The motivation for this message came because of the vast number of Christians who have assumed too much by their initial step of justification. Being justified from past sins does not mean that salvation is completed. Many people feel that once they are guiltless of their wrong doings nothing more is required of them. We do not want unbelief mingled with our acceptance of Christ as Savior, but at the same time we do not want to assume too much either. When we assume that we have all there is at the moment of our justification, we close the door to the expansion of our salvation. It is an alarming fact that much of Christianity has cut themselves off from many of the great promises and provisions of God by assuming they have something that they do not have.
Most Christians, for example, say that when converted they became new creatures, that “old things have passed away and all things have become new,” referring to II Corinthians 5:17. Yet many aspects of their old nature have not changed. They are still controlled by emotions that are “unbecoming” for a Christian. Anger, jealousy, pride, lust, strife, prejudice, and many other works of the flesh are still active. And regardless of how much effort there is to suppress them they know that those things are still in their hearts. Some make excuses and say that everyone sins occasionally. Others are honest enough to repent when they do wrong, but yet they do not believe they can be delivered from the problem haunting them. How can we say that "old things have passed away" when they are still alive? How can we say that “all things have become new" when so many old things of the human nature still plague us? By assuming too much, the door is closed to total deliverance.
This study on justification will show that even though we were justified when we believed in Christ that it is still not complete. It will have to be expanded until we are not only guilt-free from past sins but also victorious over the sin nature. We also will see that we are the ones who will determine whether or not our justification is completed and perfected.
If we have accepted Jesus as Savior and have been forgiven for our sins, we are justified. That means we are no longer guilty for the sins we have committed. We are innocent, just as if we had never sinned at all. And that is as far as many Christians ever go. However, after we are saved other principles come into play. There are certain things that God requires of us after we become Christians. We then become responsible for things we fail to do. We may be justified as far as our past lives are concerned, but we may not be justified because of our failure to do the will of God.
Then another thing comes into play. We have been forgiven for our sins, but we still have a sinful nature. Many are of the opinion that we cannot be delivered from the nature of man until we die and go to heaven. However, God has made provision for us in that, too (II Peter 1:2-4). And if we do not overcome the flesh nature when He has made the provision for us, we will be held accountable. We must be justified in that area also.
Romans 5:8-9 But God
commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died
9 Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
Being Christians we believe that by Jesus’ shed blood on the cross we were set free from our sins. However, it is one thing to have a mental assent to this truth; it is quite another thing to know it by revelation. Isaiah said that our sins were laid upon Him, and He became guilty in our behalf. Jesus Christ our Savior became our guilt offering. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of My people was He stricken. And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. Isaiah 53:4-10.
When someone sinned in the Old Testament, he would take a goat or a lamb from his herd to the priest. There the sinner would lay his hands upon the head of the animal. By faith he was transferring his sins to it. Thus the goat or the lamb became guilty, for the sins of the sinner were laid upon it. The animal was then slain and offered up as a sin offering, and the individual walked away free from the guilt of his sin.
Jesus became our sin offering in much the same way. Our sins were transferred to Him when we accepted His death on the cross in our behalf. In this way we are justified by His blood. We are innocent and free of all guilt because He took our place and became guilty for our sins. This should move us to the very depths of our hearts, realizing that the Lord loved us so much that He was willing to take on our guilt and receive our judgment.
Too few of us have the deep revelation of what it means to be justified by His blood. Consequently, some Christians are still living with a measure of guilt. Even though God has forgiven them, some have never been able to completely forgive themselves. Consequently, they carry a self-condemnation that hinders them from walking in their freedom. This is usually the result of a repentance that was too shallow.
Faith in our justification should never wane, because there is a continual cry going up before God proclaiming our innocence. In the Old Testament a person had to bring another lamb to the altar every time he sinned. It was a continual thing (Hebrews 10:11). But the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was one sacrifice for sins for all time (Hebrews 10:12). The blood He shed continually speaks of our justification. Think of it, there is a continual voice before God that says, “This one is guiltless!”
There is a scripture in Genesis and another in Hebrews that will help us to see this principle of the blood speaking. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: am I my brother’s keeper? And He said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto Me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand. Genesis 4:8-11.
Cain slew his brother Abel not knowing that his guilt would be proclaimed before God. The Lord confronted Cain, and said, “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto Me from the ground.” Cain’s guilt was continually voiced before God. He was condemned and pronounced guilty by the blood of Abel. God responded to the cry of his blood and sentenced Cain. He said, “Now thou art cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand.”
Now compare Hebrews 12:22,24. But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God…and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. This should really excite us! We have come to the Mediator of a New Covenant. Jesus’ blood was spilled, but it speaks better than the blood of Abel. Abel’s blood cried out for vengeance, but the blood of Jesus Christ proclaims mercy. His blood says, “Father, this man is not guilty! He is innocent!”
Leviticus 17:14 (NASB) says, “For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life.” The blood of Jesus Christ ever lives. It was not spilled to the ground and that was the end of it. It is living in the sense that it is applied to the lintel and doorposts of every heart that believes, and the death angel passes over. His blood never dies. It is as living today as it was when He hung on the cross. And every time a sinner repents, His blood cries out, “This one is justified!”
Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Galatians 3:23-24 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the
faith which should after-wards be revealed.
24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Jesus shed His blood in order that all mankind may be justified. Yet we know that many are held in bondage to their sin and are condemned. Jesus shedding His blood did not automatically justify anyone. There must be the ingredient of faith on our part to make the sin offering of Jesus apply for us. His death was a provision. Our faith appropriates that provision and makes it work. In fact, faith is the only thing that will sprinkle our hearts with His blood.
Our justification is a gift from God, and we have to view it in that manner. We cannot earn it. Good deeds and religious works will not activate His forgiveness. Keeping the Ten Commandments cannot save us. His blood covers our sins only when we believe with a humble faith.
Titus 3:4-7 But after
that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
6 Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
7 justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Who can understand grace? It is so simple, yet so complex. The human mind cannot grasp it, and human nature cannot relate to it. If we could receive a revelation of His grace, there would be no limit to what we could become in God.
Grace is probably one of the most misunderstood attributes of the Lord. So many go without blessings because they do not believe they are good enough to receive them. Being good has nothing to do with His grace. It is while we were yet sinners that Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
Almost everyone believes that God is able, but often they do not believe that He is willing. When Jesus asked the Samaritan woman at the well for a drink of water, she was very surprised because Jews had no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus responded saying, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water” (John 4:7-12). If you knew the gift of God, if you knew how God gives, if you knew how willing He is to give, if you knew His grace, you would ask with faith and receive. It is very difficult to ask with faith when you are not sure if He is willing.
We are justified by grace, by faith, and by His blood. These three must work together. God is very willing, but He has limited Himself to our faith in His grace. That is why Jesus said, “According to your faith, let it be done unto you” (Matthew 9:29). The key to all that you would receive from God is faith in His grace. But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6.
Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Our justification is a gift by His grace. And this is as far as many Christians ever go with their justification. They are aware that being justified is a gift and by their faith in God’s grace they receive it. However, when the apostle Paul says that it is a gift by grace through redemption, it is something deeper. Being redeemed means that we have been bought with a price.
Almost any Christian would say, “Yes, Jesus Christ paid the price that released me from the guilt of my sins. Now I am innocent before God.” But redemption means more than that. There is a transfer of ownership. It means that we no longer belong to ourselves. Jesus Christ becomes our Lord and Master.
It is frightening how many Christians still retain ownership of self after the precious blood of Christ has redeemed them. They feel they have the right to order their own lives and to pursue any course they wish. Often they are faithful in church attendance, Bible reading, witnessing and many other things, but still not allow Jesus Christ to be the Lord over them. Being involved in religious works does not mean that He is our Lord. He is our Lord when we are submissive to His Lordship. That means that we renounce the right to rule our own lives. We belong to Him, and He decides how we will live, where we will live, how we will think, what we will think, how we will speak, what we will speak, and everything else. He redeemed us so we could be free to do His will and be His will.
It seems to be quite easy for Christians to become trapped in the snare of self-centeredness. When that happens, Jesus becomes like a genie in a bottle instead of Lord. Every prayer becomes, “Lord, do this for me, and do that for me. Help me and meet my needs. Bless me with my project.”
The one who has a revelation of the Lord spends much of his prayer time listening. For, you see, we were not redeemed so Jesus could do our will. We were redeemed so we could do His will. We will have a much deeper sense of our justification by grace when we become aware that it was through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Copyright © 2003 by Henry DuBose