Friday, June 14, 2013

What is Justification?

In Galatians 2, "[We] know that a person is not justified by the works of 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 the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified" (Galatians 2:16). 

Justification is a recurring word/theme in the New Testament epistles, especially with Paul.  But what does Justification mean?  Does it simply refer to God declaring us, though we are sinful, to be righteous through faith in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen?  Or is it that wonderful truth plus something else wonderful?  
NT Wright and Ben Witherington offer some insight....

Righteous Sinners - The Good News of "Simul Justus et Peccator"

In this short excerpt from his teaching series, “Luther and the Reformation,” Dr. R.C. Sproul teaches the Reformational view of justification as he explains Martin Luther’s Latin phrase, “Simul Justus et Peccator.”

This beautiful doctrine helps us understand how the Apostle Paul would teach (e.g., Galatians 2:17-21) that sinners, who struggle in their continual, sinful shortcomings, can also be justified through faith in Christ.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Some Resources to Study Galatians

As we journey through the wonderful letter to the Galatians this summer, I would like to encourage you to read through and study Galatians yourself (or, even better, with someone else!).  Here are some helpful resources:

Paul for Everyone by NT Wright

Wright's eye-opening comments on these letters are combined, passage by passage, with his fresh and inviting new translation of the Bible text. Making use of his true scholar's understanding, yet writing in an approachable and anecdotal style, Wright captures the tension and excitement of the time as the letters seek to assert Paul's authority and his teaching against other influences. 

The For Everyone Series was created to provide guides to all the books of the New Testament. Each short passage is followed by a highly readable discussion, with background information, useful explanations and suggestions, and thoughts as to how the text can be relevant to our lives today. A glossary is included at the back of the book. The series is suitable for group study, personal study, or daily devotions.

We have a few copies available at church for $10.

Here's a helpful study guide for Galatians by Tim Keller and Redeemer Presbyterian Church. This study of Galatians is organized into 13 units. Each unit consists of two sections: 1) a Bible study and 2) a Reflection or Exercise section. The first section studies a portion of the Galatians text, while the second section takes some concept from the Scripture and helps you get a better understanding of it (“Reflection”) and/or to apply it practically to your life (“Exercise”).