“Being justified freely by His grace through the
redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as
propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate
His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had
passed over the sins that were previously committed.”
Romans 3:24, 25
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
TO BE JUSTIFIED BY THE LAW depended on the extent of work man strived for
with his body. Without abiding by the law he could not be reckoned as having faith
in God. As St James the Apostle says that any one who errs in one point of the law
is guilty of all1. Therefore the weight of acting in accordance to the law surpassed man’s
capacity, as in the Old Testament it was esteemed no righteous man existed: “There is
none righteous, no, not one.”2 As the Apostle Paul says: “For God has committed them all
to disobedience.”3Thus the door of salvation was closed in man’s face.
Christ’s coming, His fulfillment of salvation with His blood on the cross was
therefore like the opening of the door of salvation without cost, ceasing the effect of
following the law, nay its complete annulment. God’s grace descended on any man who
believed in Christ’s death and resurrection replacing the effect of the law.
The propitiation through the blood of Christ removed from man his sins all at once. It
is no more reckoned that man be required to strive against sin, because the propitiating
blood of Christ’s sacrifice includes man. Through this blood he who believes in it is thus
considered righteous and that without effort or work. Because he has not become
righteous through himself but righteous through Christ and in Christ, after those who
were righteous through the law could only attain it after a terrific effort and the whole
effect of the law. The man who believes in Christ is consequently reckoned before God
a saint and without blame with all the previous sins he has done through ignorance and
without knowledge erased. Thus God appears as the benefactor, patient, tolerant with
the sinner until he gains his salvation through the righteousness of His only Son Jesus
Christ, through faith in His blood which qualifies him according to the action of God’s
grace to become a partner in the death and resurrection of Christ. Because fellowship
with Christ through faith qualifies us for His inheritance in Glory.
We are required to accept through faith this surpassing grace when our hearts are
elevated to the revelation of Christ’s abundance. Then Christ’s abundance is not alien to
us but is given to every heart open to Christ’s work. We must remind the reader Christ’s
words: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the
door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”4 Therefore our greatest
concern has become that of hearing Christ’s voice as He knocks at our hearts. There is
no excuse for the person who is heedless of salvation because Christ is always ready to
hear and answer, as inspired in the Old Testament: “The Lord is with you while you are
with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will
forsake you.”5 Also inspired in the New Testament are the words: “In an acceptable time
I have heard you. And in the day of salvation I have helped you.”6 Maybe it is also your
time dear reader and the day of your salvation. So do not let the time be counted against
you instead of for you, with salvation escaping you. The Lord calls you: “Come to Me,
all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”7
I have no righteousness O Lord for You are my righteousness, and the pride of my life.
You sprinkled me with Your blood that I may become clean, and my sins hidden
from You. You atoned for my sin with Your blood and redeemed me with Your cross.
So what can I give You O Lord? Here is my self, take it, sanctify it to You. My spirit I
place in Your hands while awaiting the day of Your revelation so as to appear with You.
I have faith in You O Lord, so let me be captivated in Your love.
Nothing in the world do I desire; for You are the desire of my heart.
July 6, 2005
1 Note Jas 2:10.
2 Rom 3:10.
3 Rom 11:32.
4 Rev 3:20.
5 2Ch 15:2.
6 2Cor 6:2.
7 Matt 11:28.
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