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We cannot be saved by our works, yet we cannot be saved without them. The reason? The judgment to come (consider Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, 2 Corinthians 5:10).

“There are conditions to our receiving justification and sanctification, and the righteousness of Christ. I know your meaning, but you leave a wrong impression upon many minds. While good works will not save even one soul, yet it is impossible for even one soul to be saved without good works. 1SM 377.1 (letter to AT Jones)

      • “Justification is the reward of faith in the righteousness of Christ.” 18MR 96.3
      • Justification is wholly of grace and not procured by any works that fallen man can do.” FW 20.1
      • Justification is the opposite of condemnation.” FW 104.1
      • “It is by continual surrender of the will, by continual obedience, that the blessing of justification is retained.” 1SM 397.1
      • Many commit the error of trying to define minutely the fine points of distinction between justification and sanctification.” FW 14.2

Exodus 23:7 Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked.

      • Those that are justified are innocent and righteous. Those that are not justified are wicked.

Deuteronomy 25:1 If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.

      • The righteous are justified, the wicked are condemned.

1 Kings 8:32 Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.

2 Chronicles 6:23 Then hear thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness.

Job 9:20 If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.

      • Job speaking.

Psalms 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

      • God too can be justified, just not from sin.

Psalms 143:2 And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.

Proverbs 17:15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.

Isaiah 45:25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

Isaiah 50:8 He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me.

Isaiah 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Ezekiel 16:51 Neither hath Samaria committed half of thy sins; but thou hast multiplied thine abominations more than they, and hast justified thy sisters in all thine abominations which thou hast done.

Ezekiel 16:52 Thou also, which hast judged thy sisters, bear thine own shame for thy sins that thou hast committed more abominable than they: they are more righteous than thou: yea, be thou confounded also, and bear thy shame, in that thou hast justified thy sisters.

      • This is referring to Israel! See Ezekiel 16:44 and onward.

New Testament

Matthew 12:37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

      • You are either saved or condemned by your words—because of the judgment.

Luke 7:29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.

      • When we follow God’s will, doing it and not just believing, we justify God (meaning, to show or regard as just).

Luke 7:35 But wisdom is justified of all her children.

      • Christ, Wisdom, if proved true in His claims and promises by His children’s lives.

Luke 10:29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

      • The lawyer wanted to divert the focus… (the next verse fits in to this scenario).

Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

Luke 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

      • Not just words/actions will justify, but transformed character as well (consider James 4:10).

Acts 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:

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.

      • The old covenant, based on faulty promises (Hebrews 8:6-13), could not do what the gospel through Christ can perfectly perform.

Romans 2:13 For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

      • The reason this is true is because of the judgment. No man will be saved while choosing known sin over known righteousness. This does not contradict the other phrases in Romans, nor the book of James 2:14-26.

Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true (the Biblical LBGT), but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou (God) mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

      • God will be judged during the 1,000 years by those who are considering the books of deeds. He will be vindicated before the universe—including created humans!

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

      • This is true in the context of salvation, not judgment.

Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

      • Grace is the Spirit of Christ, brought to us through Christ, by the ministration of the angels (consider Steps to Christ, 52.2-3, “…They must have His grace, the Spirit of Christ, to help their infirmities, or they cannot resist evil… Strength and grace have been provided through Christ to be brought by ministering angels to every believing soul”).

Romans 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

      • This is true in the context of salvation, not the judgment. We are not judged by faith or grace, we are judged by our works.

Romans 3:30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

      • The Father, the “one” God, will justify us. How? Through His Son.

Romans 4:2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

      • This does not contradict James 2:21, as Abraham proved his love and acceptance of the free gift of justification by his actions in obeying God. (Consider this: “The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God” 14MR 128.2).

Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

      • In regard to salvation, yes! But works must be included in ones life with that acceptence of justification, else we will not “retain” that justification (consider: “But while God can be just, and yet justify the sinner through the merits of Christ, no man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ’s righteousness while practicing known sins, or neglecting known duties. God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place; and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul” 1SM 366.1).
      • Also, consider the teaching of Jesus about believing: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also” (John 14:12).

Romans 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

      • He died for OUR offences, and was raised because He had none of His own! \o/

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

      • It’s not that we have peace with God through our faith, but through our Lord Jesus Christ. We must have the faith OF Jesus.

Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

      • We are justified by His faith, by His blood.

Romans 5:16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

      • Verse 18 should be understood with the tenses of verse 19. Not all men were justified at the cross, else all would be saved and we would be universalists in our theology (especially if we teach that Jesus died the second death on the cross!).

Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

      • Salvation is quite a process that God in His mercy has extended to us.

Romans 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

      • Again, God justifies, through His Son.

1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

      • Notice the order… interesting!
      • “It is true that repentance does precede the forgiveness of sins; for it is only the broken and contrite heart that will feel the need of a Saviour” (SC 26.1).

Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Galatians 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.

      • Anyone trying to be saved in their own righteousness has no chance at salvation at all. It is Christ that works in us/through us. His salvation brings us to corresponding obedience to His law, without which we will not be saved—because of the coming judgment. Even in the judgment it will be proven that Christ was the one coworking with us through His victorious Spirit.

Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

      • The gospel has been the same for Abraham in the old covenant just as it is today for us in the new covenant. If not, what could we say at the judgment? “That’s not fair!!!” Right?

Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

      • Don’t forget that faith is dead without works, so the faith that is Christ’s faith is that faith which is alive!

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

Galatians 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

      • “By the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). The law brings us to a knowledge of our condemnation, showing us our need for Christ. Christ justifies us by faith, then points us to the law which we are given power to live in concert with. When Christ is in us as the hope of glory, what does the schoolmaster have to teach us? Nothing! Until we choose our own way… (if we choose another spirit—our own way, we must re-read this paragraph…)

Galatians 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

      • Rejecting Christ’s grace means we would have to save ourselves. Impossible. (SC 52.2-3)

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God (the Father) was manifest in the flesh (of His Son), justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

      • “In Christ was “God manifested in the flesh, reconciling the world unto himself.” In Christ was the brightness of his Father’s glory, the express image of his person. Said our Saviour, “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father” (RH May 30, 1882, par. 5).

Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

      • Remembering that grace comes to us through the ministration of holy angels (see Christ’s Object Lessons, chapter 29—“To Meet the Bridegroom,” pg 405), we can realize that God uses the angels just like He wants to use us!

James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

      • Abraham’s works in Genesis 22 proved that he believed in the words of God unto obedience.

James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

      • It is true that faith without works is dead, yet it is also true that works without faith is dead as well. In the Christian walk we need both.

James 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

      • When someone receives the messengers of God, they receive the One who sent the messengers.
      • Matthew 10:40 says, “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.”

“By the messengers of God are presented to us the righteousness of Christ, justification by faith, the exceeding great and precious promises of God’s word, free access to the Father by Christ, the comfort of the Spirit, the well-grounded assurance of eternal life in the kingdom of God” (COL 317.2).