Justified: No Record of My Sin
Salvation is of the Lord: initiated and designed by the Lord—and thus it is almost beyond human comprehension. But what we do know, revealed by God through His Word is incredible.
500 years ago an agonized Augustinian monk was starving himself to death, sleeping on a cold stone floor, hoping to please God. He had already had the grace the church offered at his baptism, confirmation, and daily masses, he had taken Holy Orders and was doing endless penance—but his soul was tormented and his body was unable to be holy.
At the depths of his despair, guided by an older monk, he turned to Romans and saw the wonder of justification by God, through faith alone.
Justification is the greatest doctrine in the Bible, and the most vital. Martin Luther (1483-1546), the great reformer was saved only after he realized that justification was by faith alone. When this truth dawned upon his heart he overflowed with the joy of the Gospel and spent the rest of his life proclaiming it everywhere he could. What is justification as presented by God in His Word the Bible?
The Greatest Doctrine In the Bible
The theological term for salvation by grace, through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus on the Cross, is justification by faith. Justification is the "act of God whereby He declares the believing sinner righteous in Christ on the basis of the finished work of Christ on the cross". Each piece of this definition must be considered carefully.
First, justification is an act of God, not a process in our lives. Justification has no degrees; each believer gets the same righteous standing before God.
Next, God alone can justify, we are helpless and can only believe. But, justification does not mean that God makes us righteous, but that He declares us righteous. Justification is the legal recording of Christ's righteousness onto the record of our life, and the record of our sinfulness onto Him. Nothing can change this legal event.
Finally, justification begins sanctification. Sanctification is the life-long process whereby God makes each believer more and more Christ-like. Our sanctification will vary from day to day, but our justification never varies. The moment we trusted Christ, God declares us righteous, and His declaration can never be repealed. Once justified, God forever looks at us as if we had never sinned!
Have you experienced the peace of justification, all guilt removed, all punishment forever taken away from God's sight?
What does it mean to be "justified"? In popular, everyday language the word can be paraphrased: "just as if I'd never sinned". One Bible teacher from England liked to describe justification by the story of what happened when a wealthy Englishman bought a Rolls Royce car and took it to France on his vacation.
The new Rolls broke down. At great expense the factory flew out a mechanic, and not only repaired the car but entertained the customer in the best available hotel. When he arrived home he expected to receive a large bill but none came. Eventually he wrote, asking for his account to be rendered. He received this reply: "Dear Sir, We have no record of anything ever having gone wrong with your car."
That is exactly what it means to be justified. It means that God has no record of anything ever having gone wrong in our lives. The truth of justification can become the greatest truth in the Bible if you think about it long enough.
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