RAP SHEET 9/18/22
Sermon: DECLARE IT!
Scripture: Romans 4:1-5
ICE BREAKER: If you could only take vacation in one place for the rest of your life, where would you choose?
This week, we got clear on what we mean when we say "Salvation." Often, people use "saved" and "salvation" as a catch-all term that means "go to heaven." However, when you study scripture, you find that salvation is much more robust than that. This can be explained by looking at the 3 parts of Salvation:
JUSTIFICATION - The moment of Faith where you are DECLARED Righteous forevermore.
SANCTIFICATION - The process, over time, of becoming more like Jesus.
GLORIFICATION - The rewards after this life for believing in and following Jesus.
So often, Christians get these categories confused. Most of the time this shows itself by adding the works of Sanctification to the process of Justification. It is difficult in our culture for people to truly believe that a Relationship with Jesus is a free gift. We like to feel like we have EARNED what we get!
Has it ever been difficult for you to really receive God's grace as a free gift?
Do you sometimes feel like your works are necessary to stay in relationship with Jesus?
In Romans chapter 4, Abraham is used as the example of what Justification truly means!
3 For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness.
Abraham was not Declared Righteous (in right standing with God, not guilty for his sins), because of his works, or following the law - he simply put his faith in God!
To help us understand this life-changing truth, we looked at the founding of the USA. We celebrate becoming a Brand New country on July 4th, the day we DECLARED our independence. However, we still had 7+ years of a Revolutionary War before we EARNED our independence.
Many Christians have this backwards. They believe they have to win every fight against sin and their humanity before they are Justified by God. The truth of scripture shows us that, when you put your faith in Jesus, you are DECLARED righteous. It is a moment in time that has eternal promise attached to it.
Out of the ASSURANCE of our relationship with Jesus, we pursue a life following Him. Not out of fear of losing something or being disqualified - instead, we live out of the awe that God loved us enough to give us this free gift! In other words:
We do not work FOR assurance
We work FROM assurance
Have you had a clear moment where you confessed that your faith for this life and the after-life is in the person and work of Jesus alone? If not, today could be your day of being Justified - Declared Righteous by God! When we put our faith in Jesus, his perfection is counted to our ledger and we are seen by God as righteous and pure!
If you have put your trust in Jesus, are you still living trying to earn something you already have? How can you begin to live out of the FREEDOM of true assurance that comes from understanding your Justification?
Thank God for his perfect plan of Salvation. Spend some time in awe of Jesus taking your punishment so you could be declared righteous! If you are not a believer, and are ready - pray a simple prayer acknowledging that you understand what Jesus did for you and you are ready to put your faith in Him!