Renewing Your Mind Day 2 – Changing My Mind About Justification

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Renewing Your Mind In 30 Days

(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.  

What Is The Gospel? (A Simple Test)

(Romans 1:16)  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

Can you pick out which one of these phrases is the gospel?

 

  Put your faith in the Lord

  Turn your life over to the Lord

  Trust God with your life

  God has a purpose for your life

  Ask Jesus into your heart

  Trust in the Lord with all your heart

  Make Jesus Lord of your life

  Turn from your sin

  Repent

  Receive Christ

The truth is, while these phrases sound good, none of them are the gospel!  Unfortunately, we are living in a Christian culture where the terms of salvation are losing precision even though the Bible gives us a precise message. We hear a lot of preaching that tells us what the gospel produces before we ever hear the contents of the gospel itself. If I were to ask you the question, “What is the gospel?”  how would you respond in precise terms?

The word gospel means “good news.” We all need good news. We need news that tells us how to be clean from our sin against God. We need God to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. We need grace instead of religious works. So in plain terms, what is the good news? In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, the Apostle Paul lays it out the terms of the gospel in language that cannot be mistaken with any of the puzzling messages we often hear today.

(1 Corinthians 15:1) “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

(1 Corinthians 15:2)  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

(1 Corinthians 15:3)  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

(1 Corinthians 15:4)  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

That’s it – nothing more and nothing less.

[box]In the simplest terms possible – the gospel is that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again.[/box]

All those other messages we often hear fail because they do not provide this message of good news.

Once we hear this simple message, how does God demand we respond? Faith is the only response that God will accept. Our response cannot contain works or else it fails to be the work of God on our behalf. We put our faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross and in the victory of His resurrection from the dead.

(Ephesians 2:8) “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”

If you never put your faith in Christ and His death for your sins and resurrection from the dead, would you do that right now?

Christian, the clarity of the gospel is one of the great battles, perhaps the biggest battle, we are facing today in the Body of Christ. The gospel is not only our means of salvation from the penalty of sin; it is also our means to daily practical deliverance from the power of sin and it conveys our hope for a future free from the presence of sin. It is the starting point for living with a renewed mind.

[box]Renewed Thought – The purpose of the gospel isn’t to make me happy, make me wealthy, or give me a higher self-esteem. The ultimate purpose of the gospel is to make me a usable, holy vessel for God’s purpose and glory.[/box]