Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sola Fide / misc. Scriptures / 171015AM@TBC

Today we will look at our third Sola, sola fide, faith alone.
Segway #1 Way of the Master
Are you a good person.

Segway #2 Martin Luther’s struggle.
·      Martin Luther knew that God was holy and that even the smallest sin would banish him forever.
·      Luther Lived in terror that a sin he failed to confess would remain unforgiven.  He dreaded God.
·      Johann Staupitz, Luther’s confessor, told him to love God, but Luther was obsessed with God as a dreaded and exacting judge, a consuming fire.
·      Luther was eventually assigned to teach Bible at the University of Wittenburg.  In 1513, he was teaching the Psalms and came to the words of Christ in Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”
·      He took comfort that Christ had experienced the alienation from God that he felt.
·      Later, when he came to Romans 1:17 in his studies he pondered the connection between
the righteousness of God,
the justice of God and
the statement, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
·       ·      Finally, he understood the connection.  He wrote, 
“Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith.  Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors unto paradise.”
·      Luther had been trying to become righteous with his good works.
Romans 4.7-9 says…
For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”  Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.  And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
·      Martin knew that his righteousness would always fall short.   He now understood that the righteous live by faith instead of by works
This morning we will look at the four places that the phrase “The just shall live by faith,” is used in Scripture and make some observations about the place of faith in our lives.  We will begin in Habakkuk, the passage that Paul quotes three times in the New Testament.

First, let’s pray.

A. Background of Habakkuk
1. Author: Contemporary of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, & Zephaniah
2. Historical setting:
 The decline and defeat of the Assyrian empire by the Babylonians
 The righteous King Josiah had died.  (2 Kings 23.29)
 Babylon defeated Egypt and Assyria @ Carchemish  604BC
 Judah’s King Jehoiakim’s wicked rule (2 Kings 23.37; Jeremiah 22.13-19)
B. Overview of Habakkuk
1. 1.2-4 The Prophet’s question: How long will you allow this wickedness to continue?
2. 1.5-11 The Lord’s answer: I am sending the Chaldeans to judge this sin.
3. 1.12-2.1 The Prophet’s protest: How can a holy God use such wicked people?   1.13
4. 2.2-20 The just shall live by faith, but the woe to the wicked  2.4b
5. 3.1-15 The prophet’s prayer
6. 3.16 (or 17) - 19 The prophet’s praise song   2.17-18

C. The key verse and theme of Habakkuk
I will take my stand at my watchpost
and station myself on the tower, ...

And the Lord answered me:
“Write the vision;
    make it plain on tablets,
so he may run who reads it.
For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
    it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come; it will not delay.
“Behold, his [the Babylonian’s] soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him,
    but the righteous shall live by his faith.

1. How do we make it through difficult and confusing times?
2. 2.4b - “The righteous shall live by faith” 
Habakkuk was encouraged to maintain the trust that God would fulfill his promises.

·      2.4 was an introduction to the 3rd section, the woeful taunt-songs that Habakkuk was instructed to record,
·      In ver 2:4 God gave His summary condemnation of the conceited character of the Babylon:
·      He is puffed up. Like a bloated toad, these arrogant people hopped along toward destruction. They were swollen with evil passions.
·      Their desires were not upright.
·      Yahweh then declared that a righteous person, by stark contrast, will live by his faith (ěmûnâh, ”steadfastness or faithfulness“).
·      There are two sides to the Hebrew word faith.
·      The basic root idea is firmness or certainty.”  ——T.W.O.T.
·      One who trusts in the Lord is one who relies on Him and is faithful to Him.
Habakkuk was to have faithfully have faith in God.
1.  In the Old Testament concept, there is not a sharp distinction between “faith” and “faithfulness.”  They seem to be two sides to the same coin.
2. Faith is not an event, it is a heart motivation, state of mind.
3. The Biblical saving faith goes well beyond…
·      the idea of intellectual assent, (acknowledging the facts of the Gospel)
·      an emotional response.  (James 2 …the demons fear and tremble…)
·      It involves a wholehearted turn to God.
Transitional Statement: This verse in Habakkuk is referred to three times by the Apostle Paul in the New Testament.

The Apostle Paul gives us three insights into the life of faith.
       Saved by Faith
        Living by Faith
        Finishing by Faith

I. Saved by faith - Faith Justifies Us.  Romans 1.16-17
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

1. Context: Paul had just emphasized his desire to preach and his confidence in/boldness about the gospel because it was the power of God to salvation.
2. Righteousness of God” in the sense of being the righteousness that belongs and that comes from God.
3.  Faith is the means of salvation. This was the great truth that Martin Luther discovered in this passage that helped move him from terror of being unable by works to be right before God to the faith in Christ’s righteousness and work alone.
4.  God’s righteousness, his justification, comes to us through faith.  Rom. 5.1 Therefore, having been justified by faith…
5. faith for faith” – There are many interpretations of the phrase.
"He saith not, from faith to works, or from works to faith; but from faith to faith, i.e. only by faith." (Poole)  
like translated in the NIV 1.17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is We are saved by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”  It is faith from the beginning to faith at the end.
Or “by faith for faith,” or “by faith to faith.” There are many interpretations of the phrase ἐκ πίστεως εἰς πίστιν (ek pistew" ei" pistin). It may have the idea that this righteousness is obtained by faith (ἐκ πίστεως) because it was designed for faith (εἰς πίστιν). For a summary see J. Murray, Romans (NICNT), 1:363-74.  –NET Bible study notes
7. "Perhaps what it conveys is the necessity of issuing a reminder to the believer that justifying faith is only the beginning of the Christians life. The same attitude must govern him in his continuing experience as a child of God." (Harrison)

Only son
Precious blood
Eternal Savior

Transitional Statement: Justifying faith is only the beginning of the Christian’s life.  Paul exhorted the Galatians to continue to live by faith. 

II. Living by faith - Faith frees Us (from the law). Galatians 3.10-12
10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”

1. Context: Galatians were saved by faith, but the Judaizers were trying to persuade them to live the Christian life of sanctification by keeping the laws. Paul just reminded them that those who are living under the law are under a curse because they cannot keep all the law.

1O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?  It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.  Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?  Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?  Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?  Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

2. v. 10 alludes to Deuteronomy 27.26. The problem with trying to keep the law is that we can not do it all perfectly.

3. Believers still need forgiveness, but…  Paul’s point here is that we continue in our Christian faith the same way that we started it—by faith, dependence on the Lord.

Transitional Statement:
It is also important to continue in our walk of faith to the end.

III. Finishing by faith - Faith Preserves Us.  Hebrews 10.35-38
 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For,
“Yet a little while,
    and the coming one will come and will not delay;
38 but my righteous one shall live by faith,
    and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”

1. Context: Earlier Paul warns of the danger of forsaking Christ’s provision to keep the law.  Paul tells them to remember when they were “enduring a great struggle with sufferings”, and he wanted to encourage them to continue to hold onto “the promise.”
32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.

2. Draw on your past experience to gain strength to endure for the future.
3. Look toward the future reward to be your consolation and give you patience like Moses. Hebrews 11:
24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
4. v. 36 endurance ὑπομονή [hupomone /hoop·om·on·ay/] n
“abiding through or under”
patience--Greek, "waiting endurance," or "enduring perseverance": the kindred Greek verb in the Septuagint, Habakkuk 2:3, is translated, "wait for it"
5. Look to the example of JesusA similar idea is in Hebrews 12.1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance [or patience] the race that is set before us,
6. 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
 “We must keep in mind that this letter is written to the professing Church which is made up of true believers and of unbelievers. Here the writer is thinking of the one who professes to be justified but who has only an intellectual faith, not a heart trust (Acts 8:13, 21). The verb translated “drawback” means “to shrink in fear.” The persecution would be that which is feared in this case.”[1]

Conclusion:  Is the Protestant Reformation over?
1. Not in the sense that there is agreement between Protestants and Roman Catholic teaching about salvation by grace through faith and not works.
·      There have been ecumenical talks between Protestant denominations the Roman Catholic church seeking to find common ground.
·      Individuals in the Roman Catholic church are being converted as they read the Bible.
·      However the Roman Catholic has not changed its teaching that human merit cooperates with faith.
·      Salvation is a free gift of imputed righteousness given in response to saving faith alone.
·      We have been freed from the hopelessness of keeping the law.  We have but to receive God’s free gift of salvation through faith.

“Free from the Law”
Philip Paul Bliss

Free from the law, O happy condition,
Jesus has bled and there is remission,
Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,
Grace hath redeemed us once for all.

Now we are free, there’s no condemnation,
Jesus provides a perfect salvation.
“Come unto Me,” O hear His sweet call,
Come, and He saves us once for all.

“Children of God,” O glorious calling,
Surely His grace will keep us from falling;
Passing from death to life at His call;
Blessed salvation once for all.

Once for all, O sinner, receive it,
Once for all, O brother, believe it;
Cling to the cross, the burden will fall,
Christ hath redeemed us once for all.

Have you left your feeble efforts to become acceptable to God?
Have you turned in faith to Christ for your salvation?
Believer, do you continue to live by faith in Christ?
Believer, let your faith in His promises sustain you through difficult times.

[1] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), Heb 10:38.