Summary: Salvation is a gift from God that we can only receive by faith in Jesus.
Text: Rom. 3:27-31
1. Illustration: One of the most important events in both world and church history was the Protestant Reformation. People like Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Knox began to question the practices of the Roman Catholic Church and sought to bring reform to the church. There were five statements that drove the Reformation, and they were all in Latin.
a. Sola Scriptura = Scripture Alone – The Bible alone is the highest authority.
b. Sola Gratia = Grace Alone – We are saved by grace alone.
c. Solus Christus = Christ Alone – Jesus Christ is our Savior, Lord and King.
d. Soli Gloria = To the Glory of God Alone – We live for the glory of God alone.
e. Sola Fide = Faith Alone – We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
2. Today we are going to talk about the last of these statements, as Paul declares that we are saved by faith alone and not by our own works. In other words, you cannot earn your way to heaven for it is a gift from God.
3. In our text today, Paul talks about…
a. Faith Alone
b. Oneness Of Faith
c. Fulfillment of the Law
4. Read Rom. 3:27-30.
Proposition: Salvation is a gift from God that we can only receive by faith in Jesus.
Transition: First, Paul declares that salvation is by…
I. Faith Alone (27-28).
A. Made Right With God Through Faith
1. Now I’m sure that you have talked with people, as I have that say, “I don’t need Jesus or to attend church. All I have to do is…”
2. But Paul’s assertion in this section totally contradicts those types of ideas.
3. In v. 27, he says, “Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith.”
a. Paul asks the question, "Can we boast..."
b. This refers to the Jewish boast that they are under the covenant of Moses, and as a result, automatically the people of God, as well as the covenant of works where you could be right with God based on your actions.
c. In the previous section Paul made it very clear that in God's mind this sort of boasting was useless.
d. Jesus' sacrificial death removed any possibility of anyone standing right before God based on their actions.
e. Before Jesus the old covenant enabled people to maintain their relationship with God by keeping the law, but now that the Messiah has come that relationship has changed.
f. The error of this thinking is that keeping the law was good enough. The reality is that only the grace of God experienced by faith is enough.
g. That's why Paul says, "our acquittal is based not only obeying the law. It is based on faith." The contrast between works and faith is at the heart of the argument here.
h. The "law of faith" would mean that the law was finally fulfilled in Christian faith.
i. The contrast is between the Jewish misuse of the law as a system of works to attain right standing with God based on human effort and the priority of faith in Christian salvation.
j. The Jews thought they could get to heaven based on their own goodness because this is now rendered useless on the basis of God's new rule of faith (Osbourne, 100-101).
4. Paul then takes his argument a step further in v. 28, where he says, “So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.”
a. Here Paul draws his conclusion.
b. Since faith rather than works is the key in the new covenant, being made right with God is now entirely by faith, and now righteousness is achieved by apart from keeping the law.
B. By Grace Through Faith
1. Illustration: Sola fide isn’t a license to sin; it’s the motivation to follow your Savior. Now, there was a time in the history of the church, when this doctrine was all but lost. By the fifteenth century the church had become a massive institution of power, and the gospel was polluted. The church was teaching salvation by subjection to the pope, receiving the sacraments, and doing good works. In fact, by the fifteenth salvation was for sale. In order to raise funds for the building of St Peter’s basilica in Rome, the church was selling admission to heaven, even for dead relatives. It wasn’t by faith at all, silver and gold got you into the heaven. In those dark days, God raised up a hero of the faith to stand against the powers of the empire, and the most powerful institution on the planet, to preach sola fide. That hero’s name was Martin Luther.