What Every Christian Should Know About Justification

What Justification Means

To be justified means to be declared not guilty of all sin and penalty of God’s Law. God treats those who are justified as righteous and treats them as if they have kept all of His laws.

How We’re Justified

We cannot justify ourselves by any work we do because our works fall short of God’s standard:

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Rom 3:23)

Justification is a gift from God:

“…and are justified by his grace as a gift…” (Rom 3:24)

The gift of justification is Christ taking our place in judgment by paying for our sins on the cross:

“…through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation [payment] by his blood, (Rom 3:24-25)

At the cross we gave Christ our sin and He gave us His righteousness:

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21)

This gift is received by faith alone. This means trusting completely in Christ to pay the penalty of our sin:

“…to be received by faith.” (Rom 3:25)

“Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom 5:6) so that he might take away their sins. Christ has no sin of his own, but is punished for human sin.

We have no righteousness of our own, but we take the divine righteousness when we come to Christ in faith, and now stand accepted before God.

5 Names of Christ (And What They Mean)

The five most important names of Christ are the following:

1) Jesus

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matt 1:20-21)

This is the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua (Jos. 1:1; Zech. 3:1) or Jeshua (Ezra 2:2). Derived from the Hebrew word “to save”. It designates Christ as the Saviour (Matt. 1:21).

Two types of Christ bore the same name in the Old Testament – Joshua, the son of Nun and Joshua, the son of Jehozadak.

2) Christ

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt 16:16)

This is the New Testament form for the Old Testament “Messiah”, which means “the anointed one”. According to the Old Testament, prophets (1 Kings 19:16, priests, Ex. 29:7) and kings, (1 Sam 10:1) were anointed with oil. By this anointing they were set aside for their respective offices, and were qualified for them.

Christ was anointed with the Holy Spirit for the threefold office of prophet, priest, and king. Historically, this anointing took place when He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and when He was baptized. (Matt 3:13-16)

3) Son of Man

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Mark 10:45)

This name, as applied to Christ, was derived from Dan. 7:13. It is the name which Jesus generally applies to Himself, while others seldom use it.

While it does contain an indication of the humanity of Jesus, in the light of its historical origin in points far more to His superhuman character and to His future coming with the clouds of heaven in majesty and glory (Dan. 7:13; Matt. 16:27, 28; 26:64; Luke 21:27).

4) Son of God

We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. (1 Jhn 4:14)

Christ is called “the Son of God” in more than one sense. He is so called, because He is the second Person of the Trinity, and therefore Himself God (Matt. 11:27), but also because He is the appointed Messiah (Matt. 24:36), and because His birth to the supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:3).

5) Lord

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. (2 Pet 3:18)

Jesus’ contemporaries sometimes applied this name to Jesus as a form of polite address, just as we use the word “sir”. It is especially after the resurrection of Christ that the name acquires a deeper meaning.

In some passages it designates Christ as the Owner and Ruler of the Church (Rom. 1:7; Eph. 1:17), and in others it really stands for the name of God (1 Cor. 7:34; Phil. 4:4, 5).

– Louis Berkhof

Is It Fair For Christ To Pay For Our Sins?

Is it fair for Christ, who was innocent, to be punished for our sins? Isn’t it unjust to punish someone who is innocent, even if he’s willing to be punished?

In order to understand how Christ’s atonement can be fair and just, we must first understand our relationship with Him.

We’re one with Christ. We’re united with Him. He willingly takes our sin and gives us His righteousness.

Imagine two companies. Company A agrees to purchase Company B, which has great debt that it can’t pay. When Company A buys Company B, they willingly agree to absorb their debt and pay it. Company B’s debt is legally transferred to Company A.

In the same way, Revelation 5:9 teaches that Christ has bought us…

“With your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”

And again in 1 Corinthians 7:23…

“You were bought at a price.”

When Christ purchases us, we become one with Him, and He willingly agrees to have our sin debt legally transferred to Himself. This is taught in 2 Corinthians 5:21…

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

We’re so closely united to Christ that His death is our death and His resurrection is our resurrection. This beautiful promise is made in Romans 6:5…

“If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

I Believe in Jesus, Not Doctrine

You cannot separate what a person believes from who they are. This is the reason why doctrine is so important.

Some people say, “I do not believe in doctrine; I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; I’m saved, I’m a Christian, and nothing else matters”. To speak in that way is to invite disaster.

We are to guard ourselves against being tossed “to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” (Eph 4:14).

If your doctrine goes astray your life will soon suffer as well. This is why the New Testament warns us against this very danger:

“Test everything; hold fast to what is good.” (1 Thess 5:21)

And again:

“Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 Jhn 4:1)

It’s in our best interest to study doctrine so that we may safeguard ourselves against erroneous and heretical teachings that are as common today as they were in the days of the early Church.

– Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The Nature of God

The Knowledge of God

While it’s true that we can never fully comprehend God, it does not follow that we can have no knowledge of Him at all. We can know Him only in part, but nevertheless with a knowledge which is real and true. This is possible because God has revealed Himself (1 John 5:20, John 17:3, Romans 1:19).

Knowledge of God from Special Revelation

While it is not possible to define God, it is possible to give a general description of His being. It’s perhaps best to describe Him as a pure Spirit of infinite perfections. The description involves the following:

God is a pure Spirit

The Bible contains no definition of God. The nearest approach to it is found in the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman, “God is spirit” (John 4:24)

This means that He is essentially spirit, and that all the qualities which belong to the perfect idea of spirit are found in Him. The fact that He is pure spirit excludes the idea that He has a body of some kind and is in any way visible to the physical eye (1 Tim 6:16).

God is personal

The fact that God is spirit also involves His personality. A spirit is an intelligent and moral being, and when we ascribe personality to God, we mean exactly that He is a reasonable Being, capable of determining the course of His life.

Many deny the personality of God and simply think of Him as an impersonal force or power. However, the God of the Bible is certainly a personal God, a God with whom people can converse, whom they can trust, who enters into their experiences, who helps them in their difficulties, and who fills their hearts with joy and gladness. Moreover, He revealed Himself in a personal form in Jesus Christ (Malachi 2:10, John 14:9b).

God is infinitely perfect

God is distinguished from all His creatures by infinite perfection. His being and virtues are free from all limitations and imperfections. He is not only boundless and limitless, but also stands out above all His creatures in moral perfection and in glorious majesty.

The children of Israel sang of the greatness of God after they passed through the Red Sea: “Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you — majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (Exodus 15:11)

God and His perfections are one

Simplicity is one of the fundamental characteristics of God. This means that He is not composed of different parts, and also that His being and attributes are one.

It may be said that God’s perfections are God Himself as He has revealed Himself to man. They are simply so many manifestations of the divine Being. That’s why the Bible says that God is truth, life, light, love, righteousness, and so on.

– Louis Berkhof

By Grace, Through Faith

“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

God is gracious…

Because God is gracious, sinful people are forgiven, converted, purified, and saved. It’s not because of anything in them, or anything that ever can be in them, that they are saved; it’s because of the boundless love, goodness, pity, compassion, mercy, and grace of God.

It’s because “his love endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:41) that we are not destroyed. It’s because “his compassions never fail” (Lamentations 3:22) that sinners are brought to Him and forgiven.

Remember these things or you may fall into error by focusing so much on your faith that you forget that grace is the source of faith itself.

Faith is the work of God’s grace in us…

Faith is the work of God’s grace in us. No one can say that Jesus is the Christ except by the Holy Ghost. Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44).

So faith is the result of divine drawing. Grace is the first and last cause of salvation while faith acts as an important part of the machinery which grace employs.

It’s important to remember that we’re saved “through faith,” but salvation is “by grace.”

Faith occupies the position of a channel. Grace is the fountain and the stream; faith is the along which the flood of grace flows down to refresh the thirsty.

But faith is only the channel and not the fountainhead, and we must not place it above the grace of God. Our life is found in “fixing our eyes on Jesus,” (Hebrews 12:2) not in fixing our eyes on our own faith. By faith all things become possible to us; yet the power is not in the faith, but in the God upon whom faith relies.

Encouragment for those whose faith is weak…

So you see, the weakness of your faith will not destroy you. A trembling hand may receive a golden gift. The Lord’s salvation can come to us though we have only faith as a grain of mustard seed because the power lies in the grace of God, and not in our faith.

Great messages can be sent along slender wires, and the peace-giving witness of the Holy Spirit can reach the heart by means of a thread-like faith which seems almost unable to sustain its own weight.

Think more of Him to whom you look than of the look itself. You must look away even from your own looking, and see nothing but Jesus, and the grace of God revealed in Him.

– Charles Spurgeon

The Purpose of the Law

The Purpose Of The Law…

The purpose of the Law is to define sin, to reveal its nature; and that is why we are without any excuse at all. The law is in our hearts, but that’s not clear enough, so God made it explicit. He has defined it, He has underlined it, He has shown it plainly in the written Law.

The Law was given to pinpoint sin, to define it, to bring it out of its hiding-place and to show its exceeding sinful character. Nothing shows the exceeding sinfulness of sin as much as the Law itself does; and once a man has seen the real meaning of the Law he sees the sinfulness of his own nature.

What The Law Doesn’t Do…

The Law was never given to save people. The purpose of the Law is to show people that they can never save themselves.

Once a person has understood the Law, and its spiritual meaning and content, he knows that can’t keep it. What’s the summary of the Law? It is: “You shall love the Lord thy God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind, and all your strength; and you shall love you neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

How We Are Saved…

Has anyone done that and kept the Law? No, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). That’s what the Law says. It shows us our utter helplessness and hopelessness, and so it becomes “our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ,” (Galatians 3:24) the only One who, by the grace of God, can save us, and deliver us, and reconcile us to God, and make us safe for all eternity.

– Martyn-Lloyd Jones

Two Minute Theology: In Adam Or In Christ

The Bible teaches that all humanity is represented by one of two people – Adam or Christ. Those who are represented by Adam are said to be “in Adam” while those represented by Christ are said to be “in Christ”.

Adam was man’s first representative and he failed to live up to God’s standards and rebelled against Him. This rebellion brought with it the curse of sin. (Genesis 3)

Christ was man’s second representative who lived up to God’s perfect standards. This obedience brings with it the gift of salvation. (Romans 8)

This is taught in Romans 5:18…

“Through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.

And again in 1 Corinthians 15:21-22…

“Since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

Those who choose to be represented by Adam are represented by sin and rebellion and are under God’s wrath. But those who choose to be represented by Christ are represented by perfect righteousness and stand blameless before God.

God Bless,
Paul