#8 Justified by Faith

Book of Galatians
Book of Galatians
#8 Justified by Faith

References: Galatians 2:14-16

This is the 4th of July weekend. And before we go to our text, which is in Galatians chapter 2, I just want to say how thankful I am to live in a free country in the United States of America. I pray God will keep us free. I pray that he would let us honor him in all the ways that we should as we try to honor those who lead us. But we trust ultimately in the Lord, don’t we? And we’re so thankful for that. Those who have given lives for our country, those who uphold it today, and our blessings have been poured out upon us by our God.
We thank you so much. We’re going to continue in our study in Galatians chapter 2 in a very important passage, Galatians 214 through 16. We read these verses a few minutes ago in our service here. What is more important in this life than having salvation?
I’m preaching to the choir, I know. What is more important than being saved? What is more important than having eternal life? No matter what you have or don’t have in this life, no matter what you go through, how good life is to you or not, it is nothing compared to eternity.
For eternity, the only thing that you will care about is whether or not you were saved or lost, whether you knew the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. And so I’m not minimizing the problems, the struggles, the things that go on in this world. We all deal with them.
We all try to do our best with them. But when it’s all said and done, the salvation of our souls is our North Star. And our spiritual compass has that needle that points to that North Star constantly. And that is the need of the gospel, the need of knowing that we are saved and know the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. When we begin our passage that we’re looking at this morning, actually continuing through this second chapter, verse 14 tells us that Paul noticed that there were some that were not straightforward about the gospel, not straightforward about eternal life or upright you might have there. And that is when our message of the gospel gets off, when we are not clear about what it takes to be saved, then we are missing the mark in this life.
And what is it we’re about as God’s people and God’s church and God’s believers, if not this? Now, as he says this, as we’ll explain in a few minutes on our message, as he says this, there were those who had come to the church at Antioch that were not straightforward. They were not being clear about it. It’s not necessarily that they were dishonest men. They were probably trying to do the best that they could and saying what they truly believed.
The problem was they’re wrong. And to be wrong about the gospel, it has eternal consequences to it. That great old preacher, A.W. Tozer, said it this way one time, to the question, what must I do to be saved? We must learn the correct answer. To fail here is not to gamble with our souls, it is to guarantee eternal banishment from the face of God. Here we must be right or be finally lost. And so this is important stuff that we’re looking at.
Now, a little word of review here. We have gone through the first 10 verses of this chapter, which are a recap of what happened in Acts chapter 15 at the Jerusalem Council, where they settled the matter. That salvation is by faith, it’s not by keeping the Jewish law. And then what we noticed from verse 11 on up to where we are right now is that here’s this church at Antioch. And things are going well up there.
The gospel has been preached, people are saved, and there are Jewish converts and there are Gentile converts, both up in Antioch. So Peter comes to visit, not unusual for Peter. He went to Samaria, he went to Caesarea, it was his job as the head of the apostles to go check these things out and to make sure everything was right. And so here he is up here to check things out. Well, he’s over here at this table eating with the Gentiles, as we noticed. There are Jews and Gentiles there around him. And all of a sudden, these men come from Jerusalem, these Judaizers we call them, that is, Jews who still thought it was necessary that you keep the mosaic law if you’re going to be saved.
And one of the things that you had to keep was separating from the Gentiles as well as other things like circumcision and various things. Well here’s Peter eating with the Gentiles and these stern-faced Jews from Jerusalem come in and as I said, Paul’s over in the other side of the room watching this happening. And what he knows is Peter kind of gets up and slowly moves away and goes around the table and ends up sitting only with Jews but not with the Gentiles. And pretty soon Paul notices that other Gentile or excuse me, other Jewish converts, they are getting up and they’re leaving the Gentiles also. And then the last straw is a Barnabas himself who preached with Paul in his first missionary journey. He does the same thing and when that happens, Paul, it was the last straw for him.
He couldn’t take anymore. And so he then begins to speak and we come to verse 14 at that time that he is beginning to do this. Now, what’s at stake when Paul begins to confront Peter about what he’s done here? It’s not just some trivial matter. Now we as believers have a lot of things that we discuss between ourselves. Sometimes it even makes a difference between different churches and so forth. This isn’t just who makes the final decision in your church. This is about eternal life.
This isn’t just the style of worship. I have strong opinions about that. But this is about eternal life. I have strong opinions about post-tribulationalism and pre-tribulationalism. But this is about eternal life. And when Peter or Paul, excuse me, sees this happening, a question about how you are saved, how you have eternal life, that takes confronting. And even if it’s in front of everyone else who is there, which was God’s will evidently, that he do it like this, he does.
Do you add something to salvation? Historically it’s called synergism. That is, you synthesize the faith and grace with some kind of work. Do you really have to keep the law to be saved? You have to be circumcised to be saved? You have to be baptized to be saved. There’s some that say we need to add the sacraments of the church to be saved.
Some say that if you don’t speak in tongues and those kind of things, then you don’t know whether you’re saved or not. So is that what is going on here? Well, in essence, yes. And Paul is going to confront it very sternly.
So with me, if you will, you have an outline in your bulletin if you’re here or if you’re watching on the screen, you see it there. So we come back to verse 14 where we ended last time. And notice that the first part of verse 14 is just Paul’s writing the narrative. And then in the middle of verse 14 you’ll have a, what do you call those?
Quotation mark, thank you. And that quotation will go all the way through verse 21. So in the first part here, he’s going to frame the question. Notice, I’m going to just call this simply in the three thoughts that we have, the three verses.
There’s a question, then there’s a statement, and then there’s a direct answer given about these things. So first of all, the question we have to realize is about the gospel. And so he says, when I saw, that is, I saw Peter leave and go sit only with the Jews. I saw the Jewish believers do that. I saw the, or I saw Barnabas only do that. When I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel. Now, you see that word truth. That’s a tough one today, isn’t it? We have people today, I’m not sure they know what the truth is.
Welcome to postmodern society. You know, there’s no such thing as absolute truth. We know that absolutely evidently these days. So, you know, the Bible says that God is truth and thy word is truth. This, this, the world hates this, you know, for us to say we have God’s message for us to say that there is one inspired book in this world and no other inspired book to say that there is one way to help.
We’re not going to go to heaven through Jesus Christ and no other way. You know how that makes the world feels? It makes them feel like we’re kind of looking down on them.
We don’t appreciate their point of view or whatever it is. And yet the fact is, that’s the case. We have a revealed religion. God revealed himself in the person of Jesus Christ. And not only that, then he wrote this book that we have which tells us how to believe on Jesus Christ and how to go to heaven when we die.
And the Bible tells us that’s the truth. What are you going to do about that? You can’t change it. The world can’t change it.
It will always be true. But notice it’s not just that. Not just, not just the fact that there’s truth. It’s the truth of the God.
It’s a truth of how to have eternal life, and that is critical, isn’t it? Now let me just review real quickly a couple of passages. One of course is 1 Corinthians 15, the first four verses where we have the gospel defined for us by the apostle Paul to the church at Corinth. 1 Corinthians 15, moreover, brother and I declare to you the gospel which I preach to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved if you hold fast that word which I preach to you unless you’ve believed in vain. For I delivered to you, first of all, that which I also received.
In other words, I received it from God, I’ve given it to you, the word of God. Number one, that Christ died for our sins according to the scripture. Did he die on the cross? Was that God’s son on the cross? And that he was buried. Was he dead and put in the grave? And that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.
The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ done on your behalf, done so that you can have eternal life. That’s the gospel. And someone here, Paul says, is not walking straightforward concerning the gospel?
This is serious business. I also want you to notice Romans 3.23 or I’m reading it to you and I’m going to refer to these great verses a couple of times. But here in the book of Romans that explains to us the gospel constantly. Verse 23 says, very familiar, for all of sin to come short of the glory of God. Now this is a conclusion of Romans 12 and 3. The heathen are not saved, the moralist and the good guy is not saved and the Jew is not saved outside of the gospel.
So what’s the conclusion? All of sin, come short of the glory of God. Being justified freely by his grace, if you want to be saved, being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God has set forth as a propitiation in his blood.
I’ll come back to that word in a little bit. Through faith to demonstrate his righteousness, not yours, but his. Because in his forbearance, God passed over the sins that were previously committed to demonstrate at this present time his Jesus Christ. His righteousness that he, God the Father, might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Where is boasting then? It is excluded. Oh, I’m a Jew and I keep the law. Sorry, it’s excluded. Well, I’m a heathen and I’ve always worshiped my God’s excluded. I’m a good person and I always go to church and I always imply to everybody excluded.
Where is boasting excluded? By what law of works? No, but by the law of faith.
Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. You have nothing to brag about. You have nothing to offer for your salvation and God doesn’t accept it. He only accepts the fact that Jesus Christ, the righteous one, became your substitute.
You have to have him and nothing else. So back in our passage here, you know what? Those Jews in Antioch, they knew this. Peter knew this. Paul knew this.
Barnabas knew this. The line has been drawn, folks. This is the hill we die on. And literally you die on this hill. You either know the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior or you die apart from that and spend eternity in the lake of fire. Or you die and go to heaven with Jesus Christ.
This is the only hill to die on and this is what we do. Now, that’s concerning the gospel. Notice, secondly, the quotation begins then in the middle of verse 14. So I say, first of all, in the second part of that verse, concerning some hypocrisy going on here. Let me read it.
If you, that’s the beginning of the quotation. If you, he speaks, Paul speaking to Peter, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, then why do you compel Gentiles to live as the Jews? To all of a sudden keep the Mosaic law. You remember back in verse 12, this is the one where we saw Paul, I said, is over here drinking his star of David coffee and everything is going great. And he sees this happening.
And here before certain men came from James down in Jerusalem, he would eat with the Gentiles. Here’s Peter over here. Everything’s fine. They’re getting along great. No problem between Jew and Gentile. The apostles are there.
Everything’s great. But when verse 12, but when they came, here come these Judaizers in the door. He withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.
So now Paul is going back to that. You were a Jew. And for a while anyway, you were living with the Gentiles, fellow shipping with them, eating with them. Things that would transgress the Jewish law, but you’re doing them. So he says, now, if you as a Jew can do that.
Why all of a sudden did you back away and say, oh sorry, I shouldn’t have been doing that. As a matter of fact, you Gentiles are going to have to start living like the Jews also. That’s basically what has been said here and what is happening here. So by Peter, because I said no such thing, Paul says you did it in front of everybody. Your actions showed this and you can’t get away from that. As a matter of fact, you see the word compel, why do you compel with your actions?
You are compelling Gentiles to work for their salvation as well as have faith for your salvation. That is a line that we cannot cross. So you see that question Mark there? He gives that question and there is a silence.
There is a pause here. There is no answer. Peter doesn’t answer. We don’t have anything coming from Peter. You know why Peter knew what he had done.
And he is a humble enough man to realize. Fifteen years we were talking about in our last hour class. Fifteen years after preaching at Pentecost, the boldness of Peter to stand up and proclaim the gospel before the Sanhedrin 15 years later kind of had weak knees this day. You know what happens to you and me? We are bold when we first get saved. We are bold when we are new in our faith. Time goes on and we have kind of gone downhill a little bit. We should have been getting more bold. We kind of lost that boldness that we once had. It can happen to us, can it? So no answer here.
What have you done by your actions? Some years ago out in Colorado we knew a lady named Margaret. Margaret grew up in Roman Catholic Church there in Fort Collins, Colorado. She had gone to an evangelistic service and went forward and accepted Christ as her savior. She came back. I had never met Margaret before. She walked into my office there at the church that I pastored and said, I got saved.
I would like to be baptized. Well you hear something like that. You know, great.
Good news. But it is always me as a pastor. I say, well where are you going to church? I am kind of figuring, you know, have your church baptize you.
I don’t even know the lady. So she said, St. Joseph’s downtown, you know, the classic Roman Catholic Church. And I said, well what happened? She told me how she got saved.
And I believe she really got saved. And I said, well then why are you still going down there? Well that’s my church. So I said, Margaret, tell you what, when you are able to walk away from that church and start attending a Bible believing church, you come back to me and we’ll talk about baptism. What was I saying? Can you let go of your good works and say Christ alone is saving me?
When you can say that, we’ll talk about baptism. And so it was a year later. She came into my office. She says, I’m up to here with it. She says, I’m ready to be baptized.
She became one of the greatest witnesses for Christ, especially to Catholic people that you have ever seen. You know, it’s Martin Luther’s own testimony that he described himself as one, the ship is the Catholic church and he’s fallen over the side. And the Catholic church throws him a lifeline and says, hold on, we’ll drag you to the shore. And he said, personal faith for me was letting go of the rope. I don’t need good works anymore. The Lord saves me and the Lord alone. So in essence, Paul is asking Peter the same question. What do you mean that you have to hold on to the rope all of a sudden?
What does it mean you have to hold on to the old Jewish faith any longer? Well, that happens. And then notice the statement in verse 15.
He begins this. We who are Jews by nature are not sinners of the Gentiles. That’s kind of a strange way to put it, isn’t it? Aren’t we all sinners? Yes, we are.
We’re something by nature. He’s kind of giving the cultural, the Jewish way of stating things. The Jews knew they were God’s people. They knew they had God’s law. They knew that God was going to bless them in the end. And they knew that the Gentiles didn’t have all of that.
And by nature, they were lost and gone. So for example, Romans 2.17 says, indeed, Paul says there, you are called a Jew. And you rest in the law and make your boast of God.
You know his will and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law. Well, that was true of the Jews. They should know. Shouldn’t they have recognized their Messiah when he was born in Bethlehem and then died on the cross for them? Shouldn’t they have recognized them?
They should have, but they didn’t. So, he says, Paul says, we, you see that personal pronoun? We who are Jews, you, me, Barnabas, we’re Jews by nature.
We know these things. By nature means by birth. I was born a Jew, he says.
You were too, Peter. And we know what the law says. We also know, and you know by now, it’s to no credit of your own. And no credit to your salvation. We are not people without the law. We are not people who don’t know. So, the Jew by nature is different from sinners by nature.
Now, what does that mean? Well, aren’t we all sinners? Aren’t all Jewish people sinners? Yes, again, in their cultural way of looking at it, there were Jews, and there were the rest of the world.
That’s it. I remember being in Jerusalem once myself, and our little Jewish guide just looked at me and said, oh, you’re Christian. You know, there’s Jews, and there’s Muslims, and there’s Christians. That’s all. He didn’t know Catholic from Protestant or evangelical or anything.
You know, just categories. And that’s the way the Jews looked at the world. They’re God’s people, and the rest of the people aren’t.
Okay? Paul writes in Ephesians 4.17, remember these words? This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart, strangers from the covenant of promise, having no hope without God in the world. There you go. Now, what’s going on here? What is Paul saying to Peter?
If anyone, Peter, could be saved by good works, it’d be you and me, wouldn’t it? We know these things. We know God through his Old Testament. We know God being Jews. If anyone could be saved by good works, it would be us.
But no, you and I both know we have to come like the Gentiles come by faith alone. Peter, have you forgotten? As a matter of fact, let me go back to Acts 15 in verses 10 and 11.
Again, I’ll read it for you. But I go back to that time, some years before, actually not very many years, this would have been weeks or months before. It’s very close to the same time. Down there, when you and I were in Jerusalem, these same guys were there saying the same thing. Peter, do you remember? And Peter, here’s what you said. Now, I’m putting this into the text, but this is what Peter said. In Acts 1510 and 11, Peter says, Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? They couldn’t keep the law, and you and I can’t keep the law. Peter said, but we believe, Peter said, we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved in the same manner as the Gentiles.
You know what the strange thing was? It’s not the Jew who became the standard. It was the Gentile that became the standard of faith.
Why? Because these Jews are still trusting in their good works. These Gentiles have nothing to trust in. They’re glad to get the good news that they can be saved by faith. They don’t have to keep the Jewish law or the Roman law, the Greek law, or any of it anymore.
Just saved by faith. So the Gentile that has no good works, you preach, Peter, you said, you know this. I think that’s what verse 15 is all about. Now, with me to verse 16. Verse 16 is the proposition of the whole book. Verse 16, probably the most important single statement in the whole book. The book of Galatians is like the declaration of independence for the Christian and the book of Romans is like the Constitution for the Christian. Both books say very much the same kind of thing. So we have here knowing that a man is not… And by the way, this is my grammatical detail for the day.
So hang on with me as we go through it. Notice at the end of verse 15, we are not sinners of the Gentiles. You have to wait until you get to the middle of verse 16 where he says, we have believed in Jesus Christ.
But there’s a dependent clause in between and that’s what we have first. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed. We didn’t keep the law, Peter. We believed. We had faith.
Now, we have to stop for a moment and we have to think a little bit here. The wonderful thing about this is this is the first place where Peter, excuse me, Paul ever uses the word justified. Now of course this is his first letter so he has to use it for the first time somewhere.
So he does it here. 21 times in Paul’s writings he will speak about being justified by faith. 21 times. Interestingly, Romans has 10 of those times and Galatians has seven of those times. So the great bulk of the teaching about justification is in Romans and Galatians and here he mentions it. By the way, in our verse verse 16 he mentions the word three times. So it’s the first time he ever uses the word and he uses it three times. He uses the word faith three times and we’re going to see that he also says we’re not justified by the works. He says that three times. Can you get his point here?
You see what he’s trying to say? We’re justified. Now that word justified. There’s a root word to it and it’s the word diki. It’s a name actually like Nike and Dike, Nikki and Dike. Nikki was the goddess of victory. Dike was the goddess of vengeance or basically it means justice. We take that word diki and we make good words out of it.
I should say the Bible does. So to be Dikeos is to be righteous. So the word Dike, Dike, Dikeos means righteous. Dikeasune, the noun, means righteousness.
And Dikeo, the verb, means to justify, to declare righteous, to declare that you are right with God, to justify you. Kind of like if you had a ledger with the end going and the outgoing and it didn’t balance. How do you justify it? Our problem was our account was not justified before God. God justifies it for us.
Now to continue a little bit more because you need to understand us. That word, the theologians like to use the word forensic with it. It’s a forensic term and by that they mean legal term, a court term. This would be something that only a judge can declare that a certain person is righteous, not guilty. And that judge can declare that. And when that judge declares a person not guilty, then he is justified and cannot be held for that any longer.
As a matter of fact, the word propitiation, which I read there in Romans, is the word elosmos, which if we understand it right, is the word when the judge picked up his gavel and hit the desk like our judges do today and said, case dismissed, elosmos. I have no further thing against you. You’re gone. Case dismissed. So to be justified is for God as your judge to finally say, my case against you is dismissed. Your sin is gone. You are righteous before me. To be justified? What a great thing that is.
Standing guilty before a judge and not able to to make any argument for your sin and the judge says justified. Why did he say that? This is beside our point. But John will tell us that we have an advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the righteous, who is our lawyer, our advocate. And he’s saying, put that on my account. Put his sin on my account. All right, justified.
Case dismissed. He took your sins. He justified you. And how did that happen by the works of the law? No, by faith. You remember a parable that Jesus gave called the unforgiving servant of a man who owed what would have been in our day, millions of dollars to a creditor. And he went to the creditor and said, have mercy on me. There’s nothing I can’t pay you back at all. And the man did have mercy on him and forgave him his debt.
Said, forgiven. The man turned around. Remember, he went to somebody who owed him a day’s wage and wouldn’t forgive him and put him in jail. The unjust servant, the unforgiving servant. The point of it is, there is no way you could have paid for your sins. There’s no way you could save yourself. Even as a Jew, if you tried to do everything by the law and has anyone never done it, no, only Jesus Christ, you still couldn’t pay for your sins.
You are a sinner by birth because you’re a child of Adam and a child of your parents. So justified. That’s what he means. Now he uses it here. We know, Peter, that a man is not, not justified by anything that he does. He can’t do anything. Only by faith in Jesus Christ. Again, three times he’s going to use these words and three times he’s going to use this expression.
Now, something I want you to see here. Faith is not then a work for salvation. Faith is simply asking for God’s mercy because you can’t pay. How can faith be a work if we’re not justified by work but by faith?
It’s not a work. And by the way, the definite article, the, before the word law each time in this verse is actually not there in the original. And so it’s not just the law that is the mosaic law, it’s any law, any effort you try to make for salvation. Salvation doesn’t come that way. It comes rather by faith. So again, if we go back to that Romans three and 23 passage, all of sin becomes short of the glory of God.
Why is it there? Well, the heathen tried to be justified by doing his worship of his gods, the moralists tried to be justified by doing good work, the Jew tried to be justified by keeping the law. And in the end, there is none righteous, no, not one.
There is none that doeth good, no, not one. So how can anybody be saved? By faith.
Not by you being better than him, not by you being better than that person over there. You come with your sin and ask for forgiveness. And God will justify you.
God will forgive it. That’s how, and that’s why whosoever will believe will be saved, because any of us can do that. Anybody can do that.
I’m not saying it’s easy, but anyone, anyone can. Now, God then, that Romans passage said, God can be just and justifier. Because if God just said to you and the whole world, a lot of people believe this, you know, you’re gonna stand before God and you’re gonna say, well, I did a lot of good things and God’s gonna say, okay, come on in, no problem, I forgive you. Can God just forgive sin? And let sin stand, he cannot. Why did Jesus Christ come to this earth? Because someone had to fulfill the law and die in your place and take your place so that God’s forgiveness is based on him and not on you. The incarnation of the Son of God.
The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It had to happen so that you can have faith. Now, since God can forgive on the basis of Jesus Christ, he remains just, that is, he remains perfect. He’s not violating anything, but he’s also the justifier. He’s also justifying those who come to him by faith.
What a great message that is. Now, remember these verses, how that we’re justified by faith. So Romans 51 and 2, therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access by faith into grace. Wherein we stand? Ephesians 289, you know these verses, for by grace are you saved through faith.
Dad, not of yourselves. It’s the gift of God and not of works. Faith is not a work.
Listen, any man should boast. Philippians 389, yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith. Praise the Lord.
You can come, whosoever will may come. Now, this point needs to be made. Faith always has an object and Jesus Christ is the object of saving faith. It’s not just any old faith.
It’s not just something you say, well, I’m a good person and I got a lot of faith in me. No, it’s faith in the one who can save you, in the one who died in your place, in the one that God can accept and that’s Jesus Christ. So that faith has an object and three times in our verse, he will make it plain. Faith, what? In Jesus Christ.
Not in yourself, not in the law, not in anything else. Faith in Jesus Christ. Always has that saving faith, always has that object in Jesus Christ. Linsky said in his commentary like this, all the believing in the world secures nothing but damnation from the judge, but the tiniest believing in Christ secures a quiddle and that on the instant. Charles Spurgeon said it this way, the moment he got saved. As the moment before there was none more wretched than I was, so within that second there was none more joyous.
It did not take any longer than a flash of lightning, it was done and never has been undone. And you come, God saves you. And so we understand that. Douglas Mu, another writer I like to read, he pointed out that in the Gospel of John, 37 times in John’s Gospel, he talks about faith with Christ as the object, 37 times. No wonder we like to read the Gospel of John and give it to somebody in order that they might find out about how to be saved. Here’s one example, John 3.18. He who believes in him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already because he is not believed in the name of the only-gotten Son of God. How to be justified?
You come to him by faith and ask him to forgive you of your sins and to have eternal life. So, real quickly, our last thought is simply, it’s not by the works of the law. I hope that we’ve made that clear at least by now. Again, this is one of the hardest things for any human being to do, to say, I have nothing to offer for my salvation. The human spirit just cannot take that. It’s very difficult for a human being to say, I am worthless when it comes to saving my soul. We want to stand before God and read our good works.
We want to stand there and say, this is why you should accept me into heaven. How many people are thinking they’re building up their portfolio like that before God? God’s going to open the books and God’s going to show you that you can’t get into heaven on your works. Just read it in Revelation 20. When Jesus said, I come not to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance.
What did he mean? The self-righteous. Well, I should come in. I have good works. I’ve done something to gain eternal life. You don’t come in that way.
I’ve come to call sinners to repentance. I have nothing to offer. I have no good work. I am lost and undone. I have sinned. Please forgive me and allow Jesus Christ and His righteousness to be my savior. That is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
That is what will save you. Agape love is an all-giving type of love. I tell you this is why the world doesn’t like to hear about the love of God.
You know what the love of God says? I don’t accept your work for me. I just love you without anything in return. I save you without anything that you give back to me.
I save you on the basis of Jesus Christ, not on the basis of you. Let me end with a familiar song. You remember Toplities, great old song Rock of Ages. It’s too bad we let that song go too often. Let me read you the third verse of that old song Rock of Ages.
He said this, nothing, and by the way, too many footnotes here in my head, but Toplity wrote, put together, compiled the book that Spurgeon would later use in his services in London anyway. Verse 3, Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to thy cross I cling. Listen, Naked, come to thee for dress, Helpless, look to thee for rest, Foul, I to thy fountain fly, Wash me, Savior, or I die.
Rock of Ages Cleft for Me, Let me hide myself in thee. That’s salvation by faith. That’s justification that you get from the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you in Christ today? Have you come to Him and ask Him to be your Savior? That’s the only place to be and the only place that will satisfy eternity.
I hope that you know Him. Stand now with me if you will. As we think about that thought, we go to the Lord in prayer. We sing a song here in our auditorium, an invitation song, and people are welcome to come as we sing our afterward to receive Christ as Savior or for any other need. And I just challenge you, even if you’re listening online today, that if you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Savior, you accept Him by faith today and have eternal life. Let’s pray together.
Father, thank you for such great passages as this that we’ve read. Thank you for verse 16. Thank you for justification by faith in Christ. Father, I pray, I know that the gospel is being preached in many places today. We support wonderful preachers throughout the world and we know preachers and churches and pastors and evangelists and others who are preaching this true gospel. Oh, Father, may there be a harvest of souls even today as we see our world tumbling toward its end. May souls be prepared for that day. So, Father, I pray you would bless the message that we have spoken today that souls might be saved and we’ll thank you for it. Now, bless as we sing and open our hearts to you. May you do your will in your way in us and we’ll thank you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
So our invitation is open as we sing. And even after we finish singing and others are leaving, I’m still here. There have been a number of folks who came to me after the service and said, I need to get this right. I need to know the Lord is my Savior. If that’s where you are, meet me then after the service and let’s make this right. You sing as Gordon leaves us in this song.

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