John 19:30, “When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!”
Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
The Bible tells us that a person’s salvation is by Grace alone and is a gift from God our Creator. The book of Galatians answers the question, “How can I be truly free?” Free from guilt, free from fear, from doubt, from sin, and from always trying and never quite making it. When the world looks at that question, it offers two contradictory answers.
Many people think freedom comes from keeping the rules, doing good, trying harder, going to church, being baptized, giving your money, following the Ten Commandments, obeying the Golden Rule, doing what your priest tells you to do, offering a sacrifice, lighting a candle, saying the Hail Mary, meditating, and using the prayer wheel.
My beloved, the list is endless because the human mind is endlessly creative in the many ways it devises to please a God it cannot see or understand. However, rule keeping always fails in the end because you can never be sure you’ve done enough. If one prayer was enough, would two be better? How many candles should I light? You can never be absolutely certain!
The apostle Paul was addressing a group of churches in Galatia, which had been seduced by false teachers from their faith in Christ alone by distorting the gospel, twisting of its truth and content, to give it more of a man-centeredness rather than a God-centeredness. It subtly moves the inquirer away from Christ alone, grace alone, and faith alone. It is not in the church, nor our baptism, nor our own works of righteousness. It is not Christ plus something else that saves you, as some would teach. It is not Christ plus your merits, nor Christ plus your penance, nor Christ plus your service nor Christ plus the Church that saves you. If you are trusting in Christ plus anything, then you have missed the gospel.
You have invested your eternity upon that which cannot save, for as soon as you add anything to the sufficiency of Jesus Christ alone and faith in Him for your salvation, you have embraced a false gospel. My beloved, the emphasis of the gospel is never upon what we do, but upon what Jesus Christ has done on our behalf. The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ died on behalf of sinners. His death was substitutionary and atoned for our sins. His death satisfied the justice of God so that we can be justly declared righteous in His sight. Christ’s resurrection confirmed that the penalty due to each of us for our sin was sufficiently paid and that now this resurrection power operates in us who believe, bringing us to life eternal through Jesus Christ.
Could you improve on a masterpiece? Imagine that you’re walking through the museum in Paris, and as you approach the Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci, would you think about taking a palette and brushes and touching up the painting? Maybe putting some more color in her cheeks or perhaps changing her nose just a little? “Why, that’s ridiculous!” you say. Over 500 years the Mona Lisa has been considered one of the greatest artistic works of all time. How absurd to think we could add anything to this masterpiece!
Yet, that’s what many people try to do with God’s masterpiece of salvation through Jesus Christ. They think they must improve on it with some work of their own. But that masterpiece was completed when Jesus said; “It is finished,” while hanging on the cross. Then He proved that His work of redemption was done when He rose from the dead. So, when you hear that Jesus paid the price for your sin and that you don’t have to do anything to merit God’s grace, do you think?
(1) Its too good to be true?
(2) There’s something I must do to earn it?
(3) We can do nothing to earn our salvation, because we are saved by grace and by grace alone.
(4) Our redemption is a gift from God. However, our part is to acknowledge our sinfulness and inability to save ourselves, by putting our trust in Jesus, believing that He died on the cross for our sins. God has provided salvation for you, that’s His part, receiving it by faith, that’s ours.
(5) The question that remains, “Have you done your part in accepting His gift of redemption?”
(6) If so, Praise the LORD, but if not, I would urge you to trust Him today, this very hour, because the next hour may be too late for we don’t know when death will knock at the heart of our door!
The God of all Grace makes Saints out of the worst of sinners.