Justified by Faith

Dr. Charles Hodge comments on Romans 3:23,

The sinning is represented as past; the present and abiding consequence of sin is the want of the glory of God.


Geoffrey Wilson concerning the same text,

The natural result of the disfiguration of God’s image in man through sin, is found in man’s complete ethical disablement.  All men do constantly fall short of the glory of God, because all have sinned in Adam, and all are sinners by practice.

Thanks be to God that Paul did not stop at Romans 3:23.  The apostle goes on to say,

[Believers] are justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness…that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

How does knowing that you are justified by faith and not the works of the law bring you freedom and comfort?

17 thoughts on “Justified by Faith

  1. Mishayah

    How does knowing that you are justified by faith and not the works of the law bring you freedom and comfort?
    Well quite frankly it brings no comfort at all, considering that Yahshua said we would judged by our works. Also that John says ‘little children be not deceived, he who does righteousness is righteous.
    Have you considered that Psa 119:142 says ‘Thy Law is The Truth.’
    Have you considered that a tiny little snippet out of Hab 2:4 has been horribly misquoted and has been taken finitely beyond it’s context.
    The Prophets complaint has to do with the Law being rendered null and void and that because of this, there is no justice.
    He says that when the Law is removed that Babylon will move swiftly to takes it place.
    Have you considered that Yahshua said ‘depart from ME you who are without the Law/Torah.

    1. Ryan Barnhart Post author

      How does working for your justification bring you any comfort? At what point are you finally “accepted?” When do you know you did enough? Justification is not based on our works (thank God), but it is based upon the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only after one stops using the law as a covenant of works, that the law becomes holy and truth to that justified individual.

      What you teach has no foundation in Scripture.

      1. Mishayah

        No foundation in scripture? How about ‘he who endures to the end shall be saved?’ Apparently the myriads of Jerusalem and entire the flock which consisted of hundreds of thousands of disciples who were all zealous for the law knew something that modern Paulinist Christians do not. Yahshua said ‘any branch in Me that does not bare good fruit is cut off and thrown into the fire.’ Good fruit is good works as opposed to the quasi spiritual state of passive inactivity. No one is justified by faith without works. Faith alone can not and never will save anyone. James says in 1:18-21 that it is ‘obedience to implanted Word of Truth that is able to save your soul.’ But just for your info, remember that Yahshua said, my words will never pass away.’ And in the same breath He said ‘He did not come to destroy the law.’ Until heaven and earth pass away, that not one jot or tittle from the law would pass. So the Apostles of the Lamb knew that the Law was in force forever and no amount Pauline doctrine could or would ever cause it to pass. Except for those who would deny the Messiah and refuse His words. But then those ones are the ones that He says to ‘Depart from Me, I never knew you, you who forsake the Law. If Yahshua said it, and He did then it would behoove anyone who comes to Him, to hear His Word and DO IT.

  2. Ryan Barnhart Post author

    See, you’re not reading what I’m saying. The law of God is perfect, but when an individual tries to keep it as a means of a covenant of works, then it will destroy them. Adam had the law written upon his heart, yet in the Garden of Eden he failed to obey God. From that time on, all of Adam’s offspring have been conceived in sin. We are guilty of original sin in Adam, and guilty of actual sin everyday that we live. You talk about the law of God, but the law of God says to love him with at all times and have no god before him. Can you say you have done that? No, and neither can I. The law crushes us when we try and use it as a means of justification because it isn’t possible. Our righteousness are as filthy rags. We need an alien righteousness, a righteousness outside of ourselves, that declares us righteous before God. It is only through the righteousness of Christ imputed to our account, that we are justified before God. Where Adam failed, Christ did not. He is our surety, our representative, our last Adam, therefore, a man is justified by faith alone in Christ alone.

    The law could never bring justification. Romans 8:3, “For what the law COULD NOT do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” The law of God is not weak because it is not good, the weakness is our sin. The law is harsh and says the soul that sins shall die! If you were charged with murder and you were guilty, the judicial law would have no compassion on you. It wouldn’t matter if you tried to do thousands of good, lawful deeds, you’re still guilty of murder and the law would have no compassion on you. The same goes for the law of God.

    I agree that a Christian should have good works in our lives. We are justified by faith apart from works, but that faith should show forth good works all our days. It is Christ’s work that justifies us, but to the justified heart the law of God then becomes a sweet thing to obey. Is the law sweet as honey to you? I don’t think so, because in reality it’s harsh to you. You know you’re justification is dependent upon your keeping the law, and you and I both know that you can’t really keep it.

    Only a truly justified man can hear the words of God and do them. Yes, we must endure to the end, but we persevere through the grace of God. The works that we do simply exemplify that we are children of God. Those are the ones that endure to the end.

    Thank you for your discussion, and I’ll be glad to try and keep it up if you would like to respond. I do want it to remain civil though. Thank you and God bless.

    1. Mishayah

      Hi There
      How can you say the Law of God is impossible? John says it not a burden for those that do it.
      But you assume that Paul was justified in his condemnation of the law, or Paul’s claim that it was the law that made him sin. Do you see what’s happening here? Paul was led away and enticed by his own lust and yet he blamed his lust upon God himself who gave the law and the Commandments.
      James asked the rhetorical question ‘Can faith alone save? No, it can not, faith alone is dead therefore salvation must be accompanied by works or it is a dead salvation. All of the Apostles of Yahshua kept and did the law. It is written of theJerusalem Church that they were all zealous for the Law. Apparently no one told them it was impossible.
      Yahshua said of you love Me then keep my commandments. One of those commandments was to keep and do the Law.
      James brilliantly sums up the true gospel in this way ‘James 1:18-21 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

      19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

      20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

      21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

      So here we have James who was in complete authority over Paul, saying that hearing and obeying Implanted Word of Truth that is able to save your soul.’ Here he’s lain the ground work for faith plus works as opposed to faith alone.
      These verses from James is really the parable of the sower.

  3. Ryan Barnhart Post author

    I agree that the law of God is perfect. I also agree that the law of God is not a burden – to the justified soul. That’s the key.

    Why did Jesus come to fulfill the law? Was it on his own behalf that he was seeking obedience to the law? Did he need perfect righteousness for himself? Did he need justification?

    The Bible says that if you obey the law of God in every point, but offend it in just one, you are guilty of it all. So are you guilty of offending the law of God? If you are, how does the law make you unguilty? It doesn’t. It just condemns.

    1. Mishayah

      Hi There
      I know that we both agree that Yahshua is the Word of God. He said ‘I am come to fulfill the Law’ present tense. When the word is sown in us and takes root the same thing happens, the Word comes to fulfill the law. In the Greek the Word ‘fulfill’ is ‘pleroo’ and it does not mean terminate as is taught today. It means to abound, to overflow.
      Now then He did not say ‘I have come, but rather ‘I am come’, which is continuous present tense. It’s not just a onetime thing as most have supposed, but as the Word He is continually fulfilling the law within His disciple. If you want to see what the living law looks like and what is expected of us, then all that is necessary is to ‘behold the Son.’ Is there anything about Yahshua that is undesirable? No? Then why not walk as He walked?
      But I know that this concept has been denigrated over the centuries, that the law has been placed before folks as something that is, let’s say, undesirable. And yet David says ‘Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy Law.
      In the Hebrew the word for law is Torah and in reality it means ‘The Instructions of Life’ so when Yahshua says ‘I am come that you may have life and life more abundantly.’ Staying in an honest context with the Word of God then this by necessity is the manifestation of the Law/Torah being fulfilled within us. The only way this happens is if we do it. So then most say ‘but the law is impossible and no man can keep it.’ Only Paul ever said or taught that, nobody else ever did. James is not telling you that it is impossible, he is merely telling you that if you break one of the commandments you break them all. So again, what is so difficult about doing His Commandments? Yahshua said that if you do them and teach us others to do so, you will called great in the Kingdom. But you break them and teach others to break them you will called least.’ How many have done the negative side of this, by telling folks that they are impossible and no man can do it, so don’t even try? Yahshua says ‘if you would enter into life, keep the commandments.

  4. Ryan Barnhart Post author

    We seem to be going around in circles here. I think I need some clarification from you on a couple of points.

    1. You admit that if you break the law in one point you are guilty of breaking all the law. So, are you guilty of breaking all the law? Have you never placed something else above God? Have you never looked upon a woman to lust after her in your heart? Have you never spoken an angry word or had an angry thought in your mind toward someone else? Have you never coveted what someone else had? If you have done any of these things, then you are guilty of breaking the whole law of God. So, my question to you is where is the atonement for this? It cannot be found in the law, because the law of God is perfect. It isn’t just going to say, “Oh well, nice try, do a little better the next time.” No, God’s perfect justice is in accord with His perfect law. I need to understand your view on atonement before we can proceed in our conversation.

    2. You seem to have a problem with Paul. Yet, you surely know that one of the gospel authors, Luke, travelled with Paul. If Paul contradicted Jesus, then why was this never an issue for Luke? Why did he never make this known? Why would he travel with Paul and write about him in Acts if he contradicted Jesus? Also, why would the early church not have seen the contradiction between Paul and Jesus and kept the Pauline epistles out of the canon?

    If we can stick to these two points for now, I look forward to your responses. I’m sorry, but it serves no purpose to continue to tell me the law of God is perfect, as if I don’t believe that. I certainly do! Yet, it is not possible for an unregenerate man, a man who has never been born again, to understand how to live in accordance to God’s law. I’m not advocating antinomianism. I haven’t done that once in our conversation. I believe a justified man delights in the law of God, but it is not possible to delight in the law of God if you are keeping it as a covenant of works.


    1. Mishayah

      Hi There
      For some reason you seem to think that there is no forgiveness under the Torah/Law, if that were the case then how do you explain the mercy given to David or Aaron or the whole house of Israel or Judah for that matter, many times they forsook the Law and broke the everlasting Covenant and yet each and every time they repented they were forgiven. Why is it that folks are so terrified of dealing with their sin that they refuse to come to the light. You seem more interested in if I have ever sinned, of course and I have abundant mercy. Have you never read the Gospels or James or John?
      Luke also exposes Paul’s many and varied testimonies of Damascus road. Luke also tells us that it was Peter that was the Apostle to the Gentiles and not Paul. Let’s face it Peter had converts numbering in the tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands among the gentiles before Paul ever showed up except as the wrath of Satan unleashed against the Church. The earliest date for any of Paul’s activities was about 17-20 years after Yahshua was resurrected. Not one time in the book of acts does Luke ever state that Paul was an Apostle. As a matter of fact the only one that ever said Paul was an Apostle was Paul himself. And we know that the testimony of one man is not valid, so there are no corroborating witnesses to attest to Paul’s apostleship. None, zero, zilch.
      But I think you are under the impression that the Law is oppressive, most Christians are. But tell me is feeding the poor an oppressive burden? Is clothing the naked an oppressive burden? How about visiting the sick or those in prison? Is this an oppressive burden, because these are indeed works of the righteousness of the law and Yahshua says to those refuse these that they will be cast out with the hypocrites. How about repentance from sin? Is that also an impossibility that no man can accomplish. Repentance is also a work of the Law. How about tithing? Whoops that’s the one law that Christians refuse to get rid of.
      What about mercy, is giving mercy an impossible act that no man can accomplish? Is doing the will of God an impossibility?
      A careful reading of Luke’s Gospel does indeed contradict Paul. As do all the Gospels.
      The early Church did indeed see Paul as an Apostate, he was tried for heresy and excommunicated by James.
      Here from the Clementine Homilies is Peter’s testimony:
      If, then, our Jesus appeared to you in a vision, made Himself known to you, and spoke to you, it was as one who is enraged with an adversary; and this is the reason why it was through visions and dreams, or through revelations that were from without, that He spoke to you. But can any one be rendered fit for instruction through apparitions? And if you will say, `It is possible,’ then I ask, `Why did our teacher abide and discourse a whole year to those who were awake?’ And how are we to believe your word, when you tell us that He appeared to you? And how did He appear to you, when you entertain opinions contrary to His teaching? But if you were seen and taught by Him, and became His apostle for a single hour, proclaim His utterances, interpret His sayings, love His apostles, contend not with me who companied with Him. For in direct opposition to me, who am a firm rock, the foundation of the Church, you now stand. If you were not opposed to me, you would not accuse me, and revile the truth proclaimed by me, in order that I may not be believed when I state what I myself have heard with my own ears from the Lord, as if I were evidently a person that was condemned and in bad repute. But if you say that I am condemned, you bring an accusation against God, who revealed the Christ to me, and you inveigh against Him who pronounced me blessed on account of the revelation. But if, indeed, you really wish to work in the cause of truth, learn first of all from us what we have learned from Him, and, becoming a disciple of the truth, become a fellow-worker with us. (Ps-Clementine Homilies 17,19.)
      So neither Paul nor his doctrine was accepted by the early church.

  5. Ryan Barnhart Post author

    You don’t believe in the penal substitution atonement, do you?

    Hebrews says “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.” What do you think all of those OT sacrifices were pointing to?

    I don’t understand why people want to make a thrice Holy God less just than a judge on earth would be. If somebody is condemned for murder, do they simply have to say I’m sorry and that charge goes away? The obvious answer is no. So why would God’s justice be any less than that? It wouldn’t be. Somebody pays for sin. God doesn’t just magically sweep it under the rug of the universe.

    There is no repentance without the new birth, and there is no new birth without sin being paid for. Even in the garden, Adam and Eve had to be clothed. That means an innocent animal had to die in their place. When Abraham and Isaac were on Mt. Moriah, God caused a ram to be caught in a thicket, in order for it to be the substitution for Isaac. The blood had to be put on the doorpost on Passover, which means an animal died in the stead of the Israelite. Penal substitution is not a doctrine peculiar to Paul, for it’s found all through Scripture.

    1. Mishayah

      Hi There
      Actually without repentance there is no new birth. Nobody is birthed of the word of truth before repentance, that’s getting the cart before the horse.
      But you’ll have to show me somewhere where Yahshua or any of his disciples ever offered up a blood sacrifice. I’m just saying this because most think that anyone who keeps the Law is supposed to offer up a blood sacrifice. But really show me where any of the true apostles ever did so. But anyway penal substitution has nothing to do with the abrogation of the Law as taught by Paul.
      You had said:If somebody is condemned for murder, do they simply have to say I’m sorry and that charge goes away? I agree with you on that, so apply it to Paul. Same as baring false testimony which Paul himself said he did.
      But I think you may have a strange concept of repentance if you think it’s just a matter of saying you’re sorry.
      Look at David’s example of repentance in Psa 51, a broken spirit and a contrite heart thou wilt not despise. Paraphrased but still accurate. This is far more than a verbal ‘sorry bout that.’

      But let’s get clear on this, do you believe the Ten Commandments are void and should not be applied to our life?
      Do you believe Yahshua when he said your salvation was dependent upon your good works?
      Do you believe we should obey the Son as The Father Commanded?

      1. Ryan Barnhart Post author

        No, I do not think that the Ten Commandments are void and should not be applied to our lives. I have repeatedly said that the law of God is perfect just as Psalm 19:7 and Psalm 119 say. I believe that the law of God is the declared will of God for his people, but I don’t believe an unregenerate man can keep the law of God as a means of justification.

        You say that putting the new birth before repentance is putting the cart before the horse. Do you then not believe Ezekiel 37 when God told Ezekiel that He causes breath to enter into the dead, and only then shall the dead live and know that He is the Lord. How can a dead man repent? Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be born again – born of the Spirit. Nicodemus was a master in Israel, but all his good deeds, repentance etc. meant nothing to Jesus. Jesus was only interested in the new birth, and that comes by the miraculous working of the Spirit of God. That’s why Jesus said it is like the wind in John 3:8. Sounds exactly like what Paul taught in Romans 9.

        You make it difficult, however, to defend justification by faith because you say that Paul was a false prophet. So I pretty much can’t use the New Testament to defend this salient doctrine. I thought your response on Luke was somewhat weak, for Luke would not have travelled with Paul on his missionary journeys if he thought he was a heretic. Nor do I think that the early Christian church deemed Paul as a heretic, for as I said, his epistles were canonized.

        On to your question about Jesus and blood sacrifice. Luke 2:41 makes it clear that Jesus observed the feast of the passover. What do you think occurred in Jerusalem at that time? He was identifying himself with his people in observing the feasts. He did not need to do so for his own sake, for he was sinless. He also observed passover with his disciples. Yet all of these sacrifices were pointing to him as the passover Lamb. It is not the blood of bulls and goats that redeems, but the sacrifice of Christ. If our justification is by works, then why the passive obedience of Christ at Calvary?

        On to the subject of repentance. Repentance is a turning away. Great verse about David. It is a broken and contrite spirit. O.k., so the condemned murderer pleads with the judge and says, “I promise I have turned away from murder! I will never do it again! I am heartbroken over what I have done!” Would the judge simply say, “O.k., you go do (x) amount of good deeds and you will be pardoned?” You know the law would not allow for that. Is the law of God then any less just? Absolutely not! It’s more just than any law of man. The law of God says that the soul that sins shall die. I don’t know what you do with that. You can work till your life is over, but you can’t change the verdict against sin. The verdict is death. God says that sin brings death. Jesus Christ died to pay for the sin of his people. It is true that those that keep God’s word will see life, but that is only because they have been justified by Christ’s work, not theirs. Believers persevere through Christ’s work, not ours. Our keeping God’s law is simply the outworking of what Christ has done for us. We are in union with Christ by faith, therefore we love the things that Christ loves. We love God’s law, for it is his holy, perfect will for our lives. Thankfully it comes to us in the covenant of grace and not works. Adam already failed the covenant of works, and we are all broken and condemned by his sin. The Last Adam came and obeyed perfectly so we could have his righteousness imputed to us.

        Do you believe in the imputed righteousness of Christ? Do you believe in the imputed sin of Adam?

        I appreciate your responses. I probably will not be able to answer anymore until sometime tomorrow evening, if you want to continue to correspond.


    1. Mishayah

      Do you think think that is untrue and so should be abolished also:
      Deu 13 13 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,

      2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;

      3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

      4 Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

      5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

  6. Mishayah

    Hi Again:
    Do I believe in the justification by faith? No, I don’t, not the way Paul teaches it. James asks the rhetorical question ‘Can faith save? The answer is, No, it doesn’t, which is why James was correcting the obviously false doctrine of Paul. Faith without works is dead and so is a salvation without works which is what James is talking about. Maybe you are not aware of how badly Paul twisted Hab 2:4 it does not say ‘the just shall live by faith’ but rather by faithfulness. The whole book of Habakkuk is about what happens when the law is forsaken, even as it has been today.

    Yahshua says ‘every branch in Me that does not bare fruit/goodworks, will cut off and thrown into the fire. Yahshua requires manifested works in order to maintain salvation. The white linen robes of righteousness that we see in Rev are the righteous deeds of the saints.
    Imputed righteousness? No, ‘little children be not deceived, he who DOES righteousness is righteous.’ We become righteous by doing the works/deeds of righteousness. There is no other way.

    It is worthless to simply say or believe one is righteous if there is no corroborating proof, as John has said.

    On the day of Pentecost what did Peter say to the crowd? Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    Seems Peter was asking for works 1. Repent, 2. Be Baptized. Or are you under the impression that these men to whom Peter was speaking were already birthed from above? Doesn’t seem too likely, does it?

    How about Yahshua in the beginning of his ministry preaching ‘Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is a hand.’ What about John the Baptist preaching repentance for the remission of sins? Maybe we have a different concept of repentance.

    So the fact that Luke records that Peter was the Apostle to the Gentiles doesn’t bother you. That nowhere do we ever see Paul being anything anywhere near an apostle as recognized by the 12? Or that Paul was never given a ministry to the uncircumcised despite the fact that Paul claims he was the apostle to the gentiles and not Peter. Yes Luke records this and it proves that Paul was a liar. Or are we reading the same book here. I mean even Paul brags about his lie causing the truth of God to abound. You tell me, when has darkness ever increased the light?

    But you know here’s the crux of the matter, did Paul abrogate the Torah? Yes he did, how many times do we have to read ‘you are now delivered from the law’ or the law was nailed to the cross, and so on and so forth. Or that the Law is the power of sin. Hogwash!
    The problem is that folks do not know God very well if they think he arbitrarily changes his word at whim. The cross did have the power to destroy the law and that’s not what it was for. So we can either trust that Yahshua knew what He was talking about or we can blatantly reject everything he taught. One would think that if anyone knew that the law would be abrogated at the cross it would have Yahshua.

    I realize that to believe the law is still in force at least I think you said that, then how can be in agreement with Paul when he says that it was nailed to the cross. Was the Law sin? Well according to Paul it’s the cause of all sin. So regardless of Paul’s ‘God Forbids’ that is exactly what he is saying.

    Yahshua said ‘My sheep know My voice and the voice of a stranger they will not hear.’
    So if we stick with Yahshua then it’s obvious that salvation is NOT a free gift, according to the Deliverer it will cost you everything including your soul, otherwise it would not be the Pearl of Great Price.’

    You had said ‘The law of God says that the soul that sins shall die.’ I know this was unintentional on your part’ But that’s not what Ezekiel really said, He said ‘the soul that ‘sinneth’ shall die. Sinneth is in continuous present tense. Meaning one who practices sin and keeps on practicing, but it does not mean your soul shall die over stumbling if you repent and turn from wicked ways. The Law always provides mercy for the repentant.

    But you bring up a point ‘Transgression of the Law is sin’ so if one does not do the Law then they are in a perpetual state of sin and their soul will die.’ No amount of blood will ever change that. No amount of blood will ever cleanse the unrepentant. We were given the spirit of truth to empower us to keep the law. How can we say we have the holy spirit if we do not walk in the truth? Psa 119:142 ‘Thy Law is the Truth.’

  7. Ryan Barnhart Post author

    I have some material I want to follow up with, but it will probably be in a different blogpost. I’m also not sure when I’ll get around to it with my schedule.

    I am interested to know what religion you study.

  8. Ryan Barnhart Post author

    If you get a chance, please read my latest blogpost entitled “Girardeau on Justification.” It sums up why I believe Federal Theology most properly explains the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone.


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