JUSTIFIED BY FAITH OR BY WORKS?
Justification, Dikaiosis in Greek, is the act of God declaring men free from guilt and acceptable to him. Biblically, divine acquittal.
To be pronounced not guilty by God has always been the pursuit of religion. And, in order to achieve this, every major religion, except one, endorses the principle of works – good or bad action – to be justified on the divine scales of righteousness.
That said, this is one ubiquitous religious thinking which is deeply embedded in the human psyche, the thought, that we can get right with God with our works, that we can perform our way into God’s heart. And it is from this viewpoint the endless human saga of achieving good works to gradually earn enough brownie points with God springs from.
WORKING UP OUR WAY TO HEAVEN
Such is the self-bloating nature of this fallacy (justification by works) that even Christians are not immune, especially when the Bible cries aloud that it is by grace (favor) through faith that we are saved and not be works (good actions). That righteousness is not earned but imputed (transferred) by the atoning sacrifice of Christ. That once we are saved after knowing, repenting, trusting and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, God does not look at us the way we are, for He then only looks at us through the righteousness of Christ, and that we do nothing to have all of the goodness of Christ credited to our rotten negative balance sheets.This is the gospel, the good news: God Justifieth the Ungodly.
That said, we must understand that “works” is not the cause of salvation but the evidence of salvation, for once we are saved, God himself starts working in us both to choose and to perform. God, we must remember, is the cause behind our good actions, and that we left to ourselves are incapable of any good.
GOD JUSTIFIETH THE UNGODLY
The Bible is the only piece of religious literature that can run the risk of being attacked for its extreme compassion towards the delinquent and the base elements of society. For which other God, if there by Gods, has dared to make a statement such as this one, Rom 4:5, But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
The above verse in the Bible categorically and emphatically presents faith as the essence of righteousness through which the ungodly elements of society-whether they be murderers or drug addicts can get into right walking with God. But with a verse such as this make no mistake in terms of interpreting the Bible as being soft on sin, it has never been and that is not the point that the Bible tries to make here. The text is proof of God’s acceptance of humanity, no matter what their sins be, that He, God, is forever embracing the sinner in his or her depravity.
Vinod Joy, March 14, 2013.