February 14th, 2021 - Preparing for the Lord's Day
Preparing for the Lord's Day
This past summer Ronnie Long was released from prison after the state of North Carolina vacated his convictions. In 1976 Long was found guilty of a crime that he did not commit. He was sentenced to 80 years in prison and remained there for the past 44 years. He maintained his innocence, but it was not until this summer that he was found to be not guilty. I bring this case forward to explain a key term which we must understand to fully grasp our text for this Sunday.
The word is justification. To justify is to legally declare that someone is innocent. The opposite of justify is condemn. In the case of Ronnie Long, he was condemned in 1976 even though he was innocent. That is to say, a judge declared him guilty before the law, even though he was innocent in reality. Then in August of 2020, he was justified, declared innocent. To properly understand the meaning of justification you must understand that it is a legal (forensic) term. An innocent person may be condemned, and a guilty person may be justified. It is a legal declaration. In a perfect world, we would hope that a judge would always condemn the guilty and justify the innocent (Proverbs 17:15). However, a judge’s decision to condemn or justify is not always in line with reality.
The question that is posed in our verse for this Sunday is: How is a sinful person to be justified by God? If God is the judge of all the earth how might anyone be given a not guilty verdict? What we will see is that no one will be found innocent according to the law but only by faith in Jesus Christ. To come prepared for the sermon take time this week to read and to meditate upon Galatians 2:15-16, Genesis 18:25, Psalm 143:2, Proverbs 17:15, Romans 8:33-34, 2 Corinthians 5:19-21, and WCF 11.
This week we will celebrate the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper during our worship service. As we receive the elements of bread and wine, look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ. For as we physically receive the signs of the Lord’s body and blood, spiritually we feed upon him and all his benefits. Our hymns for this week include “Our God, Our Help in Ages Past,” “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less,” and “The Communion Hymn.” Our special music begins with the Prelude (11:00) "Meditation on 'Beautiful Savior' " played by Carillon Handbells; Offertory Anthem (8:00) "This is Amazing Grace" played by the Praise Ringers and (11:00) "Fantasia on 'O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus' " played by Carillon Handbells; Postlude, "Prelude and Fugue in Bb Major" played by Hadley Hall, organ.
Text: Galatians 2:15-16
Title: The Gospel of Justification
- Works of the Law
- Faith in Jesus Christ