Why it is important to face this question is because we are living in a pragmatic age. People of today are less interested in truth, and more in results. And they ask – does Christianity work?
Well. Does it?
Many say of Christian people: ‘Look at Christian people, look at the impression they give. They look so unhappy and troubled and downcast. They have written on their forehead – I’m not good enough’. All this while the people of the world are excited and thrilled about football matches, museums and culture – and they sure want everybody to know it!
There is no doubt that this ‘display of unhappiness’ by Christians is a big reason why large numbers of people have stopped to be interested in Christianity – and let’s honestly admit that there is some justification in their claims. Christians too often give the appearance of unhappiness and of lack of freedom and abscence of joy.
There are large numbers of these Christians, or more specifically – miserable Christians, in this unhappy situation. Their Christian life seems to them be a constant problem, they read books, attend conferences which are meant to give instruction about the Christian way of life – yet they always seek this something which they don’t find and seem to live a life of defeat. Astonishingly, most of them have a clear perception of the Christian faith, and here is often the problem. They often focus more on the question of sanctification and being righteous and doing good works – than justification. They have assumed they are on the right tracks and have forgotten or ignored about the basics of salvation and justification. The question they need to ask is ‘Do I know God’ not ‘Do I believe in God’. ‘Is Jesus Christ real to me’ not ‘Do I believe in Him’.
The best remedy for overcoming doubts, discouragements, regrets and fear for the future is learning to live the Christian life wholeheartedly. This is of course not easy. It is not an act of righteousness. This demands that you take time to explore whether you are humble or just play a game of appearing righteous! No, this is not in fashion today with all the social media hype about appearing so cool, right?! We are all in such a hurry to congratulate ourselves – and, we have to have everything at once. We also think that all truth can be stated in a few minutes, all questions answered immediately without contemplation. The answer to that is that it cannot, and so the reason why so many today are living superficial Christian lives is because they will not take time to examine themselves. Before we face anybody else, we must really face ourselves.
Conviction of sin: If you have not a conviction of sin, and if you do not realize that you are unworthy before God, and that you are utterly condemned and a complete failure before God – pay attention to nothing else until you have it, until you understand this because you will never get rid of your depression until you are right about that.
In other words: It does not matter if you have nearly entered within the gates of hell, if you are guilty of murder as well as every other wicked sin, it does not matter from the point of being justified with God. Because you are no more hopeless than the most respectable self-righteous person in the world!
Do you wish to be rid of your spiritual unhappiness? Then say farewell now once and forever to your past. Realize that it has been covered by Christ. By his blood to be more specific. What you need now is not to make resolutions to live a more holy life, to start fasting and sweating and praying. No, you just need to begin saying … ‘I rest my faith on Him alone’.
Therefore the conclusion is that a man is justified by faith without deeds of the Law.