Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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By Faith Alone 10.08.2017

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father, and from His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you now and always, Amen!

As we continue our series of the five Solas of the 1517 Protestant Reformation, having spoken on By Grace Alone last Sunday, today we focus on By Faith Alone, with by Christ Alone, By Scripture Alone and For God‚€™s Glory Alone to come in the next three Sundays.

We read from the letter of Apostle Paul to the Romans, from chapter 3, verses 10-28.

We have all sinned

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit, the poison of asps is under their lips,
14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness,
15 Their feet are swift to shed blood,
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways,
17 And the way of peace have they not known,
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

We cannot miss the word none and the word all in verses 10-12. Those words are exacting in nature and there are no loopholes for any of us to escape through by applying them to someone else. This is what the Word of God says about all humanity as a result of our fall into sin, of how we are all guilty before God.

God alone is true and we are all untrue or liars. Romans 3.4. David came to understand that after conviction for his sin came upon him after committing adultery and murder. Listen to what he says in Psalm 51, his prayer of repentance.

NLT Psalm 51:4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.

We as fallen humans live in what could be called the cult of self expression. This week I read a book by a theologian by the name of Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones who ministered in England during the 30s and 40s. He has some things to say which even though they were written 70 yrs ago, seem to fit real well today.

Concerning what he refers to as the cult of self expression, he writes,

Some freely admit that they have sinned, and offer no defence, others
dried to defend themselves by saying that the standards of religion are too high, the rules too stringent, others as a cloak for their sin, make much of how God is loving and ready to forgive, and still others talk about sin in terms of manliness and pose as those who have broken through certain shackles and restraints.

Their common wish is to be left unattacked and uncondemned and it is their expressed conviction that the view of sin which so long controlled the thought of the world, is not only inaccurate but actually perverted and that when the Bible pleads with man to refrain from certain acts for the sake of his soul, this book, the Bible, is indeed being his greatest enemy. In their view, the bible leads to self repression which they maintain is the only sin.

19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

God uses an MRI to bring us to the place of truth in our hearts before Him. An MRI only diagnoses what is wrong with us, but has no power to heal or change our health for the better. So it is with the law, for it can only reveal our sin, but has no power to transform us. So if we see that we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, what then? Is there any hope?

By Grace through Faith

21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

There is Good News in that even though there is no way possible for us to measure up to the standard of God, through Christ we fulfill the law completely. What? Even if we all have sinned and come short of His standard? Yes, for God has acted by providing a way of escape by placing our guilt on His Son and giving us all that His Son won for us through His sinless life and through His sacrificial death. Through out the years, this has been called the Great Exchange! Take a look at the diagram below in order to see how this has been done. This is also on the front of our bulletin today.

How do we receive this amazing gift? By faith or by believing God, by taking Him at His Word.

This message is about how we are connected to the work of Christ through faith alone. Next week in the message In Christ Alone, we will delve more deeply into verses 25 and 26 which speak concerning the work of atonement that Christ performed on our behalf.

Let us stay anchored in this truth, that we are recipients of the Great Exchange and that we possess eternal life now. It is transformation and not addition. Christ has taken our sin upon Himself and has given us His righteousness. There is no period of probation, for complete righteousness is ours through the merits of Christ‚€¦‚€¦

We are saved by grace through faith alone.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 08 Oct 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Cross of Christ 2.25.2018
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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*Wendy and Dan Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns