Nothing To Brag About…Romans 1-3 pt 9

Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.(Romans 3:27-28)

Why is it that God requires faith and not works?  Why is it that God’s salvation is only accessible to those who believe in His gospel ? Part of the answer to this question is in the quote above.

We have seen that man is so bankrupt, he is so estranged from God and corrupted, that there is no way that he can save himself. He is condemned and there is nothing he can possibly do to justify himself before God. Salvation is entirely of God.

The requirement of faith underscores this. There is nothing man has to ‘glory in’ except the saving work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. Faith is a response to God’s initiative, an open hand ,receiving the gift of God’s love and forgiveness. It removes boasting entirely.

It was unbelief that brought us into ruin. Had Adam and Eve only believed in the goodness of God, the right of God to impose limits on them for their good, we would not have fallen. And it is unbelief that has ever been our own plague.

The serpent presented a different view of God to the first man and woman, by implying that God was with holding back something that would be good- a share in his own Divinity.  ” God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes shall be opened, and you will know good and evil…“  ( for yourself, and on your own terms).

Believing the serpent’s slander against God, they “broke faith”, launching out in independence from God, grasping for that which they believed had been denied them.They would live on their own terms and be their own people, they would decide for themselves what right and wrong are.

This is the meaning of unbelief; not doubt and skepticism, but independence from God.

All sins are expressions of unbelief, therefore the scripture says “Whatever is not of faith is a sin”(Romans 14:22).Why do we sin? because we believe not! We are estranged from God because we no longer believe Him.

Why do people fornicate?  They do so, because they don’t really believe that God’s plan of marriage is the best for them. Why do they take drugs to alter their consciousness? Because they don’t believe in God’s reality for them. Why do they steal? Because they reject the things God has given them, or they rebel against God’s order of productive work.All sin is unbelief.

Faith and Love are intrinsically linked, to quit believing is to quit loving and vice versa. The only way to believe in God is to love Him, and the only way to Love Him is to believe Him.

God is good, and knows best, and He has the right to impose limits on any of us. We can know that those limits are for our own good and His glory. But we have to believe that God is good.

A Christian conversion is a reversal of this process of unbelief. We come as sinners again to God, helpless and bankrupt, deeply estranged from His glory and splendor, and from the joy of His communion.We can offer Him nothing of any value, we can only believe in the good news of His own salvation. All on our part is humble response.

Salvation by faith in the substitute, Jesus, cures us of our deepest problem and the fountain of all of our corruption, independent pride. God ordained faith because it really does humble us, it takes Self out of the picture, it rightly gives God all of the glory.

If salvation were indeed by works, of the Law or otherwise, than boasting would be inevitable. “We are the good people, who don’t smoke or drink, we home school our children and never watch dirty movies.” But whether it be in gross sins or exalted religion, the principle of proud Independence from God, self effort and self promotion, all are an abomination of God.

We can only utter with grateful, trembling lips, along with the blessed hymnist:

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

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4 Responses to Nothing To Brag About…Romans 1-3 pt 9

  1. standingfirm says:

    Wonderful Pastor Bill. When I was a little girl my maternal grandmother would say to us grandchildren “Nana know’s best”. I never forgot that, knowing that she would always worry and fret about our well being and was always wanting the best for us! As I re-committed my life to the Lord as a young adult, I fully realized that it is God who knows what is best for us. Now that I am getting on in age, I believe that with all of my heart. He knows what is best for us always. As brother Dave Hunt had said “trust and obey for their is no other way”. I cling to the old rugged cross.

  2. Maureen Leigh says:

    Whenever I have been in need, emotionally, physically and even financially the Lord has helped me. I love Him because He is so good, so real, so faithful to me. and I don’t deserve it. He is compassionate even when I slip, I believe he helps in ways we don’t even know about yet.
    Despair and grieving over lost and rebellious loved ones somehow is soothed. “Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” is always always and forever true. God bless you and Come soon, Lord

  3. DMarie says:

    Oh, how we fight against Him when we are so often distressed by our circumstances!!!
    Attempting to take things into our own hands, we choose to forego that which is meant to HELP us grow – but only as we patiently endure/obey/THANK Him.
    How soon we forget Romans 8:28: that He IS working ALL things together for OUR GOOD!
    …and His glory… His thoughts are not ours… His ways are so much HIGHER.
    He so desires to reveal Himself to us in ever-increasing GLORY – if we would just allow Him.
    Thank you for this encouraging word – God IS good, and He DOES know best!
    He sets parameters at His prerogative – LET US not harden our hearts, but instead choose TRUST

    • Maureen Leigh says:

      I do agree Marie..sometimes we are overwhelmed by our problems and seek to sort them out by ordinary means. When I look back is when I see that it is the Lord who has done the best thing..even if we would have chosen another way!
      We are always learning how to trust and obey Him. The battle belongs to the Lord.

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