God, and for God. Rom. 11:36. It would not be just for God to render a verdict against the human family, when the circumstances were such that it was necessary for sin to come into the world, to give occasion for the display of God's wonderful grace.

So, apart from law, a righteousness of God is manifest. It is a righteousness of God through Jesus Christ's faith. His command has been flouted, and this must be rectified. But man who did it was acting under necessity. He acted without faith. Unbelief was at the bottom of his act. I am referring to Adam. God must do right by Himself and His command, and He must do right by mankind. How does He do it?

He does it by providing Christ. Who had perfect faith in His Father, and Who, because of this perfect faith, rendered perfect obedience. Adam had NO faith, and, as a consequence, rendered perfect DISOBEDIENCE. The faith of Christ provides the lack that exists in Adam and his posterity. The perfect obedience of Christ makes up for the lack of obedience in the part of man. And this perfect obedience embraces the death of Christ on the cross. The disobedience was to give Christ an opportunity to do His work. He does it, and thus delivers mankind.

It is in this way that the righteousness of God is manifest. This righteousness is FOR all mankind, but it is not yet ON all. It is on only those who believe.

It seems hard for many to understand WHY one believes. It is not a voluntary action. No one can believe just anything and everything that he may "take a notion to believe". Faith is the faith of Jesus Christ. It is perfect. Because of this faith, and the love which always accompanies faith, Christ, even when he was on earth, was in constant communion with His Father. When God is ready for a person on earth to believe, now, He imparts to him a measure of Jesus Christ's faith, and the person becomes a believer. This is done in order that the person shall have communion with the Father. Herein is the difference between the believer and the unbeliever. The one who believes deserves no credit for it. Faith is God's oblation---something done to gain our favor and love.

This debars boasting. The law of faith is in operation. What is the law of faith? It is the principle of Christ imparting a measure of His faith to us, that we may, in a measure, commune with, and please His Father, Who is also Our Father.

When God gives this faith to us, He thus declares us justified. If Christ had failed to do His work, there would have been no faith for us. Neither would there have been any deliverance for us. But such argument is superfluous. The failure of man was in order that Christ should have an opportunity to do His work and thus display the grace of His Father.

Abraham was justified by faith--that is, as a believer he heard the verdict, "Justified". It is not said that a person must become good in order for God to justify him. If he is good, he needs no justification. Sin means missing the mark. We who have missed the mark need justification. We certainly could not avoid missing it. God has a purpose to be served by our failure. He uses sin to serve His purpose, and justifies the irreverent.

Thus far I have dealt mostly with the sin of Adam. There are individual sins. Well, all individual sins are represented in the crucifixion of Christ. And the crucifixion was absolutely necessary. If any act was ever justified, that one was, for we are told that every act and attitude of man in bringing it about, was just what God's hand and counsel designated beforehand to occur, Acts 4:27.

Paul speaks of the happiness of the man who is justified. "Happy the man to whom the Lord should by no means be reckoning sin", Romans 4:8. I find some saints to be slightly afraid of the doctrine of justification. They write to me that they are afraid that such an article as this would cause some saint to commit sin. Why should it have this effect? Must we soft-pedal the doctrine of God for fear it will injure someone? We do not have any saints in this section, nor among any where I serve, who are looking for an excuse for sinning. I can, and do, believe, that there are no circumstances under which God will reckon sin to me, and it does not lead me to commit any more mistakes in life that does the person who believes that his salvation depends on his acts.

Being justified by faith, we may be having peace toward God through our Lord Jesus Christ. That is, we may have this peace if we are aware of yet another grace in which we stand--something in addition to justification. It is conciliation. This is mentioned in II Cor. 5:18-20, and in this very chapter, Rom. 5:10, 11. If, by faith, we have entered, not only into the knowledge of justification, but also into a recognition of conciliation, we certainly have peace toward God, for justification tells us that we can never become guilty before God, and conciliation assures us that He can never become angry at us. What peace, indeed!

Beginning with verse 12 of chapter 5, the apostle goes back to the proposition that the righteousness of God is for all. He left that thought, to discuss the justification of believers. But before leaving it he assured us that there is no more reason for saving one, than there is for saving another, for there is no distinction; all sinned, and are wanting of the glory of God.

We find in verse 15, (Rom. 5) that the grace is so much greater than the offense, that it super-abounds, and places us where Adam never was, even before his failure.

In verse 16 we have the assurance that grace takes care of, not only Adam's one offense, but also of our many individual offenses.

In verse 18 we find that, as condemnation is through what one man did, even so there is a just award for all mankind, which is justification of life for all. What an astonishment for the race, when, one day, God will say to each one, "Justified! Your entire life is justified! You didn't do it! I did it! I carried out my purpose through it!"

How I exult in the wonderful doctrine of justification!

Let us not think that sin makes no difference in our lives and our experiences. It does. We should always warn against it, since we cannot justify it. But let us not become frantic about it, as if God were doing nothing about it.

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