1 Therefore I exhort you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice—living, holy, and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may approve what the will of God is, that which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (LSB)
Works righteousness is the default religion of man. However, God’s ways are not man’s ways. Neither are His thoughts man’s thoughts. His ways are higher than man’s. The Natural Man believes that the way to be justified by God is to do good works or not be as bad as those really evil people. However, Romans 1-11 makes it clear that no one is righteous or innocent. All have sinned. All are guilty….
Also, there is not one thing anyone can do about that problem. Oh, people have and still try all sorts of things to try to earn salvation, to be justified by God. They become very religious. They do good works. However, Paul makes it crystal clear that that is all a total waste of time. Unless faith exists in a person’s heart and that person believes God and receives Christ as Lord and Saviour there is no salvation. We teach that when a person is regenerated, believes, and is justified by God, their sanctification begins immediately. Sanctification is the work of Grace by God to remove His people from sin. Now, it is very important to know what this “sin” is. In Romans 14:23 we learn that whatever does not proceed or come from faith is sin. Therefore, it is sin for a Christian to not walk by faith. It is a sin for a Christian to not be Spirit-filled or Spirit-led. It is a sin for a Christian to not surrender their circumstances to Christ. It is a sin to not obey God’s commandments. All of these are things that Christians do by faith alone.