And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, (Romans 4:5)
Our text for today highlights a problem that mankind has struggled with for millenniums. Job of old asked the question when being tested by God.
“How can a man be right before God?” (Job 9:2).
This age old problem is not only an issue outside the recognised church but in it. So many religious and church going people cling to their own idea of what it takes to be right before God. Of course, their idea about God is so often outside the truth of Scripture, which puts them on the wrong track from the beginning. This sets them on a wrong spiritual journey where their own ideas rule and that puts them at odds with God’s truth of being declared righteous by His grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ alone. They will work and serve in many ways thinking that this will suffice and earn them divine favour. They even willingly make ‘professions’ of faith. But the problem is they do not personally ‘possess’ God through faith in Jesus Christ His Son as recorded in Scripture.
Martin Luther nailed this problem correctly back in the 1500’s when he said, “The most damnable and pernicious heresy that has ever plagued the mind of man was the idea that somehow he could make himself good enough to deserve to live with an all-holy God.” [Grace Quotes]
To wrap this up let me quote one of my favourite theologians on this: R.C Sproul once wrote: “Perhaps the most difficult task for us to perform is to rely on God’s grace and God’s grace alone for our salvation. It is difficult for our pride to rest on grace. Grace is for other people – for beggars. We don’t want to live by a heavenly welfare system. We want to earn our own way and atone for our own sins. We like to think that we will go to heaven because we deserve to be there.” [Grace Quotes]
Simply put - we need not only profess faith in God but we must also possess God personally, through faith alone in Jesus Christ. Our salvation’s work is all of grace. Its not about what to “do” it about what has been “done.”