I want to talk about why we need to have faith in Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus means that we can trust that when He saves us, He saves us for all time. We can believe with our whole hearts that Jesus has our best interests in His heart. But why do we need to believe in Jesus Christ, and why do I need Him in my life? Galatians 3:23-24 says that, "Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. (24)So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith."
Only By Faith Can I Be Justified In God's Eyes
Justification is an act by God in which we sinners are declared free from the guilt and condemnation of our sins. We are declared "not guilty" through Jesus' death and resurrection. Before being saved, even if you do not feel the guilt and shame of your sins, they are still present in your soul. After being saved, they are removed when you confess with your mouth that you agree with God that you have committed a sin. When you ask, God will forgive you, and cleanse your soul of the stain that the guilt and shame had placed there when you sinned. This is one of the ways God frees our souls for His and our benefit.
The Scripture above tells us that "we were held prisoners by the law". What is this law? The law is the Ten Commandments. Each commandment tells us the right way to live and was created by God to protect us from ourselves, and from sinning against Him. Some people believe that the Ten Commandments should not be shown in public places because they want everything of God removed from our society today. Why is this? Is it because they don't want to be told what they can and cannot do with their own lives? Is it because they believe that Christianity is not the only way to God, and that by the showing of the Ten Commandments is an insult to those other religions that believe there are many ways to God? The answers to these questions, and more, is a resounding NO!
When those who don't know Jesus read the Ten Commandments, they are instantly convicted of their sins, even if they do not realize that it is happening. They are held prisoner by their sins until they ask God to forgive them through Jesus Christ. They feel uncomfortable about this conviction, if they are honest about it. Therefore, instead of asking for forgiveness, they bury the guilty feeling deep down inside. Instead of going to Jesus about their sins (as the Scripture above says they should do) they feel the only way to escape the uncomfortable feeling is by removing the one thing that is making them feel uncomfortable. However, what they don't realize is that the guilt and shame will eat at them like a cancer, causing them to "die" in their sins by remaining unrepentent of those sins.
The Bible calls this dying "spiritual death". Sometimes it can even cause physical death by illness: depression, alcoholism, drug addiction to name a few. The only way to find "spiritual life" is by having the faith to believe that, if you confess your sins to God, ask for His Son, Jesus, to come into your life to "save" you, and ask for His forgiveness He will do what He promised you He would do. Once you have done that, Jesus' light will shine in the darkness of your soul, cleansing you of sin and its stain, and begin the process of removing and healing every thing in your life that led you toward spiritual death in the first place. However, Jesus will need your cooperation, for He will only change what you want Him to change. He cannot change the parts of your life that you continue to hold onto. If you surrender every part of your life to Jesus, then He will begin to repair your soul and give you His great peace and joy that can only come from a relationship with Him. Surrender all things and He will change all things, giving you a freedom you once only dreamed about.
Jesus Christ's Death Brought Me Justification
"Not guilty!" are the words every criminal wants to hear from the head juror as he or she reads the verdict. If you are truly an innocent person that phrase will bring you great joy. If you are truly guilty you still would find no joy whatsoever in hearing those words.
When an innocent person is set free from the courtroom, he finds joy in knowing that the justice system does sometimes work. He can return to his home with a peace that he can honestly feel inside his heart, knowing that he did nothing wrong. He can continue enjoying the freedoms that all human beings need to feel to be secure in themselves.
When a guilty person is set free there can be no peace at all in his heart because he knows that he still committed the crime, and knows that it will, someday, catch up to him. All this person feels, even if they do not realize it, is a sense of dread, shame, and fear. From this moment on, he will continually be looking behind his back, waiting for the moment when the truth of his guilt is discovered, and he is once more facing the judge. At that time, the odds will be against him that he will be set free a second time. Until he is able to humble himself and confess that he did indeed do the crime, he will not find peace, and will never know the joys of truly being a free man.
That is exactly how those who have not put their faith in Jesus Christ go about their everday lives. They live with the same dread, guilt, and shame as the criminal described above. Every time they do something they know deep in their hearts is wrong, like stealing a pen from the office, there is always guilt and shame attached to the crime.
The Bible calls these crimes sin. As long as these sins go unconfessed, they remain a cancer of the soul until humility sets in and you find yourself desperate for a way out. That's where faith comes in.
Romans 5:18-19 says," Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. (19)For just as through disobedience of the one man many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous" (New International Version).
One man's simple act of disobedience is all it took to condemn humanity to sin, thereby making us all sinners. That one act of disobedience has caused us so much trouble that we believe there is no way out of it. All kinds of impurities run rampant in our world: sexual imorality, addictions, and pornography to name a few. Murders are increasing, as are rapes and sexual child abuse. War after war has decimated country after country, as they fight for real estate that is not even theirs. Terrorism has sent our world into a panic. All kinds of horrors fill this earth causing many to live in a constant state of anxiety, fearing for their lives. Because of one man's sin, we now live in a world of chaos that is continually getting worse.
However, one man's simple act of obedience is all it took to free humanity from the consequenses of its sinful nature. His great love for us would not let Him disobey His Father in Heaven. Where Adam disobeyed God by eating the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Jesus' death and resurrection back to life have made many righteous. Who are the righteous ones? They are those individuals who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Doing so has saved them from being over-powered by their sinful natures, thereby setting them free from condemnation forever. Where Adam made us captives to sin, Jesus freed us from our sins.
I Can Defeat Satan At Every Step
Ephesians 6:16 says, "In every battle you will need faith as your sheld to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan" (New Living Translation).
How strong is your faith? Is it strong enough to win a battle against the temptation brought on by Satan, or one of his demons? Will you be able to withstand the immense tugging of your flesh as it wants to do what Satan is telling you to do, something you know you shouldn't do, culminating into a sin? Is your flesh stronger than your faith in Jesus? If it is, you will have a very hard time overcoming the devil and his wants and desire for you. We know that God Himself has His own desires for you. But if you continually give into the tugging of your flesh to do wrong things, then God may not give you the desires He has for your life at the moment He wants to give it to you.
But where do we get the faith we need to stop the fiery arrows (temptations) that Satan has aimed at our hearts? What is this shield we need to cover our hearts so that the arrows do not penetrate them? Only the Holy Spirit can give us this saving faith and shield. On the day that you give your life to Jesus, or on the day that you gave Jesus your life, it was the Holy Spirit who gave you the faith to even see Jesus as the Messiah. When Satan throws temptation at you, all you need to do is to call upon Jesus through God's Holy Spirit. If your heart feels like it is being tugged towards Jesus, then that is the Holy Spirit giving you the faith you need to call on Jesus and to make Him Lord of your life.
Jesus Christ came to overcome the world and to defeat Satan. That makes Him the strongest man to ever walk the earth. To conquer Satan, you need to pray to Jesus to take away the temptation that is plaguing you and to strengthed you until the temptation has passed. Some temptations will be easier than others to defeat (sexual temptations are among the very hardest). But don't ever think that you can overcome the temptation all by yourself. If you do, you will fall into it every single time. Defeat can't be had without the power of Jesus in your life. Jesus is called Savior because He saves us from our bondage to sin. Jesus will continually be Savior in every aspect of our lives, as He saves us again and again, each time Satan tempts us to do wrong. Justification means "just as if I had never sinned."
Please give Jesus a chance to show you just how much He loves you and wants you free from the bondage to sin. Next time, we'll look at how faith helps us in our lives.