Posted by Pastor Pat on November 9, 2010
In Romans 3 the word “justified” is used several times (Rom. 3:4, 10, 20, 24, 26, 28, 30 [see also “righteous” Rom. 3:5, 21, 22, 25, 26). Only God can declare a man righteous and yet men continually seek ways to make themselves righteous.
“THERE ARE fundamentally only two doctrines of salvation: that salvation is from God, and that salvation is from ourselves. The former is the doctrine of common Christianity; the latter is the doctrine of universal heathenism. “The principle of heathenism is, negatively, the denial of the true God, and of the gift of his grace; and, positively, the notion that salvation can be secured by man’s own power and wisdom. Whether the works through which heathenism seeks the way of salvation bear a more ritual or a more ethical characteristic, whether they are of a more positive or of a more negative nature, in any case man remains his own Savior; all religions except the Christian are autosoteric . . . And philosophy has made no advance upon this.”
Being justified is an act of God (Ro 8:33) Who takes the initiative (cp Eph. 1:4, 1Pet. 1:2, 2 Thess. 2:13) and provides the means through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. The sinner who believes in Christ receives God’s gift of righteousness (Rom. 1:17, Rom. 5:17), which then enables God to pronounce him righteous (both Just & Justifier – Rom. 3:26).
Being justified is once and for all time and as such defines the believers permanent state. Just as you may not be tried for the same crime again after being acquitted, God’s justification means you will never be tried or condemned by Him again for your sins–past, present, or future. This is good news indeed.
To reiterate, justification is not an act of God that makes us righteous but is an act of God that declares us righteous based on what Christ accomplished on Calvary.
Wayne Grudem writes, “A right understanding of justification is absolutely crucial to the whole Christian faith. Even today, a true view of justification is the dividing line between the biblical gospel of salvation by faith alone and all false gospels of salvation based on good works.
It is this truth of our just standing before the Father in the Son that we wish to note and celebrate in this study. In the next post we will look at five elements about justification within the Scripture that one must come to grips with if they will stand before God right and live free.