In our short series of Daily Notes on the Seven Precious Blessings for the Believer, we have considered the fact that a believer is saved and forgiven. Both these studies ought to generate tremendous joy within the heart of the believer because we are now right with God and our sin will never be held against us. Today we want to consider the glorious truth that before God we are justified. The concept might be difficult to grasp and understand. As a young believer I was introduced to being justified as … “just if ied … (just if I’d) … never sinned”. Please read Acts 13:13-41. Paul was teaching in the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch, explaining the Gospel, starting from Egypt and the desert wanderings, through to the formation of the Kingdom of Israel, through the first kings to David … explaining that from him Messiah came in the shape of Jesus Christ, how He was falsely arrested, tried, crucified, buried, yet rose from the dead and proved His return to life through revealing Himself to many people. Then Paul says
Ac 13:38 “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the Law of Moses.”
In being forgiven of sin (v38), the believer is “justified” from everything the Law of Moses could not do. To help understand “justification”, let’s look at what Paul says to the Church at Corinth.
1Co 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Firstly Paul establishes the point that wicked people will be go to heaven (not inherit the kingdom of God), presenting his case in a question … “Do you not know?” Then he mentions that people must not be deceived into thinking their continual immoral lifestyle is cancelled out by commitment to Christ. Rather he implies such continuing wickedness is incompatible with salvation (Do not be deceived). Then he provides a list of such evil … and remember every such list in Scripture in not comprehensive. The Spirit through Paul is giving examples. Blatantly, heaven is not for such as the “sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexual offenders, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers … or swindlers”. Now the glorious Gospel truth follows … “And that is what some of you were.” Some sins we think are unforgivable are! And how are they forgivable? Naturally what follows applies to each and every sin!
You are washed. This does not refer to water baptism or some other form of external bathing. Rather this refers to the application of Jesus’ blood applied to your spiritual account before God. The removal of sin can be seen as a spiritual bath or a spiritual washing.
Tit 3:4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.
This washing of rebirth means regeneration. Because sin is removed (taken away / washed away), you don’t stand in sin before God you stand in Christ. You are a new creation. You are spiritually clean. You are spiritually alive. You are radically different to what you were when you lived in the world. You are now indwelt by the Spirit of God.
You are sanctified. The concept of sanctification is separation. You have been separated from the world and especially from the devil. Maybe unknown to you, you were in the devil’s realm of darkness.
Eph 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
This is where you and I were before our salvation! Then:
Eph 2:4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Did you see that? You were in the world and in the clutches of the enemy … and God in mercy separated you, sanctified you by transferring you from the realm of devilish darkness to His realm of spiritual light in Jesus Christ. Because His realm is not darkness (sin, rebellion, evil, wickedness, ungodliness, un-holiness), you now live within His realm of holiness, righteousness, purity, godliness, etc. This is what you were sanctified for … separated for.
You are justified. This means an identity swap!
Ro 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
Before you were unrighteous as a sinner. Now you are righteous because you are in Christ! When the Father sees you now He sees Jesus and will never hold your sin against your account. That account is blood covered. It is a legal term … You are acquitted of your sin charges before God!
Dear Lord God Almighty, thank You that through the Blood of Jesus Christ I have been justified before You. Thank You that my past does not affect my future standing in Jesus. Thank You that even though I am limited and handicapped by living in the flesh and in this world … I belong to You and enjoy all the benefits secured from me at the Cross. Amen.