The Gospel Of Justification By Faith
Religion, wherever it is found, has a common thread: ‘do better and God will be more pleased with you; do well enough and God will accept you’. But the gospel is radically different. It was a difference which Paul could not understand until he encountered the Living Jesus. He, with all his fellow Jews, had believed that God’s acceptance of human beings was based on how well they kept the Law given through Moses. But having met Jesus Paul realised he had been wrong. He understood that even the most religious law-keeper was also a sinner and many good deeds could never cancel out the bad ones.
‘Justified’ is a legal word; it means to be declared righteous and no longer under the condemnation of the law. Our sins automatically condemn us. But Jesus Christ, by His death and resurrection, paid the punishment for our sins and thereby took them away from all who believe in Jesus. All the law can do is to define what is wrong and unacceptable; it can never make us right. No one can be justified by trying to obey the law because we all fail in some way. Only Jesus can make us right before the court of heaven.
Religion’s emphasis on trying hard to win God’s favour is very appealing to many people. But it is a delusion because it is impossible to be right with God unless our sins are taken away. That is why the gospel of Jesus is such good news. Although those who know the depths of their failure find the gospel attractive, those who are proud to be ‘good’ people are offended. But there is nobody who is absolutely good except Jesus. However, the miracle is that He can make us righteous as we give Him our sins and trust Him for complete forgiveness. That is the gospel to share at home and at work. It is life changing. You hold it in your heart: please let it out of your mouth/email/tweet (and ask your friends to watch www.crosscheck.org.uk) so that many others may know how to be saved.
© Dr Paul Adams