The Bible says in Romans 6:7: “For he that is dead is freed from sin.”
Today’s God’s Great Salvation quote is from Curtis Hutson. He said: “If turning from your sins means to stop sinning, then people can only be saved if they stop sinning. And it is unlikely that anyone has ever been saved, since we don’t know anyone who has ever stopped sinning.”
Our topic today is titled The Verdict: Not Guilty (Part 3) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.
To be sure, justification is proved by personal purity. It does not come because of any reformation or commitment to change; but, once justified, we show this by changes in our lives. “He who has died is freed [literally, justified] from sin”. We stand acquitted from sin so that it no longer has dominion over us. Justification before the bar of God is demonstrated by changes in our lives here on earth before the bar of men.
THE VIEWPOINT OF JAMES
This was the perspective of the apostle James when he wrote that we are justified by works. Unproductive faith is a spurious faith; therefore, what we are in Christ will be seen in what we are before men. Men cannot peer into the courtroom of heaven to observe the Judge rendering a verdict of “not guilty” in respect to the sinner who believes. But men are spectators in the courtroom of life here on earth. When they see changed lives, they can know that there has been a heavenly verdict; that is, justification. When they do not see changes, then they may question and doubt. Justification by faith is necessary in the court of heaven. Justification by works is the only thing people can observe in the court on earth.
James gives an example of nonworking faith in the case of someone who sees a fellow believer in need of food and does not help meet that need. Faith that is not moved to relieve the hungry man’s need is nonworking faith.