Thursday, February 12, 2015
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24 KJV).
The fifth verse of John Newton’s classic 1779 hymn “In Evil Long I Took Delight” highlights today’s Scripture.
“A second look He gave, which said,
‘I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I die that thou mayst live.’”
Our God-given conscience makes us aware of our daily sins (Romans 2:13-15). We also know that there is a Creator God whom we will face in judgment (Romans 1:17-20). What will we do with those sins when we stand before Him? Can we open our wallets and purses and pay off God? Would He let us into His heaven if we simply showed Him our church-membership card, or our baptism record, or our confirmation certificate, or our annual-giving receipt? Religious people have been taught, “Yes!” If they can just give God something good, they assume that He will be happy with them and give them the grace to do good and make up for their wrongs.
Saul of Tarsus learned all about the “value” (nothing!) of his religious performance before God: “ Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” (Philippians 3:8,9).
What are religious works before God? “Dung!” (How “flattering”—activity not done by faith in God’s Word to us is likened to waste product!) What are our righteousnesses before God? “As filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6)! God offers His forgiveness to us “freely by his grace” (absolutely no cost to us) because we have nothing with which to pay our sin debt (today’s Scripture). Jesus shed His sinless blood and died that we might be free from sin, redeemed, bought out of the slave market of sin. He shed His sinless blood and died, that we might truly live to not delight in evil….