Justified by Faith
July 15, 2012
“A person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ…” Gal. 2:16
The pastor was in rare form on Sunday morning, piercing his congregation with his fiery eyes, waving his arms and punctuating his sermon with those God-infused extra vowel sounds, such as “He-uh”; “God-uh”; “Speaks to your-uh heart!”
His flock had learned that what they did was the most important element of their Christianity, right after believing in Jesus Christ. This man had mistakenly latched onto a combination of faith and works, sprinkled with following the law, which he taught with great vigor.
The only problem with his strategy is that it is not true. It is a distortion of the Bible. Dragging Christians into this mistaken theology creates crippled believers who never quite measure up. God requires our faith and He then supplies all the wisdom, strength and power that is needed in our lives.
Gal:2:16 yet we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no human being will be justified.
Rom:9:30 What does this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place.
Acts:13:38-39 Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in him is declared right with God—something the law of Moses could never do.
Gal:3:1-4 Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. 2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. 3 How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? 4 Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?
The pastor in the example, above, struggled with faith alone as the answer to our salvation and walk of faith, even though God clearly reveals that to be true in His Word. Faith is what pleases God, not works. He alone is able to guide and provide in a way that brings the best possible outcome in our lives. As you struggle with your lack of performance (as you see it), remember that God sent Jesus to literally experience a very painful, gruesome beating and death on our behalf. He did not utter last words from the cross like this, “Remember to work really, really hard at keeping your salvation so you won’t lose it. What I am doing is not quite good enough!”
Sound ridiculous? Of course. Then why do we allow ourselves to feel that way?
Gal:5:7-8 You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? 8 It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom.
1 Cor:1:24-31 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. 26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. 27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. 29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. 31 Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”
Rom:10:9-13 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” 12 Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Heb:10-10 For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.
God saw to it. Jesus did it. Once for all time! We are saved and made holy. And that is a fact…regardless of how we might feel sometimes.