Justification vs. Self-justification

Last night Vicky and I headed down to Knox Presbyterian Church on Spadina and Harbourd to hear Don Carson speak at Knox’s Summer Fellowship. Carson’s been a regular speaker at these fellowships since his days in Toronto. It’s figured that he’s been speaking at them for some 25 years.

Last night he preached from 2 Corinthians 12 on our strength in weakness. His sermon was excellent – informative, biblical, practical and convicting. He dealt with Paul’s “boasting” before his opponents, namely his boasting in the things that he was villified for: his lack of rhetorical ability, his itinerant ministry, etc. Carson showed how Paul was a man who was so utterly concerned about preaching a gospel of free grace that he did everything in his power to not bring it shame by his life or words. In Paul’s weakness in light of the thorn in his side, he was reminded that God’s grace is sufficient and that in weakness God is made strong.

Particularly convicting for me was Carson’s application. He quoted a friend of his as saying that the most blatant manifestation of human depravity is seen in self-justification. In life, when things don’t go our way and we make mistakes, is our initial reaction to justify our actions? I know mine is. I felt like Carson was speaking directly to me. What a great reminder that he gave in the doctrine of justification. I don’t need to justify myself! I’ve been justified by/in Christ!

I think this is one of those messages that will stick with me until my dying day. My prayer is that the Lord would use it to keep my from trying to justify (vindicate) myself before others and rest instead in Christ’s justification.

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Filed under don carson, justification, toronto

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