Justification Comes Only by Faith
This free gift of justification purchased by Jesus on the cross only comes to those who trust in him.
After Paul says in verse 21 that God has manifested his righteousness apart from law, then he defines that righteousness in verse 22 as “the righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (cf. Philippians 3:9), then in verse 25 he says that Christ is an expiation (or propitiation) “through faith,” or “to be received by faith.”
Finally in verse 26 he says that God “justifies him who has faith in Jesus.”
So the teaching of God’s Word is plain, and this is the gospel: anyone who trusts in Jesus for justification will have it freely.
This is at once the hardest and easiest thing for a human to do. It is hard because it means acknowledging in your heart that you are so guilty before God that there is nothing you can do to solve the problem.
Human beings don’t like to think of themselves that way. And so the human-potential movement has a heyday and the real problem of guilt remains unresolved for most people.
Saving faith in Jesus Christ is hard because it is born in desperation, and apart from God’s grace, humans hate to admit that they are desperate.
But on the other hand, what could be easier than faith? It doesn’t require extraordinary strength, or beauty, or intelligence.
No one will have an excuse on the judgment day that the way of salvation was too hard. God will simply say, “All you had to do was become like a little child (Matthew 18:3), and trust me to take care of you.
Was that hard? Was it too hard to lean on me, to rest in my promises, to rely on the finished work of Christ?
Was it too hard to accept a free gift? To cherish the pearl of forgiveness?
To love the Savior who died for you?” It is free! It is free! It is free! Own up to your need and rest in him!
Ephesians 3:3–5. These are not cleverly devised fables. They are truths rooted in history and coming from the risen, self-authenticating Jesus.
First, all human beings are personally accountable to God for their sin (v. 19).
Second, the resulting guilt of man and righteous indignation of God cannot be made right by works of the law (v. 20).
Third, God, on his own initiative, set about to accomplish our justification by grace and offer it as a free gift (vv. 21–24).
Fourth, the way he did this was by sending his Son, Jesus, to redeem us by his death and to demonstrate the righteousness of God (vv. 24–26).
Finally, this gift of justification, the removal of our guilt and God’s wrath, comes only to those who trust in Jesus (vv. 22, 25–26).
I urge you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20). Turn away from all the intellectual, physical, and religious tactics the world uses to evade its guilt, and rest in Jesus. Jesus is precious because he alone removes our guilt.
Romans 3:23 says that we have “all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
Because we are unable to clean our own sin away, God traded our sin for the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 11:17 What does God say about my sin?
II Corinthians 5 Christ Jesus became sin for me. Thus, what benefit do I receive from this action by Jesus Christ?
Here is a story to help you better grasp the concept of justification:
Satan is a great fisherman. He knows when the fish are feeding.
He knows what they like to eat. He knows how to create the lure to look like a worm, to smell like a worm and to wiggle like a worm.
He knows when you are tired and alone and just at the right moment, he places the lure right in front of you. You think “I deserve a break today!”
Before you know it, you have bit into the lure thinking it was a tasty worm only to discover the sharp bitter taste of cold steel.
His hook is sharp. His hook is sudden. Before you know it, that instant gratification turns sour.
All the regret in the world can remove the hook from your jaw. He has you on his reel.
Now, as the countdown begins, Satan begins to reel you into the boat. His lips are dripping with lust for the innocent blood he is about to devour.
Just as he lifts you out of the water hanging helplessly on his hook and line, the hand of the great game warden, Jesus Christ, reaches out and removes the hook from your jaw gently and throws you back “just as if it never happened.”
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