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LEGAL JUSTIFICATION

Recommended reading - Roman 3:24-26.

 

Paul, in these scriptures, is dealing with an extremely important truth. A truth that details the righteousness of God, which has been made available through Jesus Christ.

I. God's righteousness is available to us.

The righteousness of God justifies us. The word justify primarily has a legal connotation and is a term used in court, by judges. In civil law if you break the law, you become an unjust person.

The only way to justify is to pay the penalty. Justify is a legal word that is used relative to man, and his sins against the law. When you obey the law, it justifies you; when you disobey the law, it condemns you. Those who obey the law are legally just. They are justified by the law. Those who disobey are condemned by the law.

Romans 3:24, explains that righteousness justifies us. When we believe in Christ, God declares us righteous. We need to understand that we are not righteous because of our deeds, but because we accept the righteousness of Christ. In the judgment that we are under, we are being judged - not condemned.

II. We are being judged by our fruits.

We are not being saved by our works. The works, which we do, show whether we have justification through Christ. If you have justification through Christ, you will appreciate it enough to obey Him.

The first item you note is Romans 3:24. The moment you believe, the righteousness of God through Christ becomes effective, and you have passed from death to life. You are now being justified.

Justification comes to us freely, without cost. It is more than a free gift; it is by His grace. Grace is often defined as undeserved favor or pardon. We crucified the Son of God, we beat Him, and we killed Him. Everything we have done is contrary to God and to His Law. We have left this world in a shambles. We have done all of this and God simply forgives us. On the cross, Christ lovingly said, "Forgive them." Christ was dying because of us. He loved us with every fiber of His being; and yet we crucified Him. Christ proclaims, "Father forgive them." That is grace. Grace is not only doing someone a favor, it is doing a favor for someone who hates you, and who is your enemy. Romans 5:10, details this important point.

III. We were reconnected to God by the death of His son.

The gospel is the unconditional good news. God justifies us freely and by His grace.

We are justified through redemption that is in Jesus. The same Jesus who created us, is the one who redeemed us. All God had to do to create the world was to speak. He merely had to say, "Let there be light," and there was light. The breath of God is power and energy. He can create, out of nothing, by simply making a statement. God knew we would sin. That is the reason He made us out of dust. We did not catch God by surprise when we sinned. God knew sin would make us an arrogant and proud people. God deliberately made us out of mud; so that when we fall, we will be reminded of what we truly are. Whenever we think of how great we are, remember we are made of mud.

When it comes to redemption (buying us back), God could not save us by simply making a statement. God could not declare us forgiven. Remember, God is not only a God of love, He is a just God. He could not redeem us, or justify us, by the bypassing of His Law. His Law says, "The soul that sins, it must die." God must be true to His word; otherwise, He Himself becomes an unjust God. Legally a sin or a crime has to have a penalty, and that penalty must be paid. It is simply unjust to forgive the penalty. God could not justifiably and legally forgive, without a price (or the penalty) being paid. God is a Holy, righteous God. Justification by faith is free to us, but is extremely costly to God. God gave us His only begotten son. In giving us His Son, He was giving of himself. God had to send His Son.

IV. We will not comprehend the meaning of Atonement until far into the future.

We cannot deny the legal framework of the Atonement. God's love and His justice met together at the cross. It was at the cross that God became legally just in justifying us, as Paul explains in Romans 3:25-26.

Paul is saying, we are redeemed from the curse of the Law. The curse of the Law is eternal death, being totally cut off from God. If we are unjust, the Law demands that we die forever.

The Law is good; it is we who are bad. The individual, the violator, is bad. Think of how bad it would be to live forever without the Law of God. As a result we would have disorder, hatred, and problems. Think what it would be like if there was nothing to stop those problems. It would be better to be dead, than to live without God's Law.

V. Galatians 3:10, shows that trying to earn salvation puts us under the curse.

Have we continually kept the Law in detail? If we have not, we are under the curse.

Christ has redeemed us, becoming the curse for us.

VI. The main truths about the sacrifice of Christ.

The death of Christ demonstrates that Satan is a liar, a murderer, and that the human heart is desperately wicked.

The sacrifice demonstrates the love of God.

The sacrifice demonstrates the justice of God. We have been redeemed, ransomed, and bought back. God has set us free. Christ redeemed us and bought us. He will share with us His throne, His Kingdom, and all the joys of the family of God. This cost us nothing; but it was very costly to God!

We need to examine two words in Romans 3:25.

1.) Propitiation. The word was used to refer to sacrifices that pagans gave, to appease their angry god. Please be careful, when you use the word. This was not the intended use of this word propitiation in the Word of God. We must not look at God in this fashion. In the Gospel, instead of man offering the sacrifice, it was God who offered Himself as the sacrifice. There is a world of difference between the pagan custom and true Christianity.

2.) Blood. In the new testament, blood does not refer to the blood, that went through His veins. His blood was no different than anyone else's blood. The word blood is a symbol used as a type, symbolizing life. Leviticus 17:11. Blood means life; shed blood means life that is laid down in death.

VII. Jesus did not die the first death.

Hebrews 2:9, Jesus tasted death for every man. It is obvious that He could not taste the first death, because every man still must die the first death.

A man, who accepts Christ, will not die the second death as is stated in Revelation 20:6. Christ tasted the second death for us.

Jesus was willing, on the cross, to say good bye to life forever, so that we may live in His place. That is the love of God. That would satisfy the Law. The death penalty had to be executed. God, through the death of His Son, met the requirements. Christ liquidated the penalty. Hebrews 9:22, According to the Law, there can be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.

VIII. You are not like a yo-yo, continually being in and out of Christ.

You sin - you're out of Christ. You repent - you're in Christ. It is not that way. This kind of belief produces poor Christianity. That is not what God intended.

This does not mean that you condone sin. When Paul refers to the past, he refers to the time before Jesus shed His blood. God could forgive based upon the promise of Christ's sacrifice.

God forgave out of His kindness, but justice still had to take place. Romans 3:26, God is now, since the cross, legally justified to forgive. Romans 3:31. God is upholding His Law.

The Son now stands at the right hand of the Father, defending this justification, against the accusations of Satan. Christ is just in doing this. The purpose of judgment is not to see if we deserve salvation; none of us deserve it. We are saved by grace! The judgment is because our justification in Christ has to be approved. We are then assigned responsibilities in the Kingdom of God. Jesus will defend our justification, and it will be vindicated. Satan will have no right to accuse us; he will be rebuked. Christ will say to us, "Come, inherit the Kingdom of my Father, which has been prepared for you from the foundation of the world." The righteousness of God means three things to us. One, you are justified, right now. Second, you are justified, freely. Three, God is just in justifying us. That is the message of the Gospel. In Christ we have salvation fully and completely! We need to teach this message to a world that is perishing and dying. May God help us to fully understand this message of the unconditional good news and man's legal justification.

United Christian Ministries




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