I’m reading several books; I do that all the time. I read a measure in one and then a measure in another and actually I don’t get confused because all of them are about the Truth of Scripture and of course Scripture interacts with Scripture in every way. I’m going to do some on and off book excerpts from each of them as I go. The summer is keeping me mighty busy and I’m looking forward to the fall season so there will be some freed up time to do more reading and study. I’ve wanted to study the invisible/visible and the meaning and use of the word ‘ekklesia’ for a long time and so that will be my next independent study but that one will have to wait for a time.
“Justification by Faith’ by John Metcalfe is a book I ordered some time ago from a publishing company in England. When it arrived I was in the middle of reading a book by Herman Hoeksema and put this one in the bookshelf and actually forgot that I even had it. I truly never tire of the doctrine of justification or any doctrine of Christ which is why I read and re-read and read again my bible. To open my bible is to be reminded of who I belong to at the end of the day, to feed my soul with His Word and His Truth.
The author begins this book with a chapter entitled “Justification and the Epistle to the Romans”. The two words in the Greek NT which have been translated ‘justification’ in English are dikaioma and dikaiosis and are found primarily in the book of Romans along with the word translated as ‘justify’ which is the Greek work dikaioo. This says Mr. Metcalfe illustrates the truth that this doctrine (justification) is taught primarily in the Epistle to the Romans.
“Romans is the book in which the Apostle Paul committed to writing the heavenly revelation of Jesus Christ the Son of God, in its bearing upon the individual in Christ. This is the revelation that Paul called ‘justification’, asserting always and in every place that it is by faith without the works of the law”.
This is the epistle that is addressed to the elect as individuals. It is addressed to me, how I am justified before God. It’s not that justification is just a subject of the epistle, instead it is to be applied in the context of the whole of the epistle and we must have spiritual discernment in drawing out the substance of the teaching in Romans. We are called to give an account before God, the judge of all the earth, in this epistle. We are told of the ‘wrath of God being revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men’, which is the very reason for His wrath; the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. We are called into account with the first chapters of Romans and those precede the declaration of justification which comes three chapters later.
There is hope in the first chapter of Romans, hope in the power of the Gospel unto salvation, hope in the righteousness of God that is revealed in the Gospel. So Paul gives hope, hope to those who are the called of Jesus Christ as he begins this epistle.