“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Justification is by faith alone, just as Martin Luther the great Reformer rediscovered. But the Bible is clear; Faith without works is dead (James 2:17.) The person who has been justified by faith in Jesus will have a life characterized by good works. But, those who seek to perform good works to earn salvation or God’s acceptance are only producing what the Bible calls, dead works. (Hebrews 9:14.) It’s critically important to understand that righteousness or right standing with God has been imputed to our account by God as a free gift. Righteousness is a foreign substance to us just as sin is foreign to Jesus. It must be given to us as a gift.
“It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26) E.S.V.
Jesus took our sin and gave us his righteousness, (The great exchange.) In other words, the Judge declared us guilty and Jesus stepped in and took the punishment for a crime he didn’t commit. Because of my sinful nature, I deserved to die, but because of God’s mercy, Jesus took my place. Since the debt has been taken care of, by Jesus I now have peace with God. The just One justifies the unjust who trust in Him.
For the rest of my life I will stand in God’s grace without fear of losing something I did not earn! As Christians we will suffer, but God will empower us to endure and as a result build character in our lives. How can we do all this? God pours his love into our heart by the Holy Spirit, in other words, it’s by his supernatural power.