You Only Have To Be Justified Once With God

By David J. Stewart | November 2014

Galatians 3:24, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

       I recently heard a Baptist preacher tell his congregation in a sermon that we are justified by faith, but our faith is justified by virtue of our works. By “virtue of our works,” he means that if there are no works of holiness and godliness in your life, nor have you departed from sinful works, then you were never saved at all. This is a false plan of salvation based in works. The

Unfortunately, he is a big fan of Dr. John MacArthur and teaches Lordship Salvation. I heard the same pastor teach his people in an invitation that it's not enough to admit you are a sinner to be saved, but also, he said that you must turn from your sins. That is a false plan of salvation which requires human effort.

I was pondering this matter today and realized something, that is, why would a man's faith need to be justified by works in God's eyes when he has already been justified by faith? Notice I said “in God's eyes.” Abraham was justified in God's eyes by faith in Genesis 15:6, “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” A person is justified in God's sight by faith alone. The moment that you place your trust in the Gospel, you are saved. The “Gospel” according to 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 is the good news that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, was buried and resurrected three days later. The only requirement to be saved is the realization that you are a guilty sinner in the eyes of a holy God. It is easy and simple to be saved, so simple that even a child can receive it. Don't ever let anyone tell you that it is hard to be saved.

If a man's faith in Jesus Christ at the time of salvation is insufficient to guarantee eternal life, then human works are necessary to be saved. If a person's faith must be authenticated by holiness and godly living, then in fact we must be justified TWICE to be saved, once by faith and then again by works. The Bible never teaches that. Galatians 3:24-26, ”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. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” There is no mention in Galatians 3:24-26 of being justified by works; but rather, solely by faith. A man's faith does NOT need to be justified in God's sight by virtue of works. That would mean double justification.

James Said We Are Justified by Works in Men's Eyes, Not God's Eyes

There is much confusion caused by false prophets who wrest (bend out of shape) the Scriptures (2nd Peter 3:16). The Epistle of James is often misinterpreted. Notice that James 2:21 says Abraham was “justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?” According to Genesis 22:12, the command to offer up Isaac was a test of Abraham's character, not validation of his faith for salvation. Abraham was justified in God's sight by faith in Genesis 15:6 (Romans 4:1-6). Anyone who teaches that Abraham's faith wasn't confirmed for salvation until he offered up Isaac is teaching utter heresy.

IF, Abraham had to offer up Isaac as authentication of his faith for salvation, then:

  1. Salvation would be a process instead of a new birth. The Bible says in Genesis 15:6 that Abraham's faith was counted for righteousness. That means you don't need any self-righteous works to be saved. That also means that you don't have to forsake bad works to be saved. Works, whether good or bad, are DEAD WORKS (Hebrews 6:1). Salvation is a miraculous new birth (a second, spiritual, birth) wrought by the Holy Spirit of God in response to a person's faith in Christ (John 1:12-14).
  2. Salvation by faith would be insufficient to save a person. If the faith which Abraham had in the Lord in Genesis 15:6 wasn't enough to receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life, then works (human effort) are also required to get to Heaven. False prophets who attempt to use James 2:17-21 as justification for the heresy of Lordship Salvation, effectively are teaching that a man must be justified TWICE in God's eyes. This contradicts the plainest teachings of the Bible. Throughout the Word of God we are taught that a person is justified by faith. Clearly, the apostle James is teaching something entirely different, that is, we are justified by works in the SIGHT OF MEN. That's why James says, “shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”
  3. Eternal security would be conditional upon human behavior, rather than based upon the promises of God. Titus 1:2, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” Christians can KNOW, 100%, that we are saved certain, because God has made us a PROMISE to save them who believe on His Son Jesus Christ. Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” I KNOW that I am saved, because God promised to save them that believe. 1st John 5:13, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” According to proponents of the heresy of Lordship Salvation, Abraham's faith in Genesis 15:6 would not have been authentic if he had refused to offer up his son Isaac in Genesis 22:1-12.
  4. Eternal life would be a reward instead of a gift. The Bible says that Abraham believed the Lord and it was counted (credited) unto him as righteousness. What a great deal! That's the free gift of God! I wish I could wake everyone up concerning the horrible lie of Lordship Salvation. The entire notion that God won't save a person unless they turn from their sins is satanic! My friend, that's why Hebrews 12:6-8 teaches that God chastises and scourges His disobedient children. There will be believers who receive NO REWARDS in eternity. They lived their earthly life choked by the cares, riches and pleasures of this world (Luke 8:14). 1st Corinthians 3:15, “If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” In other words, he just made it by the skin-of-his-teeth, having the stench of Hell on him, but he is saved nonetheless. If Lordship Salvation were true, then these type of people would not go to Heaven.

I think the preceding points are very good. They really make sense if you ponder them. Eternal life is a free gift. If you research the matter online, you'll find that Lordship Salvation aligns closely with the works-based philosophy of Catholics, Seventh-Day Adventists, Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. One day I went and looked up the definition of repentance according to all these religious cults and was dismayed to find that they virtually teach word-for-word the same thing as Dr. John MacArthur and other teachers of the Lordship Salvation heresy. Biblical repentance means “to think differently.”

There's Only One Plan of Salvation

It is sad that most professed Christians take the matter of the plan of salvation lightly, dismissing the conflicting teachings as a mere matter of semantics. That is not the case. You either have to turn from sinful living to be saved, or you don't. It cannot be both. These are two very different plans of salvation. Those people who say that you can't profess faith in Christ and continue in sin to be saved, totally misunderstand the Word of God. The truth is that every Christian continues in sin after they are saved, because we are sinners by nature and practice. A desire to live a holy life is not proof of salvation, as evidenced by the hordes of unsaved religious people (like Cornelius in Acts 10) who live moral lives.

Biblical proof of salvation is the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, which is the theme of the Epistle of 1st John. 1st John 3:24, “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”

A person only needs to be justified ONCE in God's sight to be saved, and that one time is by faith in the dear Savior. Our faith doesn't need to be validated or authenticated in any way, because God sees our heart. A man is born-again immediately upon his faith in the Savior. That man is justified with God. Acts 13:39, “And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” A man is justified by faith, and that faith is counted (credited) unto a man for righteousness. There are no future obligations, strings attached, behavior monitoring, or the need to continue in obedient faith to seal one's salvation. All such teachings are rooted in the lies of John Calvin (Calvinism) and are of the Devil.

The Biblical Remedy to Get Christians to Live Holy Lives

The remedy to getting Christians to live consecrated holy lives is not to corrupt the plan of salvation to bend their arm to do so; but rather, for preachers to preach hard against sin in the churches, and to teach believers to walk with Jesus, and to look for the Lord's appearing at the Rapture! The average church these days doesn't have preaching!!! I mean Biblical, hard, Spirit-filled, preaching!!!

One of the main reasons why I preach so much about the pretribulation Rapture is because the Bible teaches that this doctrine compels men to purify themselves, even as Christ is pure. Jesus may come right now!!! 1st John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” The average church hardly ever preaches about Christ's return. Every pastor ought to preach on a regular basis about the pretribulational, imminent, sudden, unpredictable, return of the precious Lord Jesus Christ. If we as Christians believe that Christ may return at any time, then we are going to stay on our toes.

Jesus taught this truth in Mark 13:32-37. If you want to influence other Christians to live holy, then teach them about Biblical prophecy, knowing that the Lord's return is imminent! As I behold the forming New World Order, and see the whole world embracing the symbols and person of the Antichrist, I'm challenged to live for God more and more each day. Proverbs 4:18, “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” The great motivation that we have as Christians to serve God diligently is the truth that our beloved Savior may appear at any time. Titus 2:11-13, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Amen!

A Gift is Not a Gift if One's Behavior Needs to Change

Eternal life is a free gift. A gift is simply taken by the recipient, period. As an illustration, let's say that a parent buys a birthday gift for their child. The parent has the gift in their hand, ready to hand it to the child, but then the parent says, “You cannot take this gift and still misbehave all year, you must change, you must behave this coming year!” Sound ridiculous? It does if we're talking about a free gift. There's no such thing as an earned gift! A reward is merited and earned, but never a gift. Could you imagine how confused a child would be if a parent did what I just hypothesized? Well, that's how confused the average churchgoer is nowadays. I'm talking about independent fundamental Baptist churches! Wake up folks! There's only one Holy Bible, one plan of salvation, one Gospel, one Savior, one Holy Spirit! Our Baptist churches are confused, using multiple Bible versions, allowing multiple plans of salvation, having another spirit than the Holy Spirit.

Read how simple the Bible presents the plan of salvation in 1st Thessalonians 4:14, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” Is your faith in Jesus Christ? Do you believe that Christ died on the cross for your sins? Do you believe He rose up after three days? If you realize that you have sinned against a holy God, and you receive Christ's sacrifice on the cross as full payment for your sins, believing that He raised up from the dead, you are saved. Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” We are saved by God's imputed righteousness!

Romans 4:5-6, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.”

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