27627Question: Now or Later
- Mar 30, 2014
These are actual inquiries that I have for seeing more deeply into the depths of meaning of the following.
Scripture states that believers are justified by faith. Exactly how does faith justify?
When we look at the description of faith:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
From the above might we understand that faith is the expectation of things yet to come?
See this, what is the connection between faith that is substance and evidence of things that do not exist (hoped for, not seen) have to do with being justified by God? Is it the expectation of justification?
Next, looking at the following passage:
But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, "If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? 15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
[ future expectation of justification “. . .shall be justified . . .” as compared to “. . .might be justified. . .” as a future (expected) eventuality? ]
17 "But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."
A few things jump out at me:
1. Paul is indicating that future justification by Christ will not occur IF a believer has “made himself a transgressor. Sin is not just or righteous.
2. Paul seems to be castigating Peter for being deceitful and hypocritical.
3. Paul had previously consigned Peter to being under condemnation for this sin of hypocrisy
4. Gal 2:11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. ESV
5. Paul states that “. . .we who HAVE believed (past tense)
6. Paul then states “. . .that we (who HAVE believed) MIGHT (aorist subjunctive which denotes an as yet unfulfilled purpose) be justified by Christ.
7. Future justification by Christ implied by “. . .that we might be justified. . .” along with “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ” (present participle - seeking to be justified by Christ). WE who HAVE BELIEVED are presently seeking to be justified by Christ.
The question is: How is the present believer, justified by faith still seeking to be justified by Christ?
It occurs to me be that Paul points to either a future justification (or condemnation) by the law or by Christ:
“. . . by the works of the law no flesh SHALL BE justified.”
NOTE that Paul never says, to my recollection, that no flesh IS now justified by the law but always points to a future point of justification.
I suggest that the closing point of justification is that which comes at the judgment seat of Christ, the day judgment;
But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
Jesus clearly states that justification or condemnation comes on the ‘day of judgment.’
Question: Does our present justification by faith simply anticipate or expect (hope for) justification in the future at the judgment seat of Christ? Since faith is the expectation of things not seen, things to come, does justification by faith mean that we are expecting to be justified by Christ?
Faith that does not continue or endure to the end will be faith that did not save in the end. Therefore, justification by faith remains justification as long as one continues in that faith until we arrive at the judgment seat of Christ.
IF that is the case then our final justification will only occur IF we endure in our faith, “fighting the good fight of faith” to the end. IF that is the case then justification by faith is conditioned on keeping faith to the end:
· Heb 3:6 . . . but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.* NKJV
· Heb 3:14 . . . but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.* NKJV
Question: Just what happens in the end?
· 1 Cor 15:20-25 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. NKJV
This resurrection happens when Jesus comes back again. Salvation also happens (formally) when Jesus comes back again:
· Heb 9:27-28 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. NKJV
We must continue in our faith until He comes IF we wish for our justification by faith to have become a reality.