March 16, 2020
We read in Scripture that “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1. We also read that “Jesus is the author and founder and perfector of our faith” Hebrews 12:2. As children we sing songs that say: “faith is just believing what God said he will do, he will never fail us his promises are true”. We also read that a person is justified by faith – by faith alone.
One of the reformers – Philip Melanchthon puts it this way:
Why is it that justification is attributed to faith alone?…Since we are justified by the mercy of God alone, and faith is clearly the recognition of that mercy by whatever promise you apprehend it, justification is attributed to faith alone… Therefore, when justification is attributed to faith, it is attributed to the mercy of God; it is taken out of the realm of human efforts, works, and merits.
Faith is the means by which God justifies or declares righteous the sinner. It is by grace alone, in Christ alone through faith alone that we are saved.
1. Define in your own words what the concept of what “Justification” means? Can you think of a modern-day example of how justification works?
2. Please read Romans 3:19-26. What can the works of the law not do? What does it mean to be justified in the sight of God?
3. Why do these verses say that the “righteousness of God” has been manifested now? (v 21, you may also want to look at the key purpose statement of this book in Romans 1:16-17)
4. What are some modern-day traditions that we may insist upon that are required for salvation? (Think in broad religious terms) According to these verses why is it impossible for these traditions to save people? Why must the righteousness we need come from outside us?
5. Look at verses Romans 3:24-26 and list the four important facts about salvation that help us to understand the gospel. How would you communicate these truths to an unbelieving friend?
6. Why is it necessary for salvation that there should be a propitiatory sacrifice? (v 25) Why does the death of Jesus on the cross satisfy this need?
7. What role does faith play in our salvation? How would you reply to someone who says that faith is a work (that is, it’s something we do that merits salvation).
8. Please read Romans 3:27-31. Paul uses three questions to clarify his point. What are those questions and how do the answers affirm justification by faith alone? What role does the law play in the life of the believer?