We Are Justified by Faith

“Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from the works of the law,” (Romans 3: 27, 28)

As I began my morning devotions today, this passage in the book of Romans jumped out at me. Have you ever really stopped to consider it’s meaning? We are justified, not by our works, but by faith. Faith in what? In the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. It is this very principle that is the heart and soul of the Christian faith. Where every other man-made religious system determines your justification on what you can do, Christianity bases it solely on what has been done by God. This is where out assurance lies, it is where our guarantee of salvation lies. The shed blood of Christ on the cross, His work on our behalf. Christ gave everything, we can contribute nothing. And it is the faith that Christ has completed that work on our behalf through which God justifies us. Our complete and total trust that Christ’s work is sufficient to satisfy the righteous wrath of God. Our surrender to His transforming our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. That alone makes us right before God and nothing else.

I believe that one of the most challenging walks of the Christians life is struggling with the assurance that we are saved. We so often look at our lives, the constant struggle that we have with our sinful flesh, and we are tempted to believe that we cannot possibly be saved because of those sins. We see that we are supposed to be new creations, yet we continually fall into sin. As a result, we cannot believe we really are new creations because we are not doing what we are supposed to be doing. In the end, we actually evaluate our new birth in the same way that the false religions of this world do, through our works.

Yet, as we read the passage penned by Paul to the Romans, what is he challenging them with? He asks “what becomes of our boasting?” Think about that for a moment. When we actually accomplish something in our lives, what is inevitable result? We are proud of what we have accomplished. Pride swells up in our hearts and we can’t wait to tell someone all about it. But through the law of faith, such prideful boasting is “excluded.” Why? Because our faith is in the accomplished work of someone else! We cannot tell people how we did something great because the things we have done sent Christ to the cross! Jesus alone accomplished salvation through His death and resurrection. Jesus alone was completely obedient to His Father and fulfilled all the righteous requirements of the law. The only boasting we can do is to say we were so wicked and vile that He had to save us through His work. We can rejoice because we don’t have to boast! We don’t have to rely on our sinful works to accomplish righteousness! We can rest because all the work of justification was accomplished at the cross!

If you struggle with your assurance in your faith, look to this passage and remember that it is God who alone is the just and the justifier. It is He who has made you a new creation and it is His work that is progessively sanctifying you. If you are one who has truly repented and placed their faith in Christ, then God’s work in your life will reveal itself in your hatred for your sin, your desire to walk and grow in faith, in your love for God’s Word, and in your desire to be more like your Savior. But these are the result of your justification, not the cause of it. You are justified by the One who said “It is finished.” Look to His finished work and rest.

5 thoughts on “We Are Justified by Faith

  1. Praise the Lord it does not rest on our works and praise the Lord we shouldn’t be looking to our own lives to judge if we are saved or not but always always to Christ, never boasting even in thought. I do this so often. It is poison to a Christian to live by looking at how good you are doing, how straight you are going on the narrow path, here is a parable that popped into my head right now:
    Imagine you are walking on the narrow path and you are judging if you are doing a good job by always looking at if you are in the middle of the path and making sure everything is right and dandy with how you are doing on the path. I feel like that is how I think about my walk with God. But when I look at Peter walking on the water he was never supposed to base any of his confidence on anything to do with himself but was supposed to continually look at Christ and never take his eyes off of him because it is Him alone that has anything to do with us living rightly. We live rightly by looking away from ourselves and keeping our eyes fixed on him. When we look at the ground around us to see if we are on the narrow path we are taking our eyes of of Jesus.
    Praise God this post has helped me to remember this, I need to engrave it into my mind. The teachings of “Lordship Salvation” So often convince me that I should be looking to my own works to make sure I am on the path but I need to cut that thinking out of my life altogether because Satan uses it against me all of the time.
    Another awesome thing is the story about the pole with the bronze snake. People literally just looked at it and were healed and in John 3:11? I think…Jesus references that he must be lifted up just like the snake in the desert. All of these things help me remember that I must keep my eyes on Him and continually forget about myself. In my thoughts I am so focused on myself but He must become more and fill my thoughts and I must become less and empty myself of thoughts about me.
    It is so hard to do this daily when we have so many Christian teachings about what we should be doing, thanks for bringing it back to the roots, I am glad God opened up your eyes to see that, what I blessing!
    God Bless

  2. One nit pick – our faith in Christ, not His finished work. His finished work (yes, I agree it’s important to bear in mind IT IS FINISHED!) is what He did to save those chosen by the Father. But the object of our faith is the Lord Jesus Himself.

    dalcowboiz – Properly taught “Lordship Salvation” does not teach salvation by works. It teaches that Christ is Lord and Savior with no division between those roles. It teaches that all who are saved will exhibit traits of being a new creation; it does not teach salvation by our works but salvation unto works.

    Press on, my brother.

  3. Thanks for the comment! I think my dealing with LS is that initially when I heard about it it seemed radical to me in a way that made me think it was teaching faith by works and so that was my initial reaction and that reaction although not what I believe now, still sticks with me subconsciously. And so since I think of it in that way it makes it harder for me to see that my works have nothing to do with the fact of salvation and basing my joy on my works only leads me to depression. I think when I feel like I am doing “good” it makes me feel like I have nothing to repent of and it makes me think too much of myself. It has nothing to do with what LS actually says, it is just the connotations that my mind comes up with when I think about it. I just need to leave any sort of dependence on my works behind because when I think about what I am doing as works then it makes me stumble but when all I am concerned about is love and keeping my eyes on Christ then things are set in place. I agree 100% with the basis that when someone comes into contact with Christ and accepts the gospel that there is no way that it won’t change them if it is real because salvation is not weak but it is powerful beyond belief! Ephesians 8:10 says we are his workmanship right? I agree :)

  4. Michael says:

    Yes, we struggle to “cease” self originated works to come into the joy of the good works prepared for us, our vocations (Eph. 2:10).

    To be saved is a daily work that first began by God and is active daily and it will be Their crowning Joy when it is completed by Them to us and in us who witness this transforming work by Their great power and authority upon us which we give witness to (Phil 3:20-21)!!!!!

  5. Truth says:

    Amen, and it is by this one faith-Ephesians 4:5 and not by many faiths as often many people claim. For there is only one faith that comes from God that saves us and this faith is a gift-Ephesians 2:8

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