Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 4 months ago

Jesus on Justification

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Christian McArthur

Being sacrifice where a lamb would beslain on the altar to propitiate or a tone for the sins of the people, and this man is looking from a distanceat this sacrifice and he's calling for God to provide the only means for himto be considered righteous, a sacrifice, that's totally outside ofhimself something from God that would atone forhis sins. And with this this contrast between thePHARISEE and the Publican gets a lot more interesting. You see a Pharisee who turns to his ownlaw, keeping his own good works, his own spotlessreputation to find right standing before God. Where is this publican points to asacrifice on his behalf...

...that might give him right standingbefore God, he looks to a righteousness that iscompletely outside of himself as Luther called it an alien righteousness, and it is this propitiation. I wouldargue that is the main character of the parable and, as we know as we continue readingthe Gospels, the propitiation is the narrator himself Jesus, as we know that these temple sacrificesare ultimately pointing forward to the once for all propitiation. For our sins,the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for US forgiveness to all who would trust inhim in faith all who would turn from their obviousand blatant sins, but also from the...

...insidious sin of resting in our owngood deeds to repent of Sin and self righteousnessand turn and faith to Jesus. The sacrificial lamb come to take away thesins of the world. It would seem here that the idea of justification by faithis not an invention of Paul and Romans. Is it it's Taut right here in the gospels, Jesus teaching it to us that saving righteousness justificationmust come from outside of us. It must be given to us something that the sinner in this storyunderstands, but the righteous man does it well. We are good Protestants hereright. We understand this idea of justification by faith.

We agree with Luther who said that itwas the article on which the Church stands or false. We say Menta Calvin, who says that it'sthe principal article of the Christian religion. This is important, really important.The doctrine that says we are made righteous not by our own works but byChrist, work on our behalf granted to us by faith alone. We say yes and amen to this, but let meask you this this morning, so little thought experiment. Let's say this: Publican came back to the temple the next week. Seven days later and had not changedanything about his behavior. He continues to defraud the same people. He continues in the same wretchedprofession...

...and he comes back with the samerepentance, beating the same sinful chest askingfor God to make up for the sins that he seems, unwilling or unable to mortifyall the while we are doing our darn dust to live a holy life and let's say Jesus continues to sendthis man away justified. Well, that's troubling! Isn't it that doesn't feel right now before you start sending emails topastor about this, I'm not suggesting that that's how we act, I'm notsuggesting that we should neglect the pursuit of a holy life. I'm notsuggesting that good works aren't really evidence of saving faith. Thesethings are true, but the truth of the matter is...

...we like the Pharisee, even maybe not as blatantly like to come to God each week with an improved report card, and we sooften do this by comparing our card to those around us. Those who can't seemto get it together. You know the ones, the ones who aren't as good at parentink, the ones who are impatient and theirrelationships, the ones who make impulsive decisions. We like to justify ourselves bypointing at them and saying what I'm glad I am not like them, and we doit constantly, and I would argue that indoing that, we show our own need to justify ourselves by our own actions.

Perhaps we don't pray it out loud, butwe think to ourselves. Thank you, God that I am not like them and in doing so, we prove to ourselvesand others that we trust, at least to some degree, are and our own semblanceof righteousness. But if we're honest with ourselves, we too return week after week with thesame old sin. The same old selfishness that plaguesare decisions, the same old impatience that casts ashadow over our relationships, the same lustful, thoughts and actionsthat we try so hard to cover up, but we try hard, don't we and by trusting in any level of our ownrighteousness by comparing ourselves to...

...others. We run into the warning at the end ofthe passage that he who exalts himself, who sees himself as righteous, will behumbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted. As we conclude, I want want to considersomething for a moment like like. I said this passage, isn't, firstly aboutpride and humility, but as we see it certainly connected,isn't it it's, firstly about righteousness andhow one is justified before a holy God, but in teaching us about righteousness.Jesus gives us everything we need to be humble, and he does it by telling us what itlooks like to be a Christian one who is saved and justified by faith.

Jesus shows us here that a modelChristian is not necessarily one who appears righteous, but one who is so needy that he or she continually falls on therighteousness of Christ on their behalf. We often have in our heads the idea ofwhat a perfect church goer looks like it probably looks a lot like thePharisee, but Jesus turns it on its head and saysyou know what a model citizen of my kingdom looks like. It looks like one who is well awarethat they have nothing to contribute to their salvation, except for the sinthat makes it necessary. One Who shows up with need overcontribution, and that is who we are. Isn't it. Thosewho come with need need for a...

...righteousness outside of ourselves, andthis morning Christ comes to us who are humbled this day to people who have nothing to hand overhim, except for our unrighteousness, and he offers righteousness his own. He offers a propitiation a covering ofour sins. He offers to turn away the wrath of the father and grant us hisown righteousness, as first John tells us. If we say wehave no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us, but if weconfess our sins, he is what faithful and just to forgive us oursins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And how does this work because Jesus Christ, the righteous, isthe propitiation for our sins, as John will say not only for ours but the sins of thewhole world.

Jesus is the atoning sacrifice and theAlien Righteousness that we need that righteousness that comes to us from theoutside. That sacrifice. That is sufficient to cover those besettingsins that we try to hide and also sufficient to atone for every attemptat self righteousness that stands between us and the grace of God freelygiven to us in his son Jesus Christ. He who knew no sin became sin for usthat we might become the righteousness of God that we might be declaredrighteous declared justified. Oh, what glorious news that is for sinners, like you and me, desperatefor something completely outside of ourselves. So this morning, in light ofthis, let us set aside in the attempt...

...of self righteousness. That would causeus to show contempt to others who sin differently than we do. Let us draw near together, sinners inneed of grace and let us with common need hold tothis Common Confession: Christ and Him Crucified for you andfor me, let's pray together.

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