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Archive for August 3rd, 2013

justification-9-1

Please see the last post on the series, “Roman Catholic Church View of Salvation.”

Before I give details concerning justification, I would like to tell you what justification is.  Justification is a forensic event in which God declares the once-hell bound believing sinner as righteous because of the grounds of imputed righteousness of Christ.  This imputed righteousness is also not understood properly if one does not take into account the active obedience of Christ’s full obedience to “all” that God the Father willed for Him to fulfill in this earth.  Justification is not based upon our works or righteousness; and not even our faith.  Faith is only the means or the instrument that allows us to receive the benefits of justification.[1]   Unlike the Roman Catholic position which sees justification as the process of becoming just, the biblical view is an event in where God declares the believing sinner as righteous.  The Catholic view distorts justification by seeing the sacraments and good works as the process that makes them righteous.  Another aspect of justification is that it  is more than a pardon; takes into account both the negative and positive aspects, is once for all, and has no degrees or changes.  More explanation will be given.

Why does man desperately need justification?  He needs it because his greatest problem is sin.  Sin, which is the result of the Fall of Adam, has brought catastrophic results.  What you see on this earth such as cancer, diabetes, aids, heart disease, liver problems, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, murder, pain, rape, abuse, etc., are all a result of sin.  But more devastating is what sin has done to the human heart.  Since sin has affected the human heart, man has an internal problem.  His heart, his whole being, and his mind has been corrupted and is an offense before a holy God.  In order to satisfy God, we need to be positionally perfect before Him.  Since we are not, we are declared as unrighteous and hell-deserving sinners who deserve the wrath of God.

In light of our bad condition before God, the question that needs to be answered today is, “How can man become right before God?”  This question has taunted many men down in history.  For example, men like Martin Luther lived in the horror of how to be right before God.  It caused him to crawl on his knees up the steps of the so-called Scala-Sancta in Rome.  It has also caused indigenous tribes to sacrifice humans to their sun gods.  Today, we see people going to church to perform good works to placate their conscience, but they are nothing but modern-day Pharisees who have not truly repented from their self-righteousness.  In their blindness, they think they are wonderful and good people who are not evil because they have not murdered, rape, and done any sins that that media deems to be notorious.  But the truth of the matter is that before a holy and just God, all sins committed, qualifies a person of being a criminal in God’s holy courthouse.

Modern-day Pharisees are not those who pursue enslavement to Christ (1 Cor. 7:22), righteousness (leads to sanctification) (Romans 6:18-19), etc. Modern-day Pharisees are those who use Christian lingo, pray, attend church, give their offerings, sing Christian songs, prayed a prayer, signed a card at an evangelistic crusade; think they are saved because they are born into a Christian home; are anti-abortion, anti-homosexuality, anti-gay marriage, anti-liberal, but Inside their heart, they are whitewashed tombs (Matthew 23:27) who love their pride (Proverbs 8:13) ;claim they are without sin (1 John 1:8-9), don’t desire reconciliation with God (2 Corinthians 5:18-20) and Christians (Matthew 5:24), don’t desire obedience to God’s Words because their hearts are far from Him(1 John 2:4-5; Mark 7:6); self-centered before God and others (2 Timothy 4:3; Ephesians 4:31-32), do not support the Gospel ministry (Matthew 23:13), place their traditions equal to or above God (Matthew 15:3), act Christ-like before other Christians, but in the dark, they are in bed with their sinful desires (Proverbs 28:13).  Modern-day Pharisees are also too prideful to confess their sins before God and other believers (1 John 1:9; James 5:16), are unteachable (Ephesians 5:21-22; James 4:6; Proverbs 15:31-32; Proverbs 19:20), get easily offended when a loving Christian calls out their sin, love being called a disciple, but do not understand the demands of discipleship (Luke 14:25-33).  Modern-Pharisees substitute their own laws and opinions for God’s laws, twist Scripture and act like Satan when they willfully misinterpret Jesus words in Matthew 7:1, “”Do not judge so that you will not be judged.”  Modern-Pharisees explain away God’s truth by seeking to discredit the teacher (John 9:14), are not good listeners (John 9:18-23), love to label and divide people into different camps (John 9:28-29), and resort to intimidation to win arguments (John 9:22) (crbaptist).  Modern-day Pharisees’ greatest need is to be right before God.  They desperately need Christ and need to come to Him in desperation because nothing in them is good.  They are nothing but filthy rags that need forgiveness (Isaiah 64:6).  That now moves us to our next question in terms of how to be justified before God.

If justification cannot be based on our works or superficial profession, then what is it based on?  Justification is based on the penal substitution of Christ.  Penal substitution is Christ’s death on our behalf.  He took the punishment, curse, and the death that should have been absorbed by us.  Romans 5:9 says, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”  1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”  So what does justification based on the blood or Christ’s sacrifice mean?  It means that justification proceeds on a ransom paid and proceeds on the basis of the satisfaction of justice.  In other words, God did not look on a man, but on Christ’s perfect holy blood that was spilled on Calvary’s cross.  We are justified by His works which ultimately led to the shedding of blood, which resulted from His death and sacrifice.

You see?  There is nothing in man to please God.  You can’t satisfy Him because you are unable to perfectly obey Him.  Not even his faith and repentance is enough if it was not for the death of Christ.  The exaltation of Christ’s death explains why the weak in faith can be justified because of the death of Christ. If God relied on our faith, we are doom, because we never have perfect faith.  Someone once told Hudson Taylor that he was a man of great faith.  He responded by saying, “No, I am a man of very little faith in a very great God.”

As stated earlier, the term  to “justify” also means “to declare righteous.”  It does not mean, “to make righteous.” It means, God declares us to be righteous objectively from the outside according to His laws and standards.  Also to justify does not mean to make righteous from the inside.  That is the work of the Holy Spirit.  He is involved in that particular work to make righteous, which is called “regeneration (Titus 3:5).  Please also see Eph. 4:24; Rom. 8:33-34.

Justification also has no degrees or changes.  Man is either fully righteous or fully condemned (Rom. 8:1; 2 Cor. 5:21).

Also justification is more than a pardon because we have the righteousness of God imputed into us because of Christ’s death.  God sees us as positionally perfect before His law.

Justification is both negative and positive.  Negative in the sense that our sin debt was imputed to Christ and paid for by Him and positive in the sense that Christ pays for our fine and debt and credits us with righteousness into our accounts (Rom. 5:1-2; John 5:24).  Amazing grace, indeed!

Justification is once for all (Heb. 10:10; Romans 8:33-35).  It will never be revoked.

Also justification is received by “faith alone in Christ!”  Not faith plus your works (i.e. sacraments, your righteousness, etc.).  He is the supreme object of our faith, not your works.  To do so would be to offend the Holy One.  Our works is just the natural outflow/result of being saved in Christ alone.  Once you place your faith in Christ, you are justified.  But it must be a genuine faith that expresses a passionate convicting and  satisfying acceptance within one’s soul concerning God’s truth (Romans 10:9). Justification does not happen when Christ comes back for the church.  Nor can you work for it.  Please see Acts 16:30-31.


[1]R. C. Sproule, Getting the Gospel Right: The Tie that Binds Evangelicals Together (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999), 160.

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