The Book of Romans often engenders uncomfortable, even offensive, feelings due to its blunt doctrinal content and messages. Romans forces a Christian to abandon Man-Centered thinking and move toward God-Centered thinking. Humans resist such spiritual growth opportunities because we are wired to be sinful and self-centered. It also irks us to realize our previous thinking and behavior were wrong.
Doctrinally, Romans is one of those great watershed moments that separates true Christianity from every false religious system in the world. It is the great doctrine of justification by faith. Ironically, this doctrine, when rightly understood, should be received as the most wonderful news we have ever heard. But because we begin our lives from a Self-centered orientation rather than a God-centered orientation, we rebel against God’s great incredible doctrine of grace, and we are offended by it.
The Book of Romans answers some of the great questions of all thinking people, such as, “How can a person be right with God?” “How do sinful people get right with a perfectly Holy and just God?” “How can sinful people be brought into a right relationship with God?” “How can guilty people, who have violated everything God is, and offended Him at the deepest level of His being, how can they be reconciled to this perfectly Holy God they have defiantly offended?”. And most importantly, “How can I be right with God?”
The Bible’s answers these questions based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The answer to the question of being right with God is, “To be justified by faith in Jesus Christ alone.” It’s a very simple, straight-forward answer, but one that can be difficult to accept. Romans 5:1 is the theme verse of this incredible book and it states clearly, and distinctly, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” To God be the glory, Amen.
One of the first things to understand is what the word justified means. It comes from the Greek dikaiothentes, the same root word as the Greek word for righteous. It means literally, “to be acquitted of all our sin and to be declared righteous before God.” It is a judicial term of acquittal. Being justified by faith describes the event in which God Himself declares us acquitted of our sin, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, and we are therefore justified, before Him and by Him.
It is vitally important for a Christian to understand this New Testament doctrine, because it is essential to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, it is the very heart of the Gospel and, without it, the Good News is not “good news” at all. Justification is what defines us as Christians. It is the secret to eternal salvation. It is one of the doctrines that separates true Christianity from false, man-centered religions and belief systems.
Justification is a distinctly Christian doctrine. Every other religion in the world, without exception, teaches that a person is made right with God, or is saved, by way of personal effort, and the human credentials of meritorious living. Only Biblical Christianity teaches that a person is saved, (brought into right relationship with God) through faith, apart from human effort whatsoever.
Skeptics investigating the various religions and beliefs systems in the world should focus on this one doctrine alone as it has the power to convince a person that Christianity is true and of divine origin. Justification alone teaches that salvation is an absolute gift of pure grace, to be received by faith, apart from human effort or works.
Man has an insatiable desire to contribute to his salvation. If he were able to contribute, some would no doubt boast about it and commit the sin of pride. He would then need to complete the necessary works to regain a right standing. In God’s plan, a person is justified once and for all by faith in Jesus Christ. Even though we continue to sin, we retain our salvation for eternity.
The doctrine of justification by faith makes salvation a complete act of God. The doctrine of Justification by faith alone reveals the incredible mercy, grace and love of our Holy God, and the extent to which He would go to redeem fallen, rebellious men – He gave us His dearest and best, His Son Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins if we accept Him by faith.
The doctrine of Justification by faith gives all the glory and credit for our salvation to God exclusively. Man can take no credit for his salvation. It is a free gift of grace, received by faith. God receives all the glory and credit for the redeemed lives. Sadly, many people reject His gracious gift and perish in the second death (Revelation 20:14, 21:8).
When we get to Heaven, we will not be able to say, “Okay God, you did your part and I did my part and now I’ve made it. Where is the key to my mansion?” Instead, when we get to Heaven, we will fall at the feet of the Glorious Lord Jesus Christ and cry out, “You are worthy, O LORD, to receive all glory and honor and power. For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”
Being right with God is normal, but it requires justification by faith. Without God’s free, undeserved, and gracious gift, we have no chance of entering His Kingdom. We cannot do it by being good (Matthew 19:17, Romans 3:10, 12) or doing good works. It’s all a matter of faith in Him and His Son. Be normal.
Be right with God. You have offended Him with your sin, but He has forgiven your offenses and given you a path to Him, as long as that path is not too offensive to you.
“I’m Normal.™ I AM.”
It’s God Talking to You
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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