Sunday, October 19, 2014

By Grace Through Faith

The sermon this weekend at our church is on Romans 3. I'd like to share what stood out to me.

There Is No One Righteous; All Fall Short

"Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin." (Romans 3:9b) "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one...The way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes." (Romans 3:10-12, 17-18) "No one will be declared righteous in God's sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin." (Romans 3:20) "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) No one is righteous; no one can earn right standing with God. All of us were born sinners by nature and we do sin by choice (disobey God, rebel against God, and fall short of God's standards). We all are born with selfishness/self-centeredness (no one has to teach us that). Even if you think you've kept all the 10 commandments perfectly (I really doubt it), can you say that you love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbors as yourselves perfectly all the time? We all fail at the two greatest commandments. There is sin of commission (doing what God says not to do) and there is sin of omission (not doing what God says to do). We all sin in our thoughts, words, and/or actions. Because of this, we all deserve eternal damnation in Hell. The law's purpose is to make us understand (become conscious/aware) that we are helpless sinners and we must come to God for mercy. Sin separates us from our holy God; it disqualifies us from being right with God. Thanks to God's amazing love and grace, He provided the Way for us to be reconciled to Him, to be cleansed of our sins, and to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. There is no greater news than this! God's good news is available to all.

GOOD NEWS: We Are Justified by Grace Through Faith

"All are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood--to be received by faith...For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law." (Romans 3:24-25, 28) "This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." (Romans 3:22a)

The one and only Way is Jesus Christ! By God's grace, all who put their faith (confident trust) in Jesus Christ and His finished work of redemption at the cross are justified (declared not guilty) and are granted the status of being considered righteous before God. Through Christ's shed blood for us, we've been justified & redeemed (set free from slavery to sin) and received the complete forgiveness of sin (past, present, and future) from God. Jesus removes from us the punishment of sin that we deserve and the power of sin that enslaves us. When God forgives our sins, our record of wrongs is completely wiped out. In addition, Christ's righteousness has been imputed upon us. Now when He looks at us, He sees Christ's righteousness and sees us as though we had never sinned.  Because of Christ, we have been declared holy, without blemish, not guilty, and free from accusation and condemnation. "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:1-2) 

God Is Both Just and Merciful

Since God is just, He cannot leave sin unpunished. In His mercy, God took upon Himself the punishment of our sin, in the Person of Christ (the Sinless Sacrificial Lamb). Christ is our sacrifice of atonement/our propitiation. He died on the cross in our place. God declares Christ's death to be the only necessary/satisfactory sacrifice for our sin's penalty. 

Gracious Gifts of God!   

We have been saved through faith in Christ alone by grace alone. Salvation is a gracious gift of God, not the result of our merit, effort, or ability. None of us can be good enough/do enough good deeds to earn salvation. Justification is a gift. It's all because God loves us and God is gracious, kind, merciful, and compassionate towards ussinners. We cannot go to Heaven by observing the law. The more we realize how wretched we are, the more we understand, appreciate, and embrace God’s grace. Grace is unmerited favor or undeserved kindness. By God's grace, we've been saved from God's wrath, power of sin, and punishment of sin which is spiritual death/eternal damnation in Hell. God gives us forgiveness, redemption, Christ's righteousness, inheritance, and eternal life not because we are good, but because He is good. All of these are gracious gifts of God and all can be yours when you receive them by faith.

What Are Sinners to Do?

- Be honest and be humble. We must acknowledge that we're sinners and in need of a Savior. Do not ever minimize the seriousness of sin. We all were born with sin-sick souls. The spiritual disease of sin-sickness leads to spiritual death (eternal separation from God). Jesus said in Matthew 9:12-13b, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick...For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." "The cause of all trouble, the root of all sorrow, the dread of every man lies in this one small word--sin. It has crippled the nature of man...It has caused man to be caught in the devil's trap." (~Billy Graham) Be honest: Not until we acknowledge our sin can we see the necessity for repentance and redemption! Be humble: Not until we realize our helplessness is there desire for and appreciation of a Savior! 

Repent and believe. Unless
 you repent of your sins and put your trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you're still lost and dead in your sin. Do you want freedom from the penalty of sin? Believe that Christ died for you and rose from the dead; He defeated death so that you can truly live. But you must respond by confessing your sins, surrendering your life to Him, devoting your life to live for Him with an undivided heart, and depending utterly on Him. "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit." (1 Peter 3:18) Your eternal destiny is a matter of the utmost importance. Do not delay. We're never promised tomorrow (or the next second for that matter).


Anne Dovel said...

Thank you. .The timing of this post was what I needed today in dealing with a disobedient child and how my heart has not been in the right place.

Anna Maria Junus said...

I come to this subject with a different perspective. However we both come to the same conclusion.

Melissa Haag said...

This post is so powerful! I read it out loud to my 13-year-old who is just starting to really get into the word. This explains salvation so plainly. She actually asked for your blog address and wrote it in the notes section of her Bible so she can refer back lol.

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