by Mike Ratliff
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17 NASB)
Justification by Grace alone through Faith alone is a core or central doctrine to true or Orthodox Christianity. This justification is God’s declaration (as we he did with Abraham) of righteousness based upon believers believing and obeying God by turning to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour as they receive the Spirit as they hear the proclamation of the gospel. Now, compare what I just summarized there with what goes on in most “culturally relevant churches” in our time. You know, those churches that are focused on following the person on the stage, but in fact, it is really about self-glorification. That is why people go to those “churches.” They go to hear how good of a person they really are and what the “secret” is of unlocking their potential so that God will give them everything they could ever want because, hey, they are worth it! Sigh, sorry, but that is not even close to being biblical Christianity. It’s some other religion.
Then there are those religious leaders who insist that no one is really saved or can stay saved unless they become worthy through “works.” There are many forms of this. Some insist that Justification by Faith as I described above is not complete and “works” are still required to be added to it, or that we can lose our “Justification” through sin. I actually have found the latter to be much more prevalent. I have seen Christians who were in their last few decades and when they looked at their lives they would almost despair because they could not be sure that they had done enough good to outweigh all the bad they had done in their lives and so they were in deep fear of their awaiting judgment. I defy anyone to show me where that is in the New Testament in context for believers.
1 O senseless Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly portrayed as having been crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: did you receive the Spirit by works of the Law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so senseless? Having begun in the Spirit are you now being perfected in the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain–if really indeed in vain? 5 The one, therefore supplying to you the Spirit and producing works of power among you, is it by works of the Law or by the hearing with faith? 6 As Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS ACCOUNTED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS, 7 know then that the ones of faith, these are sons of Abraham. 8 The Scripture, having foreseen that God would justify the nations by faith, preached the gospel before to Abraham, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” 9 So the ones of faith are blessed with Abraham the believer. (Galatians 3:1-9 Possessing the Treasure New Testament v1)
What Paul described in this rebuke of the Galatians in these 9 verses is a contrast between the foolishness of seeking to be justified the Law, which is by the flesh and Justification by Grace through Faith alone that is obtained how? The key to being justified by Grace through Faith is to hear with faith. What is it that Christians hear with faith? It is the gospel. Look at v5. It is God who supplies to believers the Spirit and this produces the works of power in believers that is the very hearing by faith that produces belief and God justifies them just as he did Abraham in v6. All who believe God are children of faith, that is, children of Abraham.
I pray you see the foolishness of trying to add any sort of human works to what God has done in saving his people. Yes, his people are children of Abraham because they are children of the same faith he had, but that faith comes from God as he supplied the Spirit to them. It is the Spirit who produces the power of transformation in believers. We cannot do one thing to make this happen (Ephesians 2:1-10).
Are you in Christ? Rejoice in the Lord and thank God for saving you and having mercy on you and sending the Spirit to you producing the works of power in you that you could believe by God’s grace through the gift of faith.
Notice also that God has chosen to spread the gospel, to grow his church through the preaching of the good news. It is through the preaching of the gospel that the Spirit is given and he does for others who hear what he did for you and I. Therefore, let us share our faith whenever given the opportunity.
Soli Deo Gloria!