Portraits of Righteousness

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I have read many books on Romans and this is the best exegetical exposition with a theology that is both biblical and pastoral.


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This book was born out of a sermon series early in my pastoral ministry. Thus it bears much of the original homiletic flavor and does not offer a thorough scholarly treatment of the issues. I have written a seminary level textbook called Free Grace Soteriology for our introductory course on soteriology how to have eternal life at Grace School of Theology gsot. But a proper understanding of the relationship between Justification and Sanctification is essential to having any hope of victory over our sin nature with a view to fulfilling our calling in Christ.

The relationship between Justification and Sanctification has been the center of debate between theologians since the beginning of the Reformation.

The early Reformers put their emphasis on Justification. The Pietists who followed them put their emphasis on Sanctification. For the purposes of this book we will define Justification as Deliverance from the Penalty of Sin; we will define Sanctification as Deliverance from the Power of Sin to conform to the image of Christ. Early in their movements Martin Luther and John Calvin saw Sanctification as a subsequent work to Justification, highly desired but not guaranteed.

Consequently, according to R. Zachman, [2] with whom this author agrees, both Calvin and Luther wound up with theological systems that were inherently unstable see below.

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Both were teaching the view of justification set forth by Melanchthon that by faith alone in Christ alone the sinner is declared righteous in the courtroom of God in heaven. If it is true that even future sins are washed away by Justification, then no future sins, either individually or collectively, can cause me to lose my standing before God i.

But forgiveness for future sins had never been taught in the Church, either East or West.


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The Church of Rome cried foul: What, then, is our motivation to try to avoid sin in the future? They said this dangerous teaching on Justification would only promote loose living license. As a result, most of the early Reformers succumbed to the pressure.

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They began to teach that Justification and Sanctification are invariably linked; that is, you cannot have one without the other. The two main ways of explaining an obvious lack of Sanctification in someone who claimed to be a believer was that either they never had it as the Calvinists say , or you can lose it after you were initially justified as the Arminians claim. The result is a paralyzing of lack of assurance that we are saved or that the Holy Spirit is available to empower our Sanctification.

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It was quite easy for him to meet the accusations of Amaziah that he had conspired against king Jeroboam. The mind of the prophet is crystal clear as he judges the issues at stake. He has no ulterior motives—he is merely the mouthpiece of Jehovah.

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This teaches a valuable lesson concerning the call of God. The dramatic or spectacular is not necessarily the proof of its genuineness. Sufficient it is to be able to say with Amos, "the Lord took me. In chapters he utters his condemnation of the sins of these people with clear insight into their nature: Damascus, Gaza and Tyre; Edom, Ammon and Moab.

He seems to know quite confidently where they are wrong. The sins of Judah are noted with the sins of his own nation, Israel. From where did he obtain such knowledge if he were but a herdman in the desert? As he visited the market places with his wool he would meet traders from these parts, and his ears would catch the current news of his day.

With these details burning in his ears he would go back to the silence of the desert and he would ponder these matters in his mind. Eventually out of deep exercise he would utter his protests and condemnation. As so often, during history, the burden of men's wrongs has first of all been felt by the godly in the silence of the sanctuary before they have been uncompromisingly condemned in public. The cry of Amos was for judgment or justice and righteousness.

Let us consider the times in which he lived to gain insight into the true reason for his cry. Social Conditions. The date of his prophecy is fixed fairly certainly as between and B. These were days of prosperity in Israel. The astute policies of Jeroboam II had given to the nation wealth that they could hardly have dreamed of. Israel was left pretty well alone during this period to develop its resources and increase its prosperity; these were reckoned to be the best days for the nation since Solomon's time.

The people lived in godless luxury and self-indulgence. There was a great increase in wanton-less and sensuous pleasures; see 5. Yet the very prosperity which filled the pockets of the rich brought cruelty and oppression to the poor. On four distinct occasions in his prophecy, Amos cries out because of these conditions.

The righteous were being sold for silver and the needy for a pair of shoes.

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There were those who, by harsh measures, crushed the poor and needy yet lived in luxury, 4. Bribery and corruption were rife, 5. There was dishonesty in trading—the ephah was made small and the shekel great, 8. As Amos considered these things, his righteous indignation welled up within him. He cried out for justice and right standards.

Religious Conditions. Even more than the social inequalities that he saw, the spiritual life of the nation with its rank hypocrisy troubled Amos. There were shrines at Bethel, Gilgal and Beersheba, 5. Israel", 4. To the Lord this was utterly abhorrent. I will take no delight in your solemn assemblies", 5. The day would come when the altars would be smashed and destroyed, 3.

Publish Ye, 3. These words sum up the compulsion that was upon the prophet to speak the words of the Lord. We have noted already that he was conscious of the fact that he was not trained in prophetic circles. If He had thus spoken, who could refuse to prophesy? The Lord had said to him—Amos the herd-man, "prophesy unto my people Israel", 7. Dare he keep silence? Compulsion was upon him to publish abroad the unrighteousness and sin of his nation.

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They were to him a people who did not know to do right, 3. It is worthy of note, that to Amos the worst kind of famine, one day to be known, was a famine for the Word of the Lord, 8. To refuse to hear meant eventually to lose the Word. Prepare, 4. The days of Israel, the Northern Kingdom, were fast moving towards the Assyrian captivity.

Amos makes this very clear, 7. Warnings had been given but had not been heeded, and they had not returned to the Lord, 4. If they could have read the signs of the times they would have humbled themselves and repented. Within thirty years their doom would be sealed as the Assyrian captivity took place.

Seek the Lord, 5. In a vivid appeal to the people, Amos calls them away from the empty formality of their professed worship to a real personal relationship with Jehovah. This would give them life. Their corruption and defilement had killed their best things.

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