Preface: From childhood, Jesus was conscious that He had come to this earth to fulfill His Father’s will (Luke 2:41–50). He taught, healed, and ministered with an unwavering commitment to obey the Father. Now the time had come to walk alone, to affirm God’s will, to be betrayed and denied, to be tried and crucified, and to rise victorious over death. Throughout His life, Jesus knew about the inevitability of the cross. Many times in the Gospels, the word must is used in relationship to the sufferings and death of Jesus (Luke 17:25,22:37, 24:7, Matt. 16:21, Mark 8:31, 9:12, John 3:14). To Him, the journey to the cross was not an option. It was a “must” (Luke 24:25, 26, 46), a part of the divine “mystery . . . kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people” (Col. 1:26, NIV).
The concept of justification by faith is difficult for many people to accept. We get so caught up in keeping the old covenant that we forget who gave us the law and what exactly was intended by it. God gave us His law out of love in order to make our lives happy, not to be a burden. Why, then, has it become such a chore for many to keep God’s law? The answer is simple: God’s true character and love for people have been pushed into the background.
God’s main goal for each of us is to accept the new covenant He offers. It is a gift, and the choice is ours. We can do nothing of ourselves to be worthy of this gift. Jesus has freely provided it by dying on the cross. More than 2,000 years ago, He paved the way to justification and salvation with His blood.
Justification by faith is a beautiful truth. But how can it be part of our experience?
Realize our condition. We are all sinners (Rom. 3:23). Recognize the fact that no matter how hard we try or how good we seem to be, in Christ’s eyes our own righteousness is as filthy rags. It is human nature to have a proud spirit and to want to do things on our own, but Jesus calls us to depend on Him.
Come to Christ just as we are. This is why justification by faith is so beautiful. We don’t have to wait to come to Christ until we feel worthy of God’s love. If we did that, we’d be waiting all our lives. We have only to desire His love and accept by faith what He offers. God takes care of the rest.
Submit ourselves to Christ. This act is a daily part of our spiritual life. It is easy to let our eyes wander from Christ, as Peter’s did while he was walking on the water. And, like Peter, we fall when we start depending on ourselves rather than on Jesus. We should ask God daily to take control of our life, and have faith that He will do so.
Walk in faith. As Joshua walked in faith with his army at the battle of Jericho, so we can walk in the same faith. When God’s love becomes real to us, the attractions of this earth lose their sparkle and charm, and obeying God’s law becomes a pleasure rather than a chore. When we walk with God the desire for earthly things dies because we see clearly that the life God offers is the life of abundance.