“What do United Methodist Christians believe? On the Justification of Man”

Galatians 2:15-21

How do we get to be included in family of God?

We know all too well of our own failings. We can’t quite get ahead in life. We can’t get through all of the drama in life. How in the world can we even think about being part of the family of God, when we can’t get it right in our own families?

If we trust in ourselves, then we won’t get anywhere. We will be stuck in the same old rut of existing. We cannot trust other people to get us out of our situations. Even if we were gifted with a great job and leads about financial investment, we cannot escape the life that our rebellion against God has brought us.

How do we get to be in included in the family of God? We get to be included in the family of God by the faith of Jesus. It is Jesus’ faithfulness to God that makes us righteous. We are brought into the family of God by what Jesus did. Our sins no longer define us, but our faith in Jesus, the Faithful One, does define us. Our lives are then crucified with Jesus so Christ can live in us. How then does Christ start living in us?

A. We are made right before God because of the faithfulness of Jesus (2:15-16)
+++1. If Jewish, then a sinner
+++2. If Gentile, then a sinner
+++3. Both are justified through the faith of Jesus Christ
+++4. Being a Jew doesn’t justify us – all the trappings of religion will not justify us
+++5. Only Jesus can make us right before God. The faith of Jesus changes us so much. Thecla wrote, “The power of evil is broken in the life of who receives and trust in the atoning work of the cross, whose faith become active in love.” 1 Yet with so much ahead of us, we try to get our faith done the way we want it.

B. On our own, we cannot get beyond being transgressors (2;17-18)
+++1. If we do all the trappings of religion, then we could be discovered to be sinners, still!
+++2. Is Jesus then a servant of sin? NO
+++3. If we try to do what we once did, before faith in Jesus, then we are transgressors
+++4. We cannot rely on ourselves. We rely on Jesus to make us right before God. Just because we are born into a Christian family, it doesn’t mean that takes our sins away. How then are we to live in the family of God?

C. We get to live by the faith of the Son of God (2:19-21)
+++1. Because of Jesus’ faith, we join him as we place faith in him
+++2. Just as Jesus was crucified, we join him in his crucifixion
+++3. Paul said he died to the Law – by faith in Jesus through the crucifixion
+++4. Christ lives in Paul (plus you and me, as we have faith in Jesus)
+++5. Now, even while we have flesh, we live by the faith of the Son of God
+++6. Jesus gave himself – a gift for us – so let us not seek to live as religious people
+++7. To have Christ living in me is what I need. I need more of Jesus in me. This is one reason I receive Holy Communion. The hope is that the more often I receive Jesus, the more I will be focused on him and how he is living within me. It is the faith of Jesus that enables me to be righteous. It is my faith in Jesus that grows as Jesus lives in me. It is the power of the cross of Jesus that helps me to have a faith that is active in love.

How do we get to be included in family of God?

We get included in the family of God by the faith of Jesus. Jesus’ life and death was not only an example of faith. It is the faithfulness of Jesus through his life and death that makes us right before God. God’s grace helps us to accept this truth.

God’s grace has gone before us, bringing us even to this point in time. God has invited us into his family, even into his House. But we are being so polite, we have stayed on the porch. The breeze is nice. The lemonade is good. But we haven’t received all God has for us.

That moment we decide to receive the faith of Jesus Christ, we enter God’s family, even into his House. We are crossing the threshold into all that God has for us. We are starting the process of being entirely holy, sanctified. This is faith being active in love. It is the faith of Jesus Christ that justifies us before God. Our repentance, our turning to God’s ways, is our receiving the faith of Jesus Christ.

Through the next month we will learn this justification takes us deeper into God’s family, into his house. God’s grace has brought us to this point. The gift of Jesus Christ gets us before God in the right way. Then we get to grow in grace as we are in the family of God, in God’s house.

What about you, will you receive the faith of Jesus Christ? Will you let Jesus make you right before God? Will you join the rest of the family in growing in God’s grace? Will you join the family of God so you can have faith that becomes active in love?

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One thought on ““What do United Methodist Christians believe? On the Justification of Man”

  1. It is not I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.
    This was a great sermon and I look forward to next Sunday!
    God bless for preaching the true Word of God for His glory!

    Like

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