Our scripture this morning is Romans 3:25-28.
For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.
Paul tells us often about sin and that Jesus is the only cure. Here he explains the difference between the law and faith in Jesus. While obeying the law can keep us from harming one another and ourselves, it does nothing to encourage our relationship with God through faith.
He speaks of God’s righteousness and that our belief in Jesus is what justifies us with Him. We are made right with God only through faith, and by His grace we are called to share that faith with the world. This is where some find a disagreement between Paul and James, who tells us “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17).
I don’t think they disagree at all. Paul speaks of faith as the fuel for our discipleship while James speaks of the action that follows. Both say one without the other is useless. It’s as if we tried to separate the Great Commandment into just “love God” or “love one another” – it can’t be done! We must have faith and do what Jesus taught in order to be saved.
Loving Lord, we are sorry when we fail to understand Your will for us. Help us to be faithful and active in the body of Christ, sharing the love You first gave us with all the world. Amen.