Thursday, April 12, 2012


Titus 3:4-7 “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Like redemption, justification is another doctrine that too many Christians can’t define. Even though it’s an incredible benefit of salvation, it simply isn’t taught or defined in many churches. As a result, many believers simply don’t know what this concept means - and many others have a distorted view of it.

In its simplest terms, justification is another legal term. The Greek word is “dikaioo.” It refers to a person that is accused of breaking the law being found innocent in court. When they leave the court, they leave justified of those charges. They are legally unaccountable for what they were charged with and are in right standing (righteous) according to the law

Spiritually, justification is to have right standing with God - to be righteous in His eyes. I’ve heard it said that to be justified is to be “just-as-if-I’d never sinned.” According to the Bible, there are two ways to be justified:

The first way to be justified is by never breaking the law in the first place. God is going to judge the world based on the ten commandments. So doesn’t that mean we’re righteous if we obey them? Absolutely! This is called justification by works. As long as you obey the ten commandments, God will pronounce you righteous and unpunishable. Leviticus 18:5 declares, “You shall therefore obey My commands and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am Yahweh.” You see, as long as you do what God says, you’ll be righteous!

But before you try justification by works, you should know something. There is an inherent problem with that kind of righteousness. God doesn’t only look at outward actions - He also looks at (and judges) inward thoughts. God judges hatred to be the same as murder (1 John 3:15). He sees a lustful look in the same way He sees adultery (Matthew 5:28).That time you would’ve rather stayed in bed instead of going to God’s house? He saw that as idolatry (putting anything else before Him). Can you see the problem with justification by works? You have to control your thoughts just as much as you need to control your body!

But that’s not the only problem with justification by works. Let’s say that from now on you obeyed everything in the law (the ten commandments). Let’s say that from this point forward you were even capable of obeying God in every one of your thoughts. Does that make you righteous? Sadly, no. Obeying God today won’t erase disobeying Him yesterday. God keeps intense records! Being the righteous judge that He is, He can’t ignore a single act of disobedience. Even if it looks like your good should outweigh your bad - your bad still requires judgement.

As if that wasn’t enough reason to avoid justification by works, read what James 2:10 says, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” So liars will get the same judgement as murderers! Someone who disobeys their parents as a kid will be judged in the same way as an adulterer or a thief! How can anyone be justified by obeying the law?

You can’t. Romans 3:20 declares, “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight.” No person can find their righteousness by obeying the law because no one has ever obeyed all of the law. So aren’t you glad there’s another way?

The only way we can be justified is by faith in Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This kind of justification comes when you believe what Jesus did for you. When you trust that Jesus took your punishment to Himself on the cross, you receive His righteousness. It’s a simple exchange - Jesus took the punishment of your sin, and you take the reward of His righteousness. That’s it. That’s all there is to being justified!

Do you think it sounds too simple to be true? Well, the Bible affirms this over and over again:
Romans 5:9 “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
Acts 13:39 “...and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
1 Corinthians 6:11 “ But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
Galatians 2:16 “Yet we know that a person is made right with God (justified) by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right (justified) with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”

If you were able to keep the law, you could be justified by it. But no one has ever been able to keep God’s law by themselves! If I were you, I would would chase the justification that comes by faith!

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