Christ is at once the spotless descent of God into men and the sinless ascent of man into God, and the Holy Spirit is the Agent by whom this is accomplished. —John G. Lake
The writers of Scripture used some pretty impressive words to describe powerful theological truths. One of those words is justified. I’m afraid the word has lost some of its punch over the years since it was first translated into English. Certainly, it means a lot more than whether the margins are smooth on the right- or left-hand side of your page!
So, what does it mean to be justified?
A legal declaration that we are completely forgiven and no longer liable for punishment.
If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. (Romans 4:2-5)
Wow! What a contrast to our experiences in the world, where we rarely experience any sort of affirmation outside of our fleshly efforts. In Christ, God declares us righteous through our faith in what Jesus did, not because of our works. That’s a huge, huge distinction. Do you see the practical difference for us?
We always have to keep our guard up and be on our best behavior in the world. But we can truly rest in Christ.
In your mind, do you make a clear distinction between how the world accepts you and how God justifies you?!
O Father, may I never seek forgiveness from You by my works. May I never try to be righteous through my own efforts. You have forgiven me fully and made me completely righteous in Christ! I stand aside and ask that You would naturally demonstrate that through me today. Amen.