Wednesday, 20 March 2013
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Romans 3:28
“Therefore.” Based on what precedes this statement, Paul will now make an absolute and exclusive claim. It is a tenet which defines true Christianity and separates it from all other religions. It is also a point of separation between the true faith and that which is heretical. Paul couldn’t be clearer in what he is saying. Our justification comes from faith in the merits of Christ Jesus alone. No deeds of the law (note that “law” has no definite article in the Greek, thus it says “deeds of law”) have any part in our justification. We are justified and declared righteous by faith in Christ and by faith in Christ alone.
Martin Luther called this tenet of justification by faith the point upon which the church either stood or fell – and he was right. Any denomination or person who proclaims anything other than this tenet is not a Christian entity because it is a foundational principle of the work of Christ. Only He was born sinless and lived the law perfectly. In contrast, we have both inherited sin and have added further sins to our account before God. Therefore, to claim that we somehow participate in our justification would call into question the righteousness of God and malign His holiness.
To deny justification by faith alone would be comparable to denying that Jesus was born of a virgin or that the Bible wasn’t divinely inspired. Either tenet being false would negate the truth of the Christian faith. The same is true with this one. It is this concept above all others which caused the final break from the Roman Catholic Church during the Protestant reformation.
Life application: What does your denomination teach about justification by faith alone? What does your preacher believe concerning this tenet? Go find out and if they differ from Paul’s words in today’s verse, then you need to find another place to worship. This is serious stuff.
Glorious Almighty God, how I thank You for sending Jesus to redeem me from the power of sin, to justify me apart from deeds of the law, and to reconcile me to You. Where I have failed and fallen short, You have forgiven me. I stand amazed at the grace and the mercy You have lavished up me, even me. Thank You O God. Amen.