“SINCE WE HAVE BEEN JUSTIFIED…” Rom. 5:1-11
INTRO – (video – Joe Shelton – “Blue Yodel #17”) – Can you & I truly be in the spiritual condition of being justified, as Joe said in his song, “Just if I’d never sinned”?
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE JUSTIFIED? Joe said in his song, it’s “just if I’d never sinned.” That’s a quick, concise way of stating this spiritual truth. Makes it easy to remember. Doesn’t mean that we’ve never sinned, or that we won’t struggle w/ temptation & sin after we are saved. We know that’s not the truth. But is it true that anyone anywhere in the world, no matter how “bad” a person they are, can be in a position where they could actually say, “I’m justified – just if I’d never sinned”? YES! That’s the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Greg Laurie: “God not only forgives us, but He sees us as if we had never sinned. He removes our sin, and in its position He places the perfect righteousness of Christ.”
So let’s look a little deeper at what it means to be justified:
It’s a declaration by God. – We know that we cannot save ourselves. We can never be good enough to be justified on our own merit or our own goodness or good works. Rom. 3 has shown us that (v. 10-18, 23).
The good news of the Gospel is that we are justified – declared righteous by God once & for all – at the very moment of our salvation! Justification does not MAKE us righteous. It DECLARES us righteous! Phrase, “since we have been justified” literally means, “we have been declared just.” When we place our faith in Christ alone for our salvation, that means that we are trusting in what Christ has done for us rather than what we are trying to do for ourselves. When God looks at us, He doesn’t see our sins any more. He sees the righteousness of Christ in us, covering our sins by His death on the cross, allowing God to see us as holy & blameless, & He declares us eternally & completely justified. The 2 people in Joe’s song – the tax collector & the woman caught in adultery – both DECLARED justified by Jesus. Neither did anything to earn or deserve their justification. It was a declaration!
It’s dependent upon God. – Justification is a work of God, not a work of man. It’s not dependent upon our faith. It’s not even dependent upon our complete understanding & comprehension of this truth. It’s dependent upon God alone to justify us. 2 Cor. 5:21 – “GOD MADE Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” Our salvation, our justification has been the plan of God since before the beginning of time. HE has planned it. HE has implemented it. HE has accomplished it. And HE will complete it. Phil. 1:6 – “…He who began a good work in you…”
It’s driven by the grace of God. – “Grace, grace, God’s grace; grace that will pardon & cleanse within. Grace, grace, God’s grace; grace that is greater than all our sin.” We can’t earn our justification. We don’t deserve to be justified. It’s a free gift, driven by the grace of God. Look at these “grace” verses:
- 6 – “…Christ died for the ungodly…”
- 8 – “…while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
- 10 – “…while we were enemies we were reconciled to God…”
- “free gift” – used 5 times in v. 15, 16, 17
It’s a demonstration of the justice of God. – We can’t truly understand the justice of God until we understand sin. Paul has made a strong case in these first chapters of Romans that all men are sinners, all have turned away from God, & all are deserving of the wrath of God, & deserving of death.
But in our justification, God satisfied His wrath by pouring it out on His own Son instead of on us – v. 9. “God’s intolerance of sin resulted in the death of His Son” (John Burton). That verse brings us back to that word that we’ve used in the last 2 sermons – propitiation – the giving of a gift to turn away wrath. God’s justice demanded that a price be paid for sin, &, as the hymnwriter put it, “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”
“At the cross, propitiation teaches us that God killed His son so He wouldn’t have to kill sinners like you & me.” (Danny Akin)
“We deserved death, wrath, & hell forever. Jesus took our liability, & God crushed Him. Jesus drank our hell.” (Conrad Mbewe)
HOW DO WE GET JUSTIFIED? Simply put: by faith. Obviously, the answer is that we are justified by God & His work in us. But that justification doesn’t happen until we respond in faith to God’s offer to us. God offers us the free gift of salvation & justification through Jesus; all we have to do is accept it by faith.
Faith in Christ’s finished work. – v. 8 sums it up: “Christ died for us.” When He said, “It is finished” on the cross, He proclaimed that nothing else needed to be done to accomplish our salvation. He paid the price that was too high for us to pay, & paid the debt that was too big for us to pay.
Faith in God’s free gift. – 6:23 – It just seems too good to be true, but it IS true! God offers us the FREE GIFT of salvation & justification! It’s ours for the taking! Believe it, receive it, & live it!
Faith in the Word’s final promise. – This book is God’s final, complete promise to us & tells us exactly how to have an eternal relationship w/ Him. Don’t add anything to it! Don’t take anything away from it! Don’t alter it, or twist it, or misconstrue it to fit your beliefs or lifestyle. Let the Holy Spirit use the Word to alter YOUR beliefs & lifestyle! And that’s exactly what will happen when you place your faith in the life-changing, life-altering promises of the Word! John Wesley – “I want to know one thing, the way to heaven…[God] hath written it down in a book. Oh, give me that book!”
WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF BEING JUSTIFIED? – We GET to live for the glory of God! INCREDIBLE BLESSINGS! We live in:
Peace w/ God. – We have an “undisturbed” relationship w/ God. Not there aren’t times of disturbance in the circumstances of our lives. All have those times. But our justification means that our eternal relationship w/ God will forever be undisturbed by any temporary disturbance in this life.
- This peace is a part of the fruit of the Spirit – Gal. 5:22-23. We don’t get the fruit until we are justified. Can’t have any fruit until you have the root!
- This peace w/ God leads to our obtaining the peace OF God in Phil. 4:6-7. Don’t have the peace OF God until we have peace WITH God through our justification.
Access to God. – We have been given the right to speak. It means “to enter the presence of a king.” Through Christ & our justification in Him, we have the right & privilege to come boldly into the presence of God & speak to Him face to face. No earthly priest or intermediary is needed. We come through faith in Christ & in His name & authority.
- 2:18 – “Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.” (NLT)
- 3:12 – “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” (NIV)
Let me illustrate it like this: There’s story of a wounded Confederate soldier who was released from prison because his injuries prevented him from rejoining the war. Upon his release the man went to the White House, intending to ask President Lincoln for the release of his brother—also held in a Union jail—who was the sole support of their aging mother. But the guards at the gate wouldn’t let him in. One day young Tad Lincoln saw the crippled soldier weeping as he sat on a bench near the entrance to the White House. When he heard the man’s story, Tad Lincoln took him by the hand, walked past the sentry, and led him into the White House to meet his father.
Hope in God. – The word “hope” for the justified child of God means “a confident expectation that something will happen b/c God said it would happen.” To “hope in the glory of God” means that we have the full confidence that God will fulfill all of his promises to us.
- That Jesus Christ will return one day for His Bride, the Church – all of those who are justified.
- That those who are justified will spend eternity in heaven.
Sustaining Power from God. – The true testimony of Scripture is that the justified child of God can actually rejoice in our suffering. James said to “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of various kinds…” If you have been justified, then there is absolutely nothing that will come your way that God will not use in the story of your life & His faithfulness to you. We don’t always understand the “why” of different circumstances:
- Why this person got cancer, & someone else didn’t
- Why the drunk driver crossed the line at just that moment
- Why the earthquake hit Nepal or Haiti, & not Jackson, MS
- Why a child decides to experiment w/ drugs leading to a gut-wrenching addiction battle
But what we CAN know is that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God & are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). And we CAN know that God will provide the power to sustain us, leading to the development of deeper, God-honoring, God-glorifying endurance, character, & hope.