Often, it seems our Christian lives are consumed with attempts at pleasing God. Sunday school sayings of “read your Bible, pray every day, and you’ll grow, grow, grow” echo through our minds.
How do we know we are pleasing to God?
In my travels and ministry, I meet very few people who can confidently say God is pleased with them. Many avoid saying it for fear of sounding arrogant or self-centered.
The doctrine of justification tells us we are pleasing to God.
This is the teaching that Paul is expressing to the Galatian believers who are being told to add works to their faith. Read the following passage to see.
Galatians 2:15-21(link – click on this and read the passage. Yes, this is included in the 7 minutes!)
Paul affirms that by their faith, they have received the gift of justification. It was not by adding circumcision or any other work.
The word “justified” will bring to mind the picture of a court room for any first century believer. When Paul uses this word to speak of salvation, the implication is clear to the Galatians (as well as anyone who is a believer.)
God the Judge is about to make His decision based on our works. The verdict will be guilty if we are left to ourselves.
As the person on trial, we cry out in desperation.
“Help!” “I need a savior, will someone come to rescue me!”
From the back of the courtroom, the door bursts open. In walks Christ. He strides boldly to the front, comes up next to us, and beckons us to get out of our seat. We quickly obey. Sitting down in our place, Jesus substitutes himself for us. God, the Judge on the bench, watches this change of events with interest, asking if there is any more evidence to be presented before His verdict.
Now, with Christ in our place, it is no longer our evidence that is presented, but rather the evidence of Christ. His sinless life in action, word, thought, and attitude. When this evidence is presented, God the Judge is ready to declare a verdict. He stands up in front of all the witnesses and speaks.
“Based on the evidence and facts presented, I make a public statement before all who are assembled that the one who is on trial is righteous, or innocent.”
Justification has just played out for us.
The gavel falls. The decision is final.
The trial is over, we have been declared innocent and forgiven. This is salvation! If you are reading this and are a believer, this very scene has played out in heaven for you. God himself, based on Christ’s evidence, has legally declared you justified.
Paul admonishes the Galatians in verse 20 that they no longer live, but Christ lives in them. Like the Galatians, we died to trying to measure up to God’s standard in our own strength. Verse 21 reminds all, that if it was our own effort that could merit righteousness, then Christ died for nothing.
What good things do we still do in an attempt to earn the favor of God?
What would change if we walked in the confidence of God’s love and acceptance?
Please comment and let’s learn from each other!
Portions of the passage above were taken from Death of the Modern SuperHero. Copyright 2011.