THE LAW OF FAITH
"Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law" (Romans 3:21-28, NASB)."
Devotion 14 of 30
IT IS STATED MARVELOUSLY
How marvelously it is stated: "being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" (Rom 3:24, NKJV). The KJV reads, "Being justified FREELY by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Here, unreserved acceptance by God is declared to be upon the basis of grace, not works. Complete acquittal from sin, and participation in the Divine nature (2 Pet 1:4) have gushed from the fountain of Divine love and favor.
How this verse reminds us of the promise given through Isaiah, nearly 800 years before Jesus. "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isa 55:1). Note that we "buy," but "without money and without price." The Lord promised He would "make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined" (Isa 25:6), and indeed, He has! "As a gift" -- "freely!" Over the centuries, the words have not lost their freshness, nor have they ceased to bring joy, peace, and hope to the heart of those who believe!
The phrase "buy without money and without price" emphasizes Divine provision is purchased with a coin we do not have by nature. It does have to be bought, and an investment made on our part. But it is faith that makes the purchase, and that is a coin that is given to us by God and because of Christ (Phil 1:29; 2 Pet 1:1; Acts 18:27).
To be "justified" means to be MADE RIGHTEOUS. Viewed from one side, this is the absence of sin and its stain. From another perspective, it is the presence of the "Divine nature" within you (2 Pet 1:4). Both are required in justification. It is not enough for sin and transgression to be removed if they are not replaced with the righteousness of God. That righteousness is "imputed" to us upon the basis of our faith in Jesus (Rom 4:11,22-25; James 2:23).
Many a soul, failing to see this, has sought diligently to experience forgiveness without appropriating righteousness. Jesus spoke of such a condition in a telling parable. "When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when he comes, he finds it EMPTY, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation" (Matt 12:43-45, NKJV). Much of the purported "true" religion of our day spends a lot of time sweeping the house, but fails to put something from heaven into it. This most foolish approach to life is actually encouraged by those who spout Law, yet never see the need for grace. Salvation brings righteousness to the individual who has been cleansed from sin, and does so freely and without cost. The individual, however, must know of this provision, and embrace it by faith, before it can be experienced.
Righteousness is a "gift," prompted by God's disposition to be gracious. He did not confer it upon us because He felt sorry for us, but because of "the redemption which is in Christ Jesus." Faith convinces us of the effectiveness of that redemption--that it was for us! It also constrains us to act in harmony with our persuasion. Those dominated by faith always live aggressively for God. They are always noted for their obedience. You simply cannot live by faith and be disobedient or thoughtless.
The qualifying statements surrounding this verse accentuate human impotence as well as Divine graciousness. First, there is a need for us to be justified. That destroys any notion that we are inherently good, or possess the wisdom or strength to gain God's acceptance. Second, justification, or the appropriation of righteousness, is granted as a gift, or freely, emphasizing we had no resources in ourselves to obtain the benefit. Third, God was motivated by His grace, not our need, which highlights the means of redemption is superior to the need for it. Fourth, the seriousness of the human dilemma is seen in the need for "redemption"--the payment of an awful price in order to our rescue. Fifth, the redemption is "in Christ Jesus," confirming that a basis for salvation was not resident in humanity--not even to the slightest measure or degree.
All of this is intended to destroy man's confidence in his ability and wisdom. Those who insist that salvation is by works have only betrayed their inexcusable ignorance of the truth. It is inexcusable because God has gone out of His way to confirm that all things, particularly regarding the obtaining of righteousness, are "of Him, and through Him, and to Him" (Rom 11:36; 2 Cor 5:18-21).
PRAYER POINT: Father, thank you in Jesus' name for the greatness of salvation, the abundance of Your grace, and the effectiveness of the faith by which it is obtained.
-- Tomorrow: THERE WAS A FAMINE --