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Christ became our Surety in the everlasting covenant (Hebrews 7:22). As soon as one man becomes surety for another, the one represented by the surety is freed from all obligation and responsibility. Even so, when Christ struck hands with the Father as our Surety, before the worlds were made, God said concerning his elect, “Deliver them from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom!”
The Lord Jesus Christ was, in the mind and purpose of God, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). If the Father looked upon the Son as the Lamb slain, he looked upon him as the propitiation, atonement, and satisfaction for the sins of his people; and he looked upon us as redeemed and justified by the blood of the Lamb.
Moreover, all the Old Testament believers were accepted of God and justified upon the basis of Christ’s having fulfilled all righteousness for them from eternity (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 9:15). They were not justified on credit, merely by a promissory note, but upon the grounds of justice satisfied in the purpose, decree, and work of God. We were justified in the purpose of God from eternity!
Eternal justification no more diminishes the necessity of justification in time than eternal adoption diminishes the necessity for the experience of adoption in time. All who were justified in the purpose of God must and shall be justified by the purchase of Christ’s blood and the power of his grace as well.
All of God’s elect were justified by the blood of Christ when he died as our Substitute upon Calvary’s cursed tree (Romans 3:24-26). When the Son of God cried, “It is finished,” the work of our justification was fully accomplished in time. When he paid the price of our ransom, we were delivered from the penalty of the law. When he was made sin for us, we were made the righteousness of God in him. When he was made a curse for us, we were delivered from the curse of the law. When he was declared to be free from our sins in his resurrection (Romans 4:25), we were declared to be free from sin!
Be sure you understand this. ― We were made righteous by a marvellous transaction of grace called “Substitution.” As the holy Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, was made sin for us, though he could not and did not sin, so we have been made the righteousness of God in him, though we have not done and can never do anything righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21).
We receive justification by faith (Romans 3:28). When the Bible talks about justification by faith, the teaching is not our faith that is the source, cause, or ground of justification. Faith is the channel through which justification comes, not the cause of it. Faith is the hand that embraces justification, not the hand that accomplishes it!
Should you ask, “How do you irrigate your garden?” I would probably say, “By the water hose.” But you would know my meaning. The hose is the instrument not the cause of the irrigation. It is only a channel through which water flows to irrigate my garden. Even so, faith in Christ is the channel by which we receive God’s free justification in the sweet and blessed experience of his saving grace. — The cause of our justification is the grace of God. — The ground upon which we are justified is the blood of Christ. — The reception of justification is by faith in Jesus Christ.
If you trust Christ, you are justified. Your faith in him is the fruit, evidence, and manifestation of being “justified freely by his grace”. Through the redemption he accomplished at Calvary.