Following Jesus 135

Following Jesus: The Progress of the Pilgrim.

How can the sinner be delivered from his great and heavy burden? God has wisely stated in I Corinthians 1:18 that deliverance is found in the message or the Word of the Cross. What exactly is this Word of the Cross? This is what the Apostle Paul says in Romans 3:21-26. 

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26 ESV)

To begin, the deliverance the sinner experiences from his great and heavy burden caused by his sin is a deliverance apart from human works. Vs. 21a. “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law.”

Secondly, this deliverance has been planned by God. Vs. 21b. “…although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God.” The Old Testament provides truthful information concerning the righteousness of God in saving sinners. See Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:25-27; Ezekiel 37). 

The righteousness of God not only refers to God’s inherent holiness and perfection, but also to the truth of God placing sinners into a right relationship with Him. This righteousness belongs to God and comes from God. 

Thirdly, this deliverance occurs solely by faith in Jesus Christ. Vs. 22-23. “…through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 

Faith is never the basis for the sinner’s release from their great burden, but it is the instrumental means. Faith is trust, commitment, dependence and worship of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Jesus Christ is the object of the believer’s faith. 

This deliverance is for all who believe. The hope for deliverance is extended for all kinds and types of people: rich, poor; young, old; male, female. There is no distinction. This includes the Jews and the Gentiles. The division which once existed between these two people groups is rendered non-existent. See Romans 1: 16-17. 

Why is there no distinction? This is due to the fact that all types of people, people of every rank, station and nationality have deliberately sinned. They have acted in willful disobedience against God. 

Additionally, sinners fall short of the glory of God. Sinners by nature lack the splendor, greatness and righteousness which God by His nature possesses.

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