SF Retreat Closing Service: Justified by Faith, Not by Works

During the Sunday Service at San Francisco Gratia Community Church on Sep 29th, 2019, Pastor Walker Tzeng delivered a sermon on Romans 4, as a conclusion of the retreat during the weekend.

First Pastor Walker talked about the importance of Theology. Theology messages might be not that graceful, sometimes confusing and hard to understand, but they stick to us, shape our world view, they are pillars in our faith. Messages in Romans are like pillars. We need to put on the full armor of God.

In Romans 4 Paul talked about two great pillars in Israel history – Abraham and David. These two are two authorities, nobody dispute that they are righteous. Where is their righteousness come from? King David, even he had many victories, there were things he did wrong. In Paslm David said “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered”. Abraham was before the law, so his righteousness did not come from the law, even before the circumcision. God bless him first, circumcision is a sign.

Paul is making a great point. Abraham and David are great people. When we look back, we tend to re-interpret history and lose things. During the process there are lots of struggles, fights, issues and problems, if you go through all the struggles, in the end, it ended up a success, very romantic story. If the end is failure, then going back it becomes bitter and hard memory. It is very dangerous to do that in faith.

We tend say the success you have is a sign that you have faith. Success and failure are what we define. Why do we use human standards to judge faith? You can’t judge it by some kind of human standards, that something only judged by God.

The judgement of God in faith is something that happen after you die. We focus on our life on earth, value things happen here and now on earth. We think this person is so great because he did so great things in earth. We had to examine our life. Our life is so short, history is so vast. Faith is not just something happening here and now. It is believing in the eternal God that is way beyond us.

Church is the place of the kingdom. Go with absolute faith, even when I could not see clearly. Work hard and bring it one day closer. Maybe that’s his guidance so that we don’t fall in temptation.