Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from the NET2 Bible.
Believers are justified by God’s grace through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, how difficult is that? Lost people who are engulfed by culture’s darkness have great difficulty understanding because of their darkened souls. And too often those who have been deceived and somehow think of themselves as being Christians demonstrate a false positive to their lost neighbors. In other words, they are able to pray in public and speak in public concerning their god but do not know the God of the Bible they quote from. And this leads lost people to say it is more important how one lives than their relationship to God. However, Jesus does say this, “If you continue to follow my teaching, you are really my disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32. Followers of Jesus Christ will be enabled by Him through the presence of His Spirit to faithfully live according to His inspired and infallible Word.
“21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (although it is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed— 22 namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:21-24,
Justified by God’s Grace
We will begin with v. 24, “But they are justified freely by his grace through redemption that is in Jesus Christ.” and Paul also writes in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God;” Much more can be exposited than will be attempted here; more will come.
Much has been written concerning the subject of grace and nothing new will be done here, simply my thoughts. I begin with grace because Paul does the same in Ephesians 2:8, but this does not mean that grace is necessarily the required place to start. Salvation really begins with God in the Old Testament but is completed in the Empty Tomb. Again, I go to Paul concerning an OT figure, “What then shall we say that Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh, has discovered regarding this matter? For if Abraham was declared righteous by works, he has something to boast about—but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:1-3. Please read all of Romans 4 for contextual purposes.
Early in God’s Word, Genesis 6:8 we find a powerful example of God’s grace being demonstrated in a very dark world, “But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord.” There are earlier demonstrations of His favor being extended to mankind, but this place seems to be the best place for my purposes. Everyone who knows God can identify with Noah who, no doubt, is the recipient of God’s grace and in a difficult spot. It is only by God’s grace that anyone can escape God’s judgment upon the wicked. Noah lived in such a world of darkness, did he not? And so do we for our world, not simply our culture, finds itself in cultural darkness: perhaps more so than at any other time in His story. You and I who believe in Jesus Christ have found favor in the sight of God because we have chosen to live in His righteousness. Unfortunately, there are some among us, though claiming to know Him, obviously do not. So sadly tragic.
Because we have found His favor it is only because of His grace. Nothing that I write here is a culmination of thoughts from a great deal of reading and is, therefore, perhaps paraphrasing from many places. I find that God’s grace points to the absence of anything anyone can accomplish and is therefore referred to as ‘unmerited favor.’ Someone else has said that unmerited is the absence of demerit, our demerit. Webster’s tells us that demerit is an “offense,” or “quality that deserves blame.” Therefore, ‘unmerited favor’ is the granting of a blessing as an act of mercy in spite of bad behavior which forfeits all claims to participation in better things.kingdom. We cans say that God’s disfavor and righteous wrath falls upon anyone who breaks covenant relationship with Him. However, that is an OT concept for His grace, unmerited favor relates to the blood of Jesus Christ poured upon us at the Cross and culminating at His resurrection. We now know that “by grace are you saved,” but that is not all.
Justified Through Faith
Someone has said that justification means “‘just if I’d’ never sinned.” In retrospect, perhaps so, but I do sin and if it were not for Jesus I would be in very serious circumstances. Praise the Lord for Calvary and the Resurrection!! The point is, we have also been given the gift, the grace of faith. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see. 2 For by it the people of old received God’s commendation…By faith Noah, when he was warned about things not yet seen, with reverent regard constructed an ark for the deliverance of his family. Through faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” Hebrews 11:1,7.
Now, read what Paul says concerning the faith of Jesus Christ, “We are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, yet we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. Galatians 2:15-16.
What we discover is that justification comes by faith in Jesus Christ or His faithfulness demonstrated in His crucifixion and resurrection; period, end of the sentence. Without His faithfulness toward His end, the Gospel Message is null and void and Jesus Christ is a fraud. However, we know by faith that the Gospel Message is fully empowered by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This completely and satisfactorily demonstrates God’s grace, His unmerited favor and distinguishes all arguments of our accomplishments establishing a right relationship with God. Our good works are as filthy rags. Nothing more can nor need be said.
Jesus is Lord!!