Just a portion of a sermon… taken from 1 Peter 3:18… For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit.
Let it never be said that God owed us this atonement. Let it never be said that He was obligated to provide grace. Grace only comes out His goodness and is given to those who realize their own sin, helpless to do anything about relieving themselves of this insurmountable debt.
The debt of our sin is far beyond anything we can tackle. If you piled up your debt, it would be as high as Mount Everest, at 29,029 feet above sea level. For some of us, it would be higher. And no matter how much we worked on trying to free ourselves of this debt, it would be impossible for us to do so. It would be like God requiring us to climb Mount Everest with a pick axe, then chip away a bucket full of rock, then heading off to the sea to dump the bucket. And once we got the entire mountain chipped away and dumped in the sea, then He would free us from the debt.
We cry down the law in respect of justification, but we set it up as a rule of sanctification. The law sends us to the Gospel that we may be justified; and the Gospel sends us to the law again to inquire what is our duty as those who are justified.
Samuel Bolton, The True Bounds Of Christian Freedom
From Martin Lloyd-Jones book, The church and the Last Things:
“There is a danger, I sometimes think, that in our emphasis upon justification by faith only, we fall into the error of forgetting this further differentiation on the basis of our works, of our faithfulness as Christian people. We have to fight for the great doctrine of justification by faith, it is constantly being attacked, but it would be a very grievous thing if, in asserting that, we in any way detracted from this other teaching which reminds Christian people that all their works are observed by the Lord, the righteous judge, and that what you and I do as Christians in this world will have an effect upon our life in glory in the next world.”
What he means by this is that we will still be judged for our works, even though we have been fully justified before the Father. How we live as believers according to His word, still matters. We are to be more conformed by His word, yielding more and more to it.
An excellent 6-minute clip of Alistair Begg explaining justification for the believer. It’s not what is done in us or what we do, but what is done for us that saves us.