Friday, February 19, 2010

Free Stuff!

A few years ago I was visiting with a little boy from China. His father was an international student and his family lived a simple life here in America. When I told him that his faith in Jesus meant he would spend forever in heaven with God he asked, "Is there any free stuff there?" "It's ALL free!" I answered. "And it's better than anything you'll ever see on earth!"

It's been awhile--allow me to share today's thoughts from my personal time in the book of Romans. The freedom of heaven will comes later, but even today we can be free from our guilt and sin.

February 18, 2010
Romans 3:21-31
Verse 24, 27: “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus…. Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith.”

Impression: When will this stubborn pride and fleshly mind of mine accept the fact that there is nothing I have or can do to bring about my justification (a right legal standing before God—not guilty)?! It is God who justifies. It is God who gave justification as a gift. According to verses 25-26, the death of Christ was a demonstration of the righteousness of God. It revealed the wickedness of man and the price required to redeem man from death. God, in His goodness and grace, allows me to come to Him on the basis of faith. Simple faith. No works will accomplish His righteousness: not penance, not baptism, not attendance, not heritage, not commitments, not sacrifice, not self-recrimination, not guilt, not self-adulation. The only way to gain a “not guilty” status before Almighty God is by simple, resting faith in Jesus as the One who bore my sin.
And He doesn’t just cover my sin now, today. Verse 25 says that God, in the forebearance of His righteousness, passed over the sins previously committed. What generosity! He doesn’t forgive me from this point forward—He forgives me from this point backward and into this present time—the now of today. And tomorrow, this will be the present time (now) and the previously committed sins will be forgiven then. And the next day, previously committed sins will be forgiven along with the present sins… and on, and on.
“For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law” (verse 28).