Third Angel's Message
Continuing Sermon #12
Justification by Faith

Talks given at the 1993 General Conference Session
by A.T.Jones

This sermon is particularly interesting because he compares justification by faith to the Catholic version.

Continued from part one

Well, there we have seen the heathen idea openly, broadly, and rawly, just as it is. Now let us see what this same thing is, as it stands before the world, professing to be justified by faith. And that is as it is manifested in the papacy. For the papacy is the very incarnation of Satan and this mind of self. For he "opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped." And all this under the name and form of Christianity; all this as a counterfeit of the truth.

I have here a book entitled, Catholic Belief. It bears the imprimatur of John Cardinal McCloskey, Archbishop of New York, and Henricus Eduardus, Card. Archiep. Westmonastery; written by the "Very Rev. Joseph Faa Di Bruno, D. D., Rector-General of the Pious Society of Missions; Church of SSmo Salvatore in Onda, Ponte Sisto, Rome, and St. Peter's Italian Church, Hatton Garden, London, E.C.; edited by Rev. Louis A. Lambert, author of "Notes on Ingersoll," etc., etc., and comes into this country with the approval of the hierarchy in this country.

I shall read some from it. And, that you may have the two things--the truth of justification by faith and the falsity of it--side by side, will read what this says, and then what God says in Steps to Christ. It is in the Testimonies also and all through the Bible, of course. I want you to see what the Roman Catholic idea of justification by faith is, because I have had to meet it among professed Seventh-day Adventists the past four years right straight through. These very things, these very expressions that are in this Catholic book, as to what justification by faith is and how to obtain it are just such expressions as professed Seventh-day Adventists have made to me as to what justification by faith is.

I want to know how you and I carry a message to this world, warning them against the worship of the beast, when we hold in our very profession the doctrines of the beast. Can it be done? [Congregation: "No."] And so I call your attention to this tonight so you may see just what it is, and so that, if possible, knowing what it is to start with, knowing that it is papal, knowing that it is the beast, you will let it go because it is that, even if you are not ready to believe in justification by faith, indeed, even if you cannot see that, as some are unable to, as God gives it. Now, if we find out that it is papal, I hope those who have held that, or expressed it at any rate, whatever they have held, will be willing to let it go any way. On page 74 of this work I read as follows:

In the case of grown-up persons, some dispositions are required on the part of the sinner in order to be fit to obtain this habitual and abiding grace of justification.

He has got to prepare himself for it? He has got to do something to make himself fit to receive it. As I read each statement from this book, I shall then read the opposite of it. So now, on pages 26 and 27 of Steps to Christ, I read as follows:

If you see your sinfulness, do not wait to make yourself better. How many there are who think they are not good enough to come to Christ. Do you expect to become better through your own efforts?. . . There is help for us only in God. We must not wait for stronger persuasions, for better opportunities, or for holier tempers. We can do nothing of ourselves. We must come to Christ just as we are. (And Romans 4:5).

This is justification by faith. That other thing is justification by works. This is of Christ; that is of the devil. One is Christ's doctrine of justification by faith; the other is the devil's doctrine of justification by faith. And it is time that Seventh-day Adventists understood the difference. [Congregation: "Amen!"]

Again from the Catholic work:
A man can dispose himself only by the help of divine grace, and the dispositions which he shows do not by any means effect or merit justification: they only serve to prepare him for it.

No, they say, we don't believe in justification by works, but we have got to do something in order to be prepared for it. We have got to show our good intentions any way. We have got to make some good resolutions before we start, any way; something to prepare us for it.

What does God say? On page 33 of Steps to Christ I read:

He is wooing by his tender love the hearts of his erring children. No earthly parent could be as patient with the faults and mistakes of his children, as is God with those he seeks to save.

He does what? "Seeks to save." This is God's way. Oh, no, He does not wait until men prepare themselves to be saved. That is Satan's way.

I read on from Steps to Christ: No one could plead more tenderly with the transgressor. No human lips ever poured out more tender entreaties to the lost wanderer than He does. All His promises, His warnings, are but the breathing of unutterable love. When Satan comes to tell you that you are a great sinner, look up to your Redeemer and talk of His merits. That which will help you is to look to His light. Acknowledge your sin, but tell the enemy that 'Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners,' and that you may be saved by His matchless love. (And John 3:16).

This is justification by faith. The other is justification by works. This is Jesus Christ. The other is Satan.

Then in this Catholic work it goes on to tell a lot of things that you must do in order to have these dispositions: "An act of faith. . . . an act of fear of God, an act of hope. . . .an act of repentance. . . . a resolution to approach the Sacrament of Penance." These are things that will prepare you to be justified to be saved. On page 76 of this same work, I read:
We stand in continual need of actual graces to perform good acts, both before and after being justified. Good acts must be performed before we are justified, in order to fit us for it. The good acts, however, done by the help of grace before justification are not, strictly speaking, meritorious, but serve to smooth the way to justification, to move God.

They "serve to move God." That is just the hard, iron spirit the devil asserts was in the Lord when He started, in heaven; that God was a tyrant, that God does not want His people to be free, His creatures to be free, that He sits there and wants everything to go just so without any reason, judgment, freedom, or anything of the kind. He has to be "moved" by His creatures. That is the doctrine that Satan has put into the idea of sacrifice from that time until now. God appointed sacrifices to show to man, to convey to man, what God is willing to do for man, that God is making sacrifice for him. But Satan whirled it around and man has got to do this in order to get God into good humor, that the Lord is angry with him and the Lord wants to punish him and now we have got to sacrifice to pay Him off so He will not hurt us, and we have to "move" Him to justify us.

Let us read what the Lord says on that, Steps to Christ, pages 57 and 58. Speaking of the parable of the prodigal son and how that, when the wanderer was yet a great way off, the father had compassion on him and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him, it says.

But even this parable, tender and touching as it is, comes short of expressing the infinite compassion of the heavenly Father. The Lord declares by His prophet, 'I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore, with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.' While the sinner is yet far from the Father's house, wasting his substance in a strange country, the Father's heart is yearning over him and every longing awakened in the soul to return to God is but the tender pleading of His Spirit, wooing, entreating, drawing the wanderer to His Father's heart of love.

With the rich promises of the Bible before you, can you give place to doubt? Can you believe that when the poor sinner longs to return, longs to forsake his sins, the Lord sternly withholds him from coming to His feet in repentance? Away with such thoughts! Nothing can hurt your soul more that to entertain such a conception of our heavenly Father.

Who wants to hurt our souls? [Congregation: "Satan."] Who wants most to hurt the soul? Satan. What could more hurt the soul than that doctrine there in that book that we must put ourselves into dispositions, into frames of mind, and make good resolutions and all these things in order to "move" God to take pity on us and save us. What could more hurt the soul than to think that God sternly holds off the sinner until the poor lost soul does something to move Him? What more hurtful thing could a person believe? The Lord's answer is: "There is nothing can hurt your soul more than such a conception." Then, where alone can that doctrine come from? [Congregation: "Satan."] Yet that is passed off under the title and under the idea of justification by faith! There is no faith in it. Away with it, saith the Lord. And let all the people say, Amen.

Again I read from Catholic Belief:
But if with the assistance of actual grace, good works are done by a person who is in a state of justifying grace, then they are acceptable to God and merit an increase of grace on earth and an increase of glory in heaven.

What saith the Lord? Page 61, Steps to Christ. And this is in the chapter entitled "The Test of Discipleship." It is talking to those who are disciples; it is talking to the same persons to whom that other book talks. What does it say?

While we cannot do anything to change our hearts or to bring ourselves into harmony with God, while we must not trust at all to ourselves or our good works, our lives will reveal whether the grace of God is dwelling within us.

You see then, God's idea is that when He is there, He will show Himself through us. The other, Satan's idea, is that after we have got the Lord converted, then we do some good work that is "meritorious," and we will be safe in this world; we will have "an increase of grace" on this earth, "and an increase of glory in heaven." That is the very foundation of the merits of the "saints," from which the pope draws indulgences to give to those who have not enough merit of their own.

Now that which I have just read from this Catholic work is in a chapter on justification, preaching the straight doctrine on justification. Here (page 365) he reviews the doctrine of justification by faith, in condemnation of Protestants who believe it. Let us see, brethren, whether we shall be Protestants or Catholics. Let us see whether we shall believe in Jesus Christ or Satan. That is what we need to understand now, and now we understand it, before we start in to give the third angel's message. I read:

As in revolutions the leaders try to gain the people over by the bait of promised independence, so at the time of the so-called reformation--which was a revolution against church authority and order in religion--it seems that it was the aim of the reformers to decoy the people under the pretext of making them independent of the priests, in whose hands our Saviour has placed the administering of the seven Sacraments of pardon and of grace.

They began, therefore, by discarding five of these Sacraments, including the Sacrament of Order, in which Priests are ordained, and the Sacrament of Penance, in which the forgiveness of sins is granted to the penitent. . . .They then reduced, as it appears, to a mere matter of form, the two Sacraments they professed to retain, namely, Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist. To make up for this rejection and enable each individual to prescribe for himself, and procure by himself the pardon of sins and divine grace, independently of the priests.

Is this true doctrine? Is it true that a man can approach God by himself, independently of the priests? [Congregation: "Yes."] What saith the Lord? Steps to Christ, p. 117:

The relations between God and each soul are as distinct and full as if there was not another soul for whom He gave His beloved Son.

And again, "Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, your cares, and your fears before God. You cannot burden Him; you cannot weary Him..Take to Him everything that perplexes ...

Thank the Lord. Now I read on in the Catholic book: Independently of priests and of the sacraments, they invented an exclusive means, never known to the Church of God, and still rejected by all the Eastern Churches and by the Roman Catholics throughout the world, by which the followers of Luther ventured to declare that each individual can secure pardon and justification for himself, independently of priests and sacraments.

They have framed a new Dogma, not to be found in any of the Creeds, or in the Canons of any General Council; I mean, the new dogma of Justification by Faith alone, or by Faith only.

That is the "new dogma" that is condemned by the papacy; that is not in any of the creeds which she has. On page 366 I read again: By adding the word alone, Protestants profess to exclude all exterior, ceremonial, pious, or charitable works, works of obedience or of penance, and good moral acts whatever, as means of apprehending justification, or as conditions to obtain it.

Oh, yes, you have got to do something to pave the way; you have got to do something to get out of that place where you are, so that you can be justified. You must lift yourself up part of the way, and then the Lord will be moved and will receive you and justify you. That is Satan's doctrine. Shall we be Protestants or Catholics? That is the question. [Congregation: "Protestants."] Shall we proclaim the third angel's message against the worship of the beast and his image? or shall we be a part of the beast and his image ourselves? That is the question. For the image is the image of the beast in this point as well as in all else, even though it profess to be Protestant. It is apostate Protestant.

On page 367 of the Catholic book I read the following: To do these acts with the view of being justified is, they say, like giving a penny to the queen to obtain from her a royal gift. What saith the Lord? Page 51, Steps to Christ:
This is the lesson which Jesus taught while He was on earth, that the gift which God promises us, we must believe we do receive, and it is ours.

Then which is Christianity? [Congregation: "The last."] But the Catholic Church says that this is Protestantism. It is true. Thank the Lord!

But we continue reading from this Catholic work:
Come as you are, they add; you cannot be too bad for Jesus.

Thank the Lord that this is not Catholic doctrine. Thank the Lord it is no part of the beast or his worship nor the image and his worship. Let us put them together. what saith the Lord? Page 27, Steps to Christ:

We can do nothing of ourselves. We must come just as we are.
Again on page 26, Steps to Christ: Must a sinner wait till he has repented before he can come to Jesus? Is repentance to be made an obstacle between the sinner and the Savior? The Bible does not teach that the sinner must repent before he can heed the invitation of Christ, "Come unto Me , and I will give your rest." It is the virtue that goes forth from Chrsit, that leads to genuine repentance.

What is "sinful?" [Congregation: "Full of sin."] Does Jesus love to have us come to Him just as we are, full of sin? [Congregation: "Yes."] Does He? {Congregation: "Yes, sir."] Let us be Protestants. Let us have the third angel's message, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jesus loves to have us come just as we are, sinful, helpless, dependent. We may come with all [how much? "All."] our weakness, our folly, our sinfulness, and fall at His feet in penitence. It is His glory to encircle us in the arms of His love and to bind up our wounds, to cleanse us from all impurity. . . . None are so sinful that they cannot find strength, purity, and righteousness in Jesus, who died for them."

That is the gift of God. That is His gift--a free gift without money, without price, and I take it gladly and everlastingly thank Him for it. This is the Lord's idea of justification by faith. The other is Satan's idea. Let us read from the Catholic book again:

Through faith alone in His promise, they [Protestants] assert, you can and should accept Christ's merits, seize Christ's redemption and His justice; appropriate Christ to yourself, believe that Jesus is with you, is yours, that He pardons your sins, and all this without any preparation and without any doing on your part.

Good! Thank the Lord, that is Protestantism! and Catholics know that it is Protestantism. Do you know it? On page 53, Steps to Christ, let us see what the Lord says:

It is the will of God to cleanse us from sin, to make us His children, and to enable us to live a holy life. So we may ask for these blessings, and believe that we receive them, and thank God that we have received them. It is our privilege to go to Jesus and be cleansed and to stand before the law without shame or remorse. Eph. 1:3.

[Congregation: "Amen!"] Without any need of doing penance? [Congregation: "Yes."] Thank the Lord.

Now let us read on page 33, Steps to Christ, again:
When Satan comes to tell you that you are a great sinner, look up to your Redeemer, and talk of His merits. That which will help you is to look to His light. Acknowledge your sins, but tell the enemy that 'Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, and that you may be saved by His matchless love. Jesus asked Simon a question in regard to two debtors. One owed his lord a small sum, and the other owed him a very large sum, but he forgave them both, and Christ asked Simon which debtor would love his lord the most. Simon answered, 'He to whom he forgave most.' We have been great sinners, but Christ died that we might be forgiven. The merits of His sacrifice are sufficient to present to the father in our behalf.

Are they, in fact? [Congregation: "Yes sir."] Good! There is a great deal more in this Catholic work that I will not take time to read now. It goes on to define what faith is. Now think carefully, because I have met people all the way along who think that this very thing is faith which this Catholic book calls faith. I read page 368:

The word 'faith' in the Scripture sometimes means confidence in God's omnipotence and goodness, that He can and is willing to cure or benefit us by miraculous interposition. Mostly it refers to revealed truths, and signifies belief in them as such. No one has a right to give to the word faith a new meaning, and take it, for instance, to signify reliance on Jesus for being personally saved through this very reliance alone, unless Jesus Christ or the Apostles had, in some instance clearly attributed such a meaning to the word faith and taught the doctrine of trust in Christ for personal salvation as the only requisite for justification. No one should attach a particular meaning to the word faith, without having a good warrant in Scripture or in divine tradition.

Now in many passages of Holy Scripture in which saving faith is plainly spoken of, by faith is not meant a trust in Christ for personal salvation, but evidently a firm belief that Jesus is the Messias, the Christ, the Son of God, that what is related of Him in the Gospel is true, and that what He taught is true.

On page 370, it defines faith, and I will read that before reading the opposite.

These texts, all of which refer to saving faith, prove beyond a doubt that not trust in Christ for personal salvation but the faith of the creed, the faith in revealed truths.

Now what is faith according to that? "The faith of the creed." They simply draw up a statement of stuff that they call the doctrine of God and then you believe that and do your best and that passes for justification by faith. Whether the creed is drawn up in actual writing or whether it is somebody's idea that they want to pass off by a vote in a General Conference, it makes no difference in principle, the creed is there and subscription to it is just that kind of faith. And there are people here who remember a time--four years ago--and a place--Minneapolis--when three direct efforts were made to get just such a thing as that fastened upon the third angel's message, by a vote in a General Conference. What somebody believed--set that up as the landmarks and then vote to stand by the landmarks, whether you know what the landmarks are or not, and then go ahead and agree to keep the commandments of God and a lot of other things that you are going to do, and that was to be passed off as justification by faith.

Were we not told at that time that the angel of God said, "Do not take that step; you do not know what is in that"? "I can't take time to tell you what is in that, but the angel has said, "Do not do it." The papacy was in it. That was what the Lord was trying to tell us and get us to understand. The papacy was in it. It was like it has been in every other church that has come out from the papacy; they would run a little while by faith in God and then fix up some man's idea of doctrine and vote to stand by that and vote that that is the doctrine of this church and then that is "the faith of the creed," and then follow it up with their own doing.

Is there anybody in this house who was there at that time that cannot see now what that was back there? Then, brethren, is it not time to cut loose, if it takes the very life out of us? It will take the very life out of us; it will crucify us with Jesus Christ. It will cause such a death to sin as we never dreamed of in our lives before. It will take all that papal mind out of us, all that iron spirit out of us, and it will put there the divine, tender, loving mind of Jesus Christ, that wants no creed, because it has Christ Himself.

Well, let me read that again and then the contradiction of it here. It seems as though one book was written for the other. Brethren, which of the books shall we follow? Ah, "Steps to Christ." That is what it is, and then it is steps with Him; when we have stepped to, then it is steps with Christ. Now, I will read that over again and then read the opposite:

Now, in many passages of Holy Scripture in which saving faith is plainly spoken of, by faith is not meant a trust in Christ for personal salvation, but evidently a firm belief that Jesus is the Messias, the Christ, the Son of God, that what is related of Him in the gospel is true, and that what He taught is true.

That is Catholic "faith." Now what is the Lord's definition, His idea of faith? Page 69, Steps to Christ:
When we speak of faith, there is a distinction that should be borne in mind. There is a kind of belief that is wholly distinct from faith. The existence and power of God, the truth of His word, are facts that even Satan and his hosts cannot at heart deny.

Did not the evil spirits tell Jesus that He was Christ? [Congregation: "Yes."] Then the devils, Satan and his hosts, do believe in the existence and power of God, that His word is true, and that Jesus is the Messias, the Christ, the Son of God. Satan and his hosts believe all that. But that is not faith. How much power is there in their belief to work good in their lives? None at all. They have no faith. But just this is the Catholic faith, isn't it? What kind of faith is that then? That is satanic faith. That is all it is, satanic belief, as this puts it; but yet the papacy passes it for faith. And whoever passes that for faith is a papist even thou he profess to be a Seventh-day Adventist. But I read on from Steps to Christ:

The Bible says that 'the devils also believe and tremble,' but this is not faith. Where there is not only a belief in God's word, but a submission of the will to Him; where the heart is yielded to Him, the affections fixed upon Him, there is faith.

That is the truth of justifying faith; that is righteousness by faith; that is a faith that works, thank the Lord--not a faith that believes something away off, that keeps the truth of God in the outer court, and then seeks by his own efforts to make up the lack. Not that. No, but faith that works. It itself is working; it has a divine power in it to manifest God's will in man before the world. That is righteousness by faith--the righteousness which faith obtains, which it receives, and which it holds--the righteousness of God.

I continue reading from Steps to Christ:
Faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Through this faith the heart is renewed in the image of God.

I do not need to read any more, as this is enough to show the contrast and the time is far gone. This is enough to show that the papal doctrine of justification by faith is Satan's doctrine; it is simply the natural mind depending upon itself, working through itself, exalting itself and then covering it all up with a profession of belief in this, that, and the other, but having no power of God. Then, brethren, let it be rooted up forever.

In paganism Satan led the mind of man to put itself on an equality with God, without any covering at all. Then Christ came into the world, revealing the true gospel as never before--Christ in man, man justified by faith in Him, and faith alone--a faith which has divine life in it, a faith which has divine power in it, a faith which lives and works, a faith that brings all things to him who has it, and restores the image of God in the soul. Then Satan took that same carnal mind which in paganism had made itself equal with God and now he covered it with his own idea of faith and passed it off as justification by faith and exalted the chief representative of it, above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that as God he sitteth in the place of worship of God, showing himself that he is God.

Oh, that we may have the mind of Christ and not the carnal mind! Oh that we may have the mind of Christ and not the mind of Satan! Oh that we may have the Lord's idea of justification by faith and not Satan's idea of it! Oh that we may receive the Lord's idea of righteousness by faith and not Satan's! Then shall we indeed receive the latter rain, the teaching of righteousness, according to righteousness."

Brethren, let us believe the third angel's message. Now I hope that the way is clearly open before us to study as it is the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe. Then let us go at it in the fear of God, seeking for His Holy Spirit to make it plan to us, so that that Teacher of Righteousness may teach us righteousness according to righteousness.

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