(Romans 4:25) Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
I used to think that to be “justified” meant that as a child of God, He now treated me “just-as-if-I’d- never-sinned.” Easy to remember, right? It was a neat trick that helped me recall what the word meant. Unfortunately, this type of thinking stunted my spiritual growth. I failed to appreciate the full meaning of justification. I didn’t understand the true legal and judicial impact of what God had accomplished for me on the cross and especially in the resurrection.
Before trusting in Christ for salvation, I was condemned under the debt and penalty of sin. My sins were proof that I was a sinner just like every other person that walks this earth. Romans 3:23 pointed out to me that I was part of the “all” in “For all have sinned…” One day, I was asked if I knew whether I was going to go to heaven when I died. My reply was, “I don’t know. How could anyone know? It all depends on whether your good outweighs your bad.” Fortunately, someone showed me in the Bible that no matter how good I behaved, I was still unrighteous before God. My spiritual state was “sinner.” Sinners, even if they are religious, still spend eternity separated from God. On that day, I learned how Christ paid the price for my sins and that good works were something God expected after I became a Christian – not required to become a Christian!
Spiritual growth means we learn along the way how to please God through a new understanding of who we are. I really didn’t understand much about the details of salvation for the first few years of my life as a Christian. But after reading, studying, asking questions and hearing sermons for, I learned that justification is actually a legal term that means “to be declared righteous.” What an impact this had on my view of what God accomplished for me! It totally blew open my view of the cross and the resurrection of Christ.. Before all this, I knew the resurrection of Jesus made Him special and Christianity unique. I did not realize that His resurrection also made me special and unique. I have been declared righteous because God gave me the righteousness of Christ. His righteousness became my righteousness. Sin can never condemn me again!
God wants me to be so full of understanding of what He did for me on the cross and in the resurrection that I am consumed with thankfulness. This is the design of God’s grace to motivate me to do His will.
Renewed Thought – Anything good that I do is because Christ lives in me and I do it because of His righteousness, not my own.