“In other words, just as condemnation came upon all people through one transgression, so through one righteous act of Jesus’ sacrifice, the perfect righteousness that makes us right with God and leads us to a victorious life is now available to all. One man’s disobedience opened the door for all humanity to become sinners. So also one man’s obedience opened the door for many to be made perfectly right with God and acceptable to him.” – Romans 5:18-19.
We are sinners. Yes, that is pretty blunt, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Yes, we do good things every day. Yes, we have the best intentions. And yes, we can name people who are worse sinners than we are. But none of that changes the fact that we are sinners and have been since Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden.
That is where justification comes in. Justification is a theological term that sits at the heart of the Christian message. If you are a Christian, the moment you repented of your sins and believed in Jesus you were justified. You were made right with God because of your faith. Justification does not make us righteous but rather pronounces us righteous. Our righteousness comes from placing our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. His sacrifice covers our sin, allowing God to see us as perfect and unblemished. Because as believers we are in Christ, God sees Christ’s own righteousness when He looks at us. This meets God’s demands for perfection; thus, He declares us righteous—He justifies us. He saves us. So even though we are sinners, and even though we still rebel against God every day, God treats us like we are not sinners. We are sinners but do not die the death of sinners.
Justification takes place the moment a person puts their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. It is an example of God’s grace. Without an understanding of justification by faith alone, we cannot truly perceive the glorious gift of grace—God’s “unmerited favor” becomes “merited” in our minds, and we begin to think we deserve salvation. Paul says in Romans 3:24-25: “Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past.” Titus 3:7 adds, “Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.”
Romans 5:18-19 sums it up well. It is because of justification that the peace of God can rule in our lives. It is because of justification that believers can have the assurance of salvation. It is the fact of justification that enables God to begin the process of sanctification—the process by which God makes us in reality what we already are positionally. “Our faith in Jesus transfers God’s righteousness to us and he now declares us flawless in his eyes. This means we can now enjoy true and lasting peace with God, all because of what our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, has done for us.” (Romans 5:1 TPT).
- How does knowing life is short compared to all of eternity change the way you live?
- If God wants us in heaven with Him, why do you think we are here on Earth now? What is your purpose for the time you are here?
- How are you working to fulfill your purpose?