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sermon notes

“Sanctification is the progressive work of God in man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives.” (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology) Or, “becoming what you already are.”

On justification...
“By his blood" (Romans 5:9)

Through the principle of representation and substitution, Jesus Christ (like Adam) represents the human race that follows (and is united to) him. As Adam was our representative and we were plunged into darkness and sin because of his action, so now those who are related by faith and new birth to Christ, are lifted to light and righteousness because of his actions. Jesus' death is a propitiation, which satisfies God's justice. His death is so excellent and effective that it can remove the guilt and sin of an entire world. Through substitution Christ gets what we deserve (judgment), we get what he deserves (eternal riches and blessing). Our relationship with God is built upon this priceless work.

The “solas” (solus, -a, -um, Lat., “alone, only”)

--Sola Scriptura … Scripture alone is the final authority on our salvation. Augustine, Aquinas and church leaders can help us, but the ultimate authority lies in the Word.

--Solus Christus … our salvation is accomplished solely and completely by Christ.

--Sola gratia … only by his grace are we saved-- we could not come to him, but he came to us.

--Sola fide this received by faith alone. This faith will produce works like fruit from a tree, but Christ's work is so complete it can only be received and lived in.

--Soli Deo gloria … to God alone be the glory!

The blessings of justification (Romans 5:1-11)

--Peace with God / reconciliation (5:1, 11)

--A Position / standing in God's grace (5:2)

--The certain hope of future glory (5:2, 9-10)

--Suffering which produces character (5:3-4)

--The Holy Spirit who reveals God's love (5:5-8)

--Joy in the Lord himself (5:11)

“When I say that God Is the Gospel I mean that the highest, best, final, decisive good of the gospel, without which no other gifts would be good, is the glory of God in the face of Christ revealed for our everlasting enjoyment. The saving love of God is God’s commitment to do everything necessary to enthrall us with what is most deeply and durably satisfying, namely himself. Since we are sinners and have no right and no desire to be enthralled with God, therefore God’s love enacted a plan of redemption to provide that right and that desire. The supreme demonstration of God’s love was the sending of his Son to die for our sins and to rise again so that sinners might have the right to approach God and might have the pleasure of his presence forever.” (John Piper, God Is The Gospel [Crossway, 2005], pp13-14)

The relevance of justification (Luke 18:10-14) destroys self-justification.

--how we approach God. With our own works / self-righteousness, or with empty hands, trusting God to be "propitious" (to provide the sacrifice of atonement, which he did in Christ)?

--how we walk with God. Motives are important. Both men are praying, both men are in the temple, both men are sincere. Yet only one man's prayer is acceptable.
Are we worshiping in a self-justifying manner, or in a manner befitting grace?

--how we relate to others. The tax-collector is aware only of his sin and his need of God's forgiveness; the Pharisee is aware of God but also is comparing. The Cross and justification by grace through faith removes any sense of superiority or inferiority. God's community is built on level ground.


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