We’ve been discussing the trouble Christians have with believing they have somehow done something beyond the grace of God. Part one is here and part 2 is here.
Here is the second reason Christians need not worry…
2. The gospel. Over and over again, Scripture makes it clear that justification (God declaring us righteous) comes by faith, not works. Christ takes our sins on Himself on the cross and gives us His righteousness. If somehow salvation or damnation came by what we said or did, then the whole of Christianity would be turned on its ear and would cease to be Christianity.
So Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)
Or consider the first letter of the Apostle John, where he writes:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 (ESV)
As someone once said, “I looked up the word ‘all’ in the Greek, and it means…all.” He cleanses us from ALL unrighteousness. And then finally…
3. The example of the Apostle Paul. Look at his autobiographical story in 1 Timothy chapter 1:
I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.
1 Timothy 1:12-16 (ESV)
The meaning here is clear. Paul is saying that he really was the worst of sinners…a blaspheming, Jesus-hating, Christian-killing, absolutely nasty religious dude. In short, Paul was the worst man who ever lived, and yet God saved him…but with a specific purpose – to show a watching world that no one, not a single person would ever be beyond His grace. If God saved Paul, He can save you too. You must simply believe.
And that leads to the most convicting consideration of this whole matter, given by Martyn Lloyd Jones in the article to which I have referred in the previous two posts. He says that if after considering all this, you still think that you have committed the unpardonable sin, then your real problem is that you don’t believe the Word of God. And for this you should simply repent. If you have trusted in Christ alone for salvation, not in your own works of righteousness, then you are a Christian. Tell God you are sorry that you have not believed His Bible. Tell Him that you are sorry that you have not believed this statement from Jesus:
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
John 5:24 (ESV)