For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
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. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.
Christ is our sacrifice of atonement. In other words, he died in our place, for our sins. God is justifiably angry at sinners. They have rebelled against him and cut themselves off from his life-giving power. But God declares Christ’s death to be the appropriate, designated sacrifice for our sin. Christ then stands in our place, having paid the penalty of death for our sin, and he completely satisfies God’s demands. His sacrifice brings pardon, deliverance, and freedom.
Why does God save us by faith alone? (1) Faith eliminates the pride of human effort, because faith is not a deed that we do. (2) Faith exalts what God has done, not what people do. (3) Faith admits that we can’t keep the law or measure up to God’s standards—we need help. (4) Faith is based on our relationship with God, not our performance for God.
You might wonder what happened to people who lived before Christ came and died for sin. If God condemned them, was he being unfair? If he saved them, was Christ’s sacrifice unnecessary? Paul shows that God forgave all human sin at the cross of Jesus. Old Testament believers looked forward in faith to Christ’s coming and were saved, even though they did not know Jesus’ name or the details of his earthly life.
Unlike the Old Testament believers, you know the name of the Messiah—Jesus the Son of God given because of God’s love for sinning humanity (John 3:16). Have you put your trust in him? Take time to boast about Jesus to someone.