“BY FAITH ALONE”
By Pastor Donald Parker
The apostle Paul writes in Romans 3:23-25 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and 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.”
When Paul says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, he means everyone! No exceptions! When the standard is God’s righteousness, it makes no difference if we’ve missed the mark by an inch or a mile. It doesn’t matter if you are “better” than your neighbor, your neighbor isn’t the standard; God is the standard, and we all fall short.
Paul says all are justified. Justified means to be declared not guilty. When a judge in a court of law declares the defendant not guilty, all the charges brought against him are removed from his record. It’s as though the person had never been accused, and his slate is wiped clean. When God forgives our sins; our slate, our record of sin is wiped clean. In God’s courtroom, He pronounces us innocent of all charges.
Paul says we are justified freely by his grace. Grace is one of God’s expressions of love for us. It is a gift that is unmerited, that overrules whatever a person has done. How can this be? “Through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
This redemption that is in Christ Jesus, refers to Christ setting sinners free from bondage [slavery] of sin. In the Old Testament, a person’s debt could result in their being sold into slavery. A family member could redeem him by paying his debt – buying his freedom. Jesus Christ paid our debt – He bought our freedom; and the price He had to pay, was His life.
Paul goes on to say that, God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement. In other words, Christ died in our place; for our sins. God declares Jesus Christ death as the appropriate [suitable – proper – fitting] designated [chosen], sacrifice for our sins. Jesus Christ took our place and paid the penalty of death for our sins through the shedding of his blood.
Throughout the Old Testament, we find that God requires a blood sacrifice as payment for sin. It’s even how Israel escaped Egypt. When God saw lambs’ blood on the doorframes of the Israelites homes, His judgment passed over them. The blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ satisfied the righteousness demands of a holy God.
Hebrews 9:22 says, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Forgiveness always comes at a cost. Jesus was the ultimate, one-time sacrifice who shed His blood for the sins of all, and offers forgiveness to anyone who would put their faith in Him.
Friends, Jesus Christ has already done everything for us [you] to offer us [you] eternal life. There is nothing you can do on your own. You cannot work your way into heaven. You cannot be good enough to get into heaven. You cannot but your way into heaven. No amount of works or achievements will ever be enough to close the gap between God’s moral perfection and our imperfect daily performance. Now, good works are important, but you have to understand, they will never be enough to earn you eternal life. We are saved “By Faith Alone” in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “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.”
To know more about the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ, join us at 11a.m., Sunday mornings at First Baptist Church Van Horn; A Place to belong.