The Bible teaches that a believer receives justification through faith in Christ. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 also Acts 16:30-31; John 5:24). By faith the believer simply accepts God’s free gift of salvation that was offered by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross (John 3:16). But what does faith imply?
Relationship with God
Justification is not mere impersonal modification of a man’s legal status before God. Faith in Christ means having a personal relationship with Him. Jesus explained, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” (John 15:4). To abide in Christ means that the believer must be in a daily communion with Him and must live His life (Galatians 2:20). This process happens through the study of God’s Word (Psalm 119:11; 2 Timothy 3:16-17) and prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Gratefulness to the Savoir
Also, faith implies an attitude of love and gratefulness toward the Redeemer in reply to His infinite love. So, let us praise God for his glorious grace, for the free gift He gave us through His dear Son! (Ephesians 1:6). Isaiah wrote, “I will tell of the LORD’s unfailing love; I praise him for all he has done for us. He has richly blessed the people of Israel because of his mercy and constant love” (Isaiah 63:7).
A willingness to surrender to the Creator
Faith is built on a deep appreciation of Jesus for all that He is, with an honest willingness to know Him more and submit to Him. It means a simple trust in the Savior, readiness to take Him completely at His word, and follow His directions wherever He may lead.
Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25).
A desire to reflect God’s character
God is not interested only in forgiving our past sins. He is mainly interested in restoring us to His holy image (Genesis 1:27). And restoration can be achieved only through faith in Jesus Christ. “And the God of all grace… will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10). Therefore, justification cannot be separated from the transforming experiences of the New birth and the succeeding growth in sanctification.
Justification leads to obedience
Finally, the justification in Ephesians 2:8,9 should not be interpreted to mean that a person who has been justified is thus freed from obeying the law or from doing good deeds. The faith by which he has been justified will surely manifest itself in obedience to God. Jesus said, “If you love me keep my commandments” (John 14:15). And Paul repeatedly stressed the importance of good works in the life of the believer (1 Timothy 5:10; 6:18; 2 Timothy 3:17; Titus 2:7, 14; 3:8; etc.). But he made it similarly clear that these good deeds do not earn justification (Romans 4:2, 6; 9:32; 11:6; Galatians 2:16; 3:2, 5, 10; Ephesians 2:9; 2 Timothy 1:9). They are simply the fruit of it.
In His service,
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