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Salvation:- 10 ( 1 | 2 | 3|4 |5 |6 |7|8|9 )

2. Justification. Rom 3:24, 26; 5:1

By Nelson Thomas Mumbai

This is one of the most profound New Testament teachings. This aspect of God’s work in us must be understood by every believer. A clear comprehension of justification helps a believer very much in enjoying and living out the work of salvation God has wrought in His life.

Importance: -
a. An old question. Job 9:2. God fearing people sincerely longed to be right with God, to get rid of guilty of conscience. They did everything like rituals etc. but never attained.
b. Considered impossible in the OT. Job 9:15, 20. cf
     i. Not by God. Exo 23:7; 34:7; Due 25:1
    ii. Not by man. Isa 5:22, 23; Pro 17:15
    iii. Not by works (by self). Isa 64:6; Rom 3:20 – Law was good but man was bad! Rom 2:13. Totally sinful. Rom3:9. - cf. Rom 3:21- ‘But now’ –justifies- freely by grace. Impossible is possible now!
c. Reformation resulted from the study of this doctrine. Martin Luther got saved by learning the doctrine of justification from the book of Romans. John Wesley got assurance of salvation when he heard Martin Luther’s comment on this truth.

Meaning: -
It’s a court language meaning, ‘to be declared righteous’; ‘to declare to be right’ etc. It’s opposite of ‘condemnation’. Cf. Due 25:1; Job 13:18; Isa 50:7, 9; Rom 8:33. To understand the Biblical meaning of justification better, see: -
What it is not?
i. Not just pardon. It’s more than forgiveness. Forgiven criminal is always a criminal. Not only the removal of hostility between God and man, but bringing him to a right relationship with God. Not only removes condemnation but gives righteousness. Cf. 2Cori 5:19, 21; Phil 3:9.
ii. Not making one sinless. “Condemnation’ does not make one ‘wicked’, but proclaims to be wrong. Similarly justification also does not make one good / right.
What it is?
“Justification is the judicial act of God where by those who put faith in Christ are declared righteous in His eyes and free from guilt and punishment.” (Warren Wiersbe?) Notice five things:-
i. It is an act of God. Rom 2:3. Only God can justify a sinner judicially. Rom 1:17; 8:33. He is the source / author.
ii. It is a declaration. Not a lengthy process. Just as we put our trust in the finished work of Christ, Father, the Judge declares that He accepts us in Christ. Rom 5:1, 2. It’s like a judge making a final declaration in the court room. Remember, we have already noticed that justification does not make us righteous or sinless. cf. Rom 4:1—3:- Abraham was justified still sin dwelt in him!
iii. It is an imputed righteousness. “Through our Lord Jesus Christ” Rom 5:1. He sees us as righteous. Phil 3:9; Not only removes our condemnation, but also gives us His righteousness. 2Cor 5:19, 21. God accepts a believing sinner, because of Christ. Cf. 1Corin 1:30; 2Pet 1:1. He finds us as if we have never done a sin! Cf. Col 2:14 – erased the writing against us.
Illus: - Warren Wiersbe writes that a man with Rolls-Roys car from UK visited another country. There was a break-down, company flew in one mechanic and repaired the car. When he returned to UK contacted the office to pay for it, they replied, ‘there is not even a record that such thing happened!’ Same with us.
How is it possible?
Christ’s righteousness is put in to our account. Rom 5:18, 19; 4:6, 7; 2Cori 5:18—20. Phil 2:8. The Lord fulfilled all what we should have done. Gal 3:13; Isa 53:4—12; 1Pet 3:18; 2Cori 5:21.
iv. It gives us right relationship with God. Rom 5:1, 2. – right standing. Accepted in Christ, guilty is free – son. Cf. Rom 8:33; Eph 1:6; 1Cor 1:30.
v. It is a once for all act. Rom 5:1, 2, 9. How do we know? Rom 4:24 – Resurrection of Christ confirms our justification. No reversal, no need to be repeated. If such need arises, God’s judgment is wrong!
Forgiveness may be repeated because of the repeated failure from our side. Though penalty is paid, sin nature is still there. Influence of such indwelling sin, destroys our joy, mars our fellowship with God, but restored as we confess. 1Jn 1:7, 9.
Forgiveness has to do with the daily enjoyment of our position / fellowship with God. But justification has to do with our position itself.
Justification changes our position and it is never questioned, nor repeated. It is forever. Rom 3:22—24. Heb 9:15. Christ died once for all, for all ages, for the sins of the past, present and future.

Method of Justification:-
But how is it possible? Man can not fathom it easily. It’s a mystery, revealed now. Three phrases are noteworthy. Cf, Rom 3:24—26.
a. By Grace. Rom 3:24 (Tit 3:6). The source of Justification, not because of our merit. Without grace justification would never have been possible. Psa 143:2; Rom 3:28; Gal 2:16. It’s undeserved favour of God.
b. By blood. Rom 3:21; 5:9. The ground of justification. Not simply free, God can not just close His eyes at our sin. Christ fulfilled the demands of the law. Matt 3:15; 1Pet 2:22; 1Jn 3:5. The sinless one took our penalty, paid the price full and final. Cf. Gal 3:11—13; Rom 3:24; 2Cor 5:18, 21. So God is free to justify a believing sinner. Rom 3:25, 26.
c. By faith. Rom 3:24; 1:17; Not by works – effort - but by trusting Him. Gal 2:16. Not just an understanding. (Already discussed). A conscious commitment based on that understanding is necessary.
- How do we enter into an escalator to reach an upper floor of a building.
It may be difficult for human mind to fully comprehend these truths. That’s why we often noted, we need to believe God’s word as true. No need to doubt or fear. Devil may accuse us sometimes using our confessed and forgiven sins. Rev 12:10. We should say with Paul. ‘Who can condemn God’s elect?’ Roma. 8:33.
Illus: Somebody shared this story – ‘Grandpa knows it all’. Story of the young girl who used to threaten her younger brother over his mistake of killing a duck when accidentally threw a stone. He had to do her works at home, like washing plates. If not she would threaten, ‘I will tell grandpa’. Finally he confessed to grandpa, who replied, “I have already seen it, I was just waiting for you to come to me”. Grandpa forgave him. Next time, when she threatened he said, “Grandpa knows it all!”

The result of Justification. Rom 5:1ff (7 things)
a. Peace with God. V.1. No more enmity. Col 1:20, 21. Guilt, sin takes away our peace with in, one with another and even with God. Justification changes it all. Peace – perfect peace, with God, of God and with man. Cf. Phil 4:6, 7; Col 3:15; Isa 57:21
b. Access to God. V. 2. Eph 2:18; 3:12. Boldness Heb 6:10; 4:16. In OT unthinkable. Exo 19:20, 21; 28:35; 34:3; Lev 26:2; Veil is gone. Matt 27:51; No need to fear. Rom 8:17. Any time access to Him to share burden, learn and enjoy His presence. Heb 10:22; Psa 16:11
c. Hope of glory. V.2. Bright future –Cf. Eph 2:12 – hopelessness. Rom 8:29, 30:- lost glory shall be restored. Cf. Rom 323; 8:18, 24; Phil 3:21; 1Jn 3:1, 2; 1Pet 1:13, 3. – Life giving hope.
d. Joy v. 2, 3. In any circumstances, even in trials, rejoicing. Cf. Heb 12:11; Ps 4:7; Phil 2; 18; 3:1; 1Pet 1: 6—9. Trials do not trouble them, they endure it. 2Cor 4:17; Act 5:41. Some has noted, “Peace is joy resting, joy is peace dancing”.
e. Divine nature. V. 5 Spirit of God dwells. Col 1:27; 1Cor 6:19. – Old nature is not repaired- entirely new. 2Pet 1:4. Now we can deal with others in divine love, grace, holiness and power. Cf. Act 1:8. 1Jn 5:3; 1Tim 1:12 Ob. Our peaceful, right relationship with God affects our relation with others too.
f. Confidence. V.9, 10. If His death / blood could justify us, how much more as He lives! Rom 8:32. If He has saved us when we were enemies, how much more can we expect now as His own children. (If one’s letter can help us, how much more a life for us!). Justification results in a sense of security. Cf. Jn 10:28; Rom 8:1, 29—33; Psa 32:2; Heb 10:41Jn 2:2; 1Tim 2:5; 1The 1:10; 5:9.
g. New Life. V. 18. Righteous and holy life.

Justification results in dramatic changes in our life. Not only with our relation with God but with one another, with our circumstances and even with our own inner-self to be changed. What a wonderful salvation we have in Christ. Truly it’s a blessing to experience and know what God has done for us in Jesus Christ our Lord.


Next:- X. Regeneration


More:- An index for all studies

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