Memory Verse: Romans 3:24
Key Verses: Rom. 4:5; 5:17-19; 8:30; 2Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:8; Tit. 3:7; Isa. 53:5-12
The oldest book of the Bible, Job, proposes a question that should be of utmost interest to everyone. Job 9:2 “…how should man be just with God?” The religious community gives various false answers. The adoption of a correct view on this subject is highly necessary, not only on account of the importance of Justification itself, but on account of the relation it bears to the other doctrines of Salvation. If man has the wrong idea of how to be reconciled to God, he is going to be lost regardless of how moral or religious he may be. Justification means to be just or right, to be pronounced in a right relationship with, to be declared forgiven and blameless by God. This word does not mean nor imply that one is actually without sin, for 1Kings 8:46; Ec. 7:20; Rom. 3:9-18, 23; Gal. 3:22, all express man’s sinfulness, but it is a legal term which shows how God views and treats the believer in Christ. God cannot forgive sin without justice being done concerning it, and so the great problem of the ages was how to be both, just and yet still justify sinners. The solution was found in Christ’s propitiation (Romans 3:20-28).
Justification is that instantaneous, everlasting, gracious, free, judicial act of God, whereby, on account of the merit of Christ’s blood and righteousness, a repentant, believing sinner is freed from the penalty of the law, restored to God’s favor, and considered as possessing the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ; by virtue of all of which he receives adoption as a son.
God did - from all eternity - decree to justify all the elect, and Christ did - in the fullness of time - die for their sins, and rise again for their justification; nevertheless, they are not justified personally, until the Holy Spirit does - in due time - actually quicken their dead spirits (Gal. 3:8; 1Pet. 1:2; 1Tim. 2:6; Rom. 4:25; Col. 1:21,22; Tit. 3:4-7.)
God will not accept - and cannot accept - man’s half-way efforts at self-justifying; as He is an All-Holy God and cannot look upon evil and sin in any form. Man will either be absolutely condemned or absolutely justified. Inherent law is a complete ground of justification. Matt. 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” As every man has partaken of Adam’s fallen nature and are all sinners (Rom. 5:12), with no possible chance of justifying himself (Gal. 3:10), he must look to God and the way of justification that God has provided through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son (Rom. 3:24), and receive an imputed righteousness and justification by means of his faith in Jesus Christ.
We need to give a simple explanation of some of these seven theological words that might be confusing to the younger Christian.
· Repentance is a change of mind.
· Regeneration is a change of heart.
· Conversion is a change of life.
· Adoption is a change of family.
· Sanctification is a change of employment.
· Justification is a change of state.
· Glorification is a change of place.
All of this together makes for salvation, both now and forever.
Someone might say at this point, “You mean I have to know all this to be saved?” No, no, no. You don’t know any of this when you are saved. These are theological terms and facts you learn after you are saved. As a matter of fact, Jesus said in Matthew 18:3 “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” The new birth is the starting point of your new life, and “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1Peter 2:2). “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” (1 Cor. 3:2).
Then as you grow and learn, you are able to eat the “meat” of the word. As men of the church, you need to learn and know these things and be able to pass them on to others. Hebrews 5:12 says, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.” 2 Timothy 2:2 says, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
Justified means declared or pronounced righteous…made as though one had never sinned. Our former pastor, David Mitchell, used to say that justified meant, “Just as if I’d never sinned.” This can certainly not be attained through any merit of ours. It must be based on the merits of another, set to our account. To be “redeemed” is to be delivered because of a price paid by another.
The difference between a Pardon and Justification can be illustrated by the following story. Picture a court-room scene where a man is on trial falsely accused of murder. Although the jury finds him guilty, the judge seeks to obtain a pardon for him. The accused man refuses to accept a pardon because in so doing he would have to confess that he was guilty, and even if he had received a pardon, he would have left the court-room with his head hanging down in shame. He would never have been able to look the world in the face again, because he would have pleaded guilty of the terrible crime. But when the real murderer is found and the accused man is set free, he can walk out of the court-room with his head held high because he is justified, he didn’t do it. Now that is how God deals with us. He does more than pardon guilty sinners. Jesus actually paid for our sins on Calvary’s cross. He bore our guilt, just as the real murderer took the guilt that had been charged to the accused man. (He Bore It All That I Might Live – Acappella)
Let us consider further the question: why is it necessary to be justified? Because the law of God requires absolute obedience. Unless this is forthcoming there can be no blessing but a curse or condemnation. No one ever did render such obedience except Christ. Gal. 3:13 says, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us:…” So all who trust in law keeping, or the law principle, are condemned (Gal. 3:10-11; Rom. 31:10; Rom. 10:3,4). In Rom. 3:1-20, the apostle lays the foundation broad and deep for his great doctrine of justification by free grace…in the disorder of man’s whole nature, the consequent universality of human guilt, the condemnation of the whole world, by reason of the breech of divine law, and the impossibility of justification before God by obedience to that violated law. Only when these humiliating conclusions are accepted and felt, are we in a condition to appreciate and embrace the grace of the Gospel. The Gospel is the glad tidings concerning the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Under the Gospel a method of justification is revealed, of which God is the author, and to which all the Scriptures bear testimony; that method which, rejecting works of the law as the ground of justification, makes faith in Christ and His merits the only cause, and which extends its benefits to all believers without discrimination.
There is nothing about the law of Moses that can justify one. The law was not given to save, or to justify anyone, but to stop argument and show that all are guilty (Rom. 3:19,20,27,28). What the Law could not do, Grace does for man (Eph. 2:8-10; Gal. 2:16).
Contrast Law and Grace.
The law says - Do and Live Grace says - Believe and Live
Keep off Embrace him
Bow the knee Kiss him
Strip him Best robe
Kill Makes alive
Some of the benefits of justification are found in Rom. 5:1-9 (check it out). Other benefits are:
· Restoration to the favor of God
· The imputation of the righteousness of Christ
· Adoption as a son
· Freedom from the law
· Peace with God
Adoption is the climax of justification (Rom. 8:14-17). Adopted that we may have a legal right to the inheritance. When we were justified we were already children of the devil. We could not be unborn as such. Hence we had to be transferred from the devil’s family to God’s family by adoption. We become sons experientially by regeneration, and legally by adoption.
Seven final points about our justification.
1. God - its source of action, Rom. 8:33; I Cor. 6:ll; Micah 7:18,19.
2. Grace - its means of application, Rom. 3:24; Eph. 2:8,9; Rom. 11:6; 4:4,5.
3. Faith- its channel of reception, Rom. 5:l; Acts 13:39; Heb. 1l:6; Rom. 1:17.
4. Blood- its basis of procurement, Rom. 5:9; Eph. 1:7; Lev. 17:ll; Heb. 9:22.
5. Resurrection- its proof of attainment, Rom. 4:25, l:4; 1Tim. 3:16.
6. Christ - its agent of mediation, 1Cor. 6:ll; Isa. 53:11; Jn. 20:31; 1Tim. 2:5.
7. Works - its demonstration of fact, James 2:21-25; Rom. 2:13; Heb. 11:17-19.