Home > Good Hope Young Adult Ministry > Dying to Live Free: Day 5 — Don’t Behave, Believe!

Dying to Live Free: Day 5 — Don’t Behave, Believe!


Have you ever felt like God didn’t like you?  What does it take to be right in God’s eyes?  What does it take for God to smile on who you are?  What does it take to get God’s favor in our lives?  What do I have to do so that God may accept me into heaven?  These are questions that many of us think about from time to time.  Some of us are agonizing over them right now.


God helps us to understand how he can call us righteous.

Many people believe that if they do enough good works they will then be qualified to be with God.  Paul in his letter to the Romans kills that idea and says that we are not JUSTIFIED by our works, but we are JUSTIFIED by faith in Jesus’ work on the cross.  (Justification is a God’s declaration from his throne room that we are righteous.  So if God justifies you, he declares you righteous regardless of how full of wrong your life has been.)



In justifying us, God not only takes our sins and gives them to Jesus to carry.  God then takes the righteousness from Jesus and gives it us freely. (2 Cor. 5:21) God now looks at us and declares us as righteous as Jesus without any work done on our part.  We just believe! We know that Abraham didn’t live a righteous life – he pimped his wife. (Genesis 12:15-20).  But God counted his faith as righteousness.  (Romans 4:4)




Romans 4:5-6  Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.  However, to the man who does not WORK but trusts God who justifies the wicked (us), his faith is credited as righteousness.



Ordinances and rituals, like circumcision, baptism, Lord’s Supper, cannot save you.  Just BELIEVE! (4:9-12)



Paul then lets us know that no ritual can save us or make us righteous before God.  He talks about how Abraham believed in God and God called him righteous.  He says that God called him righteous before he got circumcised.  (Hopefully, you know what this is; but if not here is the wikipedia link — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumcision). Circumcision was a sign to everybody else of what God had already done for Abraham.  God counted Abraham’s belief in Him as if he was righteous..  Baptism is no different.  Baptism cannot save you; it is just a sign to believers of what God should already have done on the inside of you.  (Romans 6:1-4).  We do it out of obedience to Jesus, not because it can save you.  You are born again, set free, and declared to be a righteous saint from the moment you believe in Jesus.  You are justified by faith!


The law can’t justify you either.  Don’t Behave, Believe! (4:13-25)


 Look, the law, the Ten Commandments, or any other good thing that you come up with can’t really save you.  In fact, the Bible declares that the law is like a mirror to show us how imperfect we are.  Like a mirror, the law can’t fix those imperfections it just sits there condemning you.  (The mirror can’t put your lipstick on right or brush your hair.)  That’s why if anybody tries to be righteous by keeping the law – you end up not succeeding.  The law was never designed to save you, just to show you where you are wrong. 



Romans 4:14-15  For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath.  And were these is no law there is no transgression.




Because we are sinful, and fall short of the God’s standard, Jesus came and lived a righteous life on earth, died a horrible death, and was resurrected, so that if we believe in him God counts his work, his righteousness towards us.  That’s good news. 


Romans 4:23-24 The Words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to who God will credit righteousness – for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.


So if you want God’s favor in your life, if you want God’s love and approval, if you want to be righteous in the sight of God – don’t behave, just believe in him. If you have never believed in Jesus, you can do that now!  And if you do trust in Jesus, then you are a saint before God!  Throw your hands up and give him praise!


 See you next week as we jump into Romans 5 – The War is Over.  Paul will begin to answer some questions about some of the special privileges of a Christian.

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