No Ifs


“. . . He raised up Jesus, . . .” Acts 13:33


Paul’s sermon spans twenty five verses through which he traces the sweep of God’s saving work, beginning with Israel’s exile and deliverance, all of which takes place over a period of 450 years. Then came the judges, the prophets, the kings, on to John, then Jesus. The history is expansive, but Paul’s point is simple.

You can't justify yourself. Surrender, stop trying to be something you're not. Put away all the ways you try to convince God, yourself and others that you are deserving of love. It won’t work, you can’t pull it off. Not even by self-humiliation. Always trying to show everyone how humble and selfless you are, always confessing you're a no good sinner. Listen up! You can’t justify yourself. 

Only God can make things right with you. Not only God can, but only God does. So stop it, cut it out already. Give up all your anxious, frantic, self-defeating attempts to prove your worth. You will only ever become right with yourself and others as you become right with God.

Being justified by faith only seems complicated because it appears too good to be true.  Justification by faith, grace as a gift means: you don't have to try to buy God’s love and acceptance because you are already loved and accepted by God – without any qualification or prerequisites. God doesn't place constraints on His love, He does not say I will love you if you are good, if you prove yourself worthy, if you behave, if you first love Me. He does not say I will love you if you have faith in Me, if you beg Me. God simply says, I love you as you are – you! Not your purity, not your positions, not your performance, not the you you pretend to be, just you. 

Justification means despite the fact that things are not right within us and in our personal relationships, God forgives and accepts us. How do we know this? Because, while we were still weak, at the right time God died for us. Christ’s love is not a reward, but a gift. 


Why is it impossible to earn the love of God?