Great Question- “How can a person be justified before God? How can one born of woman be pure?” Job 25:4
Even Greater Answer-“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peacewith God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1
Todays Gospel Word – Justification
To make clear the need for justification, as The Apostle Paul penned his Epistle to the Romans he presents sinful man in a courtroom on trial for his very life. He’s faced with the charge of high treason against the King of the universe (Rom 3:23). The presiding judge is the Lord Jesus Himself (Jn 5:22). The jury is made up of the Law of God and the deeds of man (Rom 2:6). After proper deliberation a just and fair verdict is returned, GUILTY (Rom 3:9-20). After the verdict is read a terrifying sentence is imposed-spiritual death, eternal separation from God in the lake of fire (Rom 6:23, Rev 20:11-15)
In light of all of this it can be readily seen that a desperate need for a rescue existed. In view of the bad news that this courtroom drama brought to light, man desperately needs to hear some good news about his condition…he needs to hear the Gospel and the good news of the Gospel is that sinful man CAN be justified.
To properly understand the Gospel of Justification, we must tackle some misconceptions about it that are REALLY common within the Church. Lets stay with the courtroom theme that the Apostle introduced in Romans and list some things that justification IS NOT
*Justification IS NOT Acquittal – acquittal is the successful defending of oneself against all charges. We Cant do that.
“Now we know that whatever the law says speaks to those who are subject to the law, so that every mouth may be shut and the whole world may become subject to God’s judgment” Romans 3:19
*Justification DOES NOT Mean Pardoned – by definition, to be pardoned is to be found guilty and then given a second chance. Justification is a bit different. You know the old saying “wipe the slate clean”? Ever wondered where that came from? In Pauls day, criminal records were kept on a slate. If a Judge were to “justify” a criminal, the slate would be wiped clean as if the crime (or debt) had never taken place. When a believer is justified, the slate of sin is wiped clean…it is as though his sin was never committed (Just-If-I’d never sinned).
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” Psalm 103:12
*Justification DOES NOT Mean Paroled – in my view, this is the most damaging misunderstanding of justification. To be paroled is to be found guilty and set free with certain restrictions. Mess up….and your Parole is reversed. Justification cannot be reversed for if it could, Christ death atoning death and subsequent resurrection were insufficient. The view of justification as simple parole cheapens the Gospel.
Biblically, justification is a judicial act of God who, because of Christ (in whom the sinners is united with by faith), declares the sinner no longer exposed to the penalty of the law, but restored to good standing with God.
Lets define it this way- Justification is a legal act whereby man’s status before God is changed for good through faith in Christ.
Justification is ALWAYS Through Faith
“This is why the promise is by faith, so that it may be according to grace, to guarantee it to all the descendants—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of Abraham’s faith. He is the father of us all” Romans 4:16
“Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 5:1
Justification Is ALWAYS By Grace
“so that having been justified by His grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life” Titus 3:7
The chief reason justification is ALWAYS by grace through faith is simple…so God alone will receive the glory (never us)
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:1-10
The Wonderful Results justification by the Grace of God through Faith In Christ….
The Remission of Sins Penalty – “Therefore, let it be known to you, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you, and everyone who believes in Him is justified from everything that you could not be justified from through the law of Moses” Acts 13:38-39
The Restoration Of Gods Favor – “Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life! And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have now received this reconciliation through Him.” Romans 5:1-11
The Imputation Of Christ’s Righteousness (Christ righteousness credited to our account) – “But the father told his slaves, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate” Luke 15:22-24 or Romans 4:11, “And he received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while still uncircumcised. This was to make him the father of all who believe but are not circumcised, so that righteousness may be credited to them also”
The Gospel (GOOD NEWS!) Of Justification is this – while man only justifies the innocent, God only justifies those who were guilty. Man justifies on the basis of self-merit…God justifies only on the basis of the Saviors merit. Thats Good news! That’s GOSPEL!
Soli Deo Gloria! – Pastor Kyle