Thursday, May 12, 2016
“For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:22-24). (Emphasis mine, RH)
“ You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.” (Galatians 5:4). (Emphasis mine, RH)
What is the difference between “justified by grace” and “trying to be justified by law”? Does this mean obedience to God is not necessary once we have been justified by grace? May we do anything our heart desires as Israel did (Judges 17:6; 21:25)?
Does the expression “trying to be justified by law” mean we will be lost if we attempt to obey the commands of the Lord? Does “trying to be justified by law” mean we should not do what God says?
What some may miss in reading those two verses is the word “justified” in Galatians 5:4! Law demands that we never break it. Breaking one is to breach all (James 2:10)! If we disobey, justice demands punishment. The penalty for breaking God’s law is eternal separation from Him (Romans 6:23). Sin puts us so deeply in debt that it makes the 15 trillion dollar indebtedness of the USA look like pennies! We don’t have the resources, spiritual or physical, to pay off the interest, much less the principal. “O LORD, I know . . . it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23). In the words of Paul, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). Jesus is the answer to our sin problem, not the false notion that we can attain perfection by keeping law without breaking one! Even the view of “getting close” is ludicrous! That’s just another deception from Satan. If “keeping law” is our road to heaven, our first sin will be our IED (“Improvised Explosive Device”) blowing our “perfection” into “failure”!
If you believe you are good enough to never break one single command of the Lord, then you would possess the ability to save yourself without the cross. You could justify yourself because you kept the law perfectly by being an identical twin of Jesus! Yet, Paul’s statement should haunt those who have swallowed that devilish lie: “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23). Since you cannot justify yourself by keeping the law unbroken, you cannot be justified by it. God loved us and sent His Word (Jesus) to do what we only succeed in failing at. He kept the law. As a perfect sacrifice, he became our payment for our sins. “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Jesus paid it all. God’s grace provided a payment and Jesus was it! Not you, not me, but him! When one accepts what Jesus did for us, you have grace and faith in action (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our faith responds by surrendering to Jesus (Acts 8:36). Through repentance we die to sin. When there is a death, a burial is needed! We buried the old man with Christ. We are raised with him into a new life free from the payment of sin (Romans 6:3-6, 23). You do not pay the penalty of your debt when it has been paid off! Jesus made that payment for you and me! We go on from there to enjoy this new life which God’s grace made possible. In this new life, we continue as His workmen (Ephesians 2:10).
We are justified by grace. As a result, we present our lives as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable which is our worship offered daily to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 12:1).