The Great Transfer
When the Bible uses the term “believe,” it doesn’t refer merely to intellectual assent. To believe is not simply to agree with certain propositions, ideas, or doctrines. To believe in a biblical sense involves a transfer of trust from ourselves to Christ. It’s as if we had all our assets stored at the Central Bank of Self, withdrew everything, and deposited it all into the Royal Bank of Christ.
Too often we hear (or perhaps even think to ourselves) sentiments like this: “I have lived a pretty good life. I’m sure that God will be gracious to me and make up for any deficit. I’ll be fine.” We are all tempted to think in one way that if we do certain things and abstain from certain others, then God will do His part. But these notions portray a sense of self-reliance, be it dressed in religious garb or not, that is unbiblical to its core.
Biblically speaking, true belief knows only reliance on and trust in Christ. This is how the apostle Paul spoke of faith time and time again. He wanted to “be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own … but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Philippians 3:9).
When the great Reformer Martin Luther finally came to understand faith as trusting in Christ alone for righteousness, he exclaimed, “Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.” Those gates open only to those who have transferred their trust to Jesus Christ. As Revelation puts it, “Blessed are those who wash their robes … that they may enter the city by the gates” (Revelation 22:14). These blessed ones haven’t cleansed themselves; they have “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (7:14, emphasis added).
God accepts into His eternal paradise those who have entrusted the entirety of their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are trusting Christ today, then you, too, have received “redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses” (Ephesians 1:7). If you have deposited all your faith and hope with Christ—in short, if you have truly believed—then the eternal dividends of everlasting life and joy await. Be sure to bank on Him, and on nothing and no one else.
The Righteousness of God Through Faith
21But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom 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. 26It 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.
27Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
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