The Miracle of Justificatioin
Romans 5:1 – “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I have stated many times in my preaching and teaching ministry that this modern-day church seems not to understand the nature of justification. The truth surrounding justification is that it just sounds too good to be true. It sounds as if God has somehow taken lightly the sins of humanity, but the truth is that God, in all of His wisdom and prudence, has supplied to all of mankind a legal means of salvation that can be applied to all equally. This plan is appropriate to the need of every human being regardless of race, financial position, education, status in society, etc. The problem exists in that all men are born sinners. It is our nature to live contrary to the holiness and righteousness of God. If God provided salvation based only upon a man’s performance, then all would be lost. God's holiness does not allow any deviance from purity.
We would not be acceptable to Him if our lives were 50 percent, 75 percent, or even 99.9 percent righteous. The smallest fraction of our lives that included a sinful thought or deed would be enough to exclude us forever from the presence of God, who is 100 percent pure and holy. For God to be able to establish and maintain fellowship with men, a way had to be devised by which man could arrive at the status of 100 percent righteous. No man, either before or after salvation, has ever lived up to the status of 100 percent pure—except one. That one man was Christ Jesus. He lived a sinless, spotless, blameless, and perfect life. He then sacrificed His life and paid the price owed to God for the sin of all men for all time. When the believing sinner recognizes his inability to obtain righteousness or pay for his sinful condition and calls upon the name of Jesus, God freely justifies that individual. The penalty for sin is immediately eliminated, and the new believer is given (imputed) the righteousness of Christ's sinless life. God can now legally dwell in and fellowship with the believer. It is never because that person has earned the right to have God with him and in him, but rather that God in His mercy has chosen to make justification available to those who believe in His Son and His sacrifice on Calvary. The only true righteousness that mankind will ever achieve in this mortal coil is a righteousness that is imputed and granted solely by placing faith in the redemptive plan offered to us by God.
THE FOUNDATION OF JUSTIFICATION
There is no man that lives a sinless spotless existence before or after salvation; therefore, the only reason that God can maintain a relationship with any member of the human race is because of the continued foundation of justification. We must ever realize that God does not dwell with us or deal with us based upon our works, our thoughts, or our improper perception of righteousness. We have been given the legal status of righteousness as a result of our faith. It is never as a result of actions, thoughts, or religious activity. The knowledge of this truth should humble us and cause a gratefulness of heart toward God who has redeemed us and given us what we have not deserved. Many in the body of Christ gladly receive the status of justification but then quickly leave this ever-present foundation and begin to trust in their own efforts in living for God.
Self-righteousness will always be the heinous disease that arises in the heart of every believer who is trusting in himself rather than walking in the knowledge of the foundation of justification. These are they in the body of Christ who desire to punish a failing Christian. Their disciplines of so-called righteousness might even cause a believer to be improperly eliminated from fellowship. The expression of disdain toward the fallen saint comes like a swelling, crushing blow to the heart that is weary. Many have given up their faith and walked away from the truth after having faced this demonic attitude exhibited by a fellow Christian. The one who has committed the greater sin is not the one who has failed in a moral activity, but it is often that one who has failed to acknowledge and continuously walk on the foundation of justification.
JUSTIFICATION IS THE BASIS FOR SANCTIFICATION
Those who truly understand and love justification do not use it as a means to live in sin. The self-righteous cry out and say that we who preach righteousness by faith alone are too easy on sin. They are quick to claim that the believer who is resting on the truth of justification is using it as an excuse to remain unchanged and to continue in that which is ungodly. However, the truth is that the self-righteous are failing to see their own need for the ongoing status of justification in their own lives. They are blind to the faults, sins, evil discrepancies, and hypocrisies that are existing in their own hearts. I don’t understand how a person can become so blind to the imperfections in themselves and be so malevolent toward the imperfections of others around them. Oftentimes, they are struggling with many of the same things of which they accuse others, but they still refuse to see the truth regarding their own inconsistencies. The status of justification never justifies living in sin. It is the basis upon which the true supernatural phenomenon of progressive sanctification can be performed. With the Holy Spirit seeing our faith placed exclusively in Christ and what He did for us at Calvary, the legal right to continue the work of salvation can take place.
Thank you, Lord, that despite my imperfections, You are still willing to work in me Your never-ending labor of love of conforming me to the image of Jesus, which is based solely on my faith in Him and His finished work.