Monday, January 17, 2011

We are made right with God through faith

Rom. 3:21-28 NLT  
   21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 
   23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. 
   27 Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. 28 So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.

Throughout the New Testament there is this running discussion about two kinds of people--Jews and Non-Jews (called Gentiles or sometimes 'Greeks'). The entire Hebrew Bible was given as a message to God's called people-- the Jews, but they misunderstood the purpose of their calling. They chose to think they were called to be superior and rule over the people of the earth on behalf of God. Quite the opposite, God called them to serve the people of earth by bringing them to Messiah, the Sacrificial Lamb of God. Romans Chapter 2 and 3 involve this running dialogue as well. Beginning in verse 21 we see clearly the reason God chose Jews, and then sent Messiah to the Jews-- that we may be made right with God. Isaiah, Ezekiel, even Abraham in the book of Genesis, were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write that through the people of the Covenant-- Israel-- all the peoples of the earth would be blessed and drawn to God. Not that they would coerce people to worship God but that the Messiah would come through the chosen people and HE would draw all people to himself. Jesus said this on multiple occasions in his three years of ministry and just prior to His crucifixion.

How are people made right with God? We continue reading in this passage that it is not by keeping any particular religious requirements, traditions, worship styles, or group memberships. We are made right with God (v 22) "by placing our faith in Jesus Christ."  If you ask as to why we must be 'made right' the next verse clarifies it. We are all sinners-- separated from the presence of our creator by our self-will. And to further clarify, verse 24 makes more clear that we did not deserve this great kindness from god, yet he has given it. How? (see v 25) By sending Christ to suffer in our place, because of our sin. God's kindness was shown in historical times in that he did not punish sinful people as they deserved. It was shown in Christ's time through the great Passion of the Christ. It is shown in our day by continued patience of God waiting for us to surrender and turn our lives to Him.

Have we done anything at all that deserves praise and glory? Not at all!  We are guilty of being sinners. However we have been acquitted of all charges because Christ suffered in our place. Therefore the sin has been atoned for and recorded to us when we trust God and believe.

So, it is not through law or religious observance you are made right with God. It is through faith in Jesus Christ and that alone. Let's you and me rejoice in this thought today.

Your servant in Christ's love

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