On what basis does God accept a man?
This is the most fundamental of all questions concerning salvation.
Several answers have been given:
1. A life of complete obedience to the Law.
2. Faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
3. Some other way.
Most people choose Number 2 rather than Number 1 because they do not want to appear to be legalists. Most people choose faith in the Gospel of Christ because they think it is against legalism. But answer Number 2 is actually the legalistic answer.
Here is the glorious message of Romans 3:25, 26, which is not taught today: The Gospel is a declaration of God's justice and his mercy. God has saved us in a way that affirms that he is just. He has not skirted the Law. He has not been inconsistent. He has not repealed the Law. Before God could reject a man who trusts in Jesus Christ, he would first have to become unjust. "To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him who believes in Jesus" (Romans 3:26). So our security is grounded firmly in God's justice.
God has never changed his mind. He has always required perfect obedience to his law. And when he looked out at an utterly desperate world, he came himself-God the Son in a donkey's feedbox; God the Son allowing the Palestinian dust to sift through his toes as he fulfilled his own Law on our behalf. Faith acknowledges the Law because Jesus acknowledged the Law. Faith always chooses the perfect, law-conforming life of Jesus as the only basis for acceptance with God.