You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
“Wait a minute! That verse just contradicted ‘justification is by faith alone’! I can’t keep up, so I give up!” It’s easy to go there with confusion over theology, so it’s great to have charismatic, knowledgeable preachers with platforms who set us straight. Joseph Prince explained to his television audience what sweet freedom really is when explaining that we don’t have to impress God to be justified. Anxiety-ridden people brought up in legalistic homes turn to rebellion. Living in anticipation of condemnation for imperfection, they’re scared and dread-filled, knowing they’ll never meet demands for mistake-fee, totally sinless lives, or boy-oh-boy are they in trouble. That kind of existence is impossible. So, giving up, they tend to rebel.
Christianity accepts us as we are, flaws and all, so says Romans 4. That’s not Joseph Prince’s opinion – it’s gospel.
He explained that James 2 isn’t talking about justification before God, but of man. Since man is fallen, proving ourselves to each other is a different ballgame from justification in Christ. The Apostle Paul teaches us that God isn’t impressed with man’s works. Our efforts and accomplishments don’t seal the deal and buy us a room in heaven.
This blows the earthly minds of people who’ve had holier-than-thou upbringings, people who have been fed guilt and condemnation because they’ve believed it’s all about how “good ‘n’ holy” they are. Christianity is about faith – and forgiveness.
Sweet Freedom in Action
Today, let’s apologize for scaring anyone into miserably striving for impossible living. We turned Christianity into a “religion” instead of the grace-filled personal relationship with God that makes it a joy to try to do right by works. Salvation is according to His glory – through faith – thank God! Ephesians 2:8 says salvation is a free gift. It’s not earned or deserved by striving through exhausting efforts to impress Jesus. Relax! Just take a breath! No guilt! Keep It Simple, Sweetheart!