I so needed this reminder today, from my reading in Romans 4. The reminder that my Salvation is not something I can earn and only comes through pure faith. God knows we’re imperfect sinners, which is the whole reason for sending His Son to die on the cross for us. We were and are hopeless without that sacrifice. He loves us...even when we stumble and fall daily. “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8 Did you notice that last part, “while we were still sinners”? He didn’t wait for us to get all are stuff together and become righteous and perfect!!
“For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it: “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.” If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!) So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe.” Romans 4:3-8,14-16
That’s why it’s called “The Good News”!!! “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:8-10
However, we must keep the following scriptures in the mix, not to put shackles and heavy weights on our shoulders but to keep us free from becoming enslaved to the sin that can mess our lives up and destroy our effectiveness in lovingly leading others to Christ!
“Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.” Romans 6:1-2,4
“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Galatians 5:1
When we choose to believe The Gospel and place our faith and our lives (earthly and eternal) in Gods hands and follow in Baptism, we are like Christ, in that we die and are raised up into new life. Then, we have the very Spirit of God within us, guiding us to do His Will. We have a new nature that becomes overly grieved when we are living in continual willful sin. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24
Therefore, “Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”(Galatians 5:1) by working to earn God’s love and Salvation. Instead, trusting in Him, spending time with Him and making choices that are pleasing to Him, out of love and appreciation not obligation!
“Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:3-5
God loves you and wants to set you free from sin and slavery!
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:12-14
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”John 8:36