- The importance of big words: Because what you think about God matters. What we think about God is the most important thing about us. When did it become cool to talk about God as if he was some dude down the street? When did it become popular to say, “I just believe in Jesus, I don’t like all that theology stuff.” Well, ahem, what Jesus do you believe in? I’m borrowing this illustration, but say one day I was overcome with the reality of how great my wife is, because she is great. And say I go home and sit her down and tell her how much I love her and I say, “I don’t know if it’s your blonde hair or your blue eyes, but I just love everything about you.” See, my wife has brown hair and brown eyes…I’m getting ready to be in some trouble. Willful ignorance of God doesn’t mean that you’re holy. It means you’re dumb and probably getting ready for some trouble.
- Resist the temptation to make this about works: Justification doesn’t mean that you are holy. Justification means that God has declared you holy. Simul justus et peccator. Simultaneously justified and a sinner. This also is not an infusion of moral qualities. You aren’t instantaneously loving, etc. Nor is this a creation of righteous conduct. This is a forensic, or legal declaration. It begins the process of sanctification, which is the process by which we cooperate with God in the process of growing in conformity to Christ by obedience and delight in him. But sanctification and justification are completely different things.
- Your status is eternal. Your relationship needs work. (Judicial vs Parental forgiveness)
- Balance: Don’t think that your being justified in the eyes of God means that you don’t have to obey God now. That’s rebellion. People who have been justified by God don’t turn their freedom into an opportunity for the flesh (i.e. Galatians).
- Your judicial forgiveness from God means that you are seen as righteous and declared righteous by God. However, there is still sin in your life that God hates and he is convicting you by the work and power of the Holy Spirit to eliminate that sin from your life and while your union with him isn’t broken, your communion with him is and thus you must continually repent of sin and trust in the superior promises of God. And we live in those superior promises of God by faith, as it is written, the just shall live by faith. Amen.