July 2009


For your information, if you attend the Gig Harbor Reformed Bible Study this is NOT how we will study the Bible:

There is so much wrong in this video, but yet this guy is serious about what he did. Let us know if you have ever heard something similar to this from the pulpit which would make this “method” even worse!

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I once heard that if you continue on in your schooling and education from your Bachelor’s degree to your Masters all the way up to your Doctorate that you know more and more about less and less. In a way that it is very true because your interests are becoming more and more specialized. Part of that specialization is understanding the vocabulary of your field. You don’t pick up everything overnight, but it takes time, patience, and most of all study.

The same thing is true when it comes to Christianity. There is a very special vocabulary that Christians use to explain the truth of the Gospel and the truths contained in the Word of God. One of those words is “justification.” In the June 28 broadcast of the White Horse Inn (to listen to the June 28 broadcast click here) the hosts talk about this very subject/word as being the “heart of Christianity.” The producer even went around at the National Religious Broadcasters Association convention and asked people if they had heard of “justification” and if so what does it mean. There were a few people that got decent answers, but many, many others who fell flat on their face.

But is this really that big of a deal? YES!! There is a reason why we as Protestants are not part of the Roman Catholic church. The Reformed (and Lutherans) in the 1500s rediscoverd key Biblical truths that got to the very heart of what it meant to be a Christian, that is, how to be in a right standing with God. One of the key doctrines that they expounded on was justification. Every Evangelical church is a product of the Reformation, and therefore, this is their heritage, this is their vocabulary, but yet their churches are not doing their job.

So what is justification? Many people might be familiar with the phrase “just as if I never sinned” as being the definition of justification. However, this is only half of what it entails!! There is a very important idea that must come next in order to properly think about justificaton and how we are right before God. That part is the imputation (clothing/crediting) of Christ’s righteousness to us. God demands perfect obedience to his law, and we cannot fulfill those requirements, but Christ has for us!

A few months ago I was teaching this subject at my church and I gave this illustration which seemed to help bring out the concept in different terms. Imagine you wanted to buy a house that was $500,000. However, your bank account reads -$500,000. There is no way that you can buy a house with half a million dollars overdrawn in your account. But what if that debt was forgiven completely and your bank account read $0? You are no longer in debt, but you still wouldn’t be able to buy a house with absolutely no money. This is the “just as if I had never sinned” part of justification. Our debt to God, in the form of punishment of sins, has been completely paid for by the death of Jesus Christ. Back to the analogy… In order to buy that house you need to have the cash. What if, then, somebody gave you another $500,000 to bring your bank account up to a positive $500,000. You could then go and buy that house because your account was given the proper funds. This is where the second part of justification comes, in order to be in a right standing before God, one needs to not only have their sins forgiven, but they also need to be completely righteous and to have kept all of God’s laws perfectly. In Christ we can say that about us because his perfect righteousness is given to us as well! We are clothed (imputed) with his perfect and righteous garments.

Many people who think of only the first half of justification believe that once their sins are forgiven that it is up to them to do the rest of what God requires… to “trust and obey” in order to then gain that right standing before God. Sure we are to “trust and obey” but that is part of our sanctification not our justification (which will be another big and important word to discuss later).

In that White Horse Inn show, the producer asked the people whether or not their churches should actually teach them these important words. I believe that almost all of them said “Yes” they should and that they were not being taught that at their church right now. If this characterizes your church, then think about becoming part of our Bible study which, Lord willing, will lead to a church that will preach the whole counsel of God and the wonderful truths of Scripture concerning our redemption. You can contact us at gigharborreformed*at*gmail.com. If you have any questions then post a comment and we will discuss!