Justification by Allegiance
Humble Allegiance

How does a man become accepted by God? How does he obtain God's approval?

  1. By perfectly obeying God's Commandments?
  2. By perfectly obeying Church Traditions?
  3. By perfectly believing the doctrine that (1) and (2) are both wrong?

Martin Luther discovered that (1) is wrong. Nobody meets God's standard. Only Jesus Christ did. And substituting a human-invented religion was tried by the Pharisees, and Jesus denounced them, so (2) is also wrong.

The Protestant answer has been a variation of Number Three: "We are Justified by Faith Alone." John Robbins speaks of "justification by belief alone." I would like to challenge that paradigm.

The Paradigm: A Necessity

The Bible seems to contradict itself. It says there is only one God, but it also teaches that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. The doctrine of "the Trinity" is an attempt to harmonize these apparently contradictory statements, a slogan which has been accepted as "orthodoxy," even though the word "Trinity" is not found in the Bible.

Consider also this apparent contradiction:

James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

A New Paradigm

We need a doctrine like "the Trinity" to harmonize these two verses. Since the Reformation, only one side of this two-sided coin has been emphasized. I would like to suggest that we view the Gospel through a new pair of glasses. I would like to suggest "Justification by Allegiance." Like the word "Trinity," it is not explicitly found in the Bible, but works to harmonize two apparently contradictory teachings of Scripture, both of which must be believed.

Instead of thinking in terms of "Justification by Faith Alone," we should think in terms of "Justification by Allegiance."

  • We are saved when we submit ourselves entirely to the God of the Bible -- a God of Righteousness and a God of Mercy.
  • We are saved when we put to death our allegiance to our own agenda, the State's agenda, Hollywood's agenda, and become new people, willing to conform every area of our lives totally to God's Commandments.
  • We cannot be saved if we refuse to obey God's Commandments.

This paradigm harmonizes

  • the command to obey God's Law (only God's Law [not human traditions] and all of God's Law [not just the parts that secure us a public reputation],
  • as well as the statements that we are not justified by "works," whether obedience to Jewish traditions or partial obedience to God's Commandments.

This paradigm is implicit in the great Reformed Catechisms and Confessions. True Faith is Allegiance, not mere belief. In the Chapter on "Saving Faith" in the Westminster Confession of Faith (14:2), we are told that when we have saving faith, we "believe to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God Himself speaking therein; and act differently upon that which each particular passage thereof contains; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come."

The fundamental issue in the Bible is Authority.

Who is God?

"There is no alternative but that of theonomy and autonomy."

Cornelius Van Til

The issue . . . is between theonomy (God's Law) and autonomy (self law). Modern autonomous man is aided and abetted in his apostasy from God by the antinomianism of the church, which, by denying God's law, has, in theology, politics, education, industry, and all things else, surrendered the field to the law of the fallen and godless self, to autonomy.

R.J. Rushdoony

Man is not God.

Salvation comes to the one who admits he is not God, and trusts in God, not only for "salvation" in the next life, but for God's blessing upon obedience in this life.

If you want to be right with God, to be accepted by God, live your life like Micah is true:

He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to humble thyself to walk with thy God?
Micah 6:8

O man

Romans 9:20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?"

James 2:20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

Psalm 8:4 What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him?

Man is no mere animal, but is wonderfully created in the Image of God (Psalm 139:14; Genesis 1:26-28).

But he has rebelled against his Creator, something even animals do not do (Isaiah 1:3; Jeremiah 8:7).

The First Step to healing is to admit our depravity.

what is good

1 Samuel 12:23 "Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.

Nehemiah 9:13 "You came down also on Mount Sinai, And spoke with them from heaven, And gave them just ordinances and true laws, Good statutes and commandments.

Psalm 73:28 But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, That I may declare all Your works.

Lamentations 3:26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the LORD.

Luke 10:42 "But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."

Romans 7:16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.

and what doth the LORD require of thee

Deuteronomy 10:12-13 "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, {13} "and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?

to do justly

Genesis 18:19 "For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him."

1 Samuel 15:22 Then Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.

Proverbs 21:3 To do righteousness and justice Is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

Allegiance is the fear of God and commitment to His Commandments: Theonomy

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all.

Isaiah 1:16-19 "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, {17} Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. {18} "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. {19} If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land;

Isaiah 58:6-11 "Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? {7} Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? {8} Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. {9} Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, 'Here I am.' "If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, {10} If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday. {11} The LORD will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Jeremiah 7:3-6 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. {4} "Do not trust in these lying words, saying, 'The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these.' {5} "For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, {6} "if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt,

Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

Hosea 12:6 So you, by the help of your God, return; Observe mercy and justice, And wait on your God continually.

Amos 5:24 But let justice run down like water, And righteousness like a mighty stream.

Zephaniah 2:3 Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the Lord's anger.

Matthew 3:8-10 "Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, {9} "and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. {10} "And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Mark 12:30-34 'And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. {31} "And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." {32} So the scribe said to Him, "Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. {33} "And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." {34} Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." But after that no one dared question Him.

Luke 11:42 "But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, {12} teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,

2 Peter 1:5-8 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, {6} to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, {7} to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. {8} For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

love mercy

Psalms 37:26 He is ever merciful, and lends; And his descendants are blessed.

Psalms 112:4 Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.

Psalms 112:9 He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever; His horn will be exalted with honor.

Isaiah 57:1-2 The righteous perishes, And no man takes it to heart; Merciful men are taken away, While no one considers That the righteous is taken away from evil. {2} He shall enter into peace; They shall rest in their beds, Each one walking in his uprightness.

Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.

Matthew 18:32-35 "Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. {33} 'Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?' {34} "And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. {35} "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses."

Matthew 23:23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

Luke 6:36 "Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;

walk humbly

Genesis 5:22 After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters.

2 Chronicles 32:26 Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.

2 Chronicles 33:12-13 Now when he was in affliction, he implored the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, {13} and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.

2 Chronicles 34:27 "because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you," says the LORD.

Isaiah 57:15 For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Isaiah 66:2 For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist," Says the LORD. "But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.

Daniel 4:37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.

Luke 18:13-17 "And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' {14} "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." {15} Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. {16} But Jesus called them to Him and said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. {17} "Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."

Romans 10:1-3 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. {2} For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. {3} For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.

James 4:6-10 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." {7} Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. {8} Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. {9} Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. {10} Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

1 Peter 5:5-6 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." {6} Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,

For Further Study:

We have discussed Luther's idea of "justification by faith" here:

The Origin of Greasy Grace

On that page we suggested that the Protestant Reformation missed most of the themes in Micah's prophecy, and that as a slogan, "Justification by Works" is a more Biblical slogan than "Justification by Faith." (Neither are as good as "Justification by Allegiance.")

Our contention is that "Law" in Micah's prophecy does not refer to liturgical ceremonies, but the covenantal relationship God has with His People. Our God is not a silent and impersonal force. God speaks to us through His Word. We should understand that every Word He speaks is Law to us, because that is how a vassal rightly responds to a sovereign.

The "Law-Word" of God

To be rightly related to God's Law is to be rightly related to God.

Why We Should Worship God's Law

A far greater part of the Scriptures consists of exhortations to obey rather than [merely] to believe. Those verses that seem to say we are justified without respect to our allegiance to God's Law have been misinterpreted.

More about God's Law

  1. Why did Paul quote Leviticus 18:5 in Galatians 3:12?
  2. Will a person who seeks to obey God's Law -- faithfully, sincerely, without hypocrisy, intelligently, and spiritually -- ever conclude that he could be saved by his own works without Christ?
  3. Isn't obedience also a gift of God?
  4. Can a person who truly obeys God's Law even be thinking about saving himself by doing so?
  5. Are we saved by perfect faith, or is it OK to be "in the ballpark?"
  6. Do we receive any blessings or please God by our obedience?
  7. Can a person who rebels against the authority of God (Law) have any assurance of salvation?
  8. If Theonomic works strengthen our assurance, shouldn't the one committed to autonomy be told to obey God's Law?

What would you say to America?

The perfect righteousness of Christ is imputed -- credited -- to those who say "Amen" to God. Admit that God is God, and humbly declare your allegiance to Him and His Commandments.

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