67. 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, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. -Romans 3:23-27
Dear friends, because we are sinners, there is nothing we can do before or after salvation to be justified in God’s sight. On our own we are hopeless. The God of justice has to deal with our sin. So Jesus shed His blood on our behalf. God chooses to let the perfect, sinless life of Christ be imputed to us. In justice He sees Christ’s death, counts it as if we have died, and cancels the death penalty sue our sins. In grace He sees Christ’s righteous life and lets it forevermore count for us! That’s why He can still be just, and yet also justify worms like you and me if we place our faith in Jesus instead of ourselves! What is our part? Humility and gratitude for our salvation. There is absolutely no room for pride or boasting!
68. But He gives more grace. Therefore He says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble!” -James 4:6
God continues to give even more grace to believers as the engine of their faith! We are saved by God’s grace, we grow in the faith by God’s grace, and we are guaranteed Heaven by God’s grace! As John Newton wrote, “Twas grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home!”
69. Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.” -Romans 4:4-8
Friend, you are working so hard, and you are so frustrated because you wonder if it will all be good enough for Jesus to let you into Heaven. The worst thing is, as this text says, you’re getting no credit for the things you do because you are doing them in hopes of them making you more acceptable to God. And yet the last few texts have made clear that you are accepted forever not through your own work but through your faith in Christ’s work for you! Won’t you rest in Jesus and be eternally secure in God’s great love for you?