There is no peace without God’s pardon.
These are strong words if they are true. They are true irrespective of who says them or believes them. No one will find true peace unless God pardons his sin. Peace is not simply the absence of conflict. Peace is having a right relationship with God that is only given by God. “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)
The word that this describes and that is the cornerstone of Christianity is justification. Justification is an act of God’s free grace wherein He pardons all our sins and accepts us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us and received by faith alone. (The Westminster Shorter Catechism Question and Answer #33)
Pardon, righteousness and imputation are at the heart of what God has revealed concerning justification, being at peace with Him.
First, when God justifies a man or woman He pardons their sins. Every human being stands guilty before God. God is the supreme judge and sin is an offence against Him. Sin is lawlessness. (1 John 3:4)
The Apostle John wrote about every one of us. He wrote, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) We are all guilty. We will all face God’s judgment, from which there is no escape.
I’m sure that you’re familiar with the Biblical narrative of King David’s life, especially his great sin. David committed adultery and murder. He fully expected to receive God’s justice which would’ve been death. But, by God’s grace, David was given eyes to see God’s mercy, his only hope. David recorded his prayer in Psalm 51 in which he appealed to God’s mercy.
You may not be a murderer or an adulterer, but you are a sinner. You and I have no basis upon which to cry to God for fairness. Not only are we guilty before God, but we’re all born dead in sin. Like David, our lives rest solely upon the grace of God even to be able to see our sin. God, who is rich in mercy, must act for us.
The next word under review is “righteousness.” The meaning of righteous is to do what is right, to do what God requires. The apostle Paul quoted the Old Testament in his letter to the Christians in Rome and said that no one is righteous. (Romans 3:10)
This means that no one does what is right. No one does what God requires. We can only look at actions, but the apostle is considering the heart. Paul declared that no man is motivated to do what God requires from his heart.
In understanding this inclusive statement, it is necessary to see what God has said concerning the heart of “natural” man. We don’t need to move too far past the Garden of Eden to read God’s view of mankind. Genesis 6:5 states “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
In other words, the natural man is incapable of being righteous before God. But, justification is God’s act of free grace by which He pardons our sins and accepts us as righteous in His sight.
The third word, “imputation,” describes the means God uses to justify a sinner. As every professing Christian knows, justification is by faith alone!
We also know that faith is believing the truth, acknowledging it and trusting in it. We also know that the truth is a person Jesus Christ the only son of God. God does not ignore the sins of the faithful. He covers those whom He justifies with the perfect righteousness of Christ. He has declared that He does this only by faith. Note that faith is a gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8) Since the faith that we profess is God’s gift by which He declares us right with Him, we affirm that this great action of God is all grace.
No man has any room for boasting. “Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ…” (Galatians 2:16a)
There is no peace without God’s pardon.
NOW HEAR THIS: Going on a wild goose chase
In recent years I’ve written quite a bit about the introduction and negative consequences of non-native or invasive species. Fire ants, killer bees, English sparrows, Asian carp, feral hogs and others too numerous to list have forever changed our local ecosystem.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: TV offers
Have you seen those TV offers where they give a price for one product and then offer a second like items for-free? All you have to do is pay a separate shipping and handling charge for the “free” items.
NOTES FROM THE JOURNEY: What’s in a name?
Names are important. When my son, Rush, (who’s named after my father) and his wife, Vanessa, were expecting their third daughter, I gave up on having a male namesake and suggested, in jest, they call her “Johnnie Pauline.”
TISCIONE: The Christian and the government
The church in the Old Testament lived under a theocracy. That is, both the church and state were one. God anointed kings. Civil laws and religious laws were one and the same.
NOW HEAR THIS: Getting in the chicken business
Anyone who is my age or older has heard the famous quote, “A chicken in every pot.” It is normally attributed to Herbert Hoover during his 1928 presidential bid.
VIEWPOINT: Obsessed with sports
I remember reading a synopsis of the five reasons for the “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” by Edward Gibbon in which he listed the Romans’ obsession with sports at the coliseum as a cause of the fall of the empire.
KELLY: What do you think?
On March 21, this paper published an article about a six-month drug trafficking investigation involving 12 people. On the front page was a photo of the 12 people involved. The use of drugs had made them a sorry-looking bunch. The look in their eyes was particularly disturbing.
Time to fix government
In 1965, the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, Wilbur Mills, brought legislation establishing Medicare and Medicaid to the floor of the U.S. House. That was my first year in Congress, and I remember vividly the moment when Mills came to the Democratic caucus to explain his plans.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Review of ‘Noah’
TV host Glenn Beck and other stalwarts of the Christian right have attacked the recent blockbuster “Noah” as being “pro-animal” and unfaithful to the Bible.
TISCIONE: While going, disciple!
The purpose that God has given to His people is to be holy. He has likewise given His people a mission. The mission of God’s people, the church of Jesus Christ, is as clear as His revealed purpose.
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- NOW HEAR THIS: Going on a wild goose chase