Jeremiah 6:16 – “Thus says the LORD, Stand you in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. (True rest and healing is to be found in ‘the old paths’ and ‘the good way,’ that is, the Gospel as taught in the Bible. ‘Stand you in the ways,’ refers to the ardent seeking of the Ways of God.)”
Back To The Basics
The term “back to the basics” is a phrase utilized by many groups of people. It describes the need to go back and rediscover truths and practices that produced great results. In most cases, the people that need to return to the basics have somehow left the very thing or things that once made them great. They have diverted down a side path, usually unintentionally, and have failed to maintain basic principles that once made their endeavors fruitful. What used to be normal practice and thought for them has somehow become obsolete. To recover their past victories and vitality there is a need to openly and honestly evaluate where one has been and where one is going.
It is my heartfelt belief that the Church of Jesus Christ has left the very “basics” that make Christianity great. We have deterred down the wandering path of religious practice and have left behind the truths and practices that change our lives, strengthen our faith, cultivate our dependence upon God, and enable us to live a victorious Christian life. For the most part I feel we have lost our way and need to, with a great sense of urgency and desperation, return to the Scriptures to locate and retrieve what we have lost. At the same time we must cast aside all hope and means in anything other than God’s Prescribed Order, as described in His Word, to find once again the vital benefits of relationship with God. In Jeremiah 6:16 the Lord through the Prophet Jeremiah said, “. . . Stand you in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and you shall find rest for your souls.” It’s time for the church to return to the basics, the old paths, the Ways of the Lord. Only then will we find His “rest” for our souls.
The Path Of Justification
In the Book of Romans, Paul the Apostle moves through the whole process of the Christian Faith. Romans is the greatest single explanation of the Christian experience that exists in a single volume. In the first three chapters of Romans, Paul proves that all men stand guilty of sin and worthy of eternal damnation as a result of sin. Then, with all the world of men condemned, Paul describes God’s Solution to man’s dilemma. He reveals that the Righteousness of God cannot be earned by labor or religious function. Man can only rise from the depths of depravity by faith. That faith must be placed exclusively in Jesus Christ, the revealed Son of God, Who loved us and gave His Life as a payment to God for your sin and mine.
Justification Is A Legal Decree
When a man places His Faith in Jesus and what was accomplished by Him for mankind at Calvary, God in turn declares that person not guilty, or innocent of all charges. This Verdict of God is referred to as Justification. It is a legal Decree made by God before the eternal Court of Heaven. Therefore, God’s Answer to man’s dilemma is a legal Work. It is based upon an Edict announced by God in Heaven whenever any man, from the heart, accepts the one true Way of Salvation.
This Verdict of God might be compared to the legal work of adoption. When a child is “legally” adopted, he or she stands before a court of law. That court, based upon its power and right, declares that the parents who have petitioned before the court for the right of adoption are now the legal guardians of that child. The parent or parents have a greater right of authority over the adopted child than even a “birth” parent due to the decision and stated verdict of the court. Those parents who are adopting, receive a legal decree from a judge or governing body, and have the legal right and privilege to act on behalf of the adopted child. When one places their Faith in Christ (His Person and His Work) God declares them legally justified, not guilty, innocent of all charges. Thus, Justification is never earned, it is declared as a result of properly placed Faith!
Imputed Righteousness Comes With Justification
Not only is the payment for our sins freely received by faith, but, in addition, God imputes directly into our account the Righteousness of Christ’s Perfect Life. Thus, Righteousness is achieved, not by works, but by Faith. This is not righteousness brought about by the righteous efforts of any man, but rather, this is the Righteousness of Christ, applied to the life of the Believer, as a result of simple wholehearted Faith. Now the words of Paul in Ephesians 2:8-9 make sense. He says there, “For by Grace are you Saved through Faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the Gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.” In Romans 3:21-22 he declares that Righteousness cannot come by works when he states, “But now the Righteousness of God without the Law is manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets; (22) Even the Righteousness of God which is by Faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them who believe. . . .”
The church needs to realize once again that the basis of their relationship with God is God reaching down to man not man working upward towards God. There is nothing we can do to achieve to the holiness demanded of a thrice-Holy God. Therefore, we believe, and we freely receive God’s Verdict. That Verdict is the foundation of my relationship with Christ. As long as my Faith remains in God’s Plan I am assured of God’s Verdict – “not guilty, innocent of all charges.” As the songwriter B. E. Warren said,
“Hallelujah what a thought, Jesus full Salvation brought,
“Let the powers of sin assail, Heaven’s Grace can never fail,