Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Justified Freely By Grace

Romans 3:24

…and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Photo on 7-6-16 at 3.42 PMAs a pastor – I’ve often tried to come up with ways to get people to come to worship or to fellowship with believers. Early in my ministry I tried to get church leaders to place a sign outside the church that read – Men’s Tuesday Night – BYOB. Of course they wouldn’t do it. Some thought the BYOB meant bring your own bottle but I meant it to mean bring your own Bible to our Tuesday night men’s Bible study. I was hoping some might come for the wrong meaning and find good fellowship if they came. I thought it was worth a try!

As a pastor – I’ve often tried to come up with ways to get people to come to worship or to fellowship with believers. Another example from my early ministry was the time I encouraged everyone who could drive to drive to church one Sunday morning (no carpooling). My hope was for people to see the parking lot full and wonder – what’s going on at that church – maybe we ought to visit and find out. That only went over so-so. But it wasn’t long before the parking lot was actually full – for real!

As a pastor – I’ve often tried to come up with ways to get people to come to worship or to fellowship with believers. I once used this example in a sermon (actually in a few sermons). If for some reason I came into a large sum of money – enough to pay off the mortgages of everyone who came to church on a given Sunday – do you imagine there would be any empty seats? I mean – if you had to attend church on that given Sunday to be eligible to have your mortgage paid off – would there be standing room only?

There must be a better way to draw people to worship and fellowship with other believers. There must be a better draw. Today’s passage presents to us the love of God. It tells us that we can all be justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God’s grace is offered to all who would turn to Him. In wonder – is God’s amazing grace enough to draw folks to worship?

Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Romans 3:21–31 – 21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. 27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

The law of righteousness was a law that no one could stand up under for sure. The law of righteousness is a law that we have all failed to follow and would be judged unrighteous under. But God offers to pay our mortgage! To make us just as if we had never sinned (justified) or in other words – righteous in the eyes of God. God offers this payment for our sins for free! God’s righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. God knows that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God – and God offers to those who believe in Him to be justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

This is better than having our earthly mortgage paid. This is better than anything anyone could offer us – because it is eternal. Yet – some will not turn to God for this amazing gift. Sisters and brothers – we can be justified freely by Jesus – if we simply turn our hearts and lives over to Him! Spread the word and draw people to Christ!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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August 1, 2016 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , ,

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