The Excellence of Justification
- Definition: The legal action of God based on the righteousness of Christ whereby he declares believing sinners forgiven of sin and righteous.
- Opposite of condemnation: To condemn is to declare one guilty. To justify is to declare one not guilty and righteous. So, Romans 8:1 makes sense only if Romans 8:30 is true.
- Once for all forgiveness. The judicial forgiveness of God, whereby he declares our sins forgiven before his bar of justice is a once for all declaration. You can’t be un-justified. You can’t go from justification to condemnation as a believer in Christ. In Romans 4, Paul quotes David when he says, “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
- Expiation: God declares us clean. This concept of cleansing from sin goes all the way back to the Old Testament when, on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur, last week), an atonement would be made on behalf of the people and they would be declared clean: Leviticus 16:30 says, “For on this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you. You shall be clean before the Lord from all your sins.” Because of the once for all sacrifice of Christ, a perfect atonement has been made for sinners and if we are in Christ we have been declared clean before the Lord from all our sins.
- Imputation: As if that wasn’t enough, justification carries with it the idea of imputation as well. Imputation means that God has credited to us the righteousness of Christ. This basically means that he has taken our infinite debt of sin and paid for it in Christ and taken the infinite wealth of Christ and put our name on his account. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” When God looks at you, he sees you as righteous, justified in his sight. How? How does God justify fallen, wicked people like us? We will talk through that tomorrow…