WHAT IS JUSTIFICATION?
Text: Romans 4:1-16; 2 Corinthians 5:21.
1. To enable us know the meaning of justification
2. To teach us that we are justified by faith
3. To show to us how faith makes a justified sinner strive to live in newness of life.
What is Justification? Justification is an act of God’s free grace unto sinners, in which God pardons all their sins, accepts and accounts their persons righteous in his sight; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ, by God imputed to them, and received by faith alone.
It is the act of God justifying and declaring a sinner blameless or absolved of the guilt of sin because of his or faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind.
Justification is strictly a legal declaration. It is a declaration that a sinner who believes is (1) not guilty and also (2) righteous. It is like someone paying your debts, for which you have been imprisoned, and then tells your jailor that you are no longer owing, therefore, you are free from the legal implications and no longer be called a debtor.
“Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (Rom 4:6-8 Quoting Psalm 32:1, 2).
Watch the Bible Study below:
MAN’S HELPLESS STATE
Job 15:14 “What is man, that he should be clean? And he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?”
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:19, 23)
“Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD” (Jer. 31:32).
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. (Romans 7:7-11)
PURPOSE OF JUSTIFICATION
The Old Testament law was given to the Jews to keep and live by it (Lev. 18:5; Ezekiel 20:11) but unfortunately, they couldn’t keep the law.
Before Jesus Christ came all sin was passed from one man (Adam) to all men, so, when Jesus Christ came he also make sure that His righteousness is imputed to all men (those who believe):
Romans 5:17-21 “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
JESUS CHRIST THE LAMB OF GOD
Jesus Christ was sinless but was made sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). In Him was no sin (1 John 3:5; Acts 13:28), He committed no sin (1 Peter 2:22), and He is holy, blameless, and pure (Mark 1:24; Acts 3:14; Revelation 3:7).
So, “God made him . . . to be sin for us” means that Jesus, although sinless, was treated as if He were not. Although He remained holy, He was regarded as guilty of all the sin in the world. Through imputation of our sin to Him, He became our substitute and the recipient of God’s judgment against sin. Having saved those who believe, He is now “our righteousness, holiness and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30)
He paid the penalty so that having fulfilled the requirements of the law, we can be justified.
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
WHAT CAN WE DO TO BE JUSTIFIED?
Romans 10:8-10 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Repentance and faith are the laws of justification.
Faith: Believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ. This faith on the righteousness of Christ imputed to you helps you to:
1. Receive the free gift of salvation
2. Accept and believe the forgiveness of your sins. This will help you not to live in guilt and self condemnation
3. Look forward to and long for becoming like Jesus Christ Himself
4. Start living a lifestyle of the kingdom (of Saints) you have just been translated into without cost. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13).
Repentance: This is where many miss this free gift of being discharged of all wrongs because they don’t want to repent. We must acknowledge our sins, confess and repent of them (1 John 1:8-10; 2:1-2).
We know that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2) but it is the responsibility of every individual person to receive Him and His free gift of Justification. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (Joh 1:12). We must receive Him and His gift first before we can be justified.
QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION
1. What is justification? Romans 3:22
2. Who is qualified for justification?
3. What can one do to become justified? Romans 10:8-10
4. Which of you, being a judge, can pardon a murderer that shows no remorse but is boastful of his past evils and the ones he will still commit? Discuss.
God is a just God. He judges every act, whether good or bad. He has appointed a day to bring everything under judgment. He knows that we couldn’t keep to His standard of righteousness because of our fallen nature, hence He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die, pay the penalty of our sins and impute His righteousness to us and declare us discharged and acquitted. Our role is just to believe and repent and continue to walk with Him. How great is this offer!
Food for thought: Now that you have been declared guiltless and free do you crucify Jesus Christ again by deliberately going back to the same things that sent him to the Cross?
Memory verse: 2 Corinth. 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”