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Posts Tagged ‘Justification’

Redemption’s Highest Heights

January 12, 2015 Leave a comment

The_Unbreakable_ChainAnd we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30)

How do we know that Romans 8:28 is true? The answer is grounded in the timeless truths of the gospel of God, described in Romans 8:29-30. 

Like the pinnacle of the highest mountain, this passage brings us to the highest of heights of God’s revelation. God has done awesome things … things so gracious and merciful they are hard to even fathom. The implications are for both time and eternity. 

He foreknew us. He knew what would happen before it even occurred. This speaks of His omniscience (of the fact that He knows everything). In fact, there is nothing that can be known that God does not know. He is infinite in His understanding (Acts 15:18; Psalm 147:5). 

He predestined us to be conformed into the image of Jesus. Those whom God saved have a certain destiny; He has one goal for each and every one of us. That goal is to become more and more like His eternal Son. This is His goal because He wants more sons and daughters, and thus more brothers and sisters for Jesus. In other words, God desires to always increase the size of His family. Eternally, He has the best possible Son, the perfect Son. He wants more that are like Him. This is that He might love them in His kingdom just as He loves Jesus. 

He called (invited) human beings to come to Christ, who is the firstborn—the preeminent One—of those who have come out of death and into life. The invitation was to believe the gospel … and for as many as do that, they become children of God (John 1:12-13). 

Those whom He called and who responded to the gospel, He also justified. He made a declaration that they are now righteous in His eyes, fully exonerated and wholly acceptable to Him. Just as Jesus is righteous, so the believer in Christ has been declared righteous (1 John 4:17). We have the same righteous standing as the Son of God. 

Those whom He justified, He also glorified. He made them full of glory. They look nothing like they did in their bodies of sin on earth. Rather, they are glorious as Jesus is glorious (1 John 3:2; compare Revelation 1:10-18). 

Note that each of these amazing declarations of redemption is revealed in the past tense. That means that in the mind of God, it is as though they have already happened. Seeing things from His eternal vantage point rather than from the limitations of time, God sees the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10), and therefore views all believers in Christ—past, present, or future—as already being in their gloried state … with Him in eternity. 

This is how we know Romans 8:28 is true … God does work all things together for good, for those who are the called according to His purpose. If God can bring the believer out of sin and into glory, then surely He is able to use everything that comes into our lives for His ultimate plan. God cannot be stifled or waylaid in His eternal purposes.

For Further Review

1.  What is the foundation of the truth of Romans 8:28? In your own words, describe what God has done for the believer.

2.  How has Romans 8:28 been misquoted? What is wrong with the various misquotations? How have they changed the intended meaning of the verse?

3.  What is God’s ultimate plan and purpose for every Christian? How does that purpose affect the way we live our lives in the here and now?

 

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Justified by Faith!

December 4, 2014 Leave a comment

justificationBut now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. (Romans 3:21-31)

Set against the black background of the universal sinfulness of all mankind (Romans 1:18-3:20) is the incredible revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is, guilty human beings can go from certain eternal condemnation to a right standing before God. Judgment is replaced by mercy and grace; abject sinfulness is exchanged for complete vindication. All because of what Jesus did for us. This is what is called justification by faith.

Justification is apart from the law. The law only proves guilt and points out the wrongs that were done; it can never forgive or grant clemency. Upon believing the gospel of Jesus Christ the guilty sinner is justified, declared not guilty, granted righteousness. Justification is just as if I’d never sinned.

  • This justification is free for us (but at great cost to God).
  • Justification came to us through Christ’s redemption (He delivered us by paying the price of His own blood- 1 Peter 1:18-19).
  • Justification is because of propitiation (He became the sacrifice that was accepted by God as the fitting punishment for the sins of the entire world- 1 John 2:1-2).
  • In the cross, God judges (He is just, in that He punishes sin). Because of the cross, God is able to justify sinners (because they exercise faith in Jesus).

The one who is justified cannot boast, as God is the One who justified us. We did not (nor could we) justify ourselves. All we could do it trust in Jesus, accepting the gospel as true. The same gospel saves the Jew who believes (the circumcised), as well as the Gentile (the uncircumcised). All come to salvation through the completed work of Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

The justified person, in the end, establishes the law (a concept which is amplified in Romans 6-8). The law is not cancelled out or made invalid; God works His law into the very fabric of our being.

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For Further Review

1.  How would you define justification? Use your own words to describe justification by faith and its meaning.

2.  Bible study time: using a Bible dictionary or encyclopedia, look up the key words in this passage: justified, redemption, propitiation. What did you learn?

3.  Have you received the gift of justification through your faith in Jesus Christ? How has this gift changed your life? What does it mean to you as you head toward the future?

4.  Read Romans 8:3-4 and answer the following questions: What could the law not do? Why was the law weak? What did God do that the law could not do? How is the righteous requirement of the law fulfilled in us?