Monday Minutes With Pastor Chris McCool: Three Types of Justification (Part 3) (10/9/2023)

A couple of weeks ago, we began sharing an article by Elder Buddy Abernathy regarding the three types of justification taught in the Bible. We have already learned about “justification by grace” and “justification by faith,” and today we turn to “justification by works.”

May the Lord bless you is my prayer!

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor

Three Kinds of Justification, Part Three

I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God? (Job 9:2)

by Elder Buddy Abernathy

What does it mean to be justified by works? Works do not justify us before God: Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law…for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (Gal 2:16 KJV). Our works justify us in the estimation of others. Jesus taught that a tree is identified by the fruit it bears (Mat. 7:15-20, 12:33, Luke 6:43-44). This principle of justification by works was clearly illustrated in the life of the Gentiles that Paul referenced in his epistle to the church at Rome. (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) (Rom 2:13-15 KJV). The outward behavior of these Gentiles manifested to others the spiritual nature they possessed. 

Both Abraham and Rahab were justified by works. Their actions testified to others that they were God’s children. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? (Jas 2:21-25 KJV)

All of God’s children are justified before God in Christ because they have been made the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). Some of them are also justified by faith because they have come to understand they have been made the righteousness of God in Christ (Rom. 10:4, Gal. 3:24). Some of them are also justified by works because they live a life of obedience to God. In other words, their manner of life “becometh the gospel of Christ” (Phl 1:27). Interestingly, some of God’s children are justified by works even though they are not justified by faith (Rom. 2:13-15). The Apostle Paul referred to Gentiles who “have not the law”. They have not been exposed to the written word of God; nonetheless, they have a sense of right and wrong. That’s because they have “the law written in their hearts” (Heb. 8:10) when they are given spiritual life. This law in their hearts serves as a moral compass, even though they may never hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. This explains why there are people all over the world, in different cultures and religions, who have a desire to live righteously. They are doing “by nature the things contained in the law” In this context, “nature” refers to the divine nature that a child of God receives when he’s born of the Spirit (2 Pet. 1:4, 2 Cor. 5:17) 

Primitive Baptists believe that God’s people are chosen in Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world, predestinated unto the adoption of children, called by the Spirit, justified by Jesus Christ and preserved unto glory in Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:3-6, Rom. 8:29-30, Jude 1:1, Isa. 49:14-16, John 10:29, Eph. 1:3-6, Heb. 9:11-12, 10:14). They believe when God’s children are born of the Spirit they possess a new spiritual nature in conflict with their old fleshly nature (2 Cor. 5:17, 1 Pet. 1:23, Gal. 5:17, Rom. 7:21-25). They believe the child of God can allow his fleshly nature to ruin his life in this present world (Isa 1:19-20, Gal. 6:7-8, Rom. 6:12-13, 1 Cor. 6:18-20, 7:23, 1 Th 4:3-7, Heb 6:4-9). They believe nothing can separate them from the love of God (Psa. 89:30-34, Isa. 54:7-10, 2 Sam. 23:5, Mark 10:17-22, Mat. 13:18-23, Gen. 19:30-36, 2 Pet. 2:7-8, 2 Tim. 2:16-19, Rom. 8:38-39). They believe many of them will never hear or obey the gospel (Mat. 23:37-39, Rom. 10:1-3, 11:7-32). They believe hell is a place of everlasting punishment for the unredeemed and it will be populated by the unregenerate wicked (Mat. 7:21-23, Mat. 25:41-46, John 5:28, Acts 24:15). 

The doctrines of grace as taught by Primitive Baptists are the only doctrines which give me hope and comfort. I rejoice in the same truth David rejoiced in about 3,000 years ago, Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow. (2Sa 23:5 KJV).