Sunday, October 26, 2014

Happy Are the Forgiven!

The sermon this weekend at our church is on Romans 4. I'd like to share what stood out to me.

Happy Are the Forgiven!

"To the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 'Blessed (happy) are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed (happy) is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.'" (Romans 4:5-8)

We are justified (declared not guilty) by faith. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone, not by works. Our faith is credited as righteousness just like Abraham's. "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." (Romans 4:3b) When we the ungodly (who deserve eternal damnation in Hell) cast ourselves upon God's mercy, He justifies us, forgives us, and gives us Christ's righteousness. David was saying the same thing in Psalm 32:1-2 (which was quoted above in Romans 4:7-8). He recognized the blessedness of God's complete, perfect forgiveness. Jesus died on the cross in our place for our sins. Because of His atonement, our sin, shame, stain, and scars have been removed forever. How blessed we are! Forgiven and free! One is truly happy whose transgressions are erased entirely. Now when God looks at us, He sees Christ's righteousness and sees us as though we had never sinned. If that doesn't make you happy, I don't know what does. Not only God cancels all our debts, but He also deposits righteousness into our account! Blessings upon blessings! It makes me happy beyond words. "When I think how cold, dull and heartless I have been; how often I have wandered, how often trifled upon the brink of temptation...I am amazed at the greatness of His mercy in preserving me! I am a living commentary, that there is forgiveness with Him--and that He is able to save to the uttermost!" (John Newton)

Boasting Buster

The whole chapter pretty much talks about justification by faith. "The promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's those who have the faith of Abraham." (Romans 4:16) Did you know that the Gospel was announced in Genesis? Righteousness comes by faith (Romans 4:13b). If righteousness could be obtained through work, it would call attention to us and promote boasting (Romans 4:2). On the contrary, faith calls attention to the grace of God, the One trusted. "For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" (1 Corinthians 4:7) Grace is God's gift (undeserved favor). Salvation is God's gift. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) Righteousness and justification are God's gifts. "Under law God required righteousness from man. Under grace, He gives righteousness to man. The righteousness of God is that righteousness which God's righteousness requires Him to require." (William Cunningham) Even faith itself is a gift from God. We have nothing to boast about whatsoever. Let him who boasts boast in the Lord. Humble yourselves unto the wondrous saving work of God in Christ! Do not respond to God's offer of salvation with works and self-reliance. If you try to work through the law as a way to get right with God, you nullify grace & turn justification into a wage (rather than a free gift), and it leads to self-exaltation. The proper response to the Gospel is to receive by faith. "God will credit righteousness--for us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification." (Romans 4:24)

"Our standing before God is not in ourselves; it's in Christ!
He is . . .

  our Salvation,
  our Righteousness, 
  our Hope,
  our Holiness, and
  our Acceptance with God! 
We are completely righteous in Him!
We are completely holy in Him!
We are completely forgiven in Him!
We are completely accepted in Him! 
We are completely, everlastingly, perfectly sinless in Him!" (Frank Hall)

Saving Faith

"Saving faith is trust in Jesus Christ as a living Person for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God. This definition emphasizes that saving faith is not just a belief in facts but personal trust in Jesus to save me." (Wayne Grudem) It is a strong conviction that Jesus is the Messiah, through Whom we obtain salvation, eternal life, and entrance into Heaven and an utter dependence upon Him, His finished work at the cross for our redemption, and His resurrection for our justification (acquittance from the guilt and punishment of all our sins). There is no other way! In order to have the blessed joy of salvation and forgiveness, we must repent. If you have not surrendered your life to Christ yet, please don't delay. Please accept His free gift of salvation today by faith and feel the burden and weight of sin lifted off and start living free. Happy are the forgiven! Pardoned people are happy/blessed people. 


Elisabeth Halligan said...

This was beautiful. Thank you so very much! It warmed my heart.

This morning in service, our pastor touched on "why did God save us?" and it was because only He could save us from an eternity in torment.

He also pointed out that we aren't saved "so we can live forever". Everyone is going to live for eternity. The question is "where?"

Blessings to you!

Reema D'souza said...

Lovely reflections! May God bless you.

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