Sola Fide Part 1 – Justification by Faith Alone (John Hofileña)

Pag-aaralan po natin ang Galatians 2:15-21. And while you are turning or tapping to that portion of Scripture, let me tell you a story I read from J.C. Ryle’s Why Were Our Reformers Burned?

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This is the story of John Rogers, one of the first English Reformers. He studied in Cambridge University and became a Catholic priest, but he quickly became disillusioned with the Catholic Church – and if you studied your Church history, alam ninyo kung bakit ganun na lang ang pagka-dismaya nya. There was a time when Rogers travelled to the Netherlands, or Holland – and there he met a guy you might know – William Tyndale – and he shared with him the Bible and the Gospel.

Tyndale had with him Old Testament manuscripts that he had compiled and when Tyndale was imprisoned, Rogers collected Tyndale’s old manuscripts and from there, he was able to write a translation of the Bible under the alias of Thomas Matthews. This is important because of two things – first, the Matthews Bible was the first authorized version of the Bible in English, because most copies were in the Latin Vulgate. Secondly, this very act made him a marked man, and this was one of the charges brought to him when he was sentenced to die.

After Holland, he pastored for a time in Germany and then returned to England. At the time of his return – the reign of King Edward VI – it was safe for him to pastor, because the king was against Rome, so him, his wife Aryana, and their ten children were safe for four years. But when Edward died, his half-sister Mary became Queen Mary, and she was a very staunch supporter of the Roman Catholic Church and against all Protestant teaching.

So on the week that Mary returned from Rome after getting the blessing of the Pope, John Rogers was scheduled to preach on that Sunday. And he preached. He preached the Gospel to the full – by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. That was the last sermon he preached at his church.

In the next few months he was imprisoned, away from his 10 children and his wife pregnant with their eleventh child. He was tried three times, and in all times he was found guilty of heresy against the Catholic Church and sentenced to die. And imagine the entire time he was in prison, he wasn’t allowed to communicate in any way with his family.

And so they woke him up one morning – according JC Ryle – and was led to his hometown, and walked the street leading up to the church where he preached. Thousands of people filled the streets as Rogers walked, and there with them stood his children, his wife, and in her arms was his son – whom he was seeing for the first time, the day of his execution.

And as they were tying his feet with rope to the stake – para sunugin siya – he was given one more chance by the priest to recant and to pledge allegiance to the Catholic Church. His reply was this – “What I preached before, I will seal today with my blood.” And they burned him, and before he died he was able to lift his arms in the air – and historians and biographers all wrote the same thing about this – when he raised arms, the thousands who were watch gave him the loudest applause they have ever heard.

Mga kapatid, isa lang yan sa mga kwento ng mga buhay na inalay para sa Reformation. Madami pa po. Sa England lang, sa panahon ni Queen Mary – 288 ang namatay dahil sa kanilang pananampalataya na “sola scriptura” – based lang sa Bible at hindi yung tinuturo ng Catholic Church noon.

Kaya mainam po ngayong umaga na itong mga katotohanan ng pananampalataya natin – mga katotohanan na madalas kinakalimutan natin sa araw-araw – ay mga bagay na ipinaglaban at ikinamatay ng mga taong ito nung panahon ng Reformation. Na noon, yung theology po nila – yung faith nila – ay hindi lang naka display sa t-shirt o sa Facebook status – para sa kanila, it was a life-or-death issue.

Mainam na itanong – kapag natapos ba nating pag-aralan ang Five Solas na ito – ano bang magiging epekto nun sa buhay natin? Doktrina lang ba siya? Kasi para sa mga taong nauna sa atin – ikinamatay nila ito, ipinaglaban. Pano tayo?

Ang assignment ko po today ay part ng discussion sa “Sola Fide” – salvation or justification through faith alone. Sabi ni Luther, it is “the doctrine upon which the church stands or falls.” And he said to church leaders “This is the principal article of Christian doctrine, so it is necessary for us to know it well, teach it well, and beat it into their heads continually.” So ito yung trabaho ko today – to beat it into our heads again and again.

So we will go to a text – Galatians 2:15-21, we will have a definition from my good friend David Platt, and then from the text and definition, we will have two implications for us in our Christian life.

Passage: Galatians 2:15-21

We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Look at how Paul argues his point here. He’s arguing with the Galatians, yung isa sa malalaking isyu sa iglesya nung panahon nila – kung ang salvation ba ay makakamtan sa pag-sunod ng Law ni Moses, or ito ba ay galing sa paniniwala kay Kristo lamang?

Pakinggan po natin yung sinasabi ni Paul dito, that in the first two verses, he has repeated one idea, three times – “through faith in Jesus Christ”, “believed in Christ Jesus”, “justified by faith in Christ”. Alam na po natin yung gustong gawin ng apostol Pablo dito – trying to beat it into their heads – this idea of justification. Tapos, tatlong beses din nyang inulit yung idea – “a person is not justified by works”, “not by works of the law”, and that “by works of the law no one will be justified”.

And so based on this text, eto po yung definition ng justification ni David Platt, tapos gagamitin ko po ang definition na ito bilang outline ng ating pag-aaral today:

Justification is the gracious act of God by which he declares a sinner righteous solely through faith in Jesus Christ.

Let’s break the definition down.

Justification is the gracious act of God…

Ito po ay act of God – gawa ng Diyos – at ang Diyos lang ang may kayang gawin. Gawin ang alin?

To justify is to make righteous – yung gawin kang matuwid or tama sa harapan ng Diyos. Para sa ating mga tunay na makasalanan – ang hirap po nun.

Isa sa mga pinagbasihan ni Pablo sa Galatians 2:16 ay ang verse na ito: Psalm 143:2, “Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.”

Ibig sabihin po, ang apostol Pablo ay nag-a-agree dun sa nagsulat ng awit – walang sinuman ang malinis sa harapan ng Diyos. More to that, walang sinuman ang kayang linisin ang sarili niya sa harapan ng isang banal na Diyos. Wala, walang sinuman.

Kaya po sinasabi sa Galatians 2, ang Diyos lang ang may kayang gawin na linisin ka kapag humarap ka sa Kanya. Only God can do it – justification is an act of God. Ang justification po – yung pagiging malinis, matuwid at tama sa harapan ng Diyos – sabi ni Pablo sa Ephesians 2 – it is a gift from God.

Hindi mo pwedeng trabahuin ito, mag-trabaho ng mag-trabaho para makuha mo yung justification, na para bang isang gadget or appliance sa bahay (TV or laptop or ref) na gusto mong makuha. Anong gagawin mo? Magta-trabaho, mag-iipon, hanggang makakuha ka ng pera para mabili mo.

Hindi po ganun ang justification. Dahil nga hindi mo kayang linisin ang sarili mo, kailangan ang Diyos ang magsasabi na malinis ka na. Walang ibang makakagawa nun kundi ang nag-iisang Diyos at Hari ng lahat. Ang justification ay hindi po something na gagawin natin – ito ay something na ginawa sa atin. Passive po tayo dito sa justification.

Sa mga usapan nga po naming mga dini-disciple ko po – we agree that walang kontribusyon ang isang tao sa kanyang kaligtasan. Ang kontribusyon lang natin – ay yung kasalanan na tayo ang gumawa, at kailangang patawarin. Yun lang.

Alam nyo po siguro yung Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God – that’s our action, our doing is sin. That’s the active part of the equation. Alam nyo rin po ba yung Romans 3:24 – and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus – passive. Justification is God’s grace in the life of the Christian. Hindi po ito nanggagaling sa trabaho or kakayanan natin.

The Council of Trent

The Council of Trent was convened in 1545 by the Catholic Church, and they brought all the highest authorities of the institution to react to the Protestant Reformation – so that they can lay down their own solid beliefs.

One of their biggest ideas is this:

If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification… let him be anathema. // Canon 9, Council of Trent

Pakinggan po natin yung sinasabi dito. Sabi po ng Roman Catholic church, eh hindi sila naniniwala sa “sola fide” – na ang mga naniniwala sa “sola fide” –condemned (anathema), accursed, mapunta na sa impyerno. Sabi po jan sa Council of Trent na hanggang ngayon ay pinaniniwalaan nila, something else is required, and that you obtain justification. May pwede kang gawin para ikaw ay mapatawad.

They missed the point. Ang grace po ay nagiging grace lamang dahil ito ay hindi mo kayang makuha or makamit. Ang grasya po ay ibinibigay, hindi kinukuha. Marami na po kayong napag-usapan sa “sola gratia” galing kay Pastor Derick – pero ang pinaka-simpleng idea po doon – wala kang ginawa para maging karapat-dapat ka sa grasya ng Panginoon.

Ang grasya ay napupunta sa mga hindi karapat-dapat. Tayo yun. At purihin natin ang Diyos, mga kapatid. Bakit? Kasi pinili ng Diyos na ibigay sa atin iyon, kahit hindi tayo karapat-dapat. Kasi kung wala ang grasya – wala tayo dito.

Narinig niyo na po ba yung argumento ng ibang tao na yung mga relihiyon – pare-parehas lang naman yan? Parehas lang, sa dulo, tayo-tayo din magkikita sa finals. Lahat ng relihiyon, sa Diyos din naman ang punta.

Sa Reformation – lalo na sa “sola fide” – hindi po pupuwede ang argumentong iyon. Like a Christian, a Buddhist, and a Moslem are like standing on the bottom of a mountain – and at the top is God, or Allah, or Nirvana – or whatever you call it. And we may take different paths up the mountain, but in the end, we all get to the top, and we find God, or whoever it is there, there.

Well, masarap pakinggan no? It’s nice, it accommodates everybody, masaya ang lahat. Pero hindi po sya pwede. Dahil sa bibliya po na pinaniniwalaan natin, yung Diyos sa tuktok ng bundok ay hindi nag-hintay para maka-abot ka dun sa taas. Siya mismo ang bumaba at dinala ang sarili niya sa atin para tayo ay mapalapit sa kanya at maibalik ang dati nanting relasyon sa kanya. And that’s good news.

Hindi ko kailangang maging sobrang buti o sobrang bait para makamtan ang kaligtasan ng Diyos – sa sobrang makasalanan ko, hindi ko kakayanin yun. Siya yung umayos ng relasyon natin, kasi po tayo, hindi natin kaya.

The next part of the definition:

Justification is the gracious act of God…

By which he declares a sinner righteous…

Ito po yung meaning ng justification – yung pagdedeklara ng Diyos na ang isang makasalanan na tao ay tama at matuwid na sa harapan niya. Ang deklarasyon na ito ay katumbas ng pagpapawalang-sala sa isang tao. Ang justification po ay kapag tiningnan ka ng Diyos – dahil sa ginawa ni Kristo sa krus – ang tingin ng Diyos sa iyo ay walang kasalanan. And again, good news po ba yon sa atin? Sa akin eh sobrang good news yon.

Once you have faith in Christ, you are declared righteous before God. Ang deklarasyon na ito involves a sinner – you and me – a guilty, intentionally rebellious man or woman standing before a holy God. Imagine nyo po sa isang hukuman – isang courtroom – tapos sa loob po ng hukuman na ito may tatlong element – isang judge na incorruptible (God), isang malinaw na batas (God’s commands), at isang taong tunay na nagkasala at guilty (us).

Sa ganoong sitwasyon, siguradong mapaparusahan ang nagkasala. Kapag ang judge ay wasto at hindi corrupt – takot ang kriminal sa ganun. Masaya ang kriminal kapag alam niya na ang judge ay marupok at kayang bayaran. Eh hindi ganun ang Diyos. Masaya din ang kriminal kung malabo ang batas, may lusot, may excuse na pwedeng gamitin – eh hindi malabo ang salita ng Diyos. Wala pong malabo nung sinabing Diyos kay Adan at Eba na huwag kakainin yung prutas.

Sa ganitong sitwasyon po, patay tayo – literally. A sinful man has no case in front of a holy God. Wala po tayong argumento na magpapawalang-sala sa atin. But praise be to God – may tumanggap na ng parusapara sa pagkakasala natin!

Imagine that you are on death row, at bukas na yung bitay mo, electric chair. Malamang ayaw mo nang gumising sa umaga kasi nga mamamatay ka na. Pero pag-gising mo, nabalitaan mo na may taong nag volunteer na mamatay para sayo – para hindi na ikaw yung mamatay.

Medyo nakakalito yun, actually. Sinong nasa tamang pag-iisip ang gagawa nun? Wala. Pangalawa, naku, kung alam lang niya kung ano yung mga kasalanan mo, kalokohan mo, kabastusan mo sa buhay – naku mandidiri sila. Ikaw mismo sa sarili mo, alam mong hindi ka karapat-dapat sa ganung klaseng sakripisyo, tama po ba? So it can’t be – hindi pwede na namatay ang taong ito, nag volunteer dahil mabait ka naman. Kasi hindi ka naman mabait. Ikaw ay guilty, makasalanan.

So bakit namatay si Kristo para sayo? Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrated his love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. It must be love. It could only be love. The cross is a demonstration of love. And so if you ever come to that point in your life where you say –walang nagmamahal sa akin, or hindi nya ako mahal, wala nang kwenta ang buhay – kapatid, look to the Cross and remind yourself who loves you the most. You don’t need the love, affection, acknowledgment of any man or woman to complete you – the Cross fulfills the love of God for us and it is enough.

Do you ever wonder why Good Friday is good? This is why it is good. This is the greatest news in the world. This is the Good News.

Paano po ginagawa ng Diyos yon? Yung sasabihin niyang wala na tayong kasalanan? Ito po ay makikita sa dalawang doktrina ng Reformation. Wag po kayong matakot sa doktrina, kailangan po natin ito.

Una, PROPITIATION – that God pours out all of his righteous wrath on to Jesus on the Cross as substitute for us. Minsan hindi natin naiintindihan kung bakit sobrang stressed si Jesus sa Garden of Gethsemane, bago siya mamatay. Bakit siya pinagpapawisan ng dugo habang nananalangin? Naduduwag ba siya? Natatakot? Kung alam na niya gagawin niya, bakit siya nai-istress? Kaya po ganun, kasi alam niya yung kakaharapin niya sa krus – ito po ay ang puro at naglalagablab na poot at galit ng isang banal na Diyos laban sa lahat ng kabastusan, kalokohan, at kasalanan ng tao. Alam ni Jesus kung anong mangyayari sa krus – siya yung haharap sa poot at galit ng Diyos – at sobrang tindi ng galit na yun na ibinuhos lahat yung kay Hesus – and it crushed him to death. Pero tinanggap niya yun – lahat, buong-buo – linagok bawat patak ng galit ng Diyos na dapat tayo yung haharap. At pagkatapos nun sinabi niya – it is finished. That is PROPITIATION.

Pangalawa, IMPUTATION. And this is crazy. Yung pagiging righteous at matuwid ni Jesus ay inililipat ng Diyos sa atin. Ito yung nakakaloka. He made him who had no sin to be sin on our behalf (propitiation), so that we might become the righteousness of God (imputation). Kapag tayo ay nanampalataya kay Kristo – kapag tinitingnan tayo ng Diyos, hindi na tayo yung nakikita niya, hindi na yung kasalanan natin. Grabe siguro yung hiya at shame na mararamdaman natin pag nakita ng mga tao yung mga kasalanan natin – pero praise the Lord, he does not see us and our sin, he sees the righteousness of Jesus covering us.

This is not based on anything we have done – hindi tayo pwedeng magmalinis. Not based on anything we will do for him – hindi natin pwedeng bayaran ng ministry or trabaho. Completely based on who Jesus is, and kung ano yung ginawa niya para sa atin.

Justification is the gracious act of God by which he declares a sinner righteous…

 …solely through faith in Jesus Christ.

 Again, from the Council of Trent: If anyone says that faith which justifies is nothing else than trust in divine mercy, that it is this trust alone that justifies us, let him be anathema. //Canon 12, Council of Trent

 The Catholic Church says, na kung maniniwala kayo na tanging ang pananampalataya lamang kay Kristo ang makakapagligtas sa inyo, kayo po ay kasumpa-sumpa.

Pero sa bibliya po, ito ang sinasabi. Sa Galatians 2, v16 – a person is not justified by works. Sa Acts, Paul says to his guards – Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. To the Romans he says – If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe (!) in your hearts that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Si Hesus mismo, ganyan ang sinasabi – Repent and believe the good news. So ito lang po ang kailangan nating gawin para maligtas – believe in Christ, trust in Jesus, hope in Him.

This is justification. Justification is the gracious act of God by which he declares a sinner righteous solely through faith in Jesus Christ.

So what are we to do with this?

#1 – “Sola Fide” should redefine the way we live our lives.

 Look at the text, V19-20. Paul says, I consider that my life has ended. I have been crucified with Christ – that which was in me, the desires, yung mga priorities na selfish, yung makasariling pamumuhay – that has been crucified with Christ. It is now Christ who lives in me.

David Platt says this so beautifully – “Imputation leads to an entirely new identity.”

The Christ who died for you is the Christ who now lives in you. The Christ who has justified you is now living in you so he can sanctify you. Yung Kristo na nagmahal para mamatay siya para sa iyo 2000 years ago, siya rin yung Kristo na mahal ka at tutulungan kang mabuhay para sa Kanya ngayon. Huwag po tayong bumigay dun sa temptation – to believe justification by faith, pero maniwala na ang sanctification ay trabaho natin at hindi ni Kristo.

For pastors and church leaders – let us not preach justification by faith, but do ministry by the flesh. There are so many times that I am arrested and convicted by this. My ministry as a pastor has been very good – and that is all by his grace. I have a beautiful wife that supports me. I have some wonderful mentors and elders in our church that lead me and guide me through tough decisions. I get invited to speak in other places to other churches. And in the middle of all this, my personal time with the Lord was inconsistent – and on most days zero.

It’s not that I do not like what I do – on the contrary, I love what I do and I am passionate about it. But here is what scared me and it should scare the heck out of you too – that I can be successful in my ministry and yet so far away from Christ in my personal relationship with him. So many things could have gone wrong in my ministry – there are times when I screw up and I wonder why the Lord has kept me here so far. He is gracious, that much I know. And he has protected me, my wife, my friends, our church – from the danger that I could bring to them.

So as I challenge myself to believe in justification by faith and live my daily life by the same faith, I ask you to consider it. Do not preach sola fide, and then leave it by the wayside when God brings you to deal with your sanctification.

#2 – Proclaiming “Sola Fide” is worth our lives.

If “sola fide” is true, then brothers and sisters, what we have in our hands, hearts, and heads is the greatest news in the world. That a sinful man or woman, anywhere in the world, in whatever situation in life they may have – they can stand justified before a holy God in this life and through eternity, solely through faith in Jesus Christ. Anyone, at any time, anywhere.

Let us not miss the big point here. The Reformers, the ones who died for these truths – they did not die simply because they believed this Gospel. They died because they proclaimed it. Persecution only comes with proclamation. If you stay silent about this Gospel that you know, your life will probably be safe.

It’s when you speak this Gospel that you step into persecution – especially in the post-truth, post-modern world that we live in today. These Reformers, they taught it in their churches, they taught it to their families, they preached it to their friends – and they lost their lives because of it.

Remember John Rogers? He had a choice for that sermon, when Queen Mary came to London.

He could have just chosen a random passage, preached a good sermon, full of good vibes and witty jokes, and he would have survived and he would have spent more time with his family. Or he could preach the Gospel in its entirety. He chose the latter, and I think I knew why.

Mga kapatid, we can’t just love the Gospel and not love the people who need the Gospel. I cannot say, for all the smart things I tend to say in front – that I love the Gospel and not love the 70,000 students or more in Intramuros who do not know their right hand from their left.

The challenge for me is – am I willing to give my life for the proclamation of the Gospel? Am I willing to proclaim the Gospel? Am I willing to risk my life, my comfort, my convenience, because SOLA FIDE is Gospel truth? Am I willing to give all for this one Gospel ambition – to preach Christ to those who don’t know him?

Brothers and sisters, on paper and historically, the survival rate for people with such ambitions for the Gospel is not so good. There are not many people who have grown rich preaching the Gospel. There are not many people who live comfortable lives, live in great big houses, have all the money they want to spend and all the luxuries their heart desires – because of preaching SOLA FIDE. Those are the numbers.

So in the end, you will have to ask, is Jesus worth it? Is it worth it so that people will know that they can have faith in Christ alone and stand righteous from now until eternity? Those who decide to live by faith, will do so in this life, and in their death, until Jesus returns, when this faith that we have shall turn to sight – and it will be proven that our hope in Christ is one that does not disappoint, that it was worth it, in the end.

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