The Myth of Final Justification (2023 Conference) (Part 2)


Part 2! Tune in to listen to Pastor Mike’s message at the 2023 Pactum Conference!


Classic Friday: Thankfulness or Jesus (Part 3)

Welcome to No Compromise Radio Ministry. My name is Mike Abendroth. We could also call this Duplex Gratia Radio if you like Latin.
Today, a special episode I'm going to be playing. I'm going to be playing. I hate it when
I say gonna, but we just all say that, don't we? Or many of us say it. I'm going to be playing the message
I preached at the Pactum Conference in Omaha, Nebraska in early October. And I have permission from Pat Abendroth to play that.
My topic was the myth of final justification. And I've talked about it some here on the radio show, but this is a more formal presentation jammed into 40, 42 minutes.
And so this is my message on the myth or the lie of final justification in Omaha at Omaha Bible Church played on the
Pactum with permission of Pat Abendroth. Here you go. Question three, who teaches future justification?
Who teaches future justification? By the way, it's all a derivative of the Roman Catholic church.
They teach and still teach in the Council of Trent. If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works, i .e.
justification, but that those works are merely fruits and signs of justification, that's what we say, but not the cause of its increase, let him be anathema, a curse.
You're going to go to hell if you believe what I just taught in Romans 3. If anyone, Catholic church teaches, says that after reception of grace of justification, the guilt is so remitted, that was
I just was teaching that, the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out, I was just teaching that, and that no debt of temporal punishment remains, let him be anathema.
Rome teaches you're not justified until you're really justified on the inside, cooperating with Christ. So here's what we're going to do.
Remember, one of my goals is I'm going to say something. You say, is that good news? Does that sound like Jesus and what he did?
Or does that sound like bad news? So I'm going to give you the quote. You're going to determine good news or bad news. And then
I'll tell you who said it. Because if I tell you who said it first, you might with celebrity gazing eyes think
I love that celebrity and whatever they say must be right. Pat told me to name names. I'm under his authority.
The exclusive ground of justification of the believer in the state of justification is the righteousness of Christ.
Any guesses what the next word is? But his obedience, which is simply the perseverance of the saints in the way of truth and righteousness, is necessary to his continuing in a state of justification.
That is bad news. That doesn't sound like good news. That sounds like Rome. And that is a man named
Norman Shepard. And he got kicked out of Westminster, Philly, after eight years of wrangling.
Sincere obedience to God in Christ is a condition of our continuance in a state of justification and of our not losing it.
Good news or bad news? By the way, if you think that's true, how you doing? If you're honest with yourself, this is bad news.
Really bad news. That doesn't sound like Jesus. That sounds like Rome. That sounds like Richard Baxter. And it is.
And his book, Reformed Pastor, is a horrible book that you ought not to read. The stunning answer on how you can be right with God is sola fide, faith alone.
But be sure you hear this carefully and precisely. He says right with God by faith alone, not attain heaven by faith alone.
There are other conditions for attaining heaven, but none others for entering a right relationship to God.
Good news or bad news? Initial justification by faith alone, final justification by doing things.
Good news or bad news? That sounds like Rome. And sadly, that's John Piper. John Piper also writes, quote, these works of faith and the obedience of faith, these fruits of the spirits that come by faith are necessary for our final salvation.
No holiness, no heaven. So we should not speak of getting into heaven by faith alone in the same way we were justified by faith alone.
That's bad news. We, the reformed people, know how to talk about works.
We're all for works, but they're fruits and evidence, not ground. They are fruits and evidence, not conditions.
Let me ask you some questions. Who has lived a life in such a way that he or she has merited heaven?
Not me, not you, not John Piper, but only Jesus alone. What does union with Christ mean?
Does it mean we get judged for our performance at the end? No. What does it mean that Jesus is our federal head, the last
Adam? One writer says, is being declared righteous in God's eyes inadequate to attain heaven?
Do you need more righteousness than Christ to attain heaven? How transformed must your life be before you can stand before God?
Only the celebrity who says that knows. Benjamin Keech, I throw this out for Steve Meister, reformed
Baptist. Once we are justified, we need not inquire how a man is justified after he's justified.
Am I justified in saying that? Okay. And you can just look, if you want to look at the
Old Testament, you know, Israel, they're going through the Red Sea. Remember that kind of two -stage way they got through the
Red Sea, the initial stage and the final stage? You remember that, right? Exodus 92,
Sproul asked of Norman Shepard, and I could ask of John Piper, what's the matter with the traditional view that good works are necessary for sanctification and a necessary evidence of faith?
What's wrong with that? That's just how we always talk. Machen writes a hundred years ago, if Christ provides only part of our salvation, leaving us to provide the rest, we're still hopeless under the load of sin.
Christ will do everything, our nothing. The only hope is to throw ourselves unreservedly on his mercy and trust him for all.
Romans 8 verses 12 to 13 cap off this proclamation of life in Christ by reminding us that God's gift of eternal life does not cancel the complimentary truth that only by progressing in holiness that eternal life will be attained.
Good news or bad news? That's bad news. That sounds like Rome and Doug Moose commentary in Romans I use all the time.
But you just better make sure you start reading and thinking what happens when we start wanting good works to be done, but we don't think sovereign grace and the love of Christ Jesus motivates it.
Do you really think that the motivation that you have to obey is because God loved me and he gave his son for me?
That's the only animating principle that will help you live out of gratitude. Those who are children are also heirs, but this inheritance is also continue to condition upon obedience, willing to suffer.
The emphasis upon condition does not detract at all from the main theme of chapter eight of Romans, which is assurance belonging to all believers.
That is so wrong. Of course it detracts from it. And that's not good news at all. That's bad news. And that's someone who
I use all the time in his Romans commentary, Kerry, but he's wrong here because he teaches this final justification,
Tom Schreiner. And even a man that I respect so much, Greg Beal, Harrison Perkins was dealing with him a little bit.
And he said, Beal himself says that in his estimation, there's no simple answer to whether someone can, quote, be assured that he has a true saving relationship with God, end quote, because we don't know how much work we have to do.
We don't want to give short shrift to works because we're not antinomians. So somehow we have to have enough works. And so if you have to have enough works for assurance, how many do you have to have?
And for your math majors, it's not N it's N plus one. Keep going. How much fruit do
I have? How much obedience do I have? How much steadfastness do I have? Does this sound like good news?
That I with body and soul, both in life and death, I'm not my own, but belong to my faithful savior, Jesus Christ, who with his precious blood has fully satisfied all my sins and redeemed me from the power of the devil.
And so preserves me that without the will of my father in heaven, not a hair can fall from my head.
Indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Good news. Very good news.
Heidelberg catechism question one. When you hear things about final justification,
I want you to say, it's not good news. It sounds like Rome and John Owen knew it. John Owen said, when you have a double justification distinction, a first and the second, it is a
Roman Catholic doctrine. Question four, who teaches a right view of justification?
Well, we looked at Paul who did. I could also talk about Paul in Roman six with union with Christ.
And by the way, the resurrection of Christ, you resurrected with him forces, no final justification, but lots of people teach the right way.
You tell me if this is good news or not. Our final glorification is absolutely guaranteed from the moment of our justification.
Good news. Martin Lloyd Jones. Those who have been saved by the Lord Jesus are not only righteous in the sight of God, but are beyond the possibility of becoming unrighteous.
Good news. Machen. Where's heart when I need him? When you are engaged in discussion, the question of justification, be careful of allowing any mention to be made of love or works.
Because once we get our love and works in there, it's not going to turn into good news. Heidelberg catechism only by true faith in Jesus.
That is, although my conscience accused me that I have grievously sinned against all the commandments of God and have never kept any of them and then prone still as a
Christian to do all evil. Yet God, without any merit of mine, grants and imputes to me by grace, the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, as if I've never sinned and I've accomplished all the obedience crisis fulfilled for me.
Question five. Why do people teach future justification? Why do people teach it? Why would
Pat have me talk about it? Well, I think number one, they're probably unfamiliar with church history.
That could be it. Number two, they deny law gospel. They blend the two together. Does Pat ever talk about that?
Bad Bible interpretation, Romans 2 .13. I hope you have time to get there. But here's the big one, in my opinion.
They're afraid that you're going to go crazy. Lawless. If you know that God loves you with an everlasting love, hurled all your sins overboard, you can never be unjustified, you might just take advantage of that.
And by the way, you just might. But that doesn't undo the doctrine. We can't be afraid of sovereign grace when that's what the
Bible teaches, sovereign grace. It's not uncommon for people to think,
I'm a pastor. Pat's a pastor. There are many pastors here. You know, there's some people in church doing some things we don't want them to do.
Like they're watching the Nebraska game instead of coming to the conference. How can we get them to obey?
Well, you crank up the law. And instead of the law to guide and to help and to comfort and to norm, the law is you better keep doing the law because you're going to get to that deathbed one day and the question's going to be, how much?
And by the way, when God saves us and writes the law on our hearts and we're new creatures, we're not going to just be crazy antinomians.
I mean, what motivates obedience? I see my son right over here. What would I say to him to motivate him to obey?
Son, I love you. Son, I'm proud of you. The Lord gave you to me. And you don't even have to then hear me say, so I want you to clean up your room.
It's the love of God that motivates. I know you love Psalm 23 for lots of reasons.
Let me give you one that you probably never thought of. There's no law in Psalm 23. The Lord is my shepherd.
I don't lack anything. He's with me. He's with me. He's with me. If I got two dogs again, my dog died a few years ago.
If I got dogs again, I get two dogs and I name them goodness and mercy because they follow me all around.
No commands. And you know, when I read Psalm 23, when I'm sick and I'm in the cancer hospital, I'm reading
Psalm 23. What does it make me do? Oh, I can be lawless. No, I think, Lord, I'm so sorry for being anxious.
I'm sorry for being afraid. I'm sorry for not doing these things because grace motivates.
You better get that in your mind. I know you do, but I'm here to remind you. Grace of God motivates. If somebody could love me like that.
I was engaged for 30 days before I married my wife 34 years ago. My son tried to top me.
He just got married after only 45 days. I don't know why he got married only after 45 days, but looking back,
I get married in 30 days because I thought if my wife finds out about me and all the things I do and she's never going to say yes.
So pick somebody that keeps their word and get married right away. The Lord knew every one of your sins that you'd ever commit.
He said, I've loved you with an everlasting love. That's going to make me just wrongly do all these sins.
I'm just going to tread on the grace of God. May it never be. Paul knows that in Romans chapter 6. What should we say then?
Are we to continue in grace might abound? Of course not. Question six.
What are the implications of believing future justification? I'll make this quick. The focus is on you.
That unholy Trinity, me, myself, and I morbid introspection. I'm not saying there's never a time to say with the reform syllogism.
The Bible says Christians do these things. I do these things. Therefore, I must be a Christian, but that's secondary.
That's tertiary. You don't look to yourself first. Luther said, did he not? When I look to myself, I don't know how
I can be saved. And when I look to the Lord, I don't know how I can be lost. You're going to either be depressed or self -righteous.
When you look to final justification based on your own works, you're going to do something else. You're going to do many things.
Here's one. Degrade God's justice. That's what James Buchanan said. That somehow God would accept your less than perfect works on judgment day.
You don't really think God's that just. God accepts your less than perfect works, by the way, as a Christian. We're not talking about judgment day at the moment, but he accepts those works because he accepts you.
I like to watch MasterChef sometimes because I'd like to watch some show on TV, and they're all so awful, so I watch
MasterChef. And can you imagine somebody baking Ramsay, Chef Ramsay, a birthday cake?
And he spits it out, and he cuts it in half, and puts it on the person's head, and you're an idiot sandwich and all this stuff, and they lose the competition.
But what if it's his six -year -old daughter, and it's his birthday, and she has a little easy -bake oven, and she makes it for her dad, and she presents it to him, and what does he do?
Because he accepts her, he accepts the cake. That's why God accepts your worship.
Are my motives perfect today? I'm sure they're not. I don't want to look stupid up here. I want you to think
I'm a great preacher. Those are already probably both sins. But does he accept things because he accepts me?
The answer is yes. You can tell a lot about a worship service in a church when you watch the communion service and the
Lord's Supper. Is there something to be said for I'd like to confess my sin?
Yes. But what does the text say? Do this in remembrance of me, Jesus said. Remember Jesus, he welcomes you to the table.
It's like he opens the door and says, please come and have a meal with me. It's an anticipatory meal. It's not this scolding. It's called a means of grace, not means of scolding.
But that's another sermon. Question seven, what are the implications of believing real justification?
Answer, opposite of the other, your focus is on Christ. Hebrews 12, fixing your eyes, looking at the
Lord Jesus. Because you know, if you keep looking at yourself, I'm just not going to measure up.
St. Clair Ferguson, if final justification is dependent on something we have to complete, it is not possible to enjoy assurance.
And I want you, dear congregation, to have assurance. If I were to visit you on your deathbed, how would
I encourage you if you're a Christian? I visit people on their deathbed and I usually say, are you afraid to die?
And they say no. But what if I said this to someone? I had to go see my friend a while ago.
He was dying. He's with the Lord now. What if I said to this, how was your quiet time today? Did you read your
Bible enough today? Are you evangelizing the nurses? I think there might be a place for that.
When I was there thinking I was going to die, I tried to evangelize the nurses. The doctors, I'd say, is there any way I could pray for you? And they're like, you need the prayers, buddy, not me.
What do we say on people's deathbeds? How about something like this?
Jesus read and studied the Old Testament enough. Jesus preached the gospel enough. Jesus prayed enough.
You know, dear person on the deathbed, Jesus loves you with an everlasting love. There's no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.
How about that? Here's my next question. Why do we say to ourselves, we surely talk about that on deathbeds, but when people are living, we've got to give them extra laws so that they obey.
You're dying right now. You could be dead right now. And so what kind of encouragement do we try to give people? What are some, question number eight, what are some key passages to know so that you can defend yourself against this?
Romans 2 .13, James 2, Hebrews 12, and Revelation 20.
You'll have to listen to the podcast in a couple of weeks because I'm going to finish this sermon on my podcast. But Romans 2 .13
is the real issue. Let me read it to you. But the doers of the law are justified. They'll be justified.
The doers of the law. Romans 2 .13. How are you doing, by the way? So they'll say, if you do enough, you'll be finally justified.
Remember, Romans 1 and 2 is in the section where we're trying to condemn people and have them say, I can't have anything except my mouth stopped.
It's not about sanctification. That's in chapter six. That's in chapter seven with holy living. Chapter two is, if you want to get to heaven based on your own righteousness, moralistic
Jew, you perfectly keep the law. That's all it's talking about. And Calvin said, if you don't believe that, you should be laughed at by children.
Oh, excuse me. I thought you were going to laugh. All right.
Final question. What could
I read to help me with this? Fesco on justification. Terton on justification.
Buchanan on justification. Calvin on justification. And Horton for justification. Fesco, Terton, Buchanan, Calvin, and Horton.
Those would help you. If you just wanted to pick one, why don't you pick Fesco? I saw it right over there.
They just upped the price. It's like in LA, we had the earthquake.
Water went, you know, 10 times as expensive. When you hear someone say something about the law for the
Christian that has to be kept in order to be saved, I want you to say, that's not good news. That's not about the
Lord Jesus. That sounds like Rome. And when you want to encourage other Christians, might I say that you should just talk about the
Lord Jesus and how he paid it all and it is finished? And Matt, you say, even with me or your pastor or anyone else, some men
I quoted are certainly Christian men, and they make mistakes. So we as a congregation, as a group should be
Bereans to say, we need to work through these things. So we just don't fall prey that if a celebrity says something, we believe it. Now to him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.
Where's that from? Second Maccabees, of course. It's Jude 24.
No wonder. Judgment day shouldn't be scary for the
Christian. The return of Christ should not be terrifying for you as a believer.
Belgic confession talks about judgment day. Therefore, with good reason, the thought of judgment is horrible and dreadful to wicked and evil people, but it is very pleasant and a great comfort to the righteous and elect since their total redemption then will be accomplished.
They will receive the fruits of their labor and of the trouble they have suffered. The faithful and elect will be crowned with glory and honor, and the
Son of God will confess their names before God the Father and the holy angels, and all tears will be wiped from their eyes, and their cause as present condemned as heretical will be acknowledged to be the cause of the
Son of God. So we look forward to that day with great longing in order to enjoy fully the promises of God in Christ Jesus our
Lord. Don't fall prey to the lie of final justification because it demeans
Christ's work. Amen. God bless you. Thanks for listening and being a part of the Pactamverse. You can find us online on Instagram and Twitter.
can be emailing us connect at thepactam .org. We'll see you next week on the Pactam.