Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Blessings of Justification

When I attended Bible College I had an Old Testament professor who when he preached began by saying, “It’s a glorious experience to be a Christian!” It was Dr. J. W. Lee’s desire to express to his fellow Christians the blessings of justification. This is what the apostle Paul was doing in Romans 5:1-11. After having established the truth of justification by faith apart from works of the Law from Romans 1:1 – 4:25, Paul went on to declare six implications or blessings of justification.

Since we are justified by faith we have peace with God (Romans 5:1). This peace that we have with God which is based totally on having been justified by faith through our Lord Jesus Christ is both objective and subjective – our peace with God is based on fact first and foremost which when properly understood and applied will issue in its being felt in the heart.

Our peace with God is objective – it is based on fact (Isaiah 32:17) – “And the work of righteousness will be peace….” Our peace with God is based solely on absolute truth. Justification means that God declares us righteous, which is a declaration of peace, made possible only by Christ’s sinless life, sacrificial death, and supernatural resurrection. It is only through Christ that God can give a legal pardon where His justice and mercy can meet together without one violating the other – “Lovingkindness and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalm 85:10).

Our peace with God is subjective – the fact produces feeling (Isaiah 32:17) – “And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.” As long as our feelings of peace are flowing from the facts of our peace then all is well. However, it is possible to feel at peace but to actually be at war with God – “There is no peace for the wicked, says the Lord" (Isaiah 48:22). The false prophets declare peace to people who have no peace – “They keep saying to those who despise Me, ‘The Lord has said, “You will have peace’”; and as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, they say, ‘Calamity will not come upon you’” (Jeremiah 23:17). False peace is based on lies (false facts), which leads us to the truth that feelings are not to be our source of assurance but the facts as revealed in God’s Word are to be.

Since we are justified by faith we have access to God (Romans 5:2). In our sin we are locked out of God’s presence and do not have access or entrance into His presence. Through Jesus Christ we have access to God where God, so to speak, stretches out His golden scepter to allow us into His presence without us forfeiting our lives. Our justification through Christ’s blood gives us peace with God and access into His presence so that we can come to Him through worship and prayer and even approach His throne of grace in our time of need. The privileges of prayer and worship are based on justification. One doesn’t just go waltzing in into the presence of royalty without someone taking him by the hand and giving him an introduction into royalty’s presence. This is what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in obtaining our justification.

Since we are justified by faith we have joy in God (Romans 5:2-4). This joy in God is both future and present.

We have joy in the future sharing of the glory of God (Romans 5:2) – “And we exult in hope of the glory of God.” We all fell short of the glory of God and we all despised God’s glory and exchanged it for that which is a lie (Romans 1:23) but those who have been justified will share in the glory of God. The truth of our future glorification gives us joy in God who is able to complete what he has begun.

We have joy in the present suffering for the glory of God (Romans 5:3-4). Our suffering for the sake of righteousness proves our justification to be real (Matthew 5:10-12) and is used by God to transform our character. Also we are promised that our present suffering is producing in us an eternal weight of glory that our suffering cannot compare to (2 Corinthians 4:16-17). He who is justified by faith has peace with God, but tribulation in the world. The unrighteous have peace with the world, but distress and tribulation with God (Romans 2:8-9). The peace of the justified is eternal and his tribulation and distress temporal. The peace of the unrighteous is temporal and his tribulation and distress eternal.

Since we are justified by faith we have assurance of God’s love (Romans 5:5-8). We have the inner experience of God’s love for us (Romans 5:5). God’s love for us is poured out within our hearts through His Holy Spirit who was given to us. God’s Holy Spirit causes us to stand amazed that He could love us – sinners condemned and unclean – and yet He does. This is the basis of our loving God – “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:16, 19).

We also have the outer proof of God’s love for us (Romans 5:6-8). There is never any reason for the believer to doubt God’s love for him or her. Just one look at the sacrificial death of Christ on our behalf should dispel any doubt about God’s love for us.

Since we are justified by faith we have assurance of final salvation (Romans 5:9-10). There is no way under God’s heaven that those who have been justified by the blood of Christ will fail to be saved from the wrath of God. That in and of itself would be an insult to the Lord Jesus Christ who died on our behalf and would also nullify the purpose of His death.

Since we are justified by faith we exult God Himself (Romans 5:11). The whole purpose of God sending His Son and reconciling us to Himself through Him was so that not only would we exult in our Lord Jesus Christ but so that we would also exult in God Himself. Our love for the Father is because of His love for us by sending His Son to rescue us just as our love for the Lord Jesus Christ is because of His love for us by coming and giving Himself up for us.

“It’s a glorious experience to be a Christian.”

No comments: