Chapter 9. Being Justified
"Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24).
A declaration of innocenceOne of the most touching court scenes you could ever witness involve two heartbroken parents who, amidst tears of grief, express their forgiveness to the one who murdered their teenage daughter. Imagine, if the murderer was truly sorry, how great a burden would be lifted from his heart as the warmth of forgiveness replaces the cold, hopeless weight of condemnation. Even more amazing would be the relief, joy and walk to freedom of an acquitted defendant who is declared innocent of all wrong doing.
These are the kinds of compassionate and miraculous actions Jesus does for you as part of justification. His forgiveness lifts you to new heights as you realize that He won't let your past actions get in the way of a fulfilling relationship going forward with Him. Then, He goes a step further, beyond forgiveness, by actually declaring you innocent of those past actions.
Christ, and only Jesus Christ, offers this opportunity to you. He was sacrificed and raised from the dead so that you can be justified. The Greek words for "justification" and "justify" (dikaiosis, dikaioo) mean acquittal, or to render and regard as innocent, free, or righteous.
"Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification" (Romans 4:25).
"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" (Romans 5:18).
"Justification is wholly of grace and not procured by any works that fallen man can do" (Faith and Works 20.1).Being justified is the same as being pardoned. Justification means that, through His substitution, Christ makes you innocent and free from the penalty of your sins, which would otherwise have resulted in eternal death. This solves the legal claims of the law and you are set free, innocent, and awarded eternal life as though you had not sinned. It is important to remember that justification is accompanied by not only a declaration of innocence, but a rebirth. You are simultaneously justified and born again, ready and equipped to live as a new creature.
"When men and women receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they will confess their sins, and, pardon, which means justification, will be given them" (This Day With God, pg. 326).
"Justification is a full, complete pardon of sin. The moment a sinner accepts Christ by faith, that moment he is pardoned. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to him, and he is no more to doubt God's forgiving grace" (The Faith I Live By 107.2).
"Justification is the opposite of condemnation. God's boundless mercy is exercised toward those who are wholly undeserving. He forgives transgressions and sins for the sake of Jesus, who has become the propitiation for our sins. Through faith in Christ, the guilty transgressor is brought into favor with God and into the strong hope of life eternal" (Reflecting Christ 74.5).
"The moment true faith in the merits of the costly atoning sacrifice is exercised, claiming Christ as a personal Saviour, that moment the sinner is justified before God, because he is pardoned" (Our High Calling 52.5).
"As the penitent sinner, contrite before God, discerns Christ's atonement in his behalf, and accepts this atonement as his only hope in this life and the future life, his sins are pardoned. This is justification by faith" (The Faith I Live By 116.4).
Definition:Justification: The declaration and equipping that renders you innocent of all wrong doing and associated penalties.
Living in innocenceKeep in mind that justification renders you completely innocent. This involves much more than forgiveness of the sins of which you are aware. In the earthly sanctuary, the sinner would bring a lamb to be sacrificed when they had a known sin to confess. However, the priest would regularly make a sacrifice for all the people, above and beyond what the people consciously confessed. In the same way, Christ is atoning for you in many ways in which you know not! If you do not know something is wrong, then you are not held accountable for it. But, it is still wrong behavior and needs atonement, because the result of doing it is harmful and would eventually lead to death. Christ's continual atonement allows you time to discover and change those harmful habits. Growing as a new creature means that you do not commit sin in a knowing, preplanned or rebellious manner, and once you recognize something is wrong you immediately cooperate with Jesus to change your ways.
"Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17).
"But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor" (Galatians 2:17-18).
"None will be condemned for not heeding light and knowledge that they never had, and they could not obtain... In His sufferings and death Jesus has made atonement for all sins of ignorance, but there is no provision made for willful blindness. We shall not be held accountable for the light that has not reached our perception, but for that which we have resisted and refused. A man could not apprehend the truth which had never been presented to him, and therefore could not be condemned for light he had never had" (5BC 1145 - 1893, LDE 218.2).
"But while God can be just, and yet justify the sinner through the merits of Christ, no man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ's righteousness while practicing known sins, or neglecting known duties. God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place; and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul" (Selected Messages Book 1 366.1).In order for you to have this state of mind, of not knowingly or intentionally sinning, it is a necessity to have the new nature from Christ. Justification, or the rendering of your innocence, can be retained as you behave innocently, without guilt or bad intention. Thus, true innocence can only occur in a renewed or recreated heart.
Being justified means you are pardoned, making you safely part of God's eternal kingdom while you cooperate in transforming your character. Christ will eventually go so far as to obliterate the record of every single one of your sins. You are treated as though you never sinned!
Next Bible Term: Entering Through the Door
Conversion: The singular instance in time when you become willing and equipped to begin the process of true character transformation.
Overcoming: The process of character transformation and development.
Authentication: The testing and proving of character and its rewards.