The sermon at the service of worship in the Field at Coleraine on the Twelfth of July 2015 was preached by Wor Bro Rev Joseph Andrews, County Grand Chaplain of County Londonderry Grand Orange Lodge and a Deputy Grand Chaplain of Ireland.
Basing his message on Romans 3: 19-26, Rev Andrews said: “Our Scripture passage describes a first century AD Court scene. We are the accused. In the court speak of the day if we are innocent we will be declared ‘righteous’, or ‘justified’, if we are guilty we will be declared ‘guilty’.
“We are charged with being sinners. Romans 3:19 is very clear: ‘Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God’.The evidence is presented against us and we cannot speak a word in our defence. We are guilty on irrefutable evidence.
“We are measured against the Law of God and it leaves us only too keenly aware of the fact that we stand condemned before him because we are sinners. But then in verse 21 the tone changes and from here onwards we are looking at how this terrible predicament is resolved and we can be acceptable to God. How are sinners, lawbreakers, declared to be righteous, justified, before God?”
He said it could only be it is accomplished firstly, by God’s righteousness, as man’s own efforts were useless. Secondly, he said, it was confirmed by God’s pronouncement: “You don’t have to be good enough. You don’t have to be what you can’t be. God himself, because he credits the righteousness of Christ to you, declares you to be acceptable to him.
And finally, Rev Andrews said, was embraced by a God given faith.
“In Romans 3: 22 we read ‘Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe’ Jesus’ righteousness is counted as ours when by faith we receive and rest on him as Saviour’.
“Now, I’m not saying when we believe certain things about Jesus. You can believe all you like about Jesus, your belief can perfectly reflect what you find in the Bible, but it may not be faith in Jesus as Saviour. The Shorter Catechism tells us that ‘Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace whereby we receive and rest on him alone for salvation’.
“Faith in Jesus is what God creates in you so that you realise that all your efforts are useless and that only Jesus can provide the answer to the predicament in which sin has placed you, and then you rest on Jesus alone. As you do God declares you to be justified,” Rev Andrews said.
“Today God is saying to you: ‘Why are you trying so hard to do what you can’t do? There is only one way to be righteous before me. That is when my righteousness is counted as yours. Let me do what you can’t do. Stop trying, and by faith rest on Jesus, and I will credit his righteousness to you and pronounce you justified in my sight’.”