Someone objects: “All this talk about justification by grace through faith is largely theoretical. When we talk to real people, they want to know what they must do to be saved.” The down-to-earth, practical truth is that God saves us, apart from anything we deserve, attain or accomplish, for the sake of his Son Jesus Christ and on the basis of Jesus’ finished work of redemption. (Let’s listen in on the following conversation in progress.)
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Q. Are you telling me that I can contribute nothing to the deeds for which God forgives my sin and makes me acceptable to himself?
A. That is exactly what I am saying. God did the saving work outside of us, but for us. God accomplished that wonderful work almost 2,000 years ago, long before we were born and certainly before we ever heard of it.
Q. How, then, can I relate to this saving work which God has accomplished, if nothing I do is any part of it?
A. Because it is finished, you can only accept it. You cannot supplement it, improve on it, or make it any more complete than it already is.
Q. Are you saying that God, because of Jesus Christ and for his sake, has forgiven me?
A. If you will believe that, it is the truth!
Q. Nothing I do can make that more real and true than it is now?
A. That is the gospel truth.