“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” – Romans 3:21-25 (ESV)
“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” – NIV Romans 4:25
Justification by faith, through grace is a free gift from God. Salvation is free to all that believe, and bow the knee to the Lordship of Christ. While grace is free, it cost Jesus his life. He paid our sin debt. And thank God he was raised from the dead for our justification! We can be justified by God no matter what our skin color or social status in society is. This fact brings hope that a works based justification just cannot give us. A works based religion produces either hopelessness or religious pride.
This free gift of justification gives the downcast hope and can actually produce social change in a community and society as a whole. I cannot conceive of going back to a works based relationship with God. Even though I would not have admitted that I was trying to earn God’s acceptance, it was once a reality in my life. All other world religions and some forms of Christianity base their right standing with God on religious ritual and performance, not grace.
Believing in free grace will not make you complacent but it produces thankfulness and freedom and empowers us to do good works. Living a life of trying to appease God is oppressive and devalues what Jesus did on the cross. The reason that I can call Jesus my supreme treasure is that he first treasured me. He stood in my place condemned and in God’s sight – I’m a justified sinner as though I had never sinned. And having been justified in the sight of God – I’m now his son.