Justified freely – not just dry theology

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If we hold that God is the Creator, the Source, the Giver of Life – there is a question that begs an answer.  How can I know Him?  Why would we not want to know the Being Who made us, to discover – in Him – the answers to questions about our purpose in existence? Paul tells us, in the opening passage of Romans, that God announces Himself to humanity in the grandeur of what He’s made, that He writes His moral code into our consciences.

But, is it enough to just say there is a Divine Being and then to conclude that He is unknowable?  We need not make that sad choice to live in ignorance of the Holy One. Why? Because, He has revealed Himself to us in His Son, Jesus Christ, and through the pages of the inspired Scripture; and He invites us to know Him.

That revelation includes an astounding declaration about how we can find freedom from that sense (which is real) that we are separated from Him, from the guilt and unworthiness that comes when we approach Him in worship. In the following passage, we find the heart of the Good News, the statement about how we are set right with our God, restored to our Father, and enter into eternal life.

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice . . . so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-26, NIV)

Justified! Does it matter? Is it a word only of interest to theologians?  It should not be. It is the heart of the Gospel, the great news that we who have wandered far can come home, not abjectly begging for a place among the hired help, but as children in the family, heirs of the Father’s life and riches!  The amazing part is that there is no initiation fee, no arduous pathway to His altar. There is an invitation to believe and receive!

Many find it just too good to be true. Insisting there must be something they must do, they straddle the fence of their own goodness, their own religiosity, and the grace of God. They say that they have faith in Christ and but hold high their baptism as the trophy that makes them right.  They add many things to ‘faith in Jesus’ – church membership, attempts at impeccable morality, humanitarian service, benevolence  … it is a long list.

All the while God says we are ‘justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.’  Yes, Jerry, but …  I must be good enough for God. And that is the lie that makes sons into slaves. God asks us to take that decisive step, in faith, to leave behind the human religious systems that are so appealing to us and commit ourselves to Jesus Christ alone.

The completed thought of being set right with God (justified!) is that we will become people useful to His purposes, we will find the joy of serving Him,  we will grow away from sin and into holiness that is beautiful, whole, and full of love.

Are you attempting to act like a Christian without actually becoming one? Are you trying to earn your way into the favor of God, to build a legacy of good that is sufficient to erase your sense of guilt?  If so, you have taken on a task that is impossible.  Would you be willing to just believe what He says to you, to accept His invitation to trust Christ as the complete and total reason for your acceptance at the throne of the Holy One?

The word from the Word today states the glorious freedom of the children of God. Pause and invite the Spirit to open your heart and mind to the Truth. Then, read on.  “By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover, at the same moment, that He has already thrown open His door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.” (Romans 5:1-2, The Message)

Yes, we are justified (set right with our Father)  solely by faith in the Savior who gave His life to buy us back from the slavery of sin and the certainty of death. Only trust Him!

_________

Reckless Love

(worship with this song about His love)

Before I spoke a word
You were singing over me
You have been so so good to me
Before I took a breath
You breathed Your life in me
You have been so so kind to me

O the overwhelming never-ending reckless
Love of God
O it chases me down fights ’til I’m found
Leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it I don’t deserve
Still You give Yourself away
O the overwhelming never-ending reckless
Love of God

When I was Your foe still Your love fought for me
You have been so so good to me
When I felt no worth You paid it all for me
You have been so so kind to me

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down\
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

Caleb Culver | Cory Asbury | Ran Jackson © Watershed Publishing Group (Admin. by Watershed Music Group) Bethel Music Publishing Richmond Park Publishing

CCLI License # 810055

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