Salvation is not a thing which we earn by our own good works, but rather it is a free gift from our Father in heaven, through Jesus Christ . . . . and the works of righteousness are but the fruits of the indwelling of His promised Holy Spirit . . .
And this greatest of gifts is given us through faith that He will fulfill that which He has promised !
“For it is God Who works in you, both to will, and to do of His good pleasure . . . !” “For Thou also hast wrought all our works in us . . . O LORD our God !” Philippians 2:13 & Isaiah 26:12
This is the only way that anybody in this world can ever become righteous. First admit that he is ungodly, then believe that God justifies, and counts as righteous, the ungodly, and he is righteous with the very righteousness of God.
Everybody in the world is ungodly. “Ungodly” means “unlike God.” And it is written, “All have sinned and come short of the glory [the goodness, the character] of God.” Anybody, therefore, who will admit that he ever came short of being like God in anything, in that confesses that he is ungodly !
But the Truth is that everybody, in everything, has come short of being like God. For “they are all gone out of the Way (path of righteousness), they are all together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Rom. 3:9-18. Then, as there is not one on earth who is not ungodly, and as God justifies the ungodly, this on God’s part makes justification — righteousness, Salvation –full, free, and sure to every soul on earth !
“For I that speak in righteousness, Am mighty to save . . . !” Isaiah 63:1
And all that anybody needs to do to make it all sure to himself on his own part, is to accept it (by faith) –to believe that God does justify, personally and individually, him who is ungodly. Thus, strange as it may sound to many, the only qualification, and the only preparation, for justification is for a person to acknowledge that he is ungodly. Then, having such qualification, having made such preparation, all that is required of him to obtain justification, full, free, and sure, is to believe that God justifies him, the ungodly one !
“Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth . . . . for I Am God (Elohim – the Mighty One), and there is none else. I have sworn by Myself (Hebrews 6:13, Genesis 22:13-17), the Word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness . . . and It shall not return unto Me void !
Surely shall one say . . . In the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to Him shall all men come; and all that are incensed against Him shall be ashamed . . . For in the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory . . . !” Isaiah 45:22-25 & ref: Isaiah 55:8-11
“And this is His name whereby He shall be called . . . . THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS !” Jeremiah 23:5-6
It is quite easy for many to believe that they are ungodly and even to acknowledge it, but for them to believe that God justifies them –that is too much! And the sole reason why they cannot believe that God justifies them, is that they are ungodly . . . so ungodly !
But “this is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save (deliver, rescue, set free, heal) sinners; of whom I am chief . . .” I Timothy 1:15
“For when we were yet without strength, in due (the fullness of) time Christ died for the ungodly . . . And God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us . . . !” Romans 5:6-8
If only they could find some good in themselves or if only they could straighten up and do better, they might have some courage to hope that God would justify them (declare them righteous). Yes, they would justify themselves by works and then profess to believe in justification by faith !
But that would be only to take away all ground for justification, for if a man can find good in himself, then he has it already, and does not need it (righteousness) from anywhere else. If he can straighten up and do better of (by) himself, he does not need any justification from anywhere else.
It is, therefore, a contradiction in terms to say that I am so ungodly that I do not see how the LORD can justify me. For if I am not ungodly, I do not need to be made righteous; I am righteous. There is no half-way ground between godliness and ungodliness.
But when a person sees himself so ungodly as to find there no possible ground of hope for justification, it is just there that faith comes in; indeed, it is only there that faith can possibly come in. For faith is dependence on the Word of God only. So long as there is any dependence on himself, so long as there is any conceivable ground of hope for any dependence upon anything in or about himself, there can be no faith, so long there is no place for faith, since faith is dependence on “the Word only !”
But when every conceivable ground of hope of any dependence on anything in or about himself is gone and is acknowledged to be gone; when everything that can be seen is against any hope of justification, then it is that, throwing himself on the Promise of God, upon the Word only, hoping against hope, faith enters and by faith he finds justification full and free, all ungodly though he be !
Note: It is here that the thief on the cross found the assurance of his Salvation. Knowing that there was in him no hope of ever redeeming himself, nor if he were to escape the cross, could he ever do any good thing, by which to merit the mercy and love of a Holy God; it was here that he threw himself, wretched as he was upon the LORD’s promised Word . . . !
“For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed (put to shame) !” Romans 10:9-13
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Adoni Yehushua ha Moshiac), and thou shalt be saved, and thy house !” Acts 16:31
For forever it stands written, “To him that worketh not but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ.” “Whom God hath set forth . . . to declare His righteousness for the remission (freedom, pardon, deliverance, liberty, and forgiveness) of sins that are past.” Romans 3:25.
This is what it is to exercise faith. Are you exercising faith? For “understanding how to exercise faith: this is the science of the gospel.”
– Review & Herald Feb. 7, 1899