Monday, March 24, 2014

"Justified By Faith"

    "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Galatians 2:16).

    A perfect law could not justify imperfect people, possessing no means of raising us from our sinfulness unto its high and lofty standard.  Conversely, a perfect Savior provides righteousness freely by descending unto our lowly estate, first becoming human, and then on the cross of Calvary, bearing our sins and even becoming for us the very essence of sin.

    "Christ died for our sins" (I Corinthians 15:3).
    "He hath made Him to be sin for us, when knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21).

    What the law demanded, Christ provides.  He fulfilled the entirety of its requirements by His sinless life.  He also suffered the entirety of the law's consequences deserved by us because of our sinful lives.  "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Romans 8:3-4).  This is Gospel 101, of course, but it always bears precious and grateful remembrance of so great a salvation, and so great a Savior who freely bestows His merits on those who "believe unto righteousness" rather than seeking to work for it (Romans 10:10).

    In truth, God gave the law of Moses to expose sin rather than deliver from it (Romans 7:7).  When we see how far from its standards we have fallen, our hearts are prepared to see how near to us the Savior draws in order to save us (Hebrews 2:10).  Thus, the law is a good thing for us when we realize its intended purpose of leading us to the Lord Jesus.  It prepares the hearts it condemns for the justification of the Savior.  Thus, God's perfect law paves the path unto His perfect Savior by revealing the extent of our need...

Under the law with its tenfold lash,
learning alas how true
that the more I tried, the sooner I died
while the law cried, "You! You! You!"

Hopelessly still did the battle rage,
"O wretched man" my cry,
and deliverance sought by some penance bought
while my soul cried, "I, I, I!"

Then came a day when all struggling ceased,
and trembling in every limb,
I looked to the Tree where One died for me,
and sobbed out, "Him! Him! Him!"

(From "We Would See Jesus" - Roy Hession).

"We know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully, knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient."
(I Timothy 1:8-9)
"Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.  Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful."
(Romans 7:12-13)
"The law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did, by which we draw nigh unto God."
(Hebrews 7:19)

Weekly Memory Verse
   The law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did, by which we draw nigh unto God.
(Hebrews 7:19)


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