Works Won’t Save You

Romans 3:19-26

3:19 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.

3:20 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.

3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

3:22 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:

3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

3:25 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;

3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

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Anyone that thinks they can be good enough to save themselves is wrong. The Law was given to show man that he can’t do it by himself.

Galatians

3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 3:12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

If you’re going to claim salvation by The Law, you have to live in all of it. There is no “good enough”. God sent Jesus to make a better way. However, Jesus doesn’t do away with The Law, He is part of the plan. As He tells us in Matthew…

Matthew

5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

That is, The Law and prophets will be fulfilled right down to the dot of every i, and the cross of every t.

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Even in the Old Testament, they knew they couldn’t keep The Law. In the Psalms David says…

Psalm

143:1 Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness. 143:2 And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.

In other words, please don’t judge me according to my works, but by your grace. I know I would fail a true judgment.

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Now, a fuller picture of God’s plan has been revealed in Christ, but it is still based in The Law and prophets to show the truth of it.

Galatians

3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

The Jews were given the sacrificial system. The sacrifices pointed ahead to Christ as a symbol of what He had to do.

As Jesus told two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection..

Luke     

24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

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Some say the Old Testament was to the Jews and the New Testament is to everyone else. However, the Old Testament teaches that God will save all peoples, not just the Jews.

Luke

24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

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1 John

1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This is what verse 22 meant by “there is no difference”. All are equal at the foot of the cross because we can’t do anything to raise ourselves up. Jesus has to do that work in us through the Holy Spirit.

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Justice: To get what you deserve. When standing before a perfect, sinless, Holy God, this should strike fear into our very bones.

Mercy: To not receive the punishment you are due. The sacrifices of the Old Testament pointed to Christ, but were just a way to plead for mercy.

Grace: To be given gifts that you do not deserve. Jesus came not just to save us, but to restore us to our place as sons of God and joint heirs in Jesus.

John

1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 1:15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

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Religion, any religion, won’t save you. Religion says “do”. God wants a relationship with you through Jesus. He says “I did it for you”. Our part is just to believe and accept the free gift.

Hebrews

10:8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 10:9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

That is, the Old Testament sacrifices have been done away with, because the perfect sacrifice of the New Testament has come in Jesus.

… continuing in Hebrews

10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 10:11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 10:13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 10:15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 10:18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 10:21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

All the Old Testament sacrifices were to show that we can’t live perfection in ourselves and that a sacrifice must be made. In the end, only His sacrifice is sufficient.

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Jesus is our savior. He died for us. He is our high priest.He made the sacrifice once and for all time. He is also now sitting on the Father’s right hand as the only just judge, so that none can deny they were given a fair chance. He was tempted as we are, yet without sin. Jesus tells us…

John

5:20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. 5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: 5:23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 5:25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 5:27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

The world comes down to two choices. You can choose The Way, The Truth and The Life, or you can choose something else. Jesus has already paid the price and made The Way. We judge ourselves by our choices.

May we help those around us make the right choice.

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