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Frank Jamerson

      There are two extremes on how the Christian is justified by grace. Some teach that God’s grace covers all our sins and that once a person is saved, he cannot fall from grace. The Bible clearly teaches that some fell from grace (Gal. 5:1-4). Paul gave twenty-three thousand examples of apostasy and said, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:8-12).

      The opposite extreme is that if a Christian does not keep law perfectly he will be lost. This is a legalistic view of Scripture and the book of Romans clearly teaches that justification is by grace, not by perfect works (Rom. 4:1-4). Does this mean that we have no law? No! The book of Romans also teaches that “where there is no law, there is no transgression” (v. 15), and “sin is not imputed when there is no law” (5:13). If the Christian has no law, he cannot commit sin and therefore would need no grace.

      The book of Romans teaches that we are not justified by the law of Moses. “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (3:20). “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (3:28). The Jews were made “dead to the law through the body of Christ” because when He died on the cross the Old Law was taken away (Rom. 7:4; Col. 2:14).

      Justification is not by the law of Moses, nor by perfectly keeping Christ’s law, but it is conditional upon obedience to the “form of doctrine” that was delivered (Rom. 6:17,18). The form of doctrine is “the law of the Spirit of life” (8:2). It is the good news; the gospel of Christ! But those who do not “obey the gospel” will not be saved by it (Rom. 6:17,18; 10:16). No book emphasizes salvation by  grace  more   than  the   book   of Romans, and yet no book more clearly teaches the necessity of obedience in order to be saved by God’s grace.

      In the sixth chapter, the apostle teaches that we reach the death (or the blood) of Jesus by being buried in baptism into His death. “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (v. 3). The old man, or the body of sin was crucified with Him when we were baptized into His death and raised to walk a new life. When those dead in sin are buried in baptism, they die to sin and arise to walk a new life because they have been saved by God’s grace through their obedient faith.

      In the tenth chapter, Paul teaches that there is more to do than simply believe. He said “whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (v. 13). But before a person can call, he must believe, and before he can believe, he must hear. Before he can hear, there must be a preacher (referring to the original messengers of the gospel) (v. 14). Just as a person may hear and not believe, he may believe and not call. Calling, then, cannot be believing. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Mt. 7:21). Notice carefully—those who call will be saved (Rom. 10:13); those who do the will of God will be saved (Mt. 7:21), therefore calling on the name of the Lord is obeying the will of God.

                        Salvation is a gift, but it is a conditional gift. If it were not, everyone would be saved (Tit. 2:11). God has given conditions in His word, the gospel of Christ. We cannot earn His favor, but we can, and must, obey Him in order to receive His grace.


                       Copyright Midway Church of Christ 2014    This page last modified July 03, 2014