from Spurgeon’s book, “All of Grace”
Romans 4:5 “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness”
“He makes those just who are unjust, forgives those who deserve to be punished, and favors those who deserve no favor. You thought, did you not, that salvation was for the good? that God’s grace was for the pure and holy, who are free from sin? It has fallen into your mind that, if you were excellent, then God would reward you; and you have thought that because you are not worthy, therefore there could be no way of your enjoying His favor.
It does sound surprising, does it not, that it should be possible for a holy God to justify an unholy man? We, according to the natural legality of our hearts, are always talking about our own goodness and our own worthiness, and we stubbornly hold to it that there must be somewhat in us in order to win the notice of God. Now, God, who sees through all deceptions, knows that there is no goodness whatever in us. He says that ‘there is none righteous, no not one’. He knows that ‘all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags,’ and therefore the Lord Jesus…comes, not because we are just, but to make us so: he ‘justifies the ungodly’.”