“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law,” Romans 3:28.
Paul preached to correct an error in the believers Rome, that is, that keeping the Law justified them in God’s eyes. The problem with trying to mix the Law (works) and faith for salvation is that it does not mix. We could compare it to mixing oil and water. Oil, like faith, always rises to the top and does not mix with water (works).
The Law, as Paul explains, educates about sin. It teaches the students, but it can do nothing to cleanse a person from sin. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster” (Gal. 3:24, 25).
Jesus is an equal opportunity Savior. He made it possible for everyone who believes in His death, burial and resurrection to be saved. They may be in their last hours of life when they believe in Jesus Christ and are saved. They may be physically challenged and believe in Jesus Christ and become saved. Salvation does not require works, only faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God. That makes salvation accessible and equal for all people regardless of their ability to perform any deeds or good works.
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:24).
“A meeting like he had never witnessed”
1868 – The James McDonald family joined the Rome, Georgia Baptist Church. Weak, sick, and feeble, McDonald died a few months later on April 25, 1869, at 71 years of age. His bachelor life ended when he married when he was forty-four. God blessed them with eight children all of whom had Bible names, the boys being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. His testimony was that he had been born in popery, lived in wickedness and rebellion but received Christ at seventeen. At thirty-nine James had left a successful pastorate in Darien, Georgia to go to East Florida to preach the gospel at the time of the Second Seminole War. An Indian party had murdered and scalped General Wiley Thompson. Major Francis Langhorne Dade and 103 of his men lay dead from a Seminole ambush. President Andrew Jackson ordered General Winfield Scott to take command of Florida. The fear and insecurity of the frontier settlers did not discourage McDonald he went forward with his Bible and musket. As soon as he crossed the St. Mary’s river he held a three day protracted meeting in a barn and had, “such a three day meeting like he had never witnessed.” He had to continue to console families as he preached. He recorded that, “he saw Mrs. Johns, who was scalped, and whose husband was killed…Her husband had been burned to ashes; she escaped crawling away, the blood from her head quenching the fire. Another woman reported, “When they killed my husband, he was ploughing the field, making bread for my poor children. He and my brother were both dead.” McDonald planted seventeen churches and ministered to seven personally. [Robert G. Gardner, Viewpoints of Georgia Baptist History (Atlanta: Georgia Historical Society, 1986), p. 71. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 636-38.]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
The post 325 – Nov. 21 – This Day in Baptist History Past appeared first on The Trumpet Online.
WHY THE DEBATE FAILED
It was so manifest that Mr. Fall and Mr. Fanning and others who were consulted did not desire the debate with Dr. Graves, though they tried to throw the blame on him for its failure, which Dr. Ford said was not true, Dr. Graves said: “I want the discussion to go down to the bedrock of the gospel plan of salvation or else I have no time to waste upon it. I want the issue of eternal importance to be clearly made – is salvation by works of righteousness which we have done, or is it by sovereign unmerited grace: if it is by or through baptism; through or by the church or kingdom; by any act of the creature done by him or for him – then it is by works, and grace is no more grace. This is the damning heresy of Rome and, to a great extent, of Protestantism. Campbellism is this same heresy which Paul denounced and Rome formulated, presented in a new and popular dress. I shall not give my time to the discussion of terms such as ‘for’ and ‘into,’ but discuss the vital, essential principles – is justification through faith or is it by works? This being decided, then the meaning of Peter’s words at Pentecost, and other expressions in the New Testament, are thoroughly in harmony with the great gospel fact announced by our Lord Jesus: ‘He that believeth in Him shall not come into condemnation, but is passed out of death into life.’” And thus ended the proposed discussion between these two representative men.
In personal appearance Dr. Graves was about five feet ten inches high, weighed about 160 pounds, and had a fine face with a well balanced head. His dark and almost black eyes showed the true temper of metal, his fine brow and broad forehead gave evidence of a more than ordinary brain, his finely chiseled nose marked him as a man possessed of penetrating thought, indomitable zeal and energy, his moth was expressive of sublime sentiments, and upon the whole his physiognomy indicated great reasoning ability.
CONFLICT WITH CAMPBELLISM
At that time there was a general pause in the conflict with Campbellism in most of the territory, but in Nashville, the heart and center of this agitation, the First Baptist Church had been swept into “the current reformation” under the leadership of its pastor, Rev. S.P. Fall, and so the battle was kept up. The fact is that in Nashville, more than any other spot on the continent, the religious discussions were constant, bitter and personal, and with the Baptists it was a battle for existence.
In the forefront of this swirling conflict was this young man placed when he was but twenty-six years old, as editor and leader. Well might he hesitate as he did and ask himself the deep, soul-searching questions, “Is this my work” Has God called me to it?”
There are depths in many a soul, capabilities and powers of which a man in life’s quiet avocations know little or nothing. How little did Luther know the resources and capabilities of that great soul of his when tremblingly he caught the faint rays of gospel truth as there echoed through his being “Justification by faith” and “Romanism is false.” it is so with all brave spirits, not only in those whose world battles change the course of history, but in the heart of every lover and defender of the truth, who sees it with the clear eye of faith and will not give an inch in its defense, nor compromise one iota with that which is false. This was so with the soul of this truly great man. Trial, soul-conflict, faith in God, love of the truth and the determination to fight the battle to the end reveal to him forces and weapons and powers of defense and of endurance of which he little dreamed until the necessity was laid upon him. This was the experience of Dr. Graves. He explored his own inmost soul under the conscious eye of the Lord and said “I will.”
After that he never feared a foe nor shrank from his responsibility.