This morning, we continue a sermon series I began a few weeks back that I’m calling “You Can’t Lose in Jesus Christ!” What undergirds this entire series is that, as God’s children, we are blessed beyond our wildest imagination. For through our faith, we know that we will experience God’s blessings both here before we experience God’s eternal blessings in the Kingdom to come.
Today I want to get at two important things, really. First, I want to talk about justification by faith through grace and what that means. And then, in the light of that, I also want to talk a little more about the role of rules to a Christian.
To begin with, just imagine if someone told you, that all you needed to do was trust them, and they’d literally give you the winning lottery numbers for the Mega Millions for one of those insane payouts. Even if you were a bit skeptical to begin with, I’m guessing you, like myself, would give it a try, wouldn’t you? And then, lo and behold, you WON, just as promised. In a similar way, being a Christian is like that. Simply put, we trust and, in trusting, we are guaranteed to win. Paul puts in best in Romans 10:10 – “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
That is, we are set right with God, we are justified, by our FAITH.
That would sure make it seem as though, contra what we hear, that there is something we MUST do. And we MUST have faith in Jesus Christ. That is true.
But what is the origin of that faith?
Why do we trust our Lord Jesus Christ while, perhaps, our neighbor does not?
It’s at this point we make one completely understandable BUT ALSO completely WRONG assumption.
What many of us are bound to come up with is that through our own wisdom and by the sheer force of our will, we just knew that being a Christian was the right decision.
But that means that people who don’t have faith in Jesus, well, they’re either not as smart or as wise as we are. And that, my friends, is sure to lead us to a place that the Bible suggests we dare not go – PRIDE. When we make our faith in Jesus about us, it will always lead us to think more highly of ourselves than we ought.
But you see, as I said, that’s an erroneous assumption, at least according to the Bible in general and, here, in the passage I’ve been looking at throughout this sermon series. I read to you now Ephesians 2:1-10
After all, you might’ve not trusted God, never bought the lottery ticket in the first place, right? But you did and while it sure felt like work, it wasn’t your own doing to begin with. Here, basking in the riches of God’s grace you realize something quite amazing. That the very act of trust itself, wasn’t of your own making although it surely felt like it. That your faith was just another gift of God.
As Christians we believe in something called, justification by faith through grace. We are made right with God through our belief in Jesus Christ and our belief in Jesus Christ is entirely a gift of God. I’m convinced that when we really understand what this means, that we’ll see that we’re in an amazing situation of simply being unable to lose.
But in order to get us there, we need return to our guiding passage. This morning, I’ll read the entirety of Ephesians 2:1-10. Hear now the Word of our Lord:
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”