By Ed Dudek
As we saw in an earlier blog and in Romans Chs.1-3, the world is in bondage to sin, is found guilty by the Law and is kept under it. If a law existed that could have imparted life to us, then righteousness would certainly have come through the Law. But there isn’t any. And, if salvation could come by way of the Law, then undoubtedly Christ’s death was needless and in vain. But it’s “not by works of righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5, WEB). Or as Paul told Peter, “…we know that a man is justified simply by faith in Jesus Christ and not by doing what the Law commands…” (Gal.2:16, NTNT). *Gal.3:21-22*
God considered us spiritually “dead” by reason of our trespasses. He forgave us of our transgressions by erasing the record of charges of moral indebtedness to God that we incurred because of breaking His laws. These decrees of the law were charging us, condemning us to judgment and demanding punishment. But God completely took away this handwritten note of debt with all of its obligations and decrees by nailing it to Christ’s Cross. In other words, He cancelled the bond that stood against us! * Col.2:13-14*
The Scriptures (and God) make it clear that Jesus Christ is THE source and means of righteousness! And it is in Him that all who have believed are justified—cleared of any charges—and brought into the legal status of a right relationship with God, from which charges no one could ever be cleared by the law of Moses or by any other law. God’s own way of “justification” comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Our faith earns us no merit or favor with God. We are only justified because of the merits of Christ’s work on Calvary. *Rom.3:22; I Cor.1:30; Acts 13:39, Rom.8:33*
It is being in union with Christ that we become “the righteousness of God” (II Cor.5:21); that is, we are in accordance with what God and the Law require. On account of what Jesus endured on our behalf we are treated as if we had entirely fulfilled the Law of God, and had never become exposed to its penalty. God judicially regards and treats us as righteous, and puts us in right standing with Himself. It is a righteousness of God and not of ourselves.
Such justification comes to us freely by God’s grace through the redemption (the deliverance by the payment of a price) that is in the Person of Christ Jesus. It’s only because of Christ’s complete and finished work on the Cross that God can “justify” the one who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only in this way that God as Judge can establish a sinner as just by legal and formal pardon from guilt, and pronounce and treat him or her as righteous. *Rom.3:24,26*
And what are some of the results of being justified by His grace and in virtue of the shed blood of Christ? We are made heirs of eternal life! Through Him we have peace with God, we will be saved from the Wrath to come, and we will eventually be glorified to a heavenly dignity and condition. *Titus 3:7; Rom.5:1,8,18; 8:30*
In accordance with God’s promise, we all look forward to new heavens and a new earth where righteousness will permanently dwell, and everyone will thus live according to God’s standard and holy character. And we, like the apostle Paul, through the Spirit’s help, eagerly wait by faith for the fulfillment of our hope that is connected with complete righteousness. On that glorious Day we will receive the victor’s crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge will give to each one of us who believe in Him. *II Pe.3:13; Gal.5:5; II Tim.4:8*
Whether in life or in death, we want to be found in our abiding relationship with Christ not having any righteousness of our own that is derived from doing what the Law demands, but having the righteousness which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God and rests on faith. A genuine right standing with God originates from Him and is founded upon our faith in Christ and His finished work. On the wedding-day of the Lamb, for His Bride’s dress, she will be given fine linen, clean and bright; for the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints. May we all be there on that wonderful Day! Yes, understanding and being justified is a “big deal!” *Phil.3:9; Rev.19:7-8*
From:: Justified: A Big Deal?