“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Gal 2:21 NIV
Earning your way to heaven by doing good deeds and obeying rules is a popular idea of what the Christian religion is. But it is wrong. To be accepted by God you have to be “justified” (or treated as righteous) because of what Christ has done on the cross and your faith in Christ’s grace. This is sometimes referred to as “Justification by grace” or “Justification by faith”.
“The two foundation planks of the Christian religion are the grace of God and the death of Christ. The Christian gospel is the gospel of the grace of God. The Christian faith is the faith of Christ crucified. So if anybody insists that justification is by works, and that he can earn his salvation by his own efforts, he is undermining the foundations of the Christian religion. He is nullifying the grace of God (because if salvation is by works it is not by grace) and he is making Christ’s death superfluous (because if salvation is our own work then Christ’s work was unnecessary).
Yet there are large numbers of people who ... are making these very mistakes. They are seeking to commend themselves to God by their own works. They think it noble to try to win their way to God and to heaven. But it is not noble; it is dreadfully ignoble. For, in effect, it is to deny both the nature of God and the mission of Christ. It is to refuse to let God be gracious. It is to tell Christ that he need not have bothered to die” (J. Stott, The Message of Galatians p66).
Are you justified by faith?
Lord, thank you for accepting me through Christ.