“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet."--Matthew 5:13

Friday, August 1, 2014

Justification by Faith

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
--Romans 3:21-26

Prior to the time of Christ, the righteousness of God was made manifest by the law. Since God is righteous, He required absolute perfection to the law. Since man is sinful, absolute perfection was impossible, so the law pointed to the inadequacy of man to uphold God’s righteous and perfect requirements. The law was never intended to save but was intended to show man’s incompetence and need for a savior. But now that Christ has instituted a new covenant, the righteousness of God is available for anyone who puts their faith in Christ, the perfect substitutionary atonement for the sin of mankind.
Next comes a hard truth. It makes no difference what ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic status one may be, the fact is that all are guilty because all have sinned and fallen short of God’s perfect requirements. Everyone has sinned, from the moment of birth to the last second of life. There is no one who is righteous.
However, God has presented humanity with a gift. The gift of grace has been provided by Christ Jesus’ redemption of His people on the cross. This gift is received by His people through their faith, which had always been the means of salvation (Hebrews 11). Even during the Old Covenant, it was the faith of the Lord’s covenant people that saved them.
The death of Christ brings glory to the Father. In order to save His people, Christ had to give up the riches of heaven, take on human form, and live a righteous life amidst great temptation. But not only that, He had to suffer and die a humiliating and painful death on the cross to save people whose minds had been corrupted and set against Him. Because of Christ, the status of those who come to Him in faith has been changed. They are no longer guilty before God. The justice of God was placed on the shoulders of Christ on the cross. He carried our guilt as he hung there on the cross. His people have been declared “not guilty”.
God had every right to destroy Adam and Eve when they sinned. That would have been just. However, he gave mercy to them and also to their ancestors. He chose to withhold His judgment. But now that Christ has been made known, there is no excuse. The law of God has been written on the hearts of men. Those who do not believe seek only to suppress of the truth of Christ (Romans 1:18).