Jeremy Sarber

Coming soon: Justification, heaven, and Mark’s Gospel

Two months ago or so, I began studying Mark’s Gospel, the most neglected of the four. I’ve since filled pages and margins of my Bible with notes. The tentative plan is to feature Mark’s account of Christ’s life and ministry on the second season of Sunday Manuscripts. I’ll expound upon the book from beginning to end, one passage at a time. I can hardly wait.

Meanwhile, I’ve taken up some extracurricular studies as well. The subject of heaven, for instance, has recently captivated my attention. As a funeral home chaplain, you can imagine how often the topic comes up. Unfortunately, misconceptions abound among both unbelievers and believers. I’d love to provide biblical clarity on a few bonus episodes of the podcast.

Justification, however, is next on the docket. I believe it was John Calvin who said, Justification is the main hinge on which salvation turns.” Christians can’t afford to neglect this doctrine even if it sounds like the kind of subject in which only a theologian would be interested.

Chances are, if you’ve ever read Romans or Galatians, you already know the emphasis tends to be justification by faith in opposition to justification by works of the law. Most books and sermons on justification take a similar approach. Why? Frankly, most people and most religions believe a sinner can be justified before God by his or her works. It was a prominent unbiblical belief in the first century, and its prominence hasn’t decreased over the years. Pastors and Bible commentators must follow the apostle Paul’s lead and denounce salvation by works.

I intend to cover much of the same ground on the next bonus episode of Sunday Manuscripts, but I’ll also address another issue regarding justification. While some believers stand firm with Paul on the matter of works-based salvation, they depart from his teaching of justification by faith. They claim faith is only evidence of one’s justification before God, not the instrument of his or her justification. In other words, faith isn’t necessary.

What does the Bible say? I hope to share my interpretation soon.

Thanks for reading the blog. Thanks for listening and subscribing to the podcast. Thanks for contributing to the second season of Sunday Manuscripts. I appreciate all of you. All glory be to God.