Justification By Faith Illustrated

Romans 4:1-25

by Dennis Baker

Justification in both the Old and New Testaments has always been by faith and grace. No one has ever been justified by works or keeping the law. The text provides three principles illustrating the spiritual experience of believers today is similar to that of Old Testament believers Abraham and David.

Principle One, justification is by faith and not works, Vs. 1-8. “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness”, V. 3. At the age of seventy-five God promised Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation, Genesis 12:2-3. Later in life, Abraham raised a question to God concerning his promise, “what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless,” Genesis 15:2. God confirmed His promise by assuring Abraham that his seed would be like the stars. Abraham simply took God’s Word at face value and believed God. Abraham believed in his heart that God had told him the truth. Abraham’s faith was never something that he could boast about or for which he could receive praise, he simply believed God would accomplish what He had promised.

Quoting from Psalm 32:1-2 in verse 8, David’s song of confession of sin, Paul illustrates that God forgives sin and imputes righteousness without works. Today, believers can be assured that once they are justified by faith, our record contains Christ’s perfect righteous and our record can never again contain our sins. Christians do sin, and these sins need to be forgiven if we are to have fellowship with God, but these sins are not held against us. God does keep a record of our works, so that He might reward us when Jesus comes, but he is not keeping a record of our sins.

Principle Two, justification is by grace and not the law, Vs. 9-17. Abraham was declared righteous fourteen years before he was circumcised. Circumcision had nothing to do with God declaring Abraham justified. Circumcision, as a sign, was evidence that Abraham belonged to God because he believed God’s promises. Circumcision, as a seal was a reminder to Abraham that God had given the promise and that God would keep His promise. Today the believer experiences a spiritual circumcision of the heart and is sealed by the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 1:13. Circumcision did not add to Abraham’s faith, it merely provided evidences of Abraham’s faith. The fact that Abraham was justified by grace and not the law proves that salvation is available to all. God’s promise is by faith, so that it might be guaranteed to all people who believe. If we could be saved by keeping the law, and not grace, there would be no guarantee that salvation would be available to all who believe.

Principle Three, justification is by resurrection power and not human effort, Vs. 18-25. God’s delay in sending Abraham and Sarah a son was to permit their natural strength to decline. It would seem impossible for a ninety-nine-year-old man and an eighty-nine-year-old woman to have a child. From the reproductive point of view, both of them were dead. Abraham did not walk by sight but by faith. Abraham believed God’s promises. Application, God waits until the sinner is “dead” or not strong enough to do anything to please God for salvation. When Abraham admitted that he was “dead” God’s power went to work on the body. It is when the lost sinner confesses that he is spiritually dead and unable to help himself that God can save him. The Gospel “is the power of God unto salvation” because of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The resurrection of Christ is proof that God accepted Christ’s sacrifice and we can be justified without God violating His own law or contradicting His own nature. The Key to salvation is “if we believe,” v. 24.

Dr. Harry Ironside, who for 18 years was pastor of the Moody Church in Chicago, was on vacation visiting a Sunday school class. The teacher asked, “How were people saved in the Old Testament times?” One man replied, “By keeping the law.” That’s right,” said the teacher. But Dr. Ironside interrupted: “My Bible says that by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified.” The teacher was

a bit embarrassed, so he said, “Well, does somebody else have an idea?” Another student replied, “They were saved by bringing sacrifices to God.” “Yes, that’s right!” The teacher said and tried to go on with the lesson. But Dr. Ironside interrupted, “My Bible says that the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin.” The unprepared teacher was sure the visitor knew more about the Bible than he did, so he said, “Well you tell us how people were saved in the Old Testament!” And Dr. Ironside explained that they were saved by faith-the same way people are saved today!”

The good news for the people of the world, all of whom are guilty before God because of their sin, is that God in His grace offered His Son as a sacrifice to pay the penalty of sin. Those who place their faith in Jesus Christ are counted as righteous and receive the gift of eternal life.

Bibliography: Wiersbe, Warren W., Be Right NT Commentary Romans. Colorado Springs, Co: David C. Cook, 1977.

Be a “Camp DEWr” in 2020

A “Camp DEWr” is an individual who gives $ 75.00 or more to camp in a year. It is a great way for YOU to support camp.

“Camp DEWrs” receive a free T-shirt and will have a special retreat weekend open only for DEWrs June 19-20, 2020. DEWrs get special recognition camp week.

It is time to apply for your membership for 2020 to the camp! If you were a “Camp DEWr” last year you must renew you status for 2020. Therefore if you renewing or joining for the first time send your $ 75 or more to Sis. Laura Polk at P.O. Box 271, Matthews, MO 63867. For more information call her at (573)472-1038, or email her at campgarwood@gmail.com.

A “Camp DEWr” weekend is a special retreat. We’ll have special guests and activities planned.

Jesse & Rebecca Hales BMA of America Church Planter at Anchor, Austin, TX

A lot has happened these first 4 months of 2020! No, I’m not just talking about the world shutting down. We started our first small group Bible study in January with a total of 13 people. The group has grown close over these months and we are blessed to see people growing closer to God in discipleship. We have continued to reach out into the community through any open door we can find, trying to build as many personal relationships as possible in hopes that those will turn into changed eternities. We have had to change our methods as the world has changed, but I think the virus has actually opened more doors for us than closed.

A New Partnership

At the end of February our 6-month internship with Antioch Georgetown ended and we met with the leadership of both the BMA of Texas and the National BMA. They were excited to see what God has been doing. With that, they shared the same main concern we have had from the beginning which is our lack of another missionary family to partner with in this ministry. It’s not impossible for one family to start a church on their own, but history and scripture show that it is much preferred to minister with a partner. We’ve been praying for such a partner since we first felt God leading us here.

The leadership of both associations agreed to continue to support us with the understanding that we would keep praying and actively seeking such a partner in ministry.

They also asked if we would be willing to pray about the possibility of merging our ministry and partnering with Chris Mindi, another BMA church planter 9 miles away in Leander. Chris and I went through assessment together and moved to the same area at the same time with the same purpose to start a new church and see people saved and growing in God. We have both been praying for a long time, asking God to give us a ministry partner. As they asked if I would pray about it, they made sure I didn’t feel any pressure from them to answer one way or another but simply pointed out from their observations that we seemed to be a great match for each other. I told them I would pray about it.

After having several meetings with Chris and Sarah and reaching out to several of our closest prayer warriors, we spent time waiting on God and praying for clear direction. After about a month and a half I felt that God had clearly knit my heart together with Chris’ and made it clear that we were to join them in ministry.

We are all very excited to see what God is going to do with this new partnership. I’m sure as I have time and space in the future to share more with you about this, you too will see how incredible God is in the way He has brought us and fit us together. He never ceases to amaze me.

Although this will be a big change for us there are a lot of things that will not change. We have made a lot of great contacts here in Round Rock and fully plan to continue to grow those relationships. Nothing is changing about our support or how to send that in. Our dependence on your prayers certainly doesn’t change either, nor does our commitment to starting a church to see people saved and growing in discipleship. What does change is now we have a partner and can do that much more effectively. Thank you, and we will do our best to keep in touch more regularly.

From God’s Word and My Heart – May 2020

by Ben Kingston – Pastor Bethel Baptist Church

Well, we have been through and are still going through an unprecedented time for our churches, state, nation, and world – our first pandemic in the last 100 years.

As you know, I like to stay on the positive side, and there are definitely a few positives that we can take from this trial through which we are going.

One is personal. I can’t speak for you, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the at-home time with my family and the greater focus this has brought to my personal relationship with Christ.

One of the breakthroughs that I want to share with you I will also be sharing with Bethel for our May 3rd message. I have applied the Ephesians 3:10-18 passage quite literally for about 28 years now, where I pray the armor on piece by piece with a prayer of faith. I see this as a command from scripture, and an act of discipline and discipleship in the area of spiritual warfare. However, I have always struggled with total comprehension as to the meaning and significance of each piece.
This week on my walk, I started asking God for a greater understanding, and I have changed my approach to praying on this suit of armor. I no longer just pray each piece by name, but I include in my prayer the phrase that connects each piece with what I believe to be the main significance of that piece.

Now a disclaimer: I have never claimed scholarly abilities or single ownership of an interpretation of a passage, so I offer this as a possible meaning and application of this passage.

What does the helmet of salvation mean to and for us? Security – salvation is forever and makes us secure in Christ. If we are not careful, we struggle daily with our security and significance. This is futile, and an exercise in folly. If we know Christ, He is our only source of significance and security.

The breastplate of righteousness is our focus. We are called to be holy, to separate ourselves from the world. This is our ‘being,’ not our ‘doing’ side of our life.

Dr. Gavin Hooks uses an illustration of the garden. There were two trees: one they could eat of, and the other they could not. Every time Adam and Eve walked by the tree of life and there was fruit on it, this was God saying, “I love you.” Every time Adam and Eve walked by the tree of knowledge of good and evil and did not eat the fruit, they were saying to God “we love you!” So, when we focus on righteousness and say no to the world, we are saying to God, “we love you!”

The Girdle of truth is our guidance. The only way we understand all of these truths is through the guidance of God’s Word. Daily decisions are directed by God’s Word in our lives.

The Shoes of the Gospel of peace is our purpose. This is the ‘doing’ side of our life. We are left here for one reason and one reason only: to bring Glory to God with the propagation of the Gospel.

John McArthur says, “everything else that we can do here on earth towards God, we can do better in heaven.” So our main reason to remain on earth is to share the Glorious Gospel of Christ.

The shield of Faith is our practice. All of these areas of Christian discipleship that the pieces of armor point to are only possible as we practice the faith that God has called us to. Faith that believes that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

The sword of the Spirit is our power. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

As you see, each piece of armor supports some other. As we put on the armor, it forces us to recognize that we are not of this world, we belong to Christ and are therefore secure in Him.

Out of gratitude, we focus on being righteous to show our love to Him. By being separate from this world, we are guided by God’s Word. As we live out our purpose to share His gospel with a lost world, practicing our faith daily, we rely on the power of God’s Word to change other’s lives as He changes ours.

There’s one last thing I want to share: isn’t it amazing how many churches (including Bethel) have a greater web and internet presence because of this trial? Praise God for His local churches adapting and meeting the need in their communities.

Faithful Pastor’s Wife Called Home

Robbie Maxine Robinson of Ironton, Missouri passed away on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020 at The Baptist Home at the age of 90 years. She was born November 29, 1929 inMount Levi, Arkansas the daughter of the late Samuel and Eva Merle (Warren) Barnett.

Easter Sunday, March 28, 1948 she was united in marriage to Maxnell Glen Robinson who preceded her in death May 4, 2004. To this union three children were born; Dr. Dennis Robinson and wife, Sheryl of Farmington, Missouri, Phyllis Speer (Paul deceased) of Coffeyville, Kansas and Rick Robinson and wife, Beverly of Culleoka, Tennessee. Robbie is also survived by her brother; Arlis Barnett of Huntley, Illinois, three sisters; Lola Cherry of Chaffee, Missouri, Emma Bohannon of St. Louis, Missouri, and Marilyn Sue Richards of Rock Island, Illinois, nine grandchildren, twelve great grandchildren, one great grandson, as well as a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

In addition to her parents and husband, Robbie was preceded in death by three brothers; James Barnett, Gerald Barnett and Charles Barnett.

Robbie was a homemaker who took great care of her family and a Pastor’s wife. She was a member of Berean Missionary Baptist Church. She volunteered for Mercy Hospice in Festus prior to residing at The Baptist Home.

Private graveside services were held April 16, 2020 at Shepherd of the Hills Cemetery in Barnhart, Missouri. Pastor Alan Berry officiating.
Memorials may be made to The Baptist Home, 101 Riggs Scott Lane, Ironton, MO 63650.

May 2020 – News and Views from Camp Garwood

Colossians 1:15-20 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” ESV

History is HIS story. An appropriate theme for 2020, much better than ‘vision 2020’ because none of us saw this coming. But Jesus did, even this is His story. We don’t know what the LORD is doing with this time in history. There’s a lot of speculation, there’s a lot of accusations. But that’s the thing about history. We can’t really see what’s going on until it has already happened. Is it all a hoax? Will half the population be killed off? Is it an evil plan devised and carried out by a political party, or another country? There are all kinds of ideas floating around, some of them a lot crazier than others.

While we don’t know what the end of the Coronavirus will look like, we do know what THE END looks like. Jesus will be seated on HIS throne ruling over HIS perfect creation, and in that knowledge I find peace.

Just like you, I have more questions than answers at this point. Will we have camp? I don’t know. If we do, what will that look like? I don’t know. When will you know? I don’t know. Even by the time you are reading this report it will still be too early to make a decision. I would like to say, “You know what, It’s not as bad as they say, we are having camp no matter what.” But the reality is, We can’t say that. And that is not a lack of faith.

I was able to watch the Governors Broadcast on FB today. I was actually able to tune in early. It seemed like 15 minutes but was probably only 3-4 minutes of watching closed doors. No movement, no talking, just closed doors. And even at that the angry faces were flying. There were some likes and hearts too, but it was overwhelmingly angry faces. People angry because he is opening the state, because he isn’t opening it fast enough, because he didn’t open it soon enough, because he didn’t close it fast enough, because he is helping this group and hasn’t done anything about this that or the other. Everyone has an opinion and on FB they don’t care to share it. In the midst of the angry faces and the angry comments people were signing in, posting where they are from. Florissant, Jackson, Kennett, Branson, Literally all over the state. When you think about that load, Whether you like him or hate him, that guy has a lot of weight on his shoulders and no matter what he does, a lot of people are not going to like it.

Everyone has an opinion, but that doesn’t make them right. People are failing to realize, this pandemic is not about them. Oh, it involves you in some way. But it is not about you. Even though we can’t see it yet, it is about Jesus. Everything that happens in history will be for HIM. “All things are for him and through Him and to Him.” He will receive glory through this; the question is, will it be by your lips and actions?

When your pastor or your elders or your deacons make a decision during this time remember they didn’t ask for this. They are doing the best they can and trying to glorify the LORD in the process. Their decision may not agree with yours but they don’t need to know that and neither does anyone else. Remember, It’s not about you.

Whatever the camp committee decides about camp this year it will be the right decision because it will be made through prayer and with the desire to please the LORD. Whatever we decide some of you will have other opinions. Remember, It’s not about you. There are a lot of things to factor into our decision. Are there liability issues? We are drawing in people from all over the state and out of state to pack into dorms that are not social distancing friendly. The tabernacle doesn’t have walls but we are normally packed in the pews. Will food be an issue? Will kids practice being sanitary? (That record speaks for itself). Right now it’s early May, How will the numbers be trending at the end of June? There are too many questions that can’t be answered yet. So be patient, we are waiting as long as possible to make a decision.

At this point we have no activities planned at camp, The DEWr weekend and the GMA retreat are on hold. We are continuing to do maintenance at camp and plan to have camp ready to go, hopeful that it will be used.
We have opened a PayPal account for camp to help you support this ministry. The easiest way to find us on PayPal is with our email address. campgarwood@gmail.com It will show up as Baptist Missionary Association of Missouri because that is our official name. But it will send the funds directly to the camp account.

Have a great day and remember to pray,
Chris Polk, Camp Garwood
PO Box 271 • Matthews, MO 63867
573-380-1975 • campgarwood@gmail.com

The Votes are In, and Here are the Results!

As president of the BMA of America, I want to thank the officers of our association, the department directors, and especially John Merriweather and his BMA of America Service Team for their cooperation in providing the opportunity for our churches to vote on several issues that simply needed to be decided this spring. I also want to thank the churches and pastors of our association for graciously cooperating with us as we navigated through this unprecedented national emergency.

The following results express the will of the churches concerning the issues that were placed before them to consider:

  • Proposed Change to the Amendments to the Statement of Principles of Cooperation Article X (Department of Camp Ministries) — In Favor, 188; Opposed, 1; Abstained, 1.
  • Proposed Change to the Amendments to the Statement of Principles of Cooperation Article XII (Publications Department) — In Favor, 188; Opposed, 1; Abstained, 1.
  • Proposed Addition to the Amendments to the Statement of Principles of Cooperation Article XVII (BMA of America Service Team) — In Favor, 184; Opposed, 3; Abstained, 3.
  • Proposed changes to Reordering the Articles of the BMAA Statement of Principles of Cooperation — In Favor, 186; Opposed, 2; Abstained, 2.
  • DiscipleGuide Board Recommendations — In Favor, 182; Opposed, 3; Abstained, 5.
  • Lifeword Board Recommendations — In Favor, 185; Opposed, 4; Abstained, 1.
  • BMA Seminary Trustee Recommendations — In Favor, 186; Opposed, 2; Abstained, 2.
  • Advisory Committee Recommendations for the Missions Department — In Favor, 182; Opposed, 3; Abstained, 5.
  • Moral Action Board Recommendations — In Favor, 184; Opposed, 3; Abstained, 3.
  • Ministers Resource Services Board Recommendations — In Favor, 186; Opposed, 2; Abstained, 2.
  • BMA Foundation Board Recommendations — In Favor, 186; Opposed, 2; Abstained, 2.
  • Resolution on Beholding the Majesty of God — In Favor, 154; Opposed, 15; Abstained, 21.
  • Nominating Committee Report — In Favor, 182; Opposed, 3; Abstained, 5

I remind you that since Pastor Richard Smith and the people of Farley Street Baptist Church in Waxahachie, Texas worked so hard to prepare for our coming this year, we have decided to allow Farley Street to host the 2021 national meeting which will be held April 19-21, 2021. The 2022 meeting will be held in Springfield, Mo. and the 2023 meeting will at Antioch Baptist Church in Conway, Ark.

Editor’s Note: To review these items go to bmaamerica.org/national meeting and click on 2020 BMA Reports & Recommendations

May 2020 – Mission Director’s Report

Learning is an on-going part of life. This is so very true at this particular time as our churches and departments, along with most of us as individuals, are learning a lot of things we never thought about before. Many are finding that we can do some things differently than we imagined and sometimes different is better but sometimes it makes us long to get back to where we were!

It is hard to make some decisions, especially those that affect others, and our leaders are doing the best they can with the knowledge they have.
One thing that stands out is that when we have meetings scheduled and must make changes giving people time to make adjustments it is helpful to get the information out quickly.

For this reason I asked our associational clerk about setting up a Facebook page for the BMA of Missouri. He graciously offered to take care of it.

Now that we have a Facebook page you are encouraged to check it from time to time get information that we might post between the monthly editions of the Missouri Missionary Baptist.

Just go to Facebook and type in BMAMissouri to visit our page. We need you to join our group and tell others to check it out.

We also appreciate the work of Bro. Brad Miller who maintains our BMAMissouri.org website. He posted the cancelation of our meetings as soon as we notified him.

We are trying to make sure we keep our people notified of changes that occur.

It has been encouraging to hear about, and sometimes see the many ways our churches have continued to minister in their areas during the last several weeks. The use of technology has enhanced several ministries and has opened doors for future possibilities of communicating God’s Word to the World!

I am sure there are some questions, and a lot of opinions about what to do since we are not having our Missions Symposium and Mid-Year Business Meeting. Those involved in making the decision (the host pastor, our President, our Clerk, and Missions Director) agree that everything can be taken care of at the Annual Meeting in October without causing any problems and only a slight delay in transitioning to a new Missions Director who will be elected in October instead of now.

There was no nominee for the position of Editor so that will be addressed in October.

My resignation as Missions Director was to be effective October 1, 2020, so the committee will have recommendations about extending that until the newly elected Director can make the transition.

All other committees will give their reports and recommendations in October.

Thanks for your patience and prayers!

James Hoffmann

Cancellation of Missions Symposium and Mid-Year Business Meeting

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic and the uncertainty of the wisdom of meeting together in a confined area, the BMA of Missouri Missions Director, President, Clerk and Host Pastor make the following announcement:

As those who are responsible for planning the Missions Symposium and Mid-Year Business Meeting of the BMA of Missouri, we feel it is in the best interest of all involved that we cancel these meetings that were scheduled May 15 – 16, 2020 at New Testament Baptist Church in Sullivan.

It is our opinion that any business necessary can be taken care of by the proper committee subject to approval by the messengers in our annual meeting 9:00 a.m. October 10, 2020, at Zion Baptist Church in St. Louis and until then we should be able to operate in all areas without any problems.

Our clerk will mail the 2019 Minutes to the churches in the quantities you marked on your annual church letter. If you did not include a number on that form and just picked up what you wanted at the meeting you need to contact Bro. Burke to let him know the quantity you want. This needs to be done as soon as possible. If you have any other questions please contact any of those listed below.

Please continue to pray for all our churches and their leaders as we look to the Lord for guidance and healing, as we pray for worldwide revival and look forward to the Return of our Savior.

Respectively Your,

James Hoffmann, Missions Director 314-277-8644 or email

Ben Kingston, President 636-629-2526 or email

Don Burke, Clerk 573-210-6493 or email

Joshua Wright, Host Pastor 636-249-3395 or email

BMAA Missions Debuts New Broadcast

by Holly Meriweather

Yalanda Merrell

World Missions Day 2020 (Feb. 23) at 8 a.m., a new BMA Missions broadcast was introduced. Hosted by Yalanda Merrell, the monthly show is called mission:world.tv and will feature BMA missionaries and what they are doing around the world. An extension of mission:world magazine, it can be viewed on BMA Missions’ Facebook page and will be downloadable to share updates with your church.

The four-minute-long episodes will highlight a missionary and country each month, giving viewers an inside look at BMA Missions. Sign up to receive the videos by email (and become a mission:world magazine subscriber if you’re not already) by going to missionworld.tv.
Yalanda Merrell

Although she had walked the aisle at the age of seven, she wasn’t saved until her freshman year of college. But another eight years passed until she fully surrendered her life to Jesus, then three more until she began intentional discipleship. It’s a familiar story for many, and one that Yalanda Merrell doesn’t mind telling, especially if it will point someone to Jesus.
Telling stories is what Yalanda is all about, and she has done that professionally – first as a reporter and anchor for KAIT in Jonesboro. Then after eight years, she left the world of broadcasting and television, to work as a recruiter for University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
Yalanda came to the attention of the LifeWord team in 2018 after Director of Operations Luis Ortega and Executive Director Donny Parrish visited the church that she and her husband, Shawn attend in Northeast Arkansas – Herman Baptist Church in Bono.

It Turns out that Yalanda is not only a talented broadcast journalist but a writer as well.

The Lifeword Cloud had just been implemented and print content was needed, so Yalanda was asked to join a team of writers. Her daily devotionals and blogs have been published on lifeword.org ever since. After enthusiastically offering to do more, anything that was needed, BMA Missions took her up on the offer, and the new broadcast is a result!

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