December 9, 2014
In our last blog we asked the question: How can God justify guilty sinners, and at the same time not compromise His own justice as the Judge? And how could He ever do this so that His own judicial claims upon them are met? The answers lie in what happened 2000 years ago, and was foretold centuries before. Peter tells us that Christ suffered once for all, atoning for our sins, a Just Man for unjust people, so that He might bring us near to God (I Pe.3:18). From the mercy, love and justice of God, there is a righteousness that was brought to light that comes from Him and is quite apart from any law: “…My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities” (Is.53:11b, NKJV). Christ was not guilty of sin, and could not be made guilty; but God treated Him as if He were guilty, because Christ chose to stand in the place of the guilty. So Jesus was treated as a sinner and judged in our place. *Rom.3:21; II Cor.5:21*
God “justifies” sinners on just and solid ground: Jesus Christ, acting on their behalf has satisfied the Law’s claims upon them. Christ bore the penalty of the Law in their place. When we were still sinners, He died for us. It was through Christ’s one single “act of righteousness” and God’s grace that brought about a verdict of justification, which resulted in life for humanity. Through Jesus’ righteous act on Calvary believers are appointed as righteous before God. In other words, God can establish a person as just by pardoning him or her from guilt because of Christ’s finished work on the Cross. *Rom.5:8,15-20
Justification is a declaration that a person who has put his or her faith in Jesus Christ is now not a guilty sinner, but is legally in a right relationship with God; that is, righteous in the eyes of the law of justice and thus in God’s sight, because of the finished work of Christ on Calvary’s Cross.
Justification, therefore, is God’s verdict about our judicial status. Just as a judge’s act of condemning the wicked does not make that person evil on the inside but simply declares him or her guilty, so when God justifies guilty sinners it does not make them morally righteous on the inside. Instead and before the Law, God now pronounces the person “righteous,” without guilt and legally righteous before the law of justice on the ground of what Christ did for him or her on Calvary. Justification is an instantaneous legal act of God and His declaration of righteousness in response to a person’s faith in Christ.
The justified believer emerges from the “court room of heaven” knowing that Christ, his Representative and Substitute, has borne his guilt, and that he stands without accusation before the judgment seat of God. God declares him “justified” in His Son, righteous before God. In this way justice is served, judicial claims are met and God remains a righteous Judge. Thus the “dilemma” has a “solution.” Praise God!
By Ed Dudek