Wednesday, 26 August 2009

God receives us on the basis of our faith

"In the sight of God all are sinners and their goodness is inadequate to justify them in His presence. There is only one standard of righteousness, holiness and justice, and that is God’s standard, and God will not at any time compromise that standard in order to accommodate the fickleness of men and women. Sin today is no less sinful than it was in the days of Noah or Eve. God has not evolved from a God who hates sin to a God who merely overlooks it. Human goodness compared with God’s standard of righteousness is stunted and impoverished. It is no good coming to God with our ‘scorecard’ which testifies that we are decent people, we pay our debts and never harm our neighbours. In the context of respectability this may be important, but in the context of salvation it is paltry. Our bit of righteousness is no passport to God’s favour. The Bible teaches that we have to repudiate our own withered morality and confess that we do not measure up to God’s standard. This is called Repentance.

Since men and women cannot be received on the basis of their natural goodness, which is inadequate and unfair, God receives them on the basis of their faith. The faith they show is counted by Him as righteousness. This is the great doctrine of justification by faith and explains why it is impossible to come to God faithless, and why those who come must believe. In order to show how the great principle operates the Apostle Paul takes the case of one man, Abraham. Abraham received certain promises from God which, at the time they were spoken, appeared, humanly speaking, to be impossible of fulfilment. But Abraham had faith in the promises in spite of adverse appearances and God counted this for righteousness:

"He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification" (Romans 4:20-25).

Paul insists that the principles which operated in the case of Abraham are true for every man who will come to God for salvation."

-------
Dennis Gillett
One Bible, Many Churches - Does it Matter What We Believe?