As we plow through January of a New Year, I still find myself thinking about new directions. I plan to write more about my past, present and future in later blog posts, but for now, I want to review a basic truth.. When one starts a new project, a solid foundation often proves critical. For me, this is a good starting point.
For me, nothing is more foundational or important than faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ. The New Testament does a wondrous job of spelling out exactly what that means, and how that works.
This is a continuations of the the post I did yesterday. You will want to read that one first if you have not yet.
We are cleansed by Jesus Blood Through Faith
So, then, how are we saved? Romans 3 continues….
22 This righteousness is given through faith in[h] Jesus Christ to all who believe.There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[i] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.
The Word of God makes it crystal clear. A person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Our good works do not contribute one iota to our salvation.
The above does not give us a free pass to sin
Usually, when I point the above out to my friends, the immediate reaction goes something like this. “Well, Phil, if we are saved by grace and not by works, then we can do whatever we want!”
Such a statement shows a nearly complete lack of understanding of what it means to have faith in Jesus and become “born again.” Romans 6 clarifies this point further.
6 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
I skipped some parts of the chapter here to get to the main points, but I could have easily used the whole enchilada here. Those who are alive in Christ are dead to sin. Period.
There is more…much more. However, this is just the foundation of the Christian faith. We are sinful creatures who are very dark and evil compared to a Holy God. We cannot earn our salvation. Doing good works to that end is like earning $.01/hour to pay off a trillion dollar debt. However, Jesus died on the cross so we may have eternal life through faith in Him. John 3.16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” By making the decision to repent of sin and follow Jesus, in faith, we die to sin, and live a new life in Him…. Slaves to righteousness!