The Faithfulness of God

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The Faithfulness of God

“Back in the eighteenth century, a young boy was born into a Christian home. For the first six years of his life, he heard the truths of the gospel, and he was loved. Sadly, though, his parents died. The orphaned boy went to live with his relatives. There he was mistreated and abused and ridiculed for his faith in Christ.

The boy couldn’t tolerate that situation, and he fled and joined the Royal Navy. In the navy, the boy’s life went downhill. He became known as a brawler, was whipped many times, and participated in some of his comrades’ being keel-hauled. Finally, while he was still young, he deserted the Royal Navy and fled to Africa, where he attached himself to a Portuguese slave trader.  The young man’s pattern of life had become so depraved, he couldn’t stay out of trouble. As the story goes, he stole the ship’s whiskey and got so drunk that he fell overboard. He was close to drowning when one of his shipmates harpooned him and brought him back on board. As a result, the young man had a huge scar in his side for the rest of his life. After that escapade, he couldn’t get much lower. Eventually the young man began to reflect on the Scripture verses he had heard as a child and he was marvelously converted. The new life he found is reflected in his own heartfelt words, familiar to millions now: “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound—That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now am found, Was blind but now I see.”  John Newton’s experience put into words: the ultimate point of Romans 3, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 

The law cannot save us, but God revealed a righteousness that will save us, apart from the law. This is the heart of God’s plan of salvation in Jesus Christ. We now have a salvation that is offered apart from the law.  We can’t earn it and we don’t deserve it. It is totally separate from our own doing. Now- instead of a lamb, we bring only ourselves and we will receive forgiveness of our sins. The price of the sacrificial lamb has been paid- once and for all! 

Christ died to set us free from the penalty of sins under the first covenant (the law) and to make a way for us to be made right with God.  When we have faith in Jesus, we are made right with God. And it’s not just true for the people of Israel- the Jewish people but for EVERYONE who believes. Everyone- there is no favoritism. Paul continually reminds the Jewish believers that salvation is not only for them, because Jesus came for all humankind! Every person past, present and future can be made right with God through faith in Jesus Christ.

As believers, when God looks at us, we are now holy- we are now filled with Christ and free of our sin! God declares that we are righteous. It is all about God’s grace- undeserved kindness from a holy, just and loving God.

God is holy and pure. This is the starting point for understanding God and his relationship with people and the world. If we don't feel a sense of awe and fear and admiration for the infinite holiness of God which hates evil and all that it does; we will lose sight of who God is and what He has done for us.  Paul says our acquittal isn’t based on following the law- if it were we would be condemned. Our acquittal is based on our faith.  We are made right with God through faith! Ephesians 2:8 puts it this way, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”

We are saved through faith. This is the truth that rocked Martin Luther’s life. Martin Luther came to believe that the Bible is the central source of religious authority, and that salvation is reached through faith and not deeds; which shaped the core of Protestantism. John Newton came to a belief in Jesus Christ through faith- he knew he would never be accepted through his life- he was a notorious slave trader- had lived a terrible life- and yet, he experienced the amazing grace that he received through faith. That he could be forgiven, and he could be righteous in the eyes of God through the blood of Jesus Christ.  Jesus paid it all.

So one might think that since Jesus paid it all- we can live anyway we want and it doesn’t matter- Paul answers that with a resounding; NO! “Of course not! It is only by faith that we can truly obey the law.” Romans 3:30. Seems to be a contradiction- but it isn’t.  When we have faith in Jesus Christ- our heart is right with Him- the Holy Spirit comes to live within us and to give us His power to live a holy life. God calls us to live like Jesus- who never sinned. On this side of heaven, we won’t do it perfectly- but we can live by faith- out of our love for God and our love for people and our obedience to the law will be satisfied. When Jesus was asked about the most important commandments he responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:37-40

It is by faith we are saved!   It is by faith in Jesus Christ that we are made righteous. When we are filled with Jesus- His blood purifies our lives and we are made right with God.

Begin 2022 right by getting right with God today. Believe on the name of Jesus Christ and You will be saved.  Be filled with Jesus.   Happy New Year!

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