Two weeks ago, I preached and unpacked Romans 3:19-31and the two greatest words possibly in all the Bible, but definitely in Romans so far:
One secular writer has said that “… the problem with justifying my own existence…is not that I’m such a bad person, but that I could be, and that I should far better than I really am.” In Romans 1-2, Paul has established that every single person does understand – through conscience – that they ought to be living in a certain way, and yet no one does it. Everyone is struggling for righteousness, and no one is getting it.
This is where we get the two greatest words in the Bible, “but now”. But now in the Gospel there is a new reality, a new possibility, a new way to be righteous, to be “good again” (Kite Runner).
The “but now” of the gospel is more than mere forgiveness, it’s justification. Instead of saying, “You may go”, justification says, “You may come!”
The Heidelberg Catechism puts it like this:
60. Q. How are you righteous before God?
A. Only by true faith in Jesus Christ.
Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously sinned against all God’s commandments, of never having kept any of them, and of still being inclined toward all evil, nevertheless, without any merit of my own, out of sheer grace,God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, and as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me.
All I need to do is accept this gift with a believing heart.
This is the essence of faith in Christ.
Part of the sermon series Romans: Unlocking the Gospel | Unleashing the Power at Christ Church Mansfield, from Lead Pastor Chris Gensheer. For more content or to know more about the ministry of Christ Church, go to http://www.christchurchmansfield.com.