By Tim Frank
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Carthage
Focal Passage: Romans 3:20-28
When I was 10 years old, my family went to Panama City for a week at the beach. On one particular day, I was playing in the surf and got caught in a riptide. Very quickly I was being pulled out to sea and began to panic. I remember a man rushing into the water and bringing me back to safety. I have always looked upon that event as a time I was physically rescued from harm, saved from drowning.
The Bible lesson for today explores the need in every person’s life to be spiritually rescued, to be saved. The reason for salvation: Salvation is needed in every person’s life because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). This sin separates each person from God and brings condemnation, death, and judgment.
Romans 6:23 says the “wages of sin is death.” Something must be done, but the Scriptures are clear; the person cannot save himself. It is not a matter of starting good things or stopping bad things. God’s Word gives the knowledge of our sin, but our goodness cannot save us (Romans 3:20). We are drowning, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
The remedy of salvation: The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that He dove into our world, paid the price of sin with His life and saves those who will believe in Him. The righteousness of God which forgives our sin and restores our life is through faith in Jesus Christ.
There is no difference between the religious person who tries to do the best he can and the pagan person who has no place for God or religion. They each need the forgiveness of sin. They each need the righteousness of God. They each need the salvation Jesus gives. They each must believe and trust in Jesus through faith to be saved. The good neighbor and the debased reprobate are the same before God, sinners in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
The result of salvation: The amazing grace of God is offered freely to all who will believe in Jesus Christ. As a person turns to Jesus in belief and repentance, a miraculous transformation occurs. He is justified before God, made “just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned.”
The sin that separated him from God and brought death is completely taken away, and he receives life, eternal life! The person is also redeemed in Christ Jesus. He was imprisoned by sin, condemnation, and judgment; now, through the grace of Jesus, he is set free. Romans 3:26 states that the person who trusts in Jesus through faith is declared righteous by God! Jesus took upon Himself our sin in His death on the cross, and He gives to us His righteousness as we place our faith in Him (II Corinthians 5:21). He saves us from our sins and the resulting judgment of those sins.
Romans 3:27-28 makes it clear that salvation is not by our own doing. There is nothing a sinner can do to become saved apart from faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Church attendance, giving, kindness to others, helping people in need, and other activities are good and proper, but they will never bring salvation. You may hear someone say, “If anyone will be in heaven, he will,” followed by a list of good deeds and church faithfulness. That statement is an absolute lie. Regardless of how good we feel a person is, he will not be saved because of his goodness. The only way a person will be saved and spend eternity in heaven is through faith in Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ. B&R