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Justification By Faith And Not Works

Galatians 3:6-9
So also Abraham ‘believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’ Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. (NIVUK)

It is hard for religious people, or anybody who tries to live a good life, to believe that God is not impressed by their lifestyle. Surely, they say, if they try hard to be good, then God will reward them with blessings and heaven. Where they are right, is in assuming that God loves what is good; where they are wrong, is that God hates what is bad. The problem is not how to do some things that please God, but how to remove all those things that offend God. No religious law is able to make anybody good or take away the curse of a sinful past.
Abraham was not all good. Read his story and discover how he disobeyed God by moving away from the Promised Land to get food, he lied to preserve his life, and he committed adultery to secure his future. And his son Isaac followed a similar pattern of ungodly behaviour. Yet they were declared to be righteous – why? Righteousness was granted to them because they did believe God’s Word at the critical points in their life and believed that He would atone for their sin. And so He covered over their sin. They were not justified by their behaviour but by their faith.
In the same way, people of any culture and background can become ‘children of Abraham’ and ‘children of God’; welcomed by God if they believe in Jesus. We do not have to have a Jewish background in order to be children of God because all those who put their faith in Jesus are welcomed by Father God. Jesus said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56). Abraham had faith to believe that God would bring salvation, and although he never met Jesus, he saw Him. The same is true for every true child of God. Trust Jesus today to take away your sins and give you His new life (www.crosscheck.org.uk).

Gracious God. I am so glad that You have forgiven my sins when I believed in Jesus. But I am sorry that I do not value my relationship with You as I should; sometimes slipping back into a religious legalism which make me proud and makes You sad. Please give me fresh eyes to see the importance of trusting in Jesus and to spread that good news to my friends and colleagues. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams