If you were forced to explain the difference between Christianity and every other religion that has ever existed, you could do so in many ways, but also with just one word, “grace.” Grace is God’s gift. Grace is undeserved. Everything good God gives us, including our very salvation, is through Jesus Christ and then given to us in grace. Grace, however, can be abused so easily.
As a Christian, there is nothing more despairing and hopeless that repetitive sin. How easy it is for doubts and confusion regarding our own salvation to begin to creep into our minds when we continue to sin over and over again. Overwhelming feelings of God’s anger and disappointment with our repeated rebellious behavior can crush us so completely we eventually do not want to come to him at all.
Martin Loyd Jones said, “Sanctification proceeds as we are led by the Holy Spirit to draw deductions from the doctrine of justification. Do you long to be holy? Do you long to have victory over sin in your mortal body? How can you do so? First, understand the doctrine. You cannot ‘work out your salvation with fear and trembling’ (Philippians 2:12-13) if we are unclear about the doctrine of salvation.”
If God creates us into new creations once we put our faith in Jesus Christ, why do we still sin? And if God’s grace is endless, why does it matter if we sin. As we look at Romans 6:14, we will see that “sanctification” is the answer to our questions.
In the Bible, “The heart” is a phrase used in many ways. But to boil it down really quick, according to the Bible, your heart is the deepest, truest you. Therefore when Jesus said that out of the heart comes evil actions (Matthew 15:18-19), he was saying who we are determines what we do.
What Is Justification? What Has Gone Done to Us Through Christ?
A man was summoned to court because he had neglected to pay his taxes for many years. He now owed such an immense debt, he could never pay it back. Just as the judge was about to throw the man into prison, an unexpected turn of events happened.
When I was 19-years-old, a deep fear came over me that I might waste my life. I had just spent the last four years of high school goofing off, living wild, partying with friends, and basically ignoring God. In our senior class yearbook, I was voted with the best laugh. That was my legacy thus far. Thankfully, however, God was not laughing with me or ignoring me.
Imagine you woke up one morning and you were in the middle of the ocean on ship with other crew members. No one knows how you all got there. No one knows what you all are supposed to be doing. You are all just there . . . on ship . . . with no coordinates . . . no mission . . . in the middle of a the vast ocean.
To make matters worse, no one on the ship really knows anything about sailing, navigating, or fishing. All the equipment for survival and a successful mission are present on the ship, it’s just that no one really knows how to use any of this.
A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” So who is God and what is he really like? As we will see in this chapter, our answers to these questions will shape the way we live.
Why are there so many problems in this world? Every religion, scientist, philosopher, and politician has tried to answer this question and offer solutions. While there are massive disagreements about what is the real problem on this planet, there is little disagreement that there is a big problem. We all know things are not the way they are supposed to be, both in the whole universe and in our own lives.