We Are Justified by Faith Not Good Works

Remember God created the first man Adam in His own image and breathed the breath of life into him.  Then realizing Adam was lonely, He took a rib from Adam and created Eve.  But they disobeyed God, and to redeem and justify sinners would cost the Father His only Son.

Paul never forgot his life of persecuting Christians.  I truly believe that is one reason letters written by him contain more passages about justification than any other New Testament writer.  One can better write about something experienced: Paul realized he had sinned grossly and then had been justified by the redeeming blood of Jesus.

Some of these helpful scriptures are found in the letter to the church at Rome: He wrote:
“For if Abraham were justified by works, he could glory because of his works, but not before God: for what does the scripture say? Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that works, the reward is not reckoned of grace but of debt. But to him that works not, but believes on Him that justifies the ungodly; his faith is counted for righteousness.” Romans 4: 2-5.

Good works have nothing to do with salvation. We are saved by faith alone: not faith plus baptism, cleaning up our lives before salvation, or anything else. If faith is genuine, these good works will come later.  Remember, when one of the offenders hanging on a cross by Jesus asked for His mercy, Jesus’ reply was: “Today you shall be with me in paradise.”  That man was dying and had no time to perform any good works; so faith alone was necessary.

Jesus was delivered for our offenses, and raised again for our justification. Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 4: 25 and 5: 1.

Also In Romans 3: 23 Paul wrote:” The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.”  Under the law one was to die for his sin; under grace that one is justified and set free.

Though our subject is Good Works, since we are justified by faith, perhaps we should define justification and how it relates to salvation in terms one who is not familiar with the Bible can comprehend. It is a one time act which occurs at one’s salvation. Believers will continue to sin, but no longer will it be a habitual pattern of livings. When believers sin and confess their to God, they will receive forgiveness. 1 John 1: 9.

When justified, Jesus’ righteousness is imputed and that person is justified forever. “Be it known to you, therefore, men and brethren, that through this man (Jesus)is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins. And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.”  Acts 13: 38-39.

Some define justification as if one had never sinned, but in a sense that would place man back in the Garden of Eden and nullify the atonement Christ paid for our sins. However, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ. But God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners , Christ died for us. Much more then, being justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
God is just, and if sinners received what they deserved, all would spend eternity in hell, but God isn’t only gracious and merciful, He loves lost men and women: “For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall be saved.” John 3: 16

Father, thank You for Jesus and His willingness to give His life to pay our sin debt. Since He did that, we can stand in Your presence clothed in His righteousness and justified. We thank You in His Name. Amen.

Doris Lisemby