Big Words of the Christian Life: Justification (Part 1)

December 29, 2009 at 10:31 am | Posted in big words of the Christian life | 38 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Many Christians tend to shy away from some of the great Truths of the Bible for two reasons: One, they seem so hard to understand. Two, they just don’t seem as practical. We want our Biblical lessons to focus on how we can get money; how we can have happier marriages; how we can be healed; how we can beat stress; how we can have great sex. But the fact is, the deeper into doctrine you go, the more practical it becomes. We sometimes live very defeated Christian lives because we’re afraid to try to understand just what God has done for us in Christ Jesus.

In the past, I have taught basic discipleship lessons: salvation, baptism, everlasting security, church membership, sin, prayer, the world. These lessons on “big words” are not really more difficult. They just have more syllables in the title.

Justification

I want to focus on:
1. The Motive for Justification
2. The Meaning of Justification
3. The Method of Justification

I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?

Job 9:2

Prior to our salvation we were not “just” with God: we were not righteous before Him. Why? We might say it is because we had sinned. But we must understand that the bigger issue is not that we had sinned – the bigger issue is that we are sinners.

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. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Romans 3:19-20

One of the reasons God gave the Law is so that everyone could plainly see his/her own sinful condition – for none of us have ever come close to keeping the Law of God. Therefore, the Law “stops every mouth.” No one has a valid argument that they are not guilty before God.

God’s motive for justification – for somehow making guilty unrighteous sinners right before Him – is the Truth that there was absolutely no other way for us to do it. He has to do it for us – to make us righteous – or it could not be done.

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

Romans 3:21

Whose righteousness is involved in justification? Is it ours or God’s? God’s righteousness must be imputed to us in justification, for there is no other righteousness outside of God.

1. God’s Motive in Justification:
A. There is no other way.
B. It is for His Own glory.

Those are the motives for justification. We see why there must be such a thing as justification if we are to have a relationship with our Creator; if we were to be saved from judgment and hell; if God’s great plan of redemption and salvation is to bring Him the greatest glory of forever and all time.

1. The Motive for Justification
2. The Meaning of Justification

Now, I want to look at the meaning of justification – the definition. What is “Justification?” Justification is a forensic term – a legal term. It is the act of God, Who, by grace, declares sinners who have believed on Jesus Christ, to be righteous.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Romans 3:23-26

Everyone has sinned and come short of the glory of God, and not just a little short. No, we fell way short. We were totally depraved – completely without merit. God has freely justified those who have been born again by His grace. God gives His righteousness as a free gift. But it is through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, and it is not a cheap gift. Christ Jesus is the Propitiation. A propitiation is a sacrifice which satisfies the punishment that is justly due. God declares justification for the remission of sins, so justification is real, even though it’s an act of declaration, and not a physical change. God Himself shows that He is just through His Own act of Justification. God legally declares sinners to be righteous when – and only when – they believe in Jesus.

Justification happens instantaneously. It is not a process. If my kids turn on the yard sprinkler, and we all run through it, some of us get a “little wet” and some of us get a “lot wet.” There are different degrees of “wet.” But if we all run, and leap into the air, and land in the deep end of the swimming pool, then we all get completely soaked. That’s how justification is. In an instant, every Christian who truly believes is justified to the same degree as every Christian who has ever been justified. And that degree is 100% – fully soaking wet.

Justification is not something earned. It is not a process of working and getting good enough to be justified. God does it all. And it does not change.

After the end of the O.J. Simpson trial, people used to always ask me this question about O.J.: “But do you think he’s really guilty?” And I would respond: “No, I know for a fact he’s ‘not guilty.’ He was declared ‘not guilty’ in court.” That is not the same as saying he’s innocent. It is not the same as saying “he didn’t do it.” I don’t know if he “did it,” because I wasn’t there – and you don’t either. The jury came back and said “not guilty,” so legally he was declared not guilty.

I’m sure O.J. felt pretty good about the American legal system’s version of “justification” at the time, but God’s Justification is even better. In a “not guilty” verdict there is still a record of what was done. Justification is even better than a “pardon.” A pardon says that, whether you did it or not, we’re letting you go. Justification is saying: Not only are you not guilty – but you are completely righteous – all your record is wiped clean and there’s no more evidence of it. You are declared to have the same righteousness as Jesus Christ Himself.

Next time, we will see the Method of Justification.

Advertisements

38 Comments »

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

  1. […] Gustafson, Salvation, Socrates, theology, theology of Justification, Warren Wiersbe, without cause Last time, we looked at God’s Motive in justification: 1. There was no other way for sinners to be made […]

  2. […] with God, Romans 5, surrender, systematic theology, theology, theology of Justification Previously, we have seen: 1. God’s Motive for for justification; and 2. God’s Meaning of […]

  3. […] through His act of adopting us. In other words, regeneration is how you get into God’s family. Justification is God’s declaration that you are right before Him in Jesus Christ. Adoption is how you […]

  4. […] birth, Titus 3, washing of regeneration, willfully blind, woman at the well, woman of Samaria Justification is not how you get into God’s family. It is what God declares about you once you become part of […]

  5. […] in your ontology, in your consciousness, in who you are on the inside – that allows your justification and your adoption and your sanctification. We speak of a dead person as being buried, but really we […]

  6. […] *Justification: the act of God, Who, by grace, declares sinners who have believed on Jesus Christ, to be righteous […]

  7. […] faith unto salvation without God empowering that faith. God gets all the glory for regeneration, justification, adoption, redemption, sanctification, and everything else that goes along with salvation. But I am […]

  8. […] He requires faithfulness, because He is faithful. He can judge our unrighteousness, because He is righteous. How do the just live? Or what do they live by? By […]

  9. […] can be hard to understand. If you are going to get a grip on the idea of “propitiation” or “justification” (Romans 4:25, 3:25), you had better be prepared to stay up all night. There are other words, […]

  10. […] Romans Chapters 3-6 are also key to understanding the doctrine of justification. […]

  11. […] more will he bless us, now that we are his children? God is not a double-minded hypocrite. Having justified us, He will not now accuse us. Not only does the Holy Spirit pray for us, but Christ does, too. […]

  12. […] His perfect sacrifice, which has the efficacy of blotting out believers’ sins, we have become righteous in God’s eyes. However, that righteousness does not give us the license to do as we please. We must still seek to […]

  13. […] How will I get right with God when I can’t undo the past? A. He will erase your sins from His accounting books for the sake of His Son. The second concern is […]

  14. […] Your own repentance is never quick enough or complete enough before God. b. If your own sins are forgiven and under the blood of Christ, you ought not to demand a higher repentance of others than God […]

  15. […] D.L. Moody S.W.I.M. Quote June 4, 2012 at 9:47 am | Posted in Quotes | Leave a comment Tags: belief, Belief in Jesus, D.L. Moody, D.L. Moody quotes, Dwight L. Moody, faith alone, quotes about swimming, Salvation, swim quotes Salvation is worth working for. It is worth a man’s going round the world on his hands and knees, climbing its mountains, crossing its valleys, swimming its rivers, going through all manner of hardship in order to attain it. But we do not get it in that way. It is to him who believes. […]

  16. […] God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art […]

  17. […] 5. He spoke words of eternal absolute truth. When we try to comfort someone who is hurting, our words are not always helpful. Jesus’s words have special power. They are always true. If you believe them, they have the power to make you “whole,” and to make you righteous before God. […]

  18. […] there is to know about the judgment seat of Christ, but it does seem to me that we who are counted righteous, and whose sins have been washed away by the blood of Jesus, will be judged based on our works. […]

  19. […] and in their circumstances to bring them to a place of confrontation concerning their souls and their standing with You. In the name of Jesus, I pray. […]

  20. […] you are truly “saved,” then God has justified you, meaning that He has declared you to be righteous, even though, as a sinner, you are truly […]

  21. […] eternal life? All praise to God, He has made a way! This way is called by some “justification.” Justification is the way that God makes the unrighteous righteous before Him, through His Son, Jesus […]

  22. […] Sin took the joy out of hard work, but in the Gospel we find redemption, and we remember that God made us to work hard, so we can work hard and find joy and fulfillment in it once again because we are in Christ – we have been made right with God. […]

  23. […] to win Christ’s approval (while still knowing the security of our justification and sonship) will often require us to forsake the approval of the world. We are not to care what […]

  24. […] our hands acceptable to the Lord. Only His shed blood can do that, and once we are regenerated and justified by His grace through faith, we receive His imputed righteousness as free gift. This means we must […]

  25. […] God saves egregious sinners 2. Salvation happens instantly 3. Salvation results in a real change 4. There will be an outward change, but it is always the […]

  26. […] nationality, social status, gender, or skin color do not matter a whit to God in the sense of your justification. If you are truly a Christian, you stand before God on the same level as Queen Esther, Billy […]

  27. […] estate was that of a sinner – an enemy of God. God justifies sinners who trust Christ, and erases their sins, but we have the comfort of remembering why we […]

  28. […] me.” No one will be acceptable to God apart from Jesus. No one could be forgiven, adopted by, justified by, allowed in the presence of, or even allowed to live before God – except for Jesus alone. […]

  29. […] when professing Christians claim that God rewards the “good works” of unconverted sinners by counting them as righteous based on their […]

  30. […] moving! This peace is not physical rest. It’s spiritual rest. It’s the assurance that you are right with God and that Jesus is with you, not so you can escape from the world, but so you can overcome the world […]

  31. […] is the means of salvation because God has declared that by faith will man be justified. “The just” are those whom God, by His grace, has declared righteous, and who, therefore, have […]

  32. […] the age and comprehension of your child, you may also want to discuss the facets of the doctrine of justification which deal with the sinless sacrifice of the second person of the Deity Himself as the only means […]

  33. […] being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus […]

  34. […] verses apply Isaiah 64 to progressive revelation. The Spirit searches even the deep things. Don’t sell yourself short concerning what you are able to comprehend about God’s Word, since you have its Author, His Spirit, residing in you to teach you. The Know-Nots want to know […]

  35. […] you have been regenerated, justified, and adopted by the Lord Jesus Christ, then you do not have to wonder at, work for, or wait upon […]

  36. […] “sanctified” (set apart for God’s use and identification), and “justified” (forensically declared […]

  37. […] Christians vs. non-Christians; true believers vs. unbelievers; sheep vs. goats; wheat vs. tares; justified vs. unjustified – it is still true that everyone will be judged in some sense according to […]

  38. […] true Christian has a gift of faith for salvation, but some Christians are able to believe the promises of God with a greater certainty, and to stand […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: