Friday, August 15, 2008

Speaking about Faith in Christ

In Acts 24:24-25 we read, “But some days later Felix arrived with Drusilla, his wife who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, ‘Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you.’”

Notice that speaking about faith in Christ Jesus entailed more than a reduced down and minimized formula but rather included an explanation of the implications of the Gospel. The apostle Paul began his discussion with the first implication of the Gospel being righteousness. Surely he explained to Felix how the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ the sinless Son of God was necessary for God to maintain His own righteousness while forgiving and declaring sinners righteous. Penal substitution through a sinless sacrifice is an absolute necessity for God to be both just and the justifier of those who have faith in Christ Jesus. There is no other way of salvation.

While Paul was speaking on righteousness, the truth of man’s unrighteousness would have been discussed. There is none good, not even one – and the proof of that is that in order to save us God had to sacrifice His own Son!

Discussing righteousness, both the righteousness of God and the unrighteousness of man, establishes the biblical truth that justification is a gift of God’s grace through faith in Christ Jesus. Here is the high and holy doctrine of imputation and penal substitution through which we are saved from the penalty of sin.

Next in his discussion, Paul spoke of self-control. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit and is the outworking of having the imputed righteousness of God through justification by faith. This is the result of a new nature – “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). When we were justified we were “buried with Christ through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). We have been given a new life principle – the Holy Spirit of God – to enable us to walk in newness of life and He gives self-control and self-control gives us victory over today’s temptations. This is how we are sanctified! Here is the high and holy doctrine of implantation through which we are being saved from the power of sin.

Last in his discussion, Paul spoke of judgment to come. In the judgment to come there will be a just condemnation of the unrepentant based on God’s absolute righteousness – hell is right and is a necessity. God will not violate His own righteousness and justify someone some other way other than through faith in Jesus Christ the only righteous way He has provided – “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

In the judgment to come there will be a just salvation of the repentant based on God’s absolute righteousness – heaven is right – forgiving sinners through penal substitution imputes and implants the righteousness of God in them.

In the judgment to come, those who have been redeemed through faith in Christ Jesus, will be transformed from the body of their humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself (see Philippians 3:20-21). Here is the high and holy doctrine of impartation through which we will be saved from the presence of sin! Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Here is a poem that I wrote a little while back that I pray will help make application with these wonderful doctrines of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ:

Adam’s Song

I failed to be like Jesus; I failed to justify my wife; I failed to remain pure and holy, and become her sacrifice! My life I could not give for hers, from the penalty of sin to save; I could not pay the debt she owed, when mine was just as great. There could be no imputation, of my perfect righteousness, for I failed to be like Jesus and to justify my wife.

I failed to be like Jesus; I failed to sanctify my wife; I failed to wash her with God’s Word, and cleanse her daily life! My presence I could not give to her, from the power of sin to save; I could not break sin’s controlling bondage, when in its grasp I too must stay. There could be no implantation, of my perfect righteousness, for I failed to be like Jesus and to sanctify my wife.

I failed to be like Jesus; I failed to glorify my wife; I failed to make her without spot or wrinkle, and present her as a holy bride! My power I could not exert on her, from the presence of sin to save; I could not remove sin’s crippling presence, when in its presence I too was slain. There could be no impartation, of my perfect righteousness, for I failed to be like Jesus and to glorify my wife.


Tim said...

What was Paul thinking?! He should have told Felix that he was okay and that he just needed to add Jesus to his life in order to have more joy.

Apparently Paul's message caused Felix to start counting the cost of following Jesus and it "frightened" him.

Luke 14:27-28
27 “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
28 “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?

Luke 14:33
33 “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.

The Spokesman said...

Yes Tim, today's experts and wide-gate evangelists are all about making the gospel more palatable. This logic especially applies to when Paul was speaking before the Jews after he was rescued by Lysias at the temple. He enraged the Jews by saying the word, "Gentiles" which the experts would have told him not to say because it is too negative and too divisive.