• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • September 2014
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Samuel A CainFor by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (Romans 3:20-24 ESV)

Natural man believes it is by the work of his hands that he is able to please his gods. Ever willing to put the cart before the horse, he devises rules, works, and abstinence from taboos; such as movies, playing cards, lipstick, makeup, chewing gum, and the county fair, etc. These things belong to a righteousness that is by works rather than the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The righteousness of man falls short because every man is a sinner.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5 ESV)

The righteousness of God has now been manifested through faith in Jesus Christ. The Scriptures teach us that salvation is the result of God’s grace – not our legalistic works. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” You can do nothing of yourself to win favor with God. God’s grace cannot be earned; otherwise it would not be grace. His grace is a gift. You are now justified by His grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.

Understanding that salvation is the result of God’s grace releases us from the idea that we receive salvation through the works of our hands. God the Father sent God the Son to redeem us from slavery to sin. Our salvation is completely due to the grace of God. We did not understand Him nor seek for Him. (Romans 3:11 ESV) “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved … through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:4-9 ESV)

4 Responses

  1. I think much of our misunderstanding about “works” stems from our misunderstanding of what it actually means to “be saved”. Salvation is viewed by many as simply the forgiveness of sins that comes through faith in the finished work of Christ. Yet, that is just where it begins.

    God saves us from the utter futility of our sins and calls us back to his original purpose for creating humans: that we might bear his image. He invites us to a life long journey of becoming more like his Son. This trans-formative journey clearly involves “works” ie saying no to certain things and saying yes to others.

    These things are not needed for our forgiveness of sins, but they are crucial components to a satisfying and fruitful pursuit of God.


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