To be justified, is to be recognized as being right. God has chosen to recognize as being righteous those who would simply take him at his Word. God recognizes those who take him at his Word concerning the price the Savior became on their behalf to resolve God’s justice for their sin debt. Justification is a recognition of righteousness that comes from God to those who believe God. What a security we can gain if we’d really know what that means.
Paul was telling people their reconciliation with God came not by their abstention from wicked deeds or evil deeds or by their commitment to the performance of good deeds or by a new measure of forgiveness that they might be able to procure for themselves. The reconciliation Paul’s talking about was accomplished by God. He designed it. He provided the means by which it could be accomplished. In fact, God himself accomplished it.
People continue to operated today in their thinking, nothings really changed, under the assumption that their sin debt is separation from God. If an ounce of new reconciliation in this Age of Grace could be restored for anyone when it comes to the issue of their sin debt then the degree of forgiveness that must be obtained in order to restore the reconciliation is the very degree to which that individual refuses to believe that Jesus accomplished it all. Paul’s good news is hid from those people. They don’t understand what reconciliation is all about. They think that new sin (as Israel’s atonement work) needs a new measure of reconciliation. So they seek forgiveness on the installment plan. Is that not the golden thread woven through every denomination out there? It is. It’s called religion.
All who place their trust in what Jesus accomplished are justified from all things, every single solitary detail of performance related righteousness. Sins are no longer merely covered. They are now completely paid for, completely forgiven, completely taken out of the way. God’s attitude can not fluctuate. God isn’t happy with you today and unhappy with you tomorrow, because he’s not looking at you in the practical sense of your sinfulness, but in your new identity of being hid in the last Adam. That’s how you can be holy and without blame before him in love. The most tremendous message the world could ever hear, God can now totally accept people even though they are sinful because all sin debt has been pain for once and for all.
Paul’s good news must be accepted. It must be believed today and you can be sure that confusion concerning that good news through the use of a counterfeit good news, a good news that looks so much like Paul’s good news you’d not know the difference if you didn’t clearly know Paul’s good news, will be Satan’s focus in this Age of Grace. No one can receive justification unless a person is placed into the Savior. Being placed into Jesus, joined to the Savior is the method whereby God justifies a person.
The issue at the Great White Throne Condemnation will be those standing there in their own righteousness and not in God’s righteousness. Too many people link a justified standing before God with performance of their own, they also link a sanctified standing before God with their own performance. Holiness linked to performance is what religion is all about. Religion thinks of sanctification as becoming a little less sinful or a little less sinful over time. And as a result they believe the degree to which they stand sanctified in God’s eyes depends entirely upon the degree to which they remain holy in behavior.
The religiously minded begin to believe they are indeed measuring up as righteousness becomes relative to those people. A misunderstanding of the need for and the manner of justification and sanctification resides at the core of unstable thinking. Justification is a gift declaration of perfect righteousness given to the ungodly who simply take God at his Word concerning what the Jesus accomplished for them. It’s that simple! it’s too simple for the pride nature of people to want to accept as they want to include themselves in that deal somewhere.
Oftentimes, sermons are geared to guilt and so through that guilt teaching, a Pastor in a way which may be subconscious level thinking, or even conscious level thinking in many of their minds, have their thumb on your behavior through the guilt preaching. A person must believe that Jesus put your sins (past, present, and future) away forever. God is not imputing your sins to you, any of them, whether they be sins of the past, present, or future. God imputed them to his son. It’s freely imputed to your account and that requires your belief in what Jesus accomplished where your sins are concerned. It’s important, it’s crucially important that you believe, because belief is required for righteousness.
Were the Israelites embracing Paul’s message? While some believe Paul’s message, the vast majority rejected it; a validation of why God had set Israel aside nationally in the first place, and why God had called this new apostle who would be sent to the Gentiles. They were envious of the attention the apostle Paul was getting and that envy had led to a rejection of not only Paul, but of Paul’s message. When Paul talks about a new creature; old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new, he is not talking about sin in an individual’s life, he is talking about all that they once were in the first Adam prior to salvation.
Paul was sent with a brand new message and Paul would not to have wanted us to mix the message of the 12 Apostles in regard to God’s program to and with the nation Israel, with the message specifically given him for the Gentiles. Tragically, most bible teaching pastors will tell us Paul was simply preaching what the 12 Apostles before him had been preaching. There is no more powerful message than that God was using what Jesus’ death accomplished for the sins of the entire world. Reconciliation goes far beyond a relationship between two human beings; Paul spoke of a person’s relationship to God in terms of the restoration of the right relationship between a person and God.
God’s love is very rare; his love is so paramount that God says he loves humans who are actively his enemies. God reconciles himself to his enemies while they are still in hostility. God’s reconciliation to the human race took place when the human race was actively God’s enemy, not after the human race repented. An enemy is not someone who simply falls short of being a friend; an enemy is on the other side of the fence. An enemy is in absolute opposition and their actions are hateful. It was while the human race was in this state of utter hostility and in direct opposition to God that the human race were reconciled to God by the death of his son.
Paul told people that God so loves them that Jesus died for them while they were yet ungodly, yet sinners, and God’s enemies. God has already done his part in the reconciliation by not imputing any of humanity’s trespasses to their account. The slate is clean as far as God is concerned. There are no longer barriers between them and God, his son has died for them because God supremely loves them. A true reconciliation can only be a success when both parties agree to forgive and forget; when complete harmony exists between both; when both of them become real friends.