There is a way to be made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ. This is called justification; the most glorious promise that can be imagined. But this is only good news to those who recognize their total need for this blessing. Are you a pretty good person? Or does God’s law render you cursed under His wrath, standing naked and needy of Another to justify you?
Excerpt taken from the full sermon, “People of Promise“.
And the promise is this: That if we cling to Christ in faith, we'll be justified. There's the promise. You see, the promise is the blessing of all the nations. The promise is this: That there is a way to heaven. There is a way to be justified by faith in Jesus Christ. That's the blessing. Justification by faith is the most glorious promise that can be imagined. I mean, this is it. This is it. Why? Because what God has done is He has found a way for us to be righteous without law-keeping. And that's huge! Because you see, if you keep the law, if you've kept it, you're just. You don't need any way to be justified. You are just. But if you've once broken His law - you see what God has done is He's given a promise to those who need another way. (Incomplete thought) See, the problem is, once you've broken it you can't heal that breach. There's nothing you can do once you're a law breaker to change that reality, except by the promise. That's it. See, there's no way. People who say, well, I'm a pretty good person. No, no, no. You can take that "pretty good" off the front. Because if by "pretty good," you mean that you sin sometimes, you're a law breaker. And as a law breaker, you're under a curse, and that curse says you need to keep everything written in the Book of the Law or you're going to go to hell. You're cursed. You're under the wrath of God. There is no hope. You have to keep everything. Everything. Every iota. Every jot and tittle. You cannot vary. You can't be at variance from God's law in the least bit. Why? Because to sin is to fall short of the glory of God. It is a reproach. It is an attack on His glory. And what God has said, "I give promise, Abraham, that a blessing is going to come." Oh, if Abraham could have laid his teeth into the fullness of it. It wasn't totally revealed. It was in darkness at the time. It was not revealed in other generations as it's now been revealed. Which is what? We Gentiles - there's a way to heaven. There's a way to have our sins dealt with that does not require me to keep God's law. And that is the promise. Justification. What is that? Justification is an act - a gracious act of God, where He counts you righteous. Not because you are righteous. Not because you've done good. Not because you've kept the law. But He counts you as such based on the merits of Jesus Christ. By His obedience, by His perfections, by His obedience all the way to the cross, by His death, by His righteousness. He fulfilled all righteousness. And it's by this, oh, do you hear those words? David spoke them and they're repeated by Paul in the 4th chapter of Romans. Blessed. Blessed is that man against whom God does not count his sin. If you're good, you have no need of this. Look, if you came in here today and aside from all of this, you could say, "I'm a pretty good person." Then, you don't need this. You see, Jesus said, those who are well, they don't need a doctor. This isn't for you. God hasn't designed a way to justify people who have kept the law; who are good people. That's not what this is for. This is for people who need another way. This is for people who, you know what? In the eyes of good people; in the eyes of religious people, they're hopeless. There's no way. You see, this is for people like the thief on the cross who have done nothing but live a life of wretchedness and debauchery and sin and thievery, and they've got nothing. And they don't have time left to even try to repair their bad record. Which is basically what most of the false religions teach: do enough good and you can undo the bad. But you see, no matter how much good you do after you've broken the law, you're unjust. Justification is God, by His grace, devising a way that bad people can be declared righteous. That's the reality. That's the promise. What greater promise could you be a partaker of than that one? That's it.