June 17, 2001
Romans 5:1-8 "In the nick of time . . ."
Justification at Annual Conference, 1744
Justification is the subject of this passage and also was the subject of Annual Conference. Not Annual Conference in May, 2001 but the very first Methodist Annual Conference, which took place June 25, 1744. In attendance at that Conference were six Anglican priests including John and Charles Wesley. The priests’ first decision at the first Annual Conference was whether or not they could JUSTIFY the admittance of four laymen into the room. These four laymen were JUSTIFIED by the priests and thus allowed through the door into the Conference.
The second decision was that justification might be "fully debated and bolted to the bran." After all, justification is the foundational and fundamental teaching of our faith. To put their definition into a nutshell (not an easy task), the Conference defined justification in these terms:
In regards to the faith necessary for justification, it is "a supernatural inward sense or sight of Elohim in Messiah reconciling the world unto himself." So justifying faith works this way:
In regards to the immediate fruits of being justified: "peace, joy, love, power over all outward sin and power to keep down all inward sin." In addition, the result of justification is that a person will no longer willfully sin. If one does willfully sin, he or she forfeits pardon and again becomes a sinner until repentance and the evidences of justification are again experienced!
Over the years, and under the influence of other prominent religious groups, we have come to call "salvation" that which is really "justification." But like the primitive Methodists, the Bible teaches that when we are "justified" or pardoned, we will feel the evidences of it, and if we continue to live in a state of justification by not willfully sinning, performing good works and fulfilling sacred ordinances, we will eventually be saved from the wrath of Elohim in the last day. We can freely, then, say that we are justified because we have the evidences of our pardon. But we can only say we are saved by faith, having no other evidence of salvation except hope, until the wrath of Elohim finally comes upon the earth and our salvation is made evident.
Sounds like "works righteousness," doesn’t it? That is, being saved by faith, grace and works.
Once Saved, Always Saved?
In regards to the claim that "once saved, always saved," first, confessors of this slogan should properly be saying, "once justified, always justified" and, second, that teaching is not in accordance with either the Bible or our founding fathers. You can indeed lose your justification before Elohim; and the evidence of that fact is plain, for we’ve seen and known many who have
BETTER! I'd like to have this because of Kinghorn, but . . O well!
But before we draw the conclusion that we have indeed willfully sinned enough in our long lives to have surely lost our justification, let us consider the powerful forces working holiness on our behalf, including
These powerful forces continually aid us in retaining our justification until we are finally perfected.
Nowadays, when a believer suffers, he wonders whether it is because he has displeased Elohim. We often hear sayings like, "Elohim needed my child in heaven," or "Yahweh took my husband," or "Elohim is punishing me," when some undesired natural consequence of living in the material world occurs. Or when we don’t have enough money, we say, "Elohim’s not blessing me because I’m not paying enough tithes," or "Elohim’s not prospering me like the TV preacher said he would." Or when we’re sick, we say "Why me, Lord?" when we know full well the sickness is probably the result of heredity, accident or sin. Blaming Yahweh for one’s problems is not the practice of the justified believer who has evidence and hope of his eventual salvation. The justified venerate the lives of the saints and know that suffering is bound to come as long as we live in a sinful world. The justified also know that the Suffering Servant is present within our sufferings; thus suffering, though unpleasant and many times lethal, is of great value in the plan of sanctification.
The writer of the Epistle to the Romans endured unmentionable suffering and could say with authenticity that
The conclusion drawn is that, as we draw onward toward perfection, suffering does not disappoint the justified, since suffering results in greater ‘intestinal fortitude’ and greater hope in the Savior for its relief. In this golden age, in which everyone can have everything, the validity of suffering as part and parcel of one’s justification seems not only out-of-date but psychotic. Yet many who have been through great suffering have not only personally benefited, but have also been a testimony to those who are weaker in faith.
(Refer to testimonies at cell group.)
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Regarding Weakness and Strength
In speaking of the weak among us, and we have all been weak or helpless before the Father at one time or another, Paul writes a most incredible line:Rom 5:6. While we were still weak, at the right time Messiah died for the unElohimly. The weakness Paul is speaking of here is sin-sickness, inflicted upon every natural human being from birth. Paul is writing about 20 years after the death of Messiah, in about 53 AD. Only 20 years after. Paul addresses this passage to ‘we.’ The ‘we’ is primarily the believers at Rome; and he is also including himself. He says to the Romans and to himself that there was a ‘right time’ for Messiah to die. Remember that Yahshua himself did not admit to being the Messiah because ‘his hour had not yet come.’ Yahshua knew when the right time would be, and now in hindsight, so did Paul. Chronologically, that time was about 33 AD. What were Paul and the Roman believers doing then, in 33 AD, at the ‘right time’?
Well, in 33, there were no believers in Rome at all. There were no Jews in Rome either, for the Emperor Claudius had expelled them all. The Romans of 33 AD were pagan worshipers of the demonic pantheon of Roman Elohims. They had never heard of Yahshua the King of the Jews.
In 33 AD, Paul was an important young Pharisee. He was an inquisitor, and enforcer, a tough guy. He was a persecutor of any Jews who varied from the tenets of his denomination. One scholar believes that Paul was on the Jerusalem Temple police force, and was involved in the death of Yahshua.
So the Romans were the masters of the world. Paul was not only the strong arm of the Jews, but he was also a Roman citizen, giving him double the power. Yet Paul writes that 20 years ago, though we considered ourselves strong in the might of Rome, ‘we,’ were weak - sin sick - destined for destruction. It was then that Messiah died for them, when they had no knowledge of his strength at all.
So now let’s consider the phrase, "the right time." There are two words in Bible language that refer to time. The first is chronos, from which we get the words chronology or chronometer. Chronos means a particular time, like 3 PM June 4, 1942. The other word for time is kairos, from which we get words we don’t use much like kairotic. Kairos means the time and circumstances which lead up to an event. I call kairos "pregnant time" because circumstances build and build and build and then an event in time just busts out! Kairos is the word used here. "At the right time" is an understatement. I like to translate this passage, "In the very nick of time, Messiah died for the unElohimly." So in a real sense, time here does not only mean in 33 AD when the Romans were heathens and Paul was a Pharisee, but the right time is any time that circumstances and events build in the life of the unElohimly individual. There comes a point in the spiritual sense when Messiah dies again for the sinner destined for justification.
In 33 AD, suffering was horrible in Palestine under Roman occupation. Thousands were crucified, corpses hung all over the place all the time, taxes were so high the poor could not eat, all people were slaves; and they cried out for a hundred years under this occupation, and prayers and circumstances built and built -- time became more and more pregnant, until in a gigantic heave of creation, pregnant time gave birth to the Messiah, who lived and, in short order, died, for all of creation. Since kairos time is not subject to chronos time, part of the upheaval that brought the Messiah was the sins and longing for deliverance of people in our day and age as well, in which suffering has exponentially worsened on a global scale. This is what Paul is talking about when he says in Rom 8:
"At the right time, Messiah died for the unElohimly" means "that at any time" or "in all time" Messiah died and dies. This is why we see some wearing crucifixes with the image of Yahshua still hanging on there. We like to say, "My Yahshua is not on the cross anymore." But friends, if I have made myself clear at all, you will understand that when he was crucified he felt the suffering of the entire history of suffering -- all suffering in all times -- all unElohimliness in all times. This is what kairos time or pregnant time is all about. It brings forth and event with eternal, multidimensional consequences. And though ‘he ever lives to make intercession for us,’ he also ‘ever dies for the unElohimly.’ And right now, he is living for the elect like us all, and dying on the cross because of his compassion for our unjustified loved ones and other suffering sinners the world over. There is a timelessness in the final passage of our reading: Rom 5:8:
But Elohim shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Messiah died for us.
The timelessness of this passage proves my point. For these words have been preserved all these years not to be read as the history of Paul and the Romans, but to be read as our history, as well. In regards to the death of Messiah and our justification through it, one time, one age has become all time, all ages. Yahshua dies for us in our time, because he foreknew us and loved us in his time. His time is all time.