The Glory Has Departed

Lutheran book boxes sent to three African seminaries -
a third one has been sent now.

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream - Sunday, 10 AM Central Daylight Time.
April 11th - First Greek Romans Lesson 7 PM CDT

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

which works as too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

WELS Had a Program of Sending Around This UOJ Material - Norman F. Burger, Jr.
Wayne Mueller Book To Be Reviewed Soon

The training material seems to hide the real UOJ agenda,
spelled out above.
Judge for yourselves.
The book is still in print.

The owner of the packet is allowed to reproduce the material on the disk. I own it, so here it is for you to learn -

How God Forgives
A Bible Study Course for Adults
Norman F. Burger Jr.

•  Lesson One—What Do We Mean by Justification?
•  Lesson Two—Why Do We Need to Be Justified?
•  Lesson Three—What Moves God to Justify Us?
•  Lesson Four—Whom Does God Justify?
•  Lesson Five—Who Benefits from Justification?
•  Lesson Six—How Long Does It Take to Be Justified?
•  Lesson Seven—What Is the Connection between Justification and Sanctification?
•  Lesson Eight—What Is the Current and Final Status of the Justified?
All rights reserved.
Purchase by a congregation: Purchase of these student copy masters by a congregation gives Bible study leaders of that congregation permission to adapt and copy this material for use in one or more groups within that congregation. (Dual parishes may purchase one copy for use in both congregations.)
Purchase by a pastor or other Bible study leader: Purchase of these student copy masters by an individual gives the buyer permission to adapt and copy this material for Bible classes he or she teaches or supervises.
Northwestern Publishing House
1250 N. 113th St., Milwaukee, WI 53226-3284
© 2004 by Northwestern Publishing House
Published 2004
Printed in the United States of America

Lesson One
What Do We Mean by Justification?
(Justification, pages 7-20)
     1.    To correctly understand the Bible term justification.
     2.    To review what the Bible teaches about justification.
     3.    To renew our joy and peace in the knowledge that we are justified before God.
     4.    To better appreciate the blessing of faithful preaching and teaching about justification.
     Evaluate the following statements about how God forgives. Have you heard them before? Do you think they express what Scripture teaches?
            1.    God forgives us if we try to do what’s right; but if we don’t try, he doesn’t forgive.
            2.    God forgives those who make amends for the sinful things they have done.
            3.    God forgives everybody because he is too kind to punish anyone.
            4.    God forgives good people.
            5.    God forgives us all because there is a little bit of God’s goodness in all of us.
            6.    God forgives all sins except ones that are purely evil and destructive.
            7.    God forgives those who believe in him.
            8.    God forgives Christian people.
            9.    God forgives anyone of any sin if that person first asks for forgiveness.
     What is generally lacking or unclear in those statements about how God forgives?
     Jot down a clear statement of exactly how God forgives.
What does the term justification mean?
     Justification is a legal term. The apostle Paul borrowed it from language used in a court of law. The Greek verb meaning “to justify” refers to the action a judge takes when he renders a verdict of “not guilty” for someone charged with a crime. Let’s see what this term means in our relationship with God.
     Imagine that there is a courtroom in heaven. Identify the characters in this courtroom and their roles.
     ________ are the accused. The charges are ____________________________________.
     The great judge is ________________. His judgments are always ____________ and ____________.
     The prosecuting attorney who lays out the case against us and argues for punishment is ______________. The evidence against us are our _____________________________ ____________________.
     Our defense attorney is _________________. His argument for a “not guilty” verdict is based on two facts: 1) Jesus Christ ____________________________________________  for all, and 2) Jesus Christ ______________________________________________ for all.
     The case is closed when the great judge justifies, or declares the accused _______________. He states that his ruling rests solely on _______________________ and not on ____________________________________________.
Galatians 2:16 [We] know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.
             •    Compare Paul’s words in the above passage with the definition of justification in the courtroom scene above.
     Many churches mistakenly teach and many people mistakenly believe that God’s statement of justification is medicinal rather than legal. By medicinal we mean that God gives us power to overcome sin in our lives and become better people.
     What is the difference between viewing justification as a medicine that God prescribes to fix our condition and viewing justification as God’s legal ruling about our status before him? Which definition makes you sure of your salvation?
We need to be justified because we need to be righteous
     God created Adam and Eve in his own image (Genesis 1:27). The image of God is righteousness, holiness, and sinlessness. God intended for Adam and Eve and all mankind to live with him forever in that state. Sadly, Adam and Eve sinned against God and lost the image of God. Read about this tragedy in Genesis 3:6-13.
Genesis 3:6-13 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
             •    Make a list of the ways the loss of the image of God harmed Adam and Eve’s relationship with God.
             •    Discuss how we, their unrighteous descendants, have the same problems in our relationship with God.
Romans 3:10-12 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
Romans 3:19,20 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
             •    Follow Paul’s logic in these passages as he talks about the problem caused by our lack of righteousness. Fill in the blanks in the following paragraph:
     The way to be righteous in God’s eyes cannot be through                                 God’s law. That’s because our holy God demands                                                   in his law, and we are                        . So the only thing God’s law can do for us is reveal our                      !
     Evaluate the following statements in light of the problem we have been talking about.
            1.    “I know that Aunt Jane is in heaven. She was so good to me. And she went to church every Sunday.”
            2.    “I heard that a serial killer and rapist supposedly repented and believed in Jesus before he was executed. Well, I don’t want to be in heaven if a guy like that is going to be there!”
How we get the righteousness we need
Romans 3:21-24 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
             •    Fill in the blanks to describe how we gain the righteousness God wants.
     God, who is merciful, has always wanted to rescue us from our sin and the alienation that resulted from our sin. He revealed through his prophets living in the                                   _era that God would provide the                                                            we lack. This would come through                                              and be received by people through faith. This righteousness would enable God to                          us by an act of his                           or undeserved love for sinners.
The blessings of justification
Romans 5:9,10 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
             •    What does Paul say about the present reality and the future certainty we have as people who “have now been justified”?
       Your friend, who is not a Christian, asks you why you are a Christian. How would you describe the blessings of justification to your friend?
Romans 1:16,17 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
             •    What term does Paul use in this verse to describe the message of justification?
       Share some bad news you are coping with right now and how the good news of justification encourages you.
You can be sure about justification
Romans 4:25 He was delivered over to death for [because of] our sins and was raised to life for [because of] our justification.
             •    In Romans 4:25 Paul connects Jesus’ resurrection with our justification. In what ways does Jesus’ resurrection prove and validate our justification?
During the week
1.  Review pages 13 and 14 of Justification for why we believe that people who lived before Christ were saved through faith in Christ.
2.  Read Hebrews chapter 11. How many references can you find to the salvation of Old Testament believers through faith in the promised Savior?
3.  Reread the introduction of Justification, pages 7-9. For what are you prompted to pray as you read these pages?
4.  How is your perception of your church and synod heightened when you consider the gift of clear preaching and teaching of the doctrine of justification?
5.  How does this blessing positively impact your outlook on reaching out to the lost in the community or the world, in person and through your church?
6.  Read Justification pages 22-32.

Lesson Two
Why Do We Need to Be Justified?
(Justification, pages 22-32)
1.  To be reminded of our inability to justify ourselves.
2.  To be reassured that justification has been accomplished by Jesus Christ alone.
3.  To renew us in repentance and faith in Jesus.
4.  To help us share with others their need for salvation and the gift of salvation that is theirs in Christ.
     David Briggs of the Associated Press wrote an article in 1995 titled, “Scholars: Sin Isn’t What It Used to Be.” The article quoted theologians who bemoaned the fact that traditional, biblical beliefs about sin have fallen by the wayside in many churches and in our culture as a whole.
            1.    Have you observed an erosion of scriptural teachings about sin? Explain.
            2.    Why do you think this has happened?
            3.    Has the trend to downplay sin affected your own perspective toward sin?
            4.    Why is this a very serious problem?
The wrong way to be justified
     “We live in a world of justification—not God’s kind, but man’s kind” (Justification, page 23). We see this tendency already in the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve attempted to justify themselves after they sinned. How they responded gives us insight into how the sinful heart always seeks to justify itself.
Seeking to justify sinful actions by rationalizing them away
Genesis 3:1-6 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
             •    God told Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:29: “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.” There was only one exception: “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17).
                  In what ways did the devil contradict God?
             •    List some reasons why Adam and Eve should have rejected what the serpent said and trusted what God had said.
Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
             •    Eve sinned already when she reasoned that eating the fruit wouldn’t be so wrong. Consider each of the three reasons why she ate the fruit. In what sense were these reasons logical? In what sense were they not?
     List some ways we attempt to rationalize our sins. Then point out the flaws in our reasoning.
     For personal contemplation: What sins have I been attempting to rationalize?
Seeking to justify ourselves by denying our sin
Genesis 3:7-10 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
                 •      How did Adam and Eve show that they were not willing to face up to the reality of their sins?
        The sinful human heart denies that actions God calls sinful really are sinful. Can you think of specific sins that are widely accepted as right?
Ecclesiastes 9:3 The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
                 •      Why shouldn’t I trust my thinking when I disagree with what God says about the morality of my actions?
                 •     These passages teach “original (or inherent) sin,” namely, that we are by nature sinful people, unable to be holy, and oriented toward evil in our thoughts and desires. David revealed how original sin is passed on from parent to child: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5) This teaching, however, is denied by many today.—What would you say is behind the widespread denial of the biblical doctrine of original sin?
     For personal contemplation: Have I been “in denial” about any sin in my life?
Seeking to justify ourselves by blaming others
Genesis 3:11-13 And he [God] said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
                 •      Whom did Adam blame for his sin? Whom did Eve blame?
       Give examples of how blaming others and claiming to be victims (even when we are the perpetrators of wrong) have become commonplace in our culture.
     How does shifting blame instead of repenting of it affect . . .
                  . . . our relationship with God?
                  . . . our efforts at living a life that honors God?
                  . . . our congregation’s harmony and effectiveness?
                  . . . our marriages and families?
     For personal contemplation: What sins of my own have I been blaming on others?
Seeking to justify ourselves by comparing ourselves with others
     Can you remember a time when you justified yourself by comparing yourself with a “greater sinner”?
Matthew 5:48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
James 2:10 Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
             •    How do these passages destroy any idea that some people are better than others and therefore closer to God or more deserving of heaven? How does it destroy any temptation to compare ourselves with others?
     For personal contemplation: In what situations do I compare myself to others in order to feel better about my own guilt?
The one and only right way to be justified
2 Timothy 2:25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.
             •    Paul encourages Timothy to instruct people in God’s Word so they may be led to repentance. We have reviewed what God teaches about our inability to justify ourselves. How does that lead us to repentance?
Romans 3:23-25 All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.
             •    What truth about salvation does God ultimately want us to believe? How do the underlined words of the passage underscore the fact that salvation has nothing to do with us?
     Our lesson reminds us that before we tell a friend about what Jesus has done for them, we should make sure they understand something about themselves. What is that? How would you talk about that issue?
     Why it is necessary for us Christians to keep reminding ourselves that we cannot secure a relationship with God or gain heaven by anything we are or do?
     Why is dealing with our sin by repentance and faith in Jesus wonderfully liberating?
During the week
1.  Read Luke 18:9-14, the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. Do you see yourself in the self-righteous Pharisee? Do you see yourself in the self-loathing tax collector? How does this parable condemn you? How does this parable comfort you?
2.  Think about what we say about ourselves when we confess our sins in the Lutheran liturgy. What would you say to a friend visiting church with you who comments, “Wow! That confession of sins is awfully negative!”
3.  Without a proper understanding of the doctrine of original sin and human depravity, it is impossible to correctly understand justification through Christ alone. But most people have a hard time believing how sinful and unworthy mankind really is before a holy God. And yet, only the biblical doctrine of original sin explains human behavior. Consider, for example, how easy it is to think, say, and do what is wrong, and how difficult it is to think, say, and do what is right. Reflect on what our children are like by nature. Don’t they primarily display selfishness? Our children cheat, manipulate, and lie, without ever being taught to do those things.
4. How can these facts be useful in explaining the need for justification to an unbelieving friend?
5.  Read Justification pages 34-47.

Lesson Three
What Moves God to Justify Us?
(Justification, pages 34-47)
1.  To clearly understand that both God’s love and God’s holiness worked together for our salvation.
2.  To grow in our appreciation of Christ’s active and passive obedience as the indispensable elements of our salvation.
3.  To strengthen our conviction in the fact of justification through Christ alone.
4.  To grow in love for a Savior who was so willing to sacrifice so much for us.
     “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made” (Psalm 145:17).
     God is holy and God is loving—at the same time. However, if he is loving, why does he let injustices happen? And if he is just, how can he be loving? Doesn’t his holiness and justice mean he is required to punish our sins?
     The fact that God is both absolute love and absolute holiness is hard to conceive, but it is also very comforting. In this lesson we will explore that thought.
God is both holy and loving
Leviticus 19:2 “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.’”
Matthew 22:35-40 One of them [the Pharisees], an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Isaiah 13:11 I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.
Psalm 49:7-9 No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him—the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—that he should live on forever and not see decay.
             •      The fact that God is holy and loving is not always comforting. What do the previous passages say about the implications of God’s love and holiness for you and me?
             •    The word redeem means to pay the price that sets someone else free. What does God say about our ability to redeem ourselves or anyone else? Why?
     Identify some common religious beliefs that reflect the grave misunderstanding that humans are able to redeem themselves and others.
     What false idea about God’s expectations is behind every one of those beliefs?
How God’s holiness and love provided salvation
     Because God is holy and loving, he demands that we, his creatures, live holy lives of love. In that sense, God’s essence as a holy and loving God condemns us because we are unholy and unloving by nature. Yet it was God’s very love and holiness that worked together to save us.
1 John 4:9,10 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
             •    How did God show his love in winning our salvation?
Philippians 3:9 [I may] be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
Galatians 3:10,13 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
             •    How did God show his holiness when he worked out our salvation?
Hebrews 2:14-17 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.  For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
             •    Why was it necessary for the Savior to be both divine and human if he was going to achieve our salvation?
     If you were the devil, and your goal was to keep people from a proper understanding of justification, why would you attack the doctrine of the deity of Jesus?
     What evidence do you see that the devil has been successful?
Justification: a matter of obedience
     If we are condemned because we are disobedient to God, it makes sense that obedience should be the key to our salvation. The apostle Paul tells us that Jesus’ work as our Savior was obedience. We can understand this obedience in the sense of both a “passive obedience” and an “active obedience.”
Jesus’ passive obedience: He obeyed his Father by suffering the punishment we deserve.
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
Philippians 2:8 Being found in appearance as a man, he [Christ Jesus] humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Hebrews 10:10 By that will [the will of the Father], we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
             •    According to these verses, what was Jesus’ passive obedience?
             •    What is the result of Jesus’ passive obedience for you and me?
Jesus’ active obedience: As a human being, Jesus lived under God’s demand that we, God’s creatures, be holy.
Galatians 4:4,5 When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
             •    Under what obligation was Jesus born? For what purpose was Jesus born?
Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
             •    How did Jesus himself define his God-given mission on earth?
Hebrews 4:15 We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
             •    How well did Jesus fulfill his mission?
Romans 5:18 Just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.
             •    What is the result of Jesus’ active obedience for you and me?
     We should treasure the Lutheran church’s teaching of Jesus’ active obedience. We should not take for granted that every moment that Jesus lived on earth, everything he said and did and even thought, was for us—so that we could have the righteousness we need to be justified before God.
Justification by Christ alone
     Why does the doctrine of justification for the sake of Christ alone make you committed to believing it, professing it, and sharing it?
     Why does believing and professing the truth of justification by Christ alone often make us targets of ridicule?
During the week
1.  Read Luke chapters 2, 22, and 23. Make a list of the ways Jesus actively obeyed the Father. Also make a list of the ways Jesus passively obeyed the Father.
2.  Thank God for the comfort of Jesus’ active and passive obedience. Thank God that you did not have to rely on your own works.
3.  Spend some time contemplating the greatness of God’s love as you consider how the Son of God allowed himself to become a tiny fetus, to experience the indignity of entering the world as any human child does and living in dependence on his mother for food and clothing. Think of what it must have been like for him to face peer pressure and to be unjustly accused, betrayed, tortured, ridiculed, crucified, and punished for sins he did not commit.
          4.      Read pages 48-55 of Justification.
Lesson Four
Whom Does God Justify?
(Justification, pages 48-55)
1.  To see the clear scriptural basis for the doctrine of the objective justification of all people.
2.  To see the flaws of false teaching that seeks to limit Christ’s atoning work to less than all people.
3.  To grow in our certainty that we are justified since God has justified all people through Christ.
4.  To be inspired to bring to the whole world the good news that God reconciled the whole world.
Ezekiel 18:32 I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!
1 Timothy 2:4 [God] wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
             •    How are God’s sentiments toward sinners comforting to you?
             •    Why are those passages, standing alone, limited in the comfort they offer?
     In this lesson we will be reminded that God has given us unlimited comfort by providing salvation for all people. We will discuss how God has justified the whole world for all time through his Son, Jesus Christ.
Whom does God justify?
2 Corinthians 5:18,19 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
1 John 2:2 He [Christ Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
             •    What did God’s desire to save fallen mankind lead him to do?
     Lutheran teachers often call God’s declaration of righteousness for all people objective justification. This means that God’s Easter declaration of righteousness is an accomplished fact for all people. Justification is a historical reality, independent of whether people believe it or not. The ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the proclamation of objective justification to the world. (See Justification, page 50.)
The false teachings of predestination to hell and limited atonement
     Satan has been at work undermining objective justification.
Ephesians 1:5 [God] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.
             •    For what purpose did God predestine us?
Romans 8:30 Those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
             •    Predestination is the first step in God’s plan of action for us. What did he do next?
John 15:19 “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
2 Thessalonians 2:13 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
             •    What does God say about how we came to be saved and to belong to him?
     Some churches teach that, since the Bible says God predestined some to come to faith and enjoy salvation, God must have predestined others not to believe and therefore not to be saved. The problem with that teaching is that it is based on a logical assumption and not on the Bible.
     Nowhere does the Bible teach that God has predestined some to hell. In fact, the Bible tells us that God “is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) The Bible consistently teaches that those who go to hell face that destiny because of their rejection of God, not because God predestined them to that fate. Jesus made that fact clear in Matthew 23:37,38 when he spoke about the hard-hearted inhabitants of Jerusalem: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate.”
     Those who teach predestination to heaven and to hell invariably believe that Jesus died only for the elect. This is called the false teaching of limited atonement. This teaching states that in eternity God determined by his foreknowledge who would believe and that he sent Jesus to atone only for the sins of those who would believe in him. This false teaching is yet another attempt to make the doctrine of predestination acceptable to human reason. Take another look at 1 John 2:2 and 2 Corinthians 5:18,19 in the previous section, “Whom Does God Justify?”
     Does God’s clear Word teach a limited atonement?
     These errors distort the clear word of Scripture. How do they distort the character of . . .
                  . . . God?
                  . . . the gospel?
                  . . . faith?
                  . . . motivation for living a God-pleasing life?
     Discuss the following situations:
(i)                 1.   Terrence is a Christian, but lately he has been wondering if he really is a Christian. He often does not feel great about being a Christian. He often struggles with doubts. He can do some pretty awful things, even when he tries hard not to do them. He is starting to wonder whether he is a believer anymore and whether he is truly saved. Terrence goes to his pastor and tells him what is bothering him.
                  What would you say to him if you were a pastor who does not believe that all people are justified by Christ?
                        What would you tell him if you were a pastor who believes in objective justification?
(i)                 2.   Andy works with you, and he is not a Christian. One day the conversation turns to religion. You ask, “Andy, have you ever thought about what is going to happen to you when you die?” Andy lowers his head and tears well up in his eyes as he mutters, “Well, I know I won’t be going to heaven.” You object, “Andy, it doesn’t have to be that way.” But he replies, “Listen—you don’t know some of the things I’ve done in my life.”
                  What would you say to Andy as someone who believes the Bible’s doctrine of objective justification?
                  What is at stake in believing or not believing the doctrine of objective justification?
During the week
1.  Read Romans 5:12-19. How does this chapter, contrary to the arguments of some who claim that it teaches a limited atonement, teach the objective justification of all people? You may also wish to reread pages 53-55 of Justification.
2.  Use your Bible concordance to look up the words all, world, mankind, men, or man to find further passages that teach objective justification. See how consistently this doctrine is taught in Scripture. (Note: The word man in these passages could have been translated as “people” for that is what it means in the Greek.)
          3.      Read pages 56-67 in Justification.
Lesson Five
Who Benefits from Justification?
(Justification, pages 56-67)
1.  To properly understand that faith is essentially trust in Christ’s work for our salvation.
2.  To better appreciate saving faith as a gift of God that receives the benefits of Christ’s finished work.
3.  To be able to identify and reject false teachings about the nature of saving faith.
     In the previous lesson, we reviewed how Scripture clearly teaches that God has objectively declared that all people are justified through Jesus Christ. We call this objective justification. When an individual sinner subjectively believes in Jesus and enjoys that justified status for himself, we call that subjective justification. These are not two different forms of justification. They are two ways of looking at the same thing.
     We can look at it like this way: Let’s say a dad buys tickets to the big college football game for everyone in the family. Dad could announce, “You’re going to the big game!” Objectively, that would be true. However, we may not subjectively, personally, have that ticket in our possession until the day of the game when dad gives it to us before we walk into the stadium.
     How does this little story help us understand the relationship between objective and subjective justification?
What is faith?
     How would you define faith? Jot down your personal understanding of what faith is.
Psalm 13:5a I trust in your unfailing love.
Romans 4:5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
1 John 4:16a So we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.
             •    Does your definition reflect what the previous passages say about faith?
             •    How does the biblical definition of faith destroy any idea that faith is a work we perform in order to be saved?
How does faith justify?
     Read each passage below and fill in the blank to determine precisely how faith does not justify.
Titus 3:4,5 When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
     Faith cannot be a good work on our part that is required for salvation because we are not saved by                                                  we do.
Romans 3:28 We maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.
Romans 4:5,6 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works.
     Faith stands in contrast to observing the                   , so faith cannot be a matter of obeying God’s command to “do our part” for salvation by believing.
     God justifies us while we are still morally                                 . Therefore, our lives prior to conversion to faith and even faith itself do not make us worthy of justification! Faith is identified here as                          in God and not as a                            of man.
    Consider the following quotations from Justification and respond to the accompanying questions.
            1.    “Our faith is not a condition that we have to meet in order to be forgiven” (page 61). Then what is faith?
            2.    “Our prayers for forgiveness do not cause God to forgive us” (page 61). Then what purpose do these prayers have?
            3.    “Faith does not bring about forgiveness” (page 61). Then what does it do?
            4.    “The benefit of faith is not the strength of our trust but the magnitude of God’s gift” (page 59). Why is this important to remember?
     Evaluate: “Faith does not justify us. . . . The object of faith—what we receive—justifies us.” (See Justification, page 59.)
Faith is the work of God
1 Corinthians 2:14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
             •    Why are all people incapable of coming to faith on their own?
1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:9,10 However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”—but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
Ephesians 2:8,9 It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
             •    How do we come to believe? Fill in the blank: Faith is not a human work, but a divine                           .
Romans 1:16,17 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
             •    Fill in the blank: The                              has the power in and of itself to provide salvation and work faith.
Beware of distorting the meaning of saving faith!
     Roman Catholic theology identifies justification as a process. Grace is defined as a power God gives us to enable us to do good works for our salvation. Faith is therefore understood to include not only trust in Christ’s merit but also works of love on our part.—How does this teaching undermine the proper understanding of justification and faith?
     Evangelicals define faith as a human choice or decision. Justification is not an accomplished fact; it is conditional; it depends on a person’s decision.—How do you see that reflected in the way Evangelicals talk about their salvation? How do you see that reflected in how they talk to unbelievers about salvation?
     Popular in our modern world is another false concept of saving faith. Newspapers, magazines, movies, and TV programs extol the virtues of personal faith. Almost always the focus is on the practice of faith or the genuineness or strength of a person’s faith. Little attention is given to the object of their faith.—What impression does that leave about faith? How is this impression harmful to the truth about saving faith?
     Saving faith is merely the hand that receives God’s gift of forgiveness.—In what ways is this a comfort to you?
During the week
1.  Review what the following passages teach us about what faith is and what it is not.
a)   Romans 4:5
      Faith is simple trust in Jesus, not trust in Jesus plus the desire to do good works. Illustration: Suppose you are on an airplane that is about to crash. The pilot informs you that there is only one parachute and that you will have to hold on to him as he jumps. Faith in Jesus is like grabbing onto that pilot with the chute. It is trust, pure and simple.
b)   1 Timothy 1:16
      Faith is essentially a receptor, not a personal ability. Illustration: Imaging you are walking down the street with a five-course, take-out dinner to celebrate a special occasion. You happen to pass a homeless beggar who has nothing. Feeling sorry for him, you give him the five-course meal. Would he tell his homeless friends that he took the meal from a man or that a man gave him the meal? Faith is like the hand of that beggar who receives the wonderful gift that God is extending to him. God the giver gets credit, not us.
c)   Ephesians 2:8,9
      The object of faith saves, not the quality of faith. Illustration: A man is walking across a frozen river. The farther he walks, the more he starts to doubt if the ice can hold him up. Instead of walking, he starts to crawl in fear. Just then he hears a loud noise and thinks the ice is cracking and breaking up. Instead, a large lumber wagon drawn by two draft horses rumbles past. The thickness of the ice is what mattered, not how much or how little that man believed in the ability of the ice to hold him.
d)   1 Corinthians 12:3
      Faith is a gift from God, not a human choice. Illustration: Dinner is made in the kitchen, but the kitchen does not make the dinner. There has to be a cook. Faith is produced in the human heart, but that doesn’t mean the human heart (or mind) gets credit for believing. The creator of faith is the Spirit; he gets the credit.
2.  Read John 14:1-4. How does Jesus assure us that our salvation is all about his work for us, not about our faith in him?
            3.         Read pages 68-74 of Justification.
Lesson Six
How Long Does It Take to Be Justified?
(Justification, pages 68-74)
1.  To be reminded that faith happens instantaneously and not gradually.
2.  To understand the dangers of viewing faith and/or salvation as a gradual process.
3.  To be aware that both weak and strong faith in Jesus is saving faith, since the object of faith justifies, not the quality of faith.
4.  To be inspired to desire a strong faith in Jesus in appreciation for the salvation Jesus alone provides.
     1.    What events led you to become a believer?
     2.    At what point did you become a believer?
     3.    Did faith come about instantly or gradually?
     In this lesson we will talk about how justification by faith occurs. We will see how the Bible clearly teaches that justification by faith is not a process but rather something that happens instantaneously. We will also discuss how important it is to understand this correctly.
Justification by faith happens instantaneously
John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
             •    How does Jesus teach that justification by faith happens instantaneously rather than through a process?
     Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
            1.    Some people come to faith immediately when they hear the gospel, while others take a while to believe.
            2.    The process of coming to faith may last for days, even years.
            3.    It is proper to say that a person starting to grow spiritually is between unbelief and faith.
            4.    A person will always know exactly when he or she became a believer.
There are variations between weak faith and strong faith
Matthew 8:5-10 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”
Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”
The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.”
Matthew 14:22-31 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
             •    Either we have faith or we do not have faith. There is no in-between point. But that does not mean that there are not variations between weak faith and strong faith. How do the above passages bear this out?
                 •      Try to describe what a weak faith is and what a strong faith is? What is the difference?
     Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
            1.    A stronger faith has a greater capacity to save than weak faith.
            2.    A strong faith is better than a weak faith.
            3.    The problem with a weak faith is that it does not fully claim the benefits of justification.
            4.    The problem with a weak faith is that it stands in greater peril of being lost than a strong faith.
            5.    There may be times in a person’s life when faith is dormant.
            6.    There’s a problem with saying, “My faith is strong enough.”
Mark 9:17-24 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
“O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
             •    What does this passage say about how we should look at our own faith?
The problems with viewing faith or salvation as a gradual process
     Major problems develop when people think justification and salvation happen gradually rather than instantaneously. The teaching that justification and salvation are gradual is central to the Catholic Church’s teachings on penance, indulgences, and purgatory.—Explain.
     What is the danger of these teachings?
     Some churches teach that there are “Spirit baptized” believers and mere “water baptized” believers.—What is the danger of this?
     Why is the belief that we can be healed of illnesses if we just have enough faith or strong enough faith just another form of gradualism? What danger is inherent in that belief?
     How does the belief in gradual justification distort the gospel? faith? the purpose of a Christian life?
Solid comfort for the flawed Christian with a flawed faith
     How do the following thoughts burden us?
            a)    “My faith should be stronger.”
            b)   “If I was really dedicated to God, I’d be a lot better person.”
            c)    “I need to do a better job of living as a child of God.”
Romans 5:1,2 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
             •    What makes us doubt that we are loved, saved, and forgiven?
             •    What is God’s answer to this?
Matthew 12:20 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory.
             •    When you feel that your faith is flawed, what comfort can you draw from these words of Jesus?
Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
             •    What blessing from justification by faith does Paul identify in Galatians 5:1?
During the week
1.  Read Luke 23:32-43 and answer the following questions:
a)   What do you know about the two men crucified with Jesus? (verse 32; see also Matthew 27:44)
b)   What factors played into the one criminal’s change of heart? Consider what he must have been feeling and thinking as he faced death and what he saw and experienced as he hung next to Jesus.
c)   How do you know that the one criminal came to faith in Jesus?
d)   Although his faith was not mature in terms of experience or knowledge, of what did Jesus assure him?
e)   What comfort do you receive from this account? Does it remind you of how you came to faith?
2.  Read Matthew 6:24. What scares you about Jesus’ assertion that we can have only one lord? What things are you tempted to trust more than God? Does your struggle to trust and rely on God alone mean that you lack “true faith”? How do you deal with weaknesses in your faith? How does the section entitled “Full Forgiveness” (Justification, pages 70,71) help answer that question?
          3.      Read pages 76-98 of Justification.
Lesson Seven
What Is the Connection between Justification and Sanctification?
(Justification, pages 76-98)
1.  To properly distinguish between justification and sanctification.
2.  To grow in our awareness that sanctification involves conflict between the old self and the new self.
3.  To be convinced of the blessings of growing in our lives of sanctification.
4.  To desire to live a life of sanctification in gratitude for the gift of justification.
     As we have seen, God has clearly revealed in Holy Scripture that justification is complete, a gift from God through Jesus Christ apart from works. It is received by faith, which is also a gift from God and not a human work.
     Would it be appropriate then to say, “Good works are not necessary?” Why or why not?
     At the moment we are justified by faith, God begins another work within us. This work is called sanctification. It refers to the desire and ability God produces within us to do good works. Sanctified means “to be set apart.” It is important to see ourselves not only as “justified” people (“declared not guilty of sin” by God) but also as “sanctified” people (“set apart” for service to God).
A key distinction between justification and sanctification
Hebrews 10:14 By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
             •    In Hebrews 10:14, which of the underlined phrases refers to justification and which refers to sanctification? Why?
     What can happen if we think that justification is a process instead of a completed act or that sanctification can become complete in this life?
A “new self” was created when we were justified by faith
Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
             •    When the Holy Spirit leads us to trust in God’s justifying love, he creates in us a “new self.” Describe the nature and purpose of the new self.
     Some argue that the Lutheran emphasis on justification provides an excuse for sinful living, reflected in sentiments like this: “I’m already completely forgiven of my sins so it doesn’t matter all that much how I live.” How do you respond to that argument?
Romans 6:11-14 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
Ephesians 5:1,2 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Colossians 3:17 Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
             •    How do these passages further express the link between justification and sanctification?
     How do the following statements reveal the presence of the new self? (Hint: Consider why an unbeliever would have a hard time making these statements or accepting them.) If there is time, strike a contrast by asking the class to think of when they thought the opposite.
            1.    Since I became a Christian, I feel like I actually have a choice about how to live my life.
            2.    Whatever good I’ve done in my life, I credit to God.
            3.    It’s wonderful to know that God’s plan for the world included using me to reveal his love to others and to glorify him with my life.
         4.   I devote quite a bit of my time to the church’s ministry. I enjoy it as much as anything I do.
            5.    Believe me, living a Christian life isn’t easy. But it is worth the effort!
Sanctification is a struggle
Galatians 5:17 The sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
Romans 7:18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
             •    According to Paul, why do we struggle to live sanctified lives?
             •    What did Paul say about his personal struggle to live a sanctified life?
     Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
            1.    There are certain times when living a Christian life will really be a struggle.
            2.    When a Christian is struggling to live a sanctified life, it helps to be reminded that every Christian struggles and even fails in this endeavor.
            3.    The goal of my Christian life is to overcome my old self with my new self.
            4.    We should avoid setting too high a standard for our Christian lives or we will set ourselves up for failure and despair.
Growth in sanctification
1 Thessalonians 4:1 Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.
             •    What did the apostle Paul encourage the Thessalonian believers to do?
     List three reasons why growing in a life of sanctification is important to you.
     List three reasons why making little effort to grow in a life of sanctification is a problem.
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?
             •    It is not complimentary for an adult to be called a “baby.” What did Paul mean when he called the Corinthian believers “mere infants in Christ”?
             •    How had they earned that label?
            •   How did their spiritual immaturity affect what Paul could do for them as a teacher of God’s Word?
     Let’s say it is New Year’s Day. What would you include in a list of personal or family spiritual growth resolutions?
     What goals will a church establish for its ministry if it is committed to the biblical principle that growth in the Word is a lifelong endeavor for a Christian?
     Do you agree or disagree with these statements?
         1.   Growth in sanctification is reflected in a growing confidence that we are becoming less sinful.
            2.    As we mature spiritually, we place less and less confidence in ourselves and rely more and more on God.
            3.    The Holy Spirit equips us to fight the battle of sanctification with the same means he uses to bring us to faith: the gospel in Word and sacrament.
            4.    Satisfaction with one’s current level of sanctification is the sign of a weak faith.
The importance of sanctification as a witness
John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
1 John 2:3 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.
             •    Holy Scripture teaches that God wants our lives of sanctification to be testimonies. What statements do our sanctified lives make?
James 2:14-17 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
             •    Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? “Downplaying James’ words in order to protect the doctrine of justification by faith is actually harmful.”
     To properly understand what James is saying, it is important to understand the problem James was fighting. People were using the truth of justification (free and full forgiveness) as an excuse not to pursue God-pleasing living.
     In James 2:24, therefore, James is talking about justification by works in terms of demonstrating the faith that is in one’s heart to others, even to God, and not in terms of earning salvation. He is also contrasting a living faith (which justifies) with a dead faith (which is no faith at all and does not justify).
During the week
1.  Read John 15:1-8.
a)   What picture does Jesus use to express the same idea James did?
b)   Six times in these eight verses Jesus tells us to remain in him. What does that mean?
c)   Why does Jesus want us to bear much fruit?
d)   Pruning is the removal of unnecessary branches from a tree. What kind of pruning does God do in our lives to make us more fruitful?
e)   What are the consequences of remaining in Jesus? of not remaining in Jesus?
Read pages 100-123 of Justification.

2.                Lesson Eight
What Is the Current and Final Status of the Justified?
(Justification, pages 100-123)
1.  To properly understand our current status as those who are justified.
2.  To appreciate what it means to live on earth as God’s justified people.
3.  To look forward with greater joy and confidence to life in heaven.
4.  To grow in our desire to serve God and others to his glory until he takes us to heaven.
    1.   The devil’s chief ploy to undermine our Christian faith is to accuse us of our sins. _             Explain.
    2.   Why is Satan’s accusation such a potentially destructive weapon in his hand?
    3.   What are some fruitless ways people try to deal with the devil’s accusations?
Our defense against the devil’s accusations
     For our comfort, the inspired writers of Holy Scripture employ many comforting word pictures to defend us against the devil’s accusations that we are unworthy. These word pictures assure us that, contrary to what the devil wants us to believe, we are indeed loved and forgiven, and that the status we enjoy before God is that of justified people.
God calls us saints
     The word saint literally means “one who is set apart.” The Greek word for saint is related to the Greek word for sanctify and the Greek word for holy, which also mean “set apart.” The Holy Spirit moved Paul to use the word saints when referring to the members of the churches to whom he wrote. What a comfort to hear Paul labeling as saints people who still sin!
Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons . . .
Romans 1:7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
             •    Why are the members of God’s church called saints?
    How is a biblical understanding of your status as a saint a strong defense against the devil’s accusations?
    Some unchurched people complain that church members act “holier than thou.” Some unchurched people assume that the church is a place only for “holy” people. The devil wants to use that perception to keep people from believing in Jesus. How can we change this perception?
Ephesians 1:18,19 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
             •    The devil not only wants us to believe that we are not truly forgiven by God, he also wants us to doubt God’s care in every other aspect of our lives. How does the passage above assure us that any doubts the devil may try to arouse are invalid?
God calls us priests
Revelation 1:5,6 . . . and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
1 Peter 2:5 You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 7:23-27 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
             •    What do you know about the calling of Old Testament priests? What was the function of an Old Testament priest?
             •    What was the nature of Jesus’ life, ministry, and mission? What impact did Jesus have on the Old Testament priesthood?
Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
             •    How is your function as a priest the same as that of the Old Testament priests?
God calls us his children
1 John 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
             •    The apostle John said that we are God’s children. Then he emphasized: “And that is what we are!” What are some things that make us wonder if we really are God’s children?
John 1:12,13 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Hebrews 2:11 Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.
             •    The certainty that we really are God’s children must come from outside us. We sinners will find no certainty that we are God’s children if we look within ourselves. From these passages, show why we can be sure we are God’s children.
Psalm 27:10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.
Hebrews 12:6,7 “The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?
Romans 8:16,17 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
             •    Since we are God’s children, what can we expect from our Father?
    What impact does being children and heirs of God have on our attitudes and outlooks in this life?
God says that we are reconciled to him
2 Corinthians 5:18,19 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Romans 12:5 In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
          •    The devil wants to divide us and put us at odds with one another, especially with the believers in our own homes and churches. Our sinful nature urges us to “look out for number one.” How does oneness with God impact our other relationships?
The best is yet to come!
     We have seen how we enjoy a high standing and status with God. But it gets better. One day in heaven God will make us what he has declared us to be.
Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Revelation 22:3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.
          •    God sometimes describes life in heaven in terms of things we will not experience once we get there. What are some of those things?
1 John 3:2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
             •    What will happen to us in heaven?
Colossians 3:3,4 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Revelation 7:15-17 Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Revelation 22:3-5 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
             •    What other aspects of life in heaven are described in these verses?
     What about life in heaven is most appealing to you?
     Why does the doctrine of justification give us certainty that this wonderful life in heaven will really be ours?
During the week
1.  Read Luke 15:11-24, the parable of the lost son.
a)   The father called the young man “this son of mine.” Was that based on the young man’s performance as his son? If not, on what was it based?
b)    The father not only called the young man his son, he treated him like a son. What actions of the father show that he genuinely considered this young man to be his son?
c)   How does this parable reinforce what we have learned in this lesson about our current status as justified people?

2.  What sins of this past week weigh you down? Read chapter 10 of Justification again. What points or passages in that chapter specifically address your burdens? What encouragement or comfort do you find in them?