If you're sitting here going, what's faith plus this? It's faith plus church membership. It's faith plus baptism. It's faith. No, no, no.
No, it's not. Faith alone. And again, this is not my word. This is what God's word says. Does this mean we don't ever have to do anything good?
It's not what it means. The moment you change what you believe and who you're trusting in, everything changes. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McKean. Good works are not the basis for our salvation, but they are the fruit of our salvation. Today, Pastor David encourages us to look at that fruit as we continue in the book of Romans chapter 3 with the teaching Unearned Favor.
Let's go now to David McKean. So Romans chapter 3, and let's pick it up. Verse 28 says, Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Or is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also the God of the Gentiles? Since there's one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith?
Certainly not. On the contrary, we establish the law. So when you start talking about grace, there's a belief, the theological term is antinomianism.
And that's pretty much, Hey, we're saved by grace. You can go do whatever. It doesn't matter what you do. No, no, no, that's not right. That's heresy. That's not what the Bible teaches. But once the Lord says, well, you know what? By faith, you can be forgiven.
You can have a clean slate. Then it gives you the freedom to do what's right. You're not set free to do whatever you please. You're set free to do what's right and to serve the Lord. Now you can't trust mechanical rule keeping.
If you are, you're going to come to a place where it's just, it's not going to work. And I use the word condemnation. Let me, let me explain. There's two terms, condemnation and conviction. Giving an example of condemnation. Let's, let's say you messed up this week going out on a limb here.
So part of you thought, man, I messed up. I don't want to go to church. I don't want to see this. Somebody's going to ask how my week went. That's condemnation. Condemnation pushes you away from the Lord, pushes you away from his grace, pushes you away from his mercy.
But part of you say, well, you know what? I messed up this week. I can't wait for Sunday.
I can't wait to go into church and have some worship time with God and get in the word and kind of get refocused again. That's conviction. Conviction draws you to God. Condemnation pushes you away from God.
And if the whole thing was just a legal structure and you stand condemned, guess what? You're going to run from God. But the moment you begin to understand that through grace, when you mess up, you can run to God.
Well, friend, that changes everything. In reality, you know, it's kind of interesting when we mess up, we're going to run. Yeah. You're going to run. When you mess up that that, you know, we've, we've got, it's interesting, some animals, their first instinct is to flee, you know, like a horse or deer or they don't, you know, they hear a noise, they run, they're going to run away.
And then they'll look back and go, what was that? And, you know, especially if you ride horses, you got to get used to it because every time you go past a mud puddle, they think there's a monster going to jump up and get them. And yeah, you got to get, I'm running, got to get used to that. We have that same tendency to run. The question is, friend, are you going to run to God?
Are you going to run from him? Grace makes it possible to run to him. And that, that changes everything. Then you want to begin living for the Lord because you can throw off this yoke of condemnation. That's what Paul's talking about later in book of Romans chapter eight, verse one, awesome verse, beautiful verse. There's therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ, Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the spirit, again, we'll go into the new living translation for that too.
It says, so now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ, Jesus, no condemnation. This is so awesome. If you walked in here this morning with a bunch of guilt and a shame over stuff that's happened, you don't have to walk out like that. The end of the service, you can come up here, you can dump it and let go of it. As a matter of fact, you weren't built to carry that. And if you continue to carry it, it will crush you no more than you could go out and start carrying vehicles out in our parking lot around. That's not going to work.
Well, it's not going to work. You carrying your guilt and shame. That's what Jesus was talking about. When he said, come to me, all you are burdened and heavy laden. He didn't say, Hey, you know what? Go get rid of your burden. Don't be so heavy laden. And then you can come to me.
That's not what he said. Come to him as you are, come to him with whatever's going on in your life. And then God will forgive you. Why? To reward you for good deeds. No, no, because you changed the way you believe. Now this is so, so important of a faith foundation because we've changed this.
And I hear this sometimes and people, you know, they say, well, what about this? What about that? What about repentance? We've changed the definition of repentance. Now a lot of people define repentance as good behavior. Originally, that was not what repentance meant in the Bible, not biblically literally in the Greek. It means to change your mind, change what you believe.
Let me ask you a question. How long does it take to change what you believe someone in your past? There's probably a moment in time, maybe involving, you know, a girl or a boy or whatever that you just knew, you know, that they were the one or whatever you just, you just, you believe that you trusted that you had faith in it. And then in a moment's notice, what you believed changed and then everything else followed. Same thing with Jesus. You come to Jesus and, and you change what you believe.
You change the way you think about the Lord. And here, Paul's trying to dismantle the one thing that keeps you from accepting the gracious gift of salvation from God is thinking you can earn it. Cause as long as you think you can earn it, guess what you're going to try to do. You're going to try to earn it.
The moment you come to the place, you go, you know what? I can't earn it. I stand condemned. Is there another way? And Jesus says, absolutely. There's another way.
As a matter of fact, there's only one way. It's not through your works. This is important to understand because how, what you base your relationship with the Lord on reveals what kind of Christian life you're going to have. If you base it upon works, you're going to be miserable. I've met people who are trying to base their relationship on God and works, and they're just, they they're just miserable. They're angry. They're bitter. They've been, they act like they've been like baptized in vinegar and pickled or something. They're just, and they're harsh and they're hateful.
Why? Because they're going through not because they're going through life with this frustration of trying to earn the righteousness of God. When he plainly says that it's not going to happen. And the moment you give up and say, you know what?
If I can't do it, what do I do? God says, I'll bestow my righteousness upon you. So you have to scripturally, you have to answer this question. Is it behaving or is it believing? Is it behaving or believing? According to this book, it's believing.
Now let's be sure we're clear. Believing leads to a change in behavior. It leads to a change in behavior, but God, Jesus never said, Hey, get all your problems worked out.
And then you can come to me. No, he said he came to seek and save that which was lost. And it's kind of weird how we've adopted this in churches. It's like, you know, some people have the thought, the process that, Hey, you know, the churches go, that's where you go when you got it all figured out.
No, it's not. It's where you go when you're the most messed up you've ever been in your life to get the answers, to receive forgiveness. It's the place you run to when you mess up, not the place you run from behaving or believing next life lesson. God's grace sets us free to do what's right and to do God's work. Friend, if you stood condemned by your past sins, what can you do for the kingdom of God?
Nothing. You stand condemned. You stand guilty, but God doesn't want you to live there and stay there. So let me give you your grace. Let me set you free to worship me, to love me, to love other people, to be motivated in the good things you do, not by trying to earn righteousness, but be motivated by love. Paul points it out.
In first Corinthians, he says, you know what? If you do this and you do that, and you do that, and you give your body to be burned and you're not motivated by love, it's nothing. What an astounding statement.
What a strong statement. How are you motivated by love? What love are you motivated?
Love for God because of his love for you. That's how you rise above these things. Because when you understand God is willing to forgive you of all these other things we've talked about, there's something that happens in your heart. You go, God, I can't believe you're willing to forgive me.
Lord, I want to serve you. I want to start letting go of these things that are holding me back. And then you begin to be an overcomer in these areas. But God doesn't say be an overcomer and come to me. He said, come to me and I'll make you an overcomer.
In this passage in Romans chapter eight, verse 37 says, yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Thank you for listening to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. We'll return to David's teaching in just a moment. The tragedy in Benghazi, the bombings in Boston, and the current unrest in Egypt are all vivid accounts of terrorism. Each time an event like this occurs, it often causes us to respond with fear. But it doesn't have to because God knows your future and you can too. With David McGee's teaching entitled, Know Your Future, Be Immune to Terrorism, you'll come to understand the realities of radical Islam while rejoicing in God's promises for your future.
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To help support Cross the Bridge and receive your CD or DVD copy of Know Your Future, call 877-458-5508 or go online to crossthebridge.com. And now let's return to Pastor David's verse by verse teaching in the book of Romans. Chapter 4 verse 1 says, what then shall we say that Abraham our father has found a according to the flesh? In other words, what has he found? In his journey of faith, what has he discovered? Has he discovered it's through human efforts that he's able to achieve perfection or has he found that it's through faith? I could ask that question of each person in here. Have you found that through good works you can achieve perfection? I think if you're sitting in here and you're being honest or you're listening and you're being honest, you have to say no. I've tried to achieve perfection through good works.
I can't get there. Friend, that's not just you. That's me.
That's everybody else. That's what this passage is talking about. Even Abraham was dependent upon God and His grace. Now, again, that verse 31, is it saying, okay, so, you know, there's grace, so let's all do away with anything God has to say in the law.
That's not what it's saying. The law and grace are partners, if you will, because if it wasn't for the law, you wouldn't know that you needed grace. Again, we're talking about this term justification, being justified.
And, again, reminding you justification is a legal term meaning just as if I never did it, just as if I never did it. Friend, it's not just a question of God covering your sins. He removes your sins as far as the east is from the west. Now, you go out on a clear day somewhere like Montana or somewhere where you can see the horizon on both sides, and God's saying that's how far I've removed you from your sins.
I struggled with this as a young believer. I had things that I said, okay, God, I accept you forgave me of this and this and that, but there were some incidences in my life that were bad. And I kept going to God, going, God, please forgive me of this every day. God, please forgive me of this.
God, please forgive me of this. I didn't understand every time I brought that to Him. He's like, what?
He didn't see anything. But as I did this day after day, finally in that still small voice to the Lord, four simple words, was it not enough? I said, Lord, I don't understand.
What do you mean, was it not enough? He said, was it not enough for you that I bled and I was crucified and I was beaten and I hung on a cross for your sins? And now in the way that you're praying for forgiveness, you're saying, well, God, I accept your forgiveness for this group of sins, but I won't accept it for this sin. Was my death on the cross not enough to cover this sin as well?
It broke my heart. So Lord, I'm so sorry. I accept your forgiveness for all I've done. And I know now truly that you've forgiven me of all these things. And when we started talking about this, there is, you know, being saved by justification only through faith. Sola Fidelis was one of the things that came out of the reformation only by faith, not by works, only by faith.
Faith does lead to works, but only by faith, justification by faith. And you hear that and you go, that's just crazy talk. That's crazy talk. Everybody's going to, they going to go out after and they're going to start going crazy. Cause you, you just told them that they're not going to earn salvation, can't earn salvation.
Everybody's just going, Oh man, don't do that. When you realize how much God loves you in order to make this offer to you, something changes. Something changes. Good verse two. For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. If Abraham himself had earned it, he could brag about it.
Now this, this kind of knocks a misconception. There's a lot of us think, okay, in the new Testament, you get saved by grace and by faith. So, but in old Testament, you got saved by works. No, you didn't. You got saved by grace. You got saved by faith. Well, Jesus hadn't died yet.
Think of it this way. They kind of had, if you will, grace on credit. In other words, they believed in God. They had faith in God. Abraham had faith in God.
He hadn't yet seen the day of Jesus had, couldn't receive the full forgiveness of his sins yet, but had faith and receive forgiveness. Jesus Christ died 2000 years ago. We get to go back in time. If you will. The cross transcends time.
God's outside of time and matter and space. So we can go back and have our sins forgiven. Abraham could go forward and have his sins forgiven. If you will enjoy the benefits before the payment. If you're living in a house, you certainly understand that concept because you probably don't own that house.
If you do, God bless you, but you're enjoying the benefits of the house without completely paying for it. Same sort of concept with Abraham, but they started attaching what's faith plus this it's faith plus circumcision. It's faith plus good works. It's faith plus. It's not faith plus anything folks.
That's what Paul's saying here. And if you're sitting here going, what's faith plus this it's faith plus church membership. It's faith plus baptism. It's faith.
No, no, no, no. It's not faith alone because once you start making that list, that list just grows and grows and grows and grows. And again, this is not my word. This is what God's word says. Now, does this mean we don't ever have to do anything good? It's not what it means. The moment you change what you believe and who you're trusting in everything changes your heart, your mind begins to change.
Your behavior over time begins to change the next lifeless and hopefully it will help. Good works are not the basis for salvation, but are the fruit of salvation. So once you come to the Lord and you receive forgiveness, then your behavior begins to change.
Then you have this desire to go to church and do these other things, but that's not your basis for salvation. Verse three, for what does the scripture say? Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Abraham had good works.
He, he, he left her. He left his family, left his place because God told him to go to this other place. That was a good work, but he did that on faith. He believed God that God was going to give him a son. Talk about this more next week when he was a hundred years old and his wife was 90. That's faith friends.
We'll talk more about that next week. He, he, after he had a son, he was willing to take him and sacrifice him, having faith in God that God would resurrect him. That's faith. If it was good works, he didn't go through with the sacrifice. It was a failure. It wasn't a test of works. It was a test of faith. And he passed with flying colors.
Why? Cause he was simply willing to believe. There's a beautiful picture. This verse is taken from a Genesis chapter 15, verse six is a direct quote. And in that verse it says, and he believed in the Lord and he accounted it to him for righteousness.
He was credited. In other words, imagine if you will. And we've all seen, I don't know if you've ever seen those tracks or they're saying, you know, where, where you get to heaven, they watch a movie of your life. Everything you've ever done wrong. That's a nightmare in it. Imagine I'm not just talking about the things that other people know you've done everything you've ever done wrong.
Imagine being in front of God. And he has it on a list. He has it on a list, everything you've ever done wrong.
Since you were a little things you did to your brother, your sister, your mom, your dad, your cousins, your aunt, your uncle, everything. And he's looking at this list. How are you feeling at that moment?
Probably pretty overwhelmed, but then God turns to you and he goes, you know what? I only see one word written here. It's Jesus.
I don't see all these other things. When it says, and he talking about Adam Abraham, and he believed in the Lord, the word there, and you speak Hebrew, whether you know it or not, the word there in the Hebrew for believed is a man or a mom. When you say, amen, what you're meaning is. So be it. You're agreeing with the prayer. So be it. In other words, God said to Abraham, Abraham, this is the way it's going to be. And he said, so be it.
Do you understand? This is your part in the whole salvation process. Jesus says, I died for you. And your part is so be it. I accept that. She says, I'm willing to forgive you of all your sins. So be it. I accept your forgiveness of your sins. God says, this is the deal. This is forgiveness. This is grace. This is mercy.
I'm willing to give you all these things. And your part is amen. Amen. So be it.
So be it. This is the reason they call it the good news in it. It's not, Hey, come on now. Try harder, run faster, jump higher. It's not, Hey, you know, well, you know, you jumped two feet high.
You got a clear six feet before you get in. It's just agree with what God has said. Perhaps change your mind.
If you're thinking you can earn it, change your mind this morning and say, no, no, I can't earn it. I accept it. And all that is yours.
It's amazing thing. Oh, but you know, even on the belief thing, you know, we attach, we get, we're getting religious about that way. You got to believe without a doubt. I've already shared openly to you that when I came to the Lord, the first time I was filled with doubts, not, not doubts about God necessarily. Well, maybe doubts about God's ability to forgive me, to be honest, but he still accepted me. And let's be honest. If it, if it took coming to the Lord without a doubt, nobody on the face of this planet could have ever gotten saved because every one of us, when we came to him, we're like, man, I hope this was true.
I hope this really is the deal. And as we realized it was, we were amazed. It's like the man, he, he, his son had some health issues and Jesus said, Hey, nothing is impossible for those that believe in the man. And I love this verse. He says, you know what? I do believe, help my doubt, help my doubt.
So you can come to the Lord with your doubt, but also come to him with your belief say, Lord, I do believe you. And then everything changes. It's like a story. I heard this guy had a wife and had a son and was a lover of art and collected art. He'd done really well in business and collected masterpieces, Rembrandts and Picassos.
Yeah. He would sit with his son and look at these things. Well, his wife passed away. So the times where the son got even more precious as they would look at the masterpieces and talk about the shading and the light and the different things, you know, well, a war came and the son decided he wanted to fight for his country.
And not only did he fight, but he died. Father was devastated. He still spent a lot of time and remembering the times with his son and a couple of weeks after son passed, somebody came by and said, you know, I was a friend of your son and I'm not an artist, but he really enjoyed art. And I drew something that he liked and I thought you might want to have it. And the guy had drawn a portrait of the man's son. And the man said, this is, this is a treasure.
He paid the man handsomely for it. He removed something else from off of the fireplace and put this humble, but accurate portrait of his son up there and would spend hours looking at it. Years later with no wife, no offspring, the man passed away and the art world was abuzz because all these masterpieces were going to be up for auction. So all these art people from all over the world come to the auction. The guy opens up with this portrait of the son. Art guys are like, Oh man, come on, let's get to the masterpieces.
Let's get to the good stuff. And guy says, no, there's an order to the auction. And he says, what am I bid for the portrait of the sun? And I bid $500. Nobody said anything. So my bid $400. Nobody said anything. So I hear $300.
Nobody said anything. He said, do I hear $200? A gardener had been a friend of the family.
Loved the father, loved the son. He said, I'll give you two. I don't have a lot of money, but I'll give you $200 because you know what?
I love that boy. And it looks just like him. And yeah, I want that for $200. Man said $200 going once, going twice, sold for $200. And he brought his gavel down. He said, the auction's over. And the art people said, well, no, you've got all these Rembrandts and Picassos. That's that's why we came here.
He said, no, they actually were the silent claws in the man's will. That the portrait of the son would be the first thing up for auction. And whoever got the son got everything.
Got all the other masterpieces, got the houses, got the grounds, got everything. Friend, whoever gets Jesus gets it all. You get everything. You get forgiveness. You get joy.
You get a relationship with the Lord. And God doesn't say, hey, come to me with this death grip. He said, you know what?
If you got a weak grip, it doesn't matter. Just reach up for me. He doesn't say come and get everything worked out and then come to me. He says, come. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short, simple prayer, simply telling God you're sorry and asking him to help you to live for him. Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me, that I could be forgiven. And I believe you were raised from the dead, that I could have a new life. And I've done wrong things. I have sinned.
And I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things. Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus' name.
Amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again. Jesus said he would not turn anybody away who comes to him.
And he came for those people who knew they needed forgiveness, those who were sick, not the righteous. So congratulations, friend. You just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If this was your first time praying that prayer with Pastor David, we would love to hear from you. You can call us toll free at 877-458-50508 to receive our First Steps package with helpful resources to help you begin your walk with Christ. Also, if you've been blessed by Cross the Bridge Ministries, would you consider supporting us with a financial gift? When you call with your gift, make sure to ask them about this month's special offer entitled Know Your Future, Be Immune to Terrorism.
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That's 877-458-5508. Or go online to crossthebridge.com. While there, take a moment to sign up for David's free email devotional or browse our large library of teachings. Again, our website is crossthebridge.com. Thank you for listening, and we hope you'll join us again next time as we continue to cross the bridge.
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