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There is no greater question in the entire world than exactly what it takes for us to be forgiven for our sin and spend eternity in Heaven. Most of us are acutely aware that we are sinners. So, how does this affect our relationship with God and our eternal destiny? How much of our ultimate salvation depends on our ability to obey God’s law and how much of it depends on faith? What part do our works or actions play in the grand scheme of things?
Drawing from the Scriptures themselves, as well as the thinking of such great theological minds as Martin Luther and John Calvin, this interactive Bible study brings the powerful truths of God’s Word to bear on these important questions. The subject is given thorough consideration from several angles, illustrated in language engaging enough to keep the interest of seasoned students of the Word, yet simple enough for those who have never cracked a Bible to follow.
We are justified through faith. Most Christians of any stripe would agree with that statement. But to what extent does our faith justify us and how do our works factor into the equation? That’s where the rubber meets the road, and where Christians don’t always see eye to eye.
The Jewish people historically have believed that justification comes from obeying the Law of God as given to Moses. But 430 years before the Law of Moses was given, God had made the promise of justification by faith to Abraham and his seed. The “seed” referred to was the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, who would come to fulfill not only the Law, but also the promise of justification by faith.
In the Scripture verses studied, the Apostle Paul makes the case that God’s promise was never made null and void by the addition of the Law. The Law, in fact, was added to make us realize that we are in bondage and in need of the justification which had already been promised in God’s covenant with Abraham. God had promised that all nations would be blessed through Abraham’s seed. That promise was fulfilled through Jesus Christ, who extends the blessing of justification to all nations.
So, what value do works have? Some believe that our works are completely useless and incapable of having any part in our justification. Others believe that, while our works in and of themselves are useless, God blesses our works when they are combined with faith, and that they become a vital part of our justification. Still others believe that we are still under compulsion to follow “moral law,” which predated God’s promise to Abraham.
Much of the concern many people have had over the years with the idea that we are justified completely by faith stems from the idea that such unlimited grace could lead to moral laxity. After all, if the only requirement is faith, why should a justified person live righteously?
These are deep, weighty issues, and worthy of careful consideration. In this study, each viewpoint is considered in light of what the word of God has to say. Your understanding of God’s grace and God’s law factor into the life of a Christian will grow as you study along, as will your understanding of how to stand completely justified by faith before a righteous God.
Justification is given as an inheritance to those who have received it by faith. Your inheritance is secure because God, who has given it as a gift, is trustworthy. The Law can’t change it. Your works (good or bad) can’t change it. Prepare to grow in your understanding of this important Biblical truth as you explore Galatians 3: 15-18 with us.