Every Catholic asks, “How can man, born of woman, be justified with God?” The question that every sincere Baptist asks is, “How can man, born of woman, be justified with God?” The question that every sincere Christian Scientist asks is, “How can man, born of woman, be justified with God?” The question that every sincere Presbyterian asks is, “How can a man, born of woman, be justified with God?” The question that every sincere Buddhist asks is, “How can a man, born of woman, be justified with God?” Whether a man is old or young, whether he is Oriental or Western, he has one common denominator with all other men; that is, he wants to know how he can be justified with his creator.
This morning, all around the world, people are doing good works, performing good deeds and hoping they can earn justification with God. Somewhere this morning a mother takes a little baby, goes to a river, and throws that little baby into the hungry mouths of crocodiles. Why does she do that? That is her effort to be justified with her God. Somewhere this morning a child is being confirmed in an effort to become justified with God. This morning in some distant land a man is taking a knife and cutting his body in religious ceremony. Why is that man lancing his body? Why is his blood flowing from painful wounds? He is trying to be justified with his God. Somewhere in the world this morning a man lays his naked body on a board through which nails protrude, and lies with his bare back on the spikes. Why does that man in a religious ceremony go through such torture? He is sincerely trying to be justified with his God. Somewhere this morning thousands of people are bowing in prayer, facing toward Mecca. They will do it several times today. Why do they go through all of those rituals? In sincerity, they are trying to become justified with their God. There is not a man, woman, boy or girl in this room this morning that would not like to think that he is justified with the God Who made him. Regardless of how wrong people are, regardless of how perverted a doctrine is, there is one thing that all of us have in common: We all want to stand before our God someday and be justified in His sight and in His presence.
Who is right? Are the Baptists right? Are the Catholics right? Are the Presbyterians right? Are the Buddhists right? Are the Church of Christ people right? Is the Christian Science doctrine right? Who is right? Nobody is right! The Word of God is right! The Bible is right! It matters not what we have in our creed in the First Baptist Church of Hammond; it matters what the Bible says about ‘how a man can be justified before his God. It matters not what the Buddhists might think; it does matter what the Bible might think. It matters not what the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Catholics, the Episcopalians, the Christian Scientists, the Mormons, the Jehovah Witnesses or the Seventh Day Adventists say; what does matter is what God says!
If man has sinned, and God has been sinned against, then it is God Who must dictate the terms of reconciliation. Man has no right to dictate his own terms. Man may say, “Well, I think this is the way I get justified before God,” but man has no right to decide. God is the One Who was sinned against. The sinner has no right to dictate the terms of reconciliation.
When I used to do something wrong, Mother would go out in the back yard. We had a peach tree in the back yard. (We never did have a peach grow on that tree!) Mother would grab on to a limb and pull off a branch, strip it of all its leaves, come back to the house and say, “Pull up your little britches.” We wore short britches in those days. (Hot pants are not new in this generation; I wore them when I was eight! By the way, they really were hot pants when Mama got through with me!) I’d pull up my britches and Mama would WHAM and say, “Don’t you ever do that again.”
I’d say, “I-I-I-I-I-I won’t!”
She’d say, “Hush!”
I’d be trying to t-t-t-talk, but I couldn’t. Then I’d say, “Mama, what should I do to make peace? What could I do to do better?” I didn’t say, “Well, here’s what I think about it, Mom.” It didn’t much matter what I thought. I mean, she was the one against whom I’d sinned. I was the sinner. The sinner does not dictate the basis of reconciliation; the one sinned against does that. Man has no right to say what he thinks.
All across this country humanistic minds are saying, “Well, I don’t believe a just God would send anybody to hell. Well, I don’t believe a just God would want anybody to die in capital punishment. I don’t believe that a just God would punish people. I don’t believe this, and I don’t believe that.” You have no right to believe anything except what God says! You are a sinner. You are the one who has sinned. ‘Tis the one sinned against who dictates the terms of reconciliation. What does God say?
God says you may be justified freely by His grace. Do you have to join a church? The Bible says, “being justified freely by His grace.” Do you have to turn over a new leaf? “Being justified freely by His grace.” Do you have to get baptized to be justified? “Being justified freely by His grace.” Do you have to take the sacraments to be justified? “Being justified freely by His grace.” Do you have to live a perfect life to get justified? “Being justified freely by His grace.
Bildad asked the question thousands of years ago: “How can a man, born of woman, be justified with God?” (Job 25:4) Paul answered across the centuries, “Bildad, justified freely by His grace.” (Romans 3:24) That’s the way you get justified. Anyone who goes to Heaven will go because he has come by the grace of God, and accepted God’s free gift of eternal life.
The Bible says in one of its greatest verses, “Romans 3:26, “That He might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
I am going to personify two characteristics: righteousness and mercy. God is both a God of righteousness and mercy.
When God made man in the Garden of Eden, He made man to fellowship with Himself. God wanted someone with whom He could fellowship. You like to fellowship, don’t you? You like to be with other people. You wouldn’t like living on an island all by yourself. You want someone with whom you can fellowship. We were made in the image of God. God wanted someone with whom He could fellowship. Now what did God do? God made a race. He made Adam.
(Somebody has said, “He made the world, and He rested. He made man, and He rested. He made woman, and neither the man nor the world has rested since.”)
God made Adam and Eve. They had wonderful, sweet fellowship, but God gave Adam and Eve a will. God did not want Adam to love Him simply because he had to love Him. God did not want man to be forced into loving Him. He made Adam and Eve so they could choose whether to love Him or not. They had sweet fellowship.
(As Dr. John R. Rice says, when Adam looked at Eve he said, “You’re the only woman in the world for me.” She was the only woman in the world for him! Then she looked at him and said, “You’re the handsomest man in all the world.” He replied, “Thank you, I’m the only man in all the world.”)
So every day God fellowshipped with Adam and Eve. Every morning God would come, let’s suppose, when they woke up and say, “Adam, Adam, oh Adam.”
Adam would say, “Eve, it’s the Lord! The Lord is here. We’re going to have fellowship with the Lord. Come, Eve, let’s go talk to the Lord.” The Lord and Adam and Eve would fellowship. “He walked with them and He talked with them and He told them He was their own; and the joy they shared as they tarried there, none other has ever known.”
Yes, they chose to love Him.
Then the next morning, “Adam, oh Adam.”
Eve would say, “Hey, Honey, wake up. It’s time to talk with the Lord.”
Adam would wake up and they’d go and talk with the Lord and have sweet fellowship with the Lord.
One day, as the Lord came He said, “Adam.” (Silence.) “Adam? Oh, Adam?” There was no answer. The Lord said, “Where’s Adam? Where’s Eve? Are they gone?”
I’ll tell you what happened. The wicked serpent had come and had caused them to sin, and that sin had broken their fellowship with God. Man had fallen. God is righteous, and cannot fellowship with sin. God will not fellowship with sin. (Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. used to say, “God will let the stars fall before He will fellowship with sin.”) Now we have God on one side and we have man on the other. Oh, take the heartbreak of every mother who has a gold star in her window, whose boy has been killed on battlefields; add to that all the heartbreak of every mother and father who have laid a little infant in babyland; and put all the tears and the broken hearts together, but you won’t come even close to the suffering, anguish and the heartbreak of God when His creature sinned. Man was His creature and God loved to fellowship with him. Now man has chosen to turn his back on God. There is no fellowship, but God is a loving and merciful God.
Mercy said, “I want to take Adam back.”
Righteousness said, “I can’t take him back. The soul that sinneth, it must die.”
A stern, righteous God said, “I must have sin paid for.”
The mercy of God said, “But Righteousness, I love Adam; I love Eve. Please let me take them back!”
God’s righteousness said, “I can’t take them back. They are sinners. They are separated from me. I will not let sin go unpunished.”
The mercy of God said, “Please, Righteousness! Please, Justice! Let Adam and Eve come back.”
Justice said, “I will not yield. I cannot fellowship with wrong. I could not be God and fellowship with wrong. Sin must be punished.”
Mercy said, “Please, Righteousness.”
Righteousness said, “No, Mercy.”
Mercy said, “But Righteousness, I love Adam and I love Eve. Please let them come back.”
Righteousness said, “I can’t. I wouldn’t be God if I let them come back.”
Mercy said, “Righteousness, is there any way that they can come back? I am the mercy of God. Oh, Righteousness, is there any way? Is there any way that we can let Adam and Eve come back?”
Righteousness said, “There is no way, unless sin is paid for.”
Then the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, steps up and says “Mercy, I can help. Righteousness, I can help.” Righteousness and Mercy listen intently as the Son of God begins to speak (Are you listening to this, ladies and gentlemen? Your eternity depends on this.) Jesus says, “Father, I will go to earth. I will take upon Myself the body of a man. I will live for 33 years away from You. I will not sin. After I’ve been there for 33 years, I will go to the cross. I will heap on Me all the sins of Jack Hyles and all the people who have lived or who ever will live. Father, I will put all of them on Me.”
Oh, the blessed Son of God, through Whose lips never came a vile word, into Whose mind never came an evil thought, Whose feet never trod a wicked path, Whose hands never took a wicked thing, Whose eyes never feasted upon that which was sin, Whose ears never listened to that which is wrong, became sin for me. Beloved, what does the cross mean? It does not mean that a man died to show us how to die; it means that Jesus Christ stood before God the Father and had all the sins of all the world heaped on Himself. He put your sins on His record. He put my sins on His record. All the sins of all the people of all times were placed on the record of Jesus Christ. The Father turned His back on Jesus. Jesus looked up and said, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” In that moment the Son of God bore your sins as your substitute, as your sacrifice, as your lamb. The earth did shake, the stars did fall, the graves did open, the sun blushed in anguish and wouldn’t shine and the moon turned as black as sackcloth of hair. Why? God’s Son was paying for your sin and my sins. “Jesus paid it all; all to Him I owe.”
Jesus stood and said, “Righteousness, are you satisfied?”
Righteousness said, “Yes, I am satisfied. It has been paid for. Jack Hyles’ sins have been paid. Adam’s sins have been paid. The debt has been paid for Adam. The debt has been paid for all men.”
The mercy of God said, “Oh, Righteousness, can we take them back?”
Righteousness said, “We can now because in Jesus and His payment on the cross I have been satisfied.”
Psalm 85:10 says, “Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”
Mercy said, “I am so glad that you can take Adam and Eve back.”
Righteousness said, “I have been satisfied.”
Now man can be justified. How can a man, born of woman, be justified with God? By joining a church? No, that isn’t it. It is by faith in the perfect work of Jesus Who paid our penalty on Calvary.
Now, Righteousness, do you see that cross outside Jerusalem? Can you see Jesus dying on that cross? Do you know why He is dying? He is dying to pay for all the sins of the world. Righteousness, will you accept that so that all these people here this morning can be saved and justified with God? Will you accept that?
“Yes,” says Righteousness.
Righteousness, there are some people here that don’t want to come that route. They want to get baptized. Will you accept that? You won’t accept that. They cannot be justified with God by getting baptized. Righteousness, we have some folks Out here that like to drink a little cup of juice and take a little wafer. They think that will get them to Heaven. Does that satisfy you, Righteousness? That does not satisfy you. There are some people out here that think they are going to Heaven because they live a pretty good life. They are good neighbors, good husbands, good wives, and good friends. Will you accept that? This is not acceptable.
Righteousness, if these people Out here say, “I am not trusting my own good works. I am just trusting what Jesus did on the cross.” If they have put their faith in Him, would you justify them in the sight of God? Oh, that’s wonderful! Thank you, Righteousness.
Don’t you see what I’m saying? Listen to me, ladies and gentlemen. Listen to me. You have to die! You have to face God. I am not concerned primarily this morning with whether you and I like each other or not (though I want you to like me and I do like you), but I don’t want you to go to hell when you die.
Last night, before I went to bed, I did what I do every Saturday night. I got the picture of my dad. I knelt over the picture of my drunken dad, laid my hands on it and said, “Oh God, tomorrow morning several thousand people will come to hear me preach. Many of them don’t know what it is to be justified with God. Many of them don’t understand it. Oh my God, don’t let anybody leave without knowing how to be justified with God.”
The Jew in the Old Testament took a lamb, killed it, laid it on the altar. That Jew placed his hands on the head of the dying lamb and confessed his sins. God saw the sins of that Jew transferred to that lamb. That lamb became the sacrifice so he did not have to die. Either my blood must be shed, or the blood of an innocent sacrifice must be shed for me. A Lamb has died for me, and God has seen my sins transferred to that Lamb. Don’t you remember how John the Baptist stood on the banks of Jordan and announced the coming of Jesus? He didn’t say, “Behold the King.” Jesus would be a king, but not yet. He didn’t say, “Behold the Priest.” He would be a priest, but not yet. He didn’t say, “Behold our example.” He would be an example, but not yet. The first thing and the most important thing about Jesus is, “Behold the Lamb of God.”
Now we don’t need the lambs anymore. God’s Lamb has come. Anybody can be saved who will look at that Lamb on the cross and say, “Jesus, I know You died for me, and I know that You took my sins and paid for them. I trust You as my Saviour.”
You say, “How could it be that easy?” God wants you back. God wants to justify you.
You say, “Is that all I have to do? In my heart I just trust Jesus?”
That’s all you have to do.
Years ago an old lady was dying in a southern city. Her pastor was called to her bedside, but he was out of the city. So a friend said, “I’ll call my pastor.”
This pastor came and saw the little lady on her deathbed. The pastor said, “Little lady, could I absolve any sins for you before you die?”
“Can you what?”
“Can I absolve any sins for you before you die?”
“I don’t know. You have to qualify first.”
“What can I do to qualify?”
She replied, “May I see your right hand, please.” He held up his right hand. “Now, sir, may I see your left hand?” He held up his left ‘hand. As she died, she said, “Oh sir, you can’t forgive my sins. My Saviour has scars in His hands.”
Won’t you this morning stop trusting your church membership? Quit trusting your good works. Quit trusting your denomination. Quit trusting your goodness. Quit trusting ritual. Quit trusting the sacraments. Quit trusting your baptism. Why don’t you say, “All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give. I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live.”
“My name is Bildad. Hey, Paul, down through the centuries, how can man, born of woman, be justified with God?”
“Bildad, this is Paul talking back through the centuries. Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption of His Son.”
That’s the way anybody, born of woman, can be justified with God!