Serving the community since 1970

Pastor's Corner: Joy in salvation by faith

What do you have to do to be right with God? How can unrighteous guilty sinners be made right before a perfect and holy God? Every person knows they fall short of their own standards of right and wrong, and have some sense of the righteousness of God. Often people think about if they were to stand before God right now, what would happen, what kind of evaluation would they face?

The biblical teaching on justification explains the only way to be made right in God’s eyes is by faith in Jesus Christ’s sin-bearing work on the cross. To be right with God is not based on works by trying to cover up the bad we have done with the good, like balancing scales. The Bible says our works are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We need our sins forgiven and to be seen by God in Jesus Christ, the only one who lived a perfect and sinless life as the Son of God (Isaiah 1:18; Acts 10:43; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

Justification or being declared righteous before God is truly good news. Justification from the Bible is God’s declaration of “righteous” or “not guilty” for those who have faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for sins (Romans 3:21-26). Like in a courtroom scene where we know we are guilty of our sins, but we trust in Christ personally and have our sins paid for by His sacrifice, then we stand before God righteous in Christ. The righteousness from Christ’s sacrifice is transferred to the believer’s account and while his or her personal sins are attributed to Jesus’ sin-covering sacrifice (Romans 3:21-26; 4:1-5:1; Galatians 2:16-3:14).

Faith is the sole basis for justification or the declaration of righteousness by God (John 3:16; Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16). Faith is belief or personal trust in Jesus Christ and His atoning work in His life, death, and resurrection (Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Justification means salvation from the guilt and penalty of sin and is an instantaneous act of God that happens for the believer upon conversion. The guilty sinner’s record is cleared with his sins being transferred to Christ’s sacrifice and he stands guiltless before God the righteous Judge. God then declares the once guilty sinner “not guilty” based on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:1).

Salvation is by faith and not by works, which is grace where eternal life is given freely to all (Rom 4:2-5; 6:23; 11:6; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5). The relationship between faith and works is that true faith leads to works of righteousness done out of thanksgiving and love for God; they do not in any way earn salvation, but genuine faith produces good works (James 2:14-26).

Understanding justification or salvation by faith alone has a tremendous impact on the believer’s everyday life. Too many Christians are still on the treadmill of works, thinking salvation is somehow dependent on living perfect lives and heaping up good works. But this is exhausting and impossible. Truly understanding salvation by faith alone means Christians are confident, peaceful, hopeful, thankful, and joyful in their salvation (Romans 5:1-2). Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Amen! This is truly good news worth sharing!

 

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