If you’ve been following this series in Romans, you are aware that the theme of this Epistle is The Righteousness of God. You are aware of the fact that it takes God’s perfect righteousness to make us fit to dwell in Heaven with Him for eternity.
Jesus unequivocally demanded in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.” That is a human impossibility. Thank God, He has seen fit to justify us to meet His humanly impossible requirement of perfection.
How did He accomplish this? He came down to earth in the person of His Son, Jesus, to live the perfect life He required of us, die on a cross in payment of our sins and then rise from the dead three days later, proving that The Father was pleased and satisfied with His sacrifice for our sins. Because none of us can attain that perfection through our own efforts, He provided it for us through God’s legal act and declaration known as Justification.
Justification is not an emotional feeling nor an experience that we seek. As sinners, we simply recognize our need of His righteousness. We hear and believe the Gospel. When we believe and personally receive this Gospel through simple faith in Him, He imputes to us; that is, He puts to our account Jesus’ perfect righteousness. That’s the message of II Corinthians 5:21.
When we put our faith in Christ, God no longer sees us in our sins. Rather, He sees us in the perfect righteousness of Jesus.
JUSTIFICATION, A DOCTRINE ROOTED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
We’ve come to chapter 4 in our study of Romans where we learn that justification is not just a New Testament, Pauline doctrine. Two thousand years before Christ; Abraham, the father of the Jews, became the father (the prototype) of all who are justified by faith.
David and Justification
But before we examine Abraham and justification by faith, Paul calls our attention to David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel, in Romans 4:6-7 by quoting Psalm 32. What did David say about justification? There in Psalm 32:1-2 David, without using the word justification, describes the blessedness of this wonderful truth.
“Blessed is he
1. whose transgression is forgiven,
2. whose sin is covered.
3. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputes not iniquity,
4, and in whose spirit there is no guile or sense of deceit or guilt.”
Throughout the Old Testament God required the shedding of the blood of innocent animal sacrifices for sin. All those animals pointed to the one perfect, final sacrifice for sin forever, the blood of our holy, perfect Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
John the Baptist introduced Him to the world as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29
Hebrews 10 goes into great detail explaining how the Lord Jesus Christ is the final, ultimate sacrifice for sin. No longer are animal sacrifices needed nor required.
Think about this! When God lifts the load and guilt of sin from our conscience, that is HUGE! I remember so well as a nine year old, the night I understood the Gospel for the first time and invited Jesus to be my Saviour. I went home with the huge load of sin lifted from my conscience and the fear of going to Hell gone forever. Though I have never been perfect since and never will be perfect until I am in Heaven, I have never in the almost seventy years since, felt that load of the guilt of sin again.
Now, as a Christian, when I find myself guilty of sin, I immediately confess it to God as sin and immediately sense the cleansing of Christ’s blood and the removal of guilt. I John 1:7-10 explains this so well for us as Christians. Memorize it and live by it.
Abraham and Justification
1. Abraham, though a man of good works for the most part; was not justified by his good works, according to Romans 4:1-8.
Some of Abraham’s good works include:
a. When called by God, he left Ur of the Chaldees to follow God’s leading to a land God had given him, though he had never seen it. Hebrews 11:8
b. In that land God had promised him, He lived as a nomad in tents. Why? Because according to Hebrews 11:9-11 he looked for a permanent city, a permanent land, a permanent Heavenly Home built by God Himself. True, he possibly understood that the land, which would one day be known as Israel, would eventually be ruled by His Seed, the Lord Jesus. That will take place in the Millennium when Christ will rule from Jerusalem over the whole world for one thousand years. See my series on PROPHESY for more on this.
c. God promised him an innumerable seed. All through the years Abraham and Sarah had no children. Finally in their late nineties, he and his wife, Sarah, had their miracle son, Isaac; long after her normal child bearing age.
d. When his nephew, Lot’s, herdsmen were quarreling with his herdsmen, Abraham gave Lot first choice of the disputed land which was his. Lot selfishly chose the best land for himself. Read the story for yourself in Genesis 13:1 & 5-13.
e. Abraham generously entertained angels Genesis 18:5-8 He generously prepared a feast for them, referring to it as “a morsel of bread”. Later, in contrast, we read in Genesis 19:3 that Lot prepared what he called a feast for those angels. Actually it was just some unleavened bread.
f. Abraham prayed, pleading for the sinful city of Sodom when it was facing God’s judgment. Genesis 18:23-33.
However, Abraham was not perfect before God.
1. He lied to Pharaoh about his wife not being his wife.
2. He took his wife’s maid, Hagar, and had a son, Ishmael, by her in order to try to help God fulfill his promise of innumerable seed like the sands of the sea. That got Abraham into trouble. Worse than that, it has gotten the Jews, the descendants of Isaac into trouble with Ishmael’s seed, the Palestinians
Running ahead of God and doing things our way, instead of seeking God’s will always gets us and those we love into trouble.
The reason we are not justified by our own works is because if we offend in one point we are guilty of all. James 2:10
Furthermore, Isaiah 64:6 tells us that all our works of righteousness to try to attain God’s favor are as filthy rags in God’s sight.
Though he lived a life of good works and though people today live lives of good works to attempt to gain favor with God; we all fall short of God’s perfect standards. God demands nothing short of perfection. None of us have it, according to Romans 4:2 Therefore we need to cast ourselves on God’s mercy and accept His gift of Jesus who alone is our perfect righteousness.
2. Abraham was not justified by circumcision Rom. 4:9, 12-27
Abraham was not circumcised until he was 99 years old. And yet Abraham’s righteousness was reckoned to him long before his circumcision. See Romans 4:3-12 This makes him the spiritual father of us all who trust in Christ, his promised Seed, whether we are Jews or Gentiles. Read carefully Galatians 3:1-6 to understand that circumcision does not even enter into the picture as far as our standing before God is concerned.
3. Finally, Abraham was not justified by his attempt to keep God’s Law. Romans 4:13-16
This is obvious. Abraham was born in 2000 BC. God’s Law given by Moses came 600 years later in 1400 BC. So Abraham could not possibly have been justified by the Law when there was no Law.
Furthermore, the Law justifies no one. It only condemn us because we’ve all broken it. See Romans 4:15.
When a criminal stands before a judge for breaking the Law, what good doers it do to recite all the other laws he has kept? If a man is guilt of breaking the Law, the Law will not save him. It only condemns him.
Here’s the conclusion of the matter. Abraham and his children, the Jews; as well as we gentiles can only be justified before God by our faith in Christ, God’s provision for our sins. He alone lived the perfect life and then shed His blood and died to pay for our sins. Such a salvation calls for humility before God as God’s grace is magnified in our lives.
Do you recall that the theme of our study of Romans is the Righteousness of God? Do you recall that the first major section of Romans is Man’s Desperate Need of God’s Righteousness? Romans 1:21-3:31 That was covered in our previous studies in Romans 1:18 through 3:20
Now we come to the second major section of Romans found in 3:21 through 3:31 and that is God’s Method of counting us perfectly righteous by justifying us.
Perhaps the clearest verse in the Bible for explaining justification is II Corinthians 5:21 Look at it there. “For HE (God) has made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us (Jesus bore the full punishment for our sins in His body as He suffered on the cross.) that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” When God looks at us sinners who have put our trust in Jesus, He no longer sees our sins. They have been blotted from our record. He sees only the perfect righteousness of Christ. Have you grasped this by faith? If not, read this paragraph repeatedly until the truth soaks in. This is the Gospel. The Gospel has nothing to do with your ability to live the Christian life. The Gospel is that Jesus died and rose again to give you His righteousness as a GIFT. He has put His righteousness to your account, just as though YOU lived it.
Don’t get me wrong. There is more to being a Christian than just being saved from the penalty of sin; but we will get to that when we come to Romans 6.
Let’s take a closer look at this wonderful salvation by justification.
I. NOTE SOME FACTS AND CHARACTERISTICS OF SALVATION
A. God’s Righteousness is manifested. Rom.3:21
It is public and available for all to clearly see. As Israel, while wandering through the wilderness, was healed from venomous snake bites by looking at the serpent of brass Moses, in obedience to God’s direction, had fashioned and put high upon a pole for all to see; so God’s righteousness is imputed to anyone who will look in faith to Jesus who was hung on a cross for our sins. Read Jesus explanation of this to the Pharisee, Nicodemus, as it is found in John 3:1-21. You can find this story of Moses putting the brass serpent on a high pole in Numbers 21:4-9
So when Romans 3:21 says that God’s righteousness is manifested, He is saying that His plan of salvation is public and available for all to see. Even a little child can understand it. In fact, it was this story of the brass serpent in the wilderness which was explained to me the night I put my trust in Christ when I was nine years old. It made salvation so clear to me.
If you cannot grasp this simple but profound truth, it is because Satan has blinded your spiritual eyesight. That’s what II Corinthians 4:4 teaches. That’s why when we preach or explain the Gospel to the lost, we need to pray that God will deliver them from spiritual blindness. We cannot save anyone. All we can do it present the Gospel to them and pray that God would deliver them from their spiritual blindness.
B. Salvation flows from the fountain of God’s love
John 3:16 begins with “For God so loved the world” and then it explains the plan of salvation.
How do we know that God loves us? Romans 5:8 says that “God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God reached down in the muck and stench of sin and took us by the hand and pulled us out. He did that by sending Jesus to die for our sins before we were even born.
Jump ahead to Romans 8:28-39 and read the long chain of events that began in eternity past, long before you were ever born. Note, that ALL of these acts were by God and they all prove God’s love for you. Lord willing, we will get into this passage in more detail at a later date. But for now, read them and relish them. It all goes to prove God’s love for you from before you were born. Salvation has nothing to do with your ability. All we do is receive salvation from God’s hand as an appreciative beggar receives kindness from the hands of his benefactor.
C. Salvation is given to us totally apart from our ability to keep God’s Law.
Read Romans 3:20-28. Salvation is given as a gift of God’s grace apart from any good works on our part. Read and keep reading Titus 3:5-6 until this is settled in your mind and heart.
D. This salvation by the grace of God is not some new idea of God, revealed only in the New Testament. It was witnessed throughout the Old Testament.
Romans 3:21 tells us it was witnessed by the Law and the prophets. That is, it was illustrated in types and shadows throughout the Pentateuch, (the first five books of the Bible, known as The Law) and it was witnessed by the Old Testament prophets. For an excellent example of that, read Isaiah 53. Then read in Acts 8:26-39; the account of Philip leading a man to Christ as he unfolds the Gospel from Isaiah 53.
Peter preaching the Gospel, reminds the people in Acts 10:43 that what he is preaching is witnessed by the Old Testament Law and Prophets
E. The Gift of God’s Righteousness is only for believing sinners. Only believing sinners qualify for salvation.
Romans 3:21-22 clearly limits salvation to only those who admit they are helpless, hopeless sinners who believe the Gospel. “But now the righteousness of God without the Law. In manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.” Read it again and note that this Gift of salvation, this gift of receiving Christ’s righteousness, is only upon sinners who believe, or trust Christ for their salvation. There is no other way to receive it other than by simple faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross and in His bodily resurrection from the dead. One MUST admit he is a sinner before he is a candidate for salvation. Note how Paul declares this in Romans 5:12-19.
F. Salvation is freely offered. It costs us nothing.
Though it costs us nothing, it cost Jesus everything as He hung on the cross dying for our sins. Romans3:24 teaches that we are justified FREELY by His grace. Isaiah prophesied 700 years earlier in Isaiah 55:1
That salvation is offered to anyone who thirsts for it and it does not cost a cent. It is a free gift of God’s grace. To try to offer our pittance of good works, to try to help earn our salvation would be as insulting to God as it would insult a doctor who performed a $50,000 surgery on a needy person at no charge and that person tried to clear his debt with the doctor with his gift of $2.00.
G. Salvation is received by simply trusting in Jesus’ blood sacrifice on the cross.
Read very carefully the importance of Jesus blood sacrifice in Romans 3:22-25 and I Peter 1:18-19. The theme of Jesus’ shed blood is found throughout the Bible from Genesis through Revelation. It is, no doubt, the major theme of the Bible. In fact, if you were to read very far in this web site you would find that it is a major theme of my preaching when I am dealing with the topic of salvation. False preachers hate this doctrine as they promote their works salvation.
H. Finally, God’s Salvation through the shed blood of Jesus is sufficient for all the sins of the whole world.
Christ is all we need. I John 2:1-2 shows us that His blood sacrifice is sufficient to save the whole world; but of course, it only saves those who appropriate that sacrifice by faith. I Timothy4:10 teaches that Christ is the Saviour of the whole world, but specifically it is only for those who believe and receive that Gift of salvation. John 1:12 announces that God’s salvation is only for those who believe on His Name. If you have Jesus you have salvation. If you do not have Jesus, you do not have salvation.
II. WHAT DOES JUSTIFICATION TEACH US ABOUT THE CHARACTER AND RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD?
A. It reveals God’s grace. See Romans 3:24 As God is the source of love, so He is the source of grace. We Christians can show grace in our lives as we reflect God’s grace. Think of the most despicable, hateful person you know. God’s grace can reach down and save that person. After all, He reached down into the cesspool of sin to save you and me.
B. It reveals God justice. Romans 3:26
God is not some weak, soft, sentimentalist who overlooks sin. His holiness and wrath and truth demand death for sin. See Genesis 2:17, Ezekiel 18:4, Romans1:18, 32, 2:2-3, 2:11-12, 6:23
His love and grace provided for our salvation in Christ.
His justice was satisfied through Christ’s shed blood.
Because Jesus took our punishment, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. I John 1:9.
C. The cross then reveals God’s glory. Romans 3:27.
There is no room for man’s glory. Ephesians 2:8-9
All the glory goes only to Jesus. Galatians 6:14, Ephesians 1:6, 12, 2:7, 3:8-11.
A PICTURE OF SALVATION
Dr. Lambie a missionary in North Africa back in the 1930’s was traveling with his party across the hot desert. In the late afternoon they set up camp for the night. After pitching his tent, he laid down on his mat to try to sleep; but tossed restlessly in the heat of the scorching hot late afternoon sun.
Suddenly he became cool and soon fell asleep.
Next morning as he went out of his tent, he learned what had happened the previous afternoon. A great rock in the West had taken the brunt of the heat as the sun had set.
What is the lesson for us in this story? The heat is God’s wrath on sin. The great rock which bore the heat of God’s wrath was Christ who bore God’s wrath as He hung on the cross in our place.
By trusting in Him we can rest in the shadow of this Great Rock, Christ.
In our first study in Proverbs we concluded with these four basic truths concerning wisdom.
1. Wisdom is found in knowing and being properly related to Christ through faith in His death and resurrection for our sins. Colossians 2:3, 8-10, I Corinthians 1:30-31
2. Wisdom begins with a reverential fear of the Lord. One who has no fear of God has not even begun to be wise. Proverbs 1:7
3. God invites us to ask for wisdom as we sense our need. He will give it to us. James 5:1-8
4. If we’re serious about seeking wisdom, we find it by reading and searching the Scriptures. Proverbs 2:1-5
HOW WE RECEIVE WISDOM AND WHY WE OUGHT TO BE SERIOUS ABOUT SEEKING IT.
Children gain wisdom by listening to and obeying their parents until they are old enough to be on their own and responsible for their own life, including their financial responsibilities. That’s the teaching of Proverbs 1:8-9. and it involves:
1. Instant, willing, obedience with a cheerful attitude.
2. Following Scriptural principles you were taught through childhood and faithfully living by them throughout your life. Proverbs 1:8 particularly warns us to not forsake those principles just because we have left home and are now on our own.
Of course, wise parents are going to prepare their children for independence by gradually turning responsibility over to them as they prove by their actions and attitudes that they are able to handle such freedom and responsibility.
WHAT ARE THE PITFALLS YOU WILL FACE?
Proverbs 1:10-19 warns about the temptation to follow wicked gangs, the worldy crowd, the popular trends: in short, the sinful world system under the domination of Satan. I John 2:15-17
This system today, known as Liberalism, Socialism or Progressivism, which is kin to Communism, has been growing in popularity in America since the 1930’s. America is presently at the crossroads of continuing in this disastrous direction or returning to the self reliance and freedom of our Founding Fathers and Constitutional government.
Socialism looks to government rather than to God to meet every need of families from the cradle to the grave. Note the difference between Socialism and the Biblical doctrine of personal salvation and its self-sacrificing love as illustrated in the early church in Acts 2:44. Note how the Christians helped one another sacrificially as they gave money voluntarily through hearts filled with love for one another.
Socialism with its Social Gospel is the product of religious Liberalism which deifies man and dethrones and ignores the God of the Bible. That’s why over the past half century the Bible and prayer have been expelled from the public schools and from the public universities. That’s why I received my education in Christian schools, including a strong Christian University. That’s why my wife and I sacrificed to see to it that our children received a Christian education, including a Christian college.
WHAT ARE THE REWARDS OF SEEKING GOD’S WISDOM?
1. Seeking God’s wisdom from His Word, the Bible, leads to a long, happy fruitful life. Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:1-3. There are exceptions to that as some godly young people die prematurely. It is never our responsibility to judge such young people nor their parents who trained them.
2. Proverbs 1:9 teaches us that living submissive, cheerful lives under our parents and being careful to not forsake God’s Word literally beautifies us. On the other hand, there is nothing uglier than the appearance and the personality of a rebellious young person who has turned from the godly instruction of his parents. Young person, beware of getting yoked in marriage with such a rebel. Such a life is going to end in tragedy, as we are warned in Proverbs 1:24-32.
On the other hand, if you seek to know Christ and be surrendered to Him as your Lord, you will be beautified and if you marry, it will be to a godly spouse. Such a marriage will bring God’s protection and lead to a lifetime of happiness and joy and success to you and your family.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO AVOID TEMPTATION AND TRAGEDY?
1. Avoid evil companions; that is, anyone who attempts to draw you away from God and His Word, the Bible. Proverbs 1:15
2. Don’t even take one step, not even one computer click, down their path. Proverbs 1:15-16
3. If you are tempted, consent not. Proverbs1:10 Learn to say NO to Satan. Many young people are so driven by the desire to be popular that they cannot say no to such temptation.
Learn to stand like Joseph in Genesis 39 who, when propositioned by an evil woman, ran from her. Yes, his courage and purity caused him to be jailed for a time; but eventually truth won out and Joseph rose to second in command under Pharaoh in Egypt. In fact, if he had not been imprisoned he would not have met the right contacts to bring him into the Pharoah’s favor.
Dare to be like Daniel who because of his courage and love for God, had the opportunity to influence King Nebuchadnezzar for God in Babylon. Eighty years later after Persia had conquered Babylon, Daniel, now an old man, continued to influence Kind Darius of Persia.
Because of his stand for God, he ended up in a lion’s den. That turned ut to be just a brief, comfortable overnight stay sleeping on a lion’s mane. God protected him and eventually he became second in command in Persia.
Christian young person, don’t be a weak cowardly follower of the sinful crowd, fearing loss of popularity. God help you to always walk closely to Him. Spend much time in His Word. He will give you the courage to do right and you will be surprised to see what God can do with a life surrendered fully to Him.
A reader of this blog recently asked the question, “What is a merry heart?” The dictionary defines merry as “exhibiting high spirits or lightness of heart.” At Christmas time we wish one another a “Merry Christmas.”
We’re all familiar with the truth of Proverbs 17:22, whether we’ve ever read the verse or not, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” That is a true physical fact of life.
The world seeks to be merry by trying to forget about the burdens of life and the certainty of death by drowning such thoughts with constant music, entertainment, alcohol and drugs; anything to crowd out the serious thoughts of life and death.
The desperately sad truth is that a person without Christ Jesus lives a living death. a living hell. Any merriment is strictly superficial. Christ is the only source of life. Those without Christ abide in death. Read the short epistle of I John on this matter. I John is a little book just before the last two books of the Bible, Jude and Revelation.
Those who receive Christ as Saviour, do not receive eternal life (God’s life) when we die. We receive it the moment we are born again by the Spirit of God. The Christian has eternal life the moment He puts his trust in Christ as his Saviour. When we die, we simply slip from our bodies and continue to live forever with Christ. The departure from our bodies is only temporary. I Corinthians 15 tells of how when Christ returns for us, we will be joined to our bodies once again, but the difference is, they will be glorified, perfect, sinless bodies in which we will enjoy Christ and one another for eternity.
The following jokes may give you a laugh, but they will not give you a merry heart. Only God can do that and He gives His gift of a merry heart to anyone who will turn from his sins to Christ, who died on a cross and rose from the dead three days later to pay the penalty for our sins and give us the gift of eternal life.
If you are tired of superficiality, or trying to “put on a happy face”, I invite you to trust Christ right now. He will give you a “joy unspeakable and full of glory”. I Peter 1:8
Though becoming a Christian is a life and death decision, and though living for Christ is a serious matter, No Christian has any business going through life with a miserable scowl and a miserable, pessimistic, depressed attitude about life. We, of all people, have the joy of the Lord bubbling up from the depths of our being, even in times of sorrow. If you do not have a joyful heart; I invite you to admit you are a lost, sinner, helpless to change your life. Invite Jesus to be your Saviour and Lord this day.
The following are some clean jokes that have been shared with me. I share them with you with the hopes they will brighten your day.
Do you know the difference between fainting & dying ? When you die you kick the bucket, but when you faint, you only turn a little pail.
If you’ve been following along in this series in Romans from the beginning, you are aware that the theme of this epistle is The Righteousness of God. The first division of this epistle is Man’s Desperate Need of God’s Righteousness revealed in Romans 1:18-3:20.
Those in desperate need of God’s righteousness include:
1.The heathen described in Romans 1:18-32. Though they’ve never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, this passage argues that they are without excuse.
2. The moralist are just as lost in their sins. we see from Romans 2:1-16.
3. The religious Jews are just as lost as the gentiles, we learn in Romans 2:17 – 3:9.
In the previous message we noted that sin is defined as:
1. being ignorant instead of knowing God’s revealed will and standard.
2. missing the mark or bull’s eye of His perfection.
3. overstepping the boundaries God has set for us and
4. falling short instead of standing fully in the will of God
THE TESTIMONY OF GOD’S WORD
I encourage you to read Romans 3:10-18 as we examine the testimony of God’s Word on this essential life and death issue of total depravity.
1. There is none righteous.
Paul quotes Psalm 14:1-3, 53:1-3 and Ecclesiastes 7:20 to show us that what he preaches is in harmony with the Old Testament. .
In this section of Romans we learn of the total depravity of the human race and that there is no exception. Compared with Jesus, the perfect standard; there is none righteous, no not one. Contrary to the teachings of some well known liberal preachers of the past, no one has even a spark of goodness in him which simply needs to be fanned into a flame of a righteous life. Jumping ahead to Romans 10:1-4 we learn in this section of Romans that Christ is our only righteousness. In Christ, God sees us perfectly righteous and fit for Heaven.
2. There is none that understands.
The major problem with sinners is not so much their sin as it is their self-righteousness which blinds them and makes them oblivious to their sin.
Not only are we not righteous, but Romans 3:11 teaches us that there is none who understands in his unregenerate state. Paul writes in I Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned.”
3. There is none that seeks after God.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sinned in the Garden of Eden, the first thing they did was to try to hide from God. The prodigal son whom Jesus talked about in Luke 15 went into a far country to get just as far as possible from his father. Sinners avoid preachers and churches and Gospel web sites such as this one.
They flock to preachers and churches where sin and the Gospel are watered down and where psycho-babble is spouted, such as, “sin is an illness which requires counseling and treatment.” Sin may result in problems that require counseling and treatment, but sin itself is easily dealt with by simply confessing it to God. Read I John 1. He alone forgives, cleanses and enables us to overcome sin. But I John 1:8-10 warns us to never deceive ourselves into thinking we have become sinlessly perfect.
Are you grasping this? As a sinner we are not righteous. We don’t have any idea what salvation is all about and we don’t even seek to know God. At best, we have some foggy idea that salvation has to do with trying to live a good life so we can be deserving of Heaven. That is totally a lie from the devil.
I Corinthians1:18 states “That the preaching of the cross is to them who are perishing foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God.”
Remember, man does not initiate seeking God. Rather, God seeks after man Luke 19:10 Therefore, seek Him while He may be found, we are warned in Isaiah 55:6-7.
It’s only when we have come to the end of ourselves and admit we are hopeless, helpless, lost sinners, unable to do anything to save ourselves; it’s only as we cry HELP to God, that He will come to our rescue and save us from our sins.
FAITH AND REASON
Salvation begins with faith and not with reason. There is no intellectual approach to God. Only when you are able and willing to admit you are a helpless, condemned lost sinner and that your Creator offers you salvation through the blood sacrifice of Jesus on the cross; only then does God enlighten your mind to understand salvation. Hebrews 11:3 says, “Through faith we understand.”
The Gospel is foolishness to the natural mind. We read in Proverbs 1:7 that “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.”
A CLOSE UP SHOT OF MAN
Before we leave this theme of man’s total depravity, let’s bring the TV cameras in for a close-up shot of man. See Romans 3:13-18 and Mark 7:21 for that close up shot. It’s not a nice sight. This is not the way our family, friends and neighbors see us. This is the way God sees us for God alone looks on the heart.
WHAT THEN IS THE PURPOSE OF GOD’S LAW? Romans 3:19-20
God’s Law is given; not to save us, but to show us our guilt and stop our boasting of our own failed righteousness. The Law alone convinced Saul of Tarsus he was a lost sinner. See Romans 7:12-13
Galatians 3:24-26 teaches us that God’s Law was given as our school master to bring us to our need of Christ. Read Galatians 3:24-26 until you see your need of Christ.
JESUS PAID IT ALL
In our fallen state, we are utterly bankrupt, unable to lift a finger to save our lost soul. If you are, becoming aware of your sinful state and inability to save your soul; cast yourself on Jesus who has paid the full penalty for our sins through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. Appropriate by faith that blood sacrifice for sin, trusting that Jesus blood alone is sufficient to pay the penalty for all your sins.
When you take that step, God will instantly forgive all your sins and make you His child and deposit to your account His righteousness; just as surely as if a millionaire transferred a million dollars to your account and made you an instant milionaire. You receive that salvation by faith in the same way that you board a plane, sit down and enjoy the flight to your destination. Your ticket to Heaven and the gift of eternal life has been purchased for you by the blood of Christ. Will your receive His free gift by faith right now and instantly be given eternal life and begin your journey as a Christian?
You may ask, “What feelings must I have to know I am saved?” Feelings don’t save you, but I assure you that you will be filled with humility, gratefulness and joy and peace with God when by faith you grasp this wonderful salvation. Those are the feelings I had over seventy years ago when, as a nine year old boy, after receiving Christ as my Saviour, I went to bed that night with peace and joy that my sins were all forgiven and under the shed blood of Jesus. I assure you that if you are truly saved, you will not feel proud or self-righteous about yourself.
Have you seen yourself as God sees you? Have you come to the end of yourself, no longer trying to make yourself presentable to God? Do you see yourself utterly bankrupt of righteousness in the eyes of our righteous, holy God? Then there is hope for you. Jesus said in Matthew 9:13, “I am not come to call the righteous; but sinners to repentance.”
The story is told of Harry Ironside, a well known preacher of the past century. He had been preaching in a city. As he was boarding a train, somone on the station platform called out to him, “How can I be saved?” Ironside called back, “Go to Isaiah 53:6. Go in at the first ALL and come out at the last ALL.”
Let me quote the verse for you, and as you read it, subsitute your name for the ALL’s. “ALL we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way and the Lord hath laid on Him, JESUS, the iniquity of us ALL.”
About the time our original thirteen states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the AthenianRepublic some 2,000 years earlier:
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.
From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.
The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:
1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
3. From courage to liberty;
4. From liberty to abundance;
5. From abundance to complacency;
6. From complacency to apathy;
7. From apathy to dependence;
8. From dependence back into bondage”
The United States is now somewhere between the ‘complacency and apathy’ phase of Professor Tyler’s definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation’s population already having reached the ‘governmental dependency’ phase. As a few million more new voters seeking government welfare join us at the polls, we may live to see the collapse of our nation in several more years.
The ONLY hope for America is found in II Chronicles 7:12-14 The Lord appeared to King Solomon one night and said, “If I shut up Heaven and there be no rain, or if I command the beasts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, If My people which are called by My Name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, THEN will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”