Sermon #533 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: Four Facts About Justification
Text: Romans 3:24
Subject: The believer’s fourfold justification in Christ
Date: Tuesday Evening - September 9, 1983
Perhaps the most important fact revealed in Holy Scripture is the one which men most presumptuously ignore, the fact that God is just. “Justice and truth are the habitation of his throne.” It is not possible for us to understand the grace of God, the judgment of God, or the work of Christ until we have some understanding of the justice of God. Because the Lord our God is just, he must deal with men upon the grounds of strict justice. The justice of God is the rectitude and righteousness of his character which compels him to deal with all of his creatures in strict accordance with their deserts. Justice and holiness are as essential to the character of God as love and mercy. God can no more put aside his justice in his dealings with men than he can put aside love from his character. Because God is just, the only way he can save a guilty sinner, the only way he can bring a sinner into an eternal union of life with himself, is if he can make the sinner guiltless and sinless in the eyes of his own law and justice. This act of God’s matchless grace, by which he declares men to be guiltless and sinless is what the apostle Paul calls “justification.” Now, when God declares that a person is guiltless and sinless, perfectly righteousness before him, that person really is in the eyes of God perfectly righteous. Our righteousness before God is not just a merciful supposition, it is a blessed reality in Christ.
Proposition: Every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is truly justified, perfectly righteous in the sight of God.
But how is this justification accomplished? This is the great question of the ages. “How can a man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?” (Job 25:4). How can God be just and yet justify the ungodly? Find the answer to that question and you will have learned the gospel. And if you have not found the answer to that question, you do not yet know the gospel.
· I know this - Because God is holy, just, and true, he demands an infinite satisfaction for sin.
No man can ever be saved until he has suffered the just penalty of the law due unto his sins, so that his crimes and offences against the law no longer exist in the eyes of the law. God is as good as his word. And he said, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” The Lord forbade Adam to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, saying, “for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” No sooner did Adam eat of that tree than Adam and all of his race died.
1. We died spiritually.
2. We began to die physically.
3. We came under the curse of death eternally - Eternal death in hell is the sentence of man’s sin against God, because mortal man can never make an infinite satisfaction for sin.
· Not only does God requires an infinite satisfaction for sin; but he also requires of man perfect righteousness.
No man will ever enter into heaven in the blissful fellowship of God, no man will ever be accepted in God’s presence, no man will ever be brought into union with the eternal God until he is perfectly holy and righteous, even as God himself. God said, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” (Read Matt. 5:48). God requires total, absolute perfection in all of his creatures. He will accept no man who is not perfect in holiness. Unless we render unto him a perfection of heart, perfection of thought, and perfection of life, with never so much as one deviation from absolute holiness, none of us shall ever see his face. If God ever accepted, delighted in, and was satisfied with anything less than absolute perfection, he would cease to be God.
Is man therefore without hope? God requires an infinite satisfaction for sin. We cannot give it. God demands absolute perfection. We cannot perform it. Are we all hopelessly doomed? Must we all perish? Is there no hope for fallen man? Yes, blessed be God, there is hope for sinners. He says, “I have laid help upon one that is mighty.” The Lord God has appointed One in whom “mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”
· This is the good news of the gospel. God has set forth his own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as our Substitute and Representative. And as our Substitute, Christ has done for us what we could not do for ourselves, putting away our sins, bringing in an everlasting righteousness, and accomplishing our justification.
1. The Lord Jesus Christ has taken upon himself our nature. He is the God-man.
2. The Son of God rendered unto God the perfection and righteousness which God required of men.
3. Our Lord Jesus Christ made an infinite satisfaction for sin, by pouring out his life’s blood unto death at Calvary.
4. Now, all that he did, he did as the Representative and Substitute of God’s elect; and all that he has done, we have done in him.
Every true believer has both rendered perfect righteousness to God and made an infinite satisfaction for his sin in the Person of Christ.
5. Now, as the result of Christ’s finished work as our Representative and Substitute, it is a perfectly just thing for God to justify all who believe on him.
In saving our souls and bringing us to heaven, the Lord god is dealing with us in exact accordance with justice. He is giving us that which, in Christ, we deserve. The fact is, justice cannot allow one of those to perish for whom Christ lived and died and rose again.
Tonight, I want to give you Four facts about justification. Here are four things which are plainly revealed in the Word of God about our justification in Christ.
1. Every true believer is eternally justified in the purpose of God.
2. All of God’s elect were justified at Calvary.
3. Every believer receives justification by faith in Christ.
4. Every true believer is justified by his works.
I. EVERY TRUE BELIEVER IS ETERNALLY JUSTIFIED IN THE PURPOSE OF GOD (Rom. 8:30).
Our justification did not commence in time, but in eternity. Paul, speaking of God’s eternal decree of predestination, declares that all of God’s elect were justified in his eternal purpose of grace.
John Gill was right on the money when he said, “God’s will to elect is the election of his people; so also his will to justify them, is the justification of them.”
My friends, God’s act of justification is entirely an act of his grace. It is God accounting and constituting us righteous, through the righteousness of his Son. From all eternity God has looked upon his Son as our Substitute, and looking upon us in Christ we are, and always have been, righteous in his sight.
A. In the mind and purpose of God, Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8; Isa. 53).
God set up his Son as our Surety, our Substitute, and our Redeemer, before the world began; and as such, in his own mind he looked upon Christ as having been slain for us from eternity. (Illustration: Abraham and Isaac.)
Because God our Father looked upon Christ as one already sacrificed for us before the world was, all the blessings of grace were given to us in him (Eph. 1:3-7; 2 Tim. 1:9).
Thomas Goodwin wrote - “We may say of all spiritual blessings in Christ what is said of Christ himself, that ‘his goings forth are from everlasting.’ In Christ we are blessed with all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3). As we are blessed with all others, so with this also, that we were justified then in Christ.”
B. There are two facts which compel us to look upon justification as an eternal act of God.
1. Had it not been for the fact that God looked upon his elect as being righteous and justified in Christ from eternity, he would have destroyed our race as soon as Adam sinned. God spares the wicked for the sake of the righteous. (Illustration: Lot and the men of Sodom.)
2. The Old Testament saints were justified by Christ, just as we are today. And their justification was just as full, complete, and perfect as ours (Heb. 9:15, 22; Rom. 3:25). Every true believer is eternally justified in the purpose of God.
II. ALL OF GOD’S ELECT WERE ACTUALLY JUSTIFIED AT CALVARY (Rom. 3:24-26).
Spurgeon said - “I must hold that, in the moment when Jesus Christ paid my debts, my debts were canceled; in the hour when he worked out for me a perfect righteousness it was imputed to me; and therefore, I may, as a believer, say I was complete in Christ before I was born, accepted in Jesus, even as Levi was blessed in the loins of Abraham.”
A. In his life of obedience to the law and will of God, the Lord Jesus Christ worked out a perfect righteousness for us. In him I have obeyed God’s holy law (Dan. 9:24; Jer. 23:6; 1 Cor. 1:30). NOTE: The life of Christ was as necessary as his death.
B. In his death at Calvary, I died, fully satisfying the demands of God’s law and justice against me for sin (Gal. 3:13; 2:20; Rom. 6:6-7; 8:1). In Christ I died.
C. Since our Redeemer is both God and man in one Glorious Person, all that he has done is of infinite value for all who trust him.
He has effectually accomplished the eternal justification of his people.
1. He has obtained eternal redemption for us (Heb. 9:12).
2. He has put away the sins of his people (Col. 2:13-15; Heb. 9:26).
3. He has perfected for ever those who were set apart as the objects of his grace (Heb. 10:14).
Near, so very near to God,
Nearer I cannot be,
For in the Person of his Son,
I’m as near as He.
In thy Surety thou art free,
His dear hands were pierced for thee:
With His spotless garments on,
Holy as the Holy One.
4. This is complete, perfect justification. The law can require no more of us than perfect righteousness and infinite satisfaction (Eph. 2:4-6).
Complete atonement Thou hast made,
And to the utmost farthing paid,
Whate’er Thy people owed.
Nor can God’s wrath on me take place,
If sheltered in Thy righteousness,
And sprinkled with Thy blood.
If Thou hast my discharge procured,
And freely in my room endured,
The whole of wrath divine:
Payment God cannot twice demand,
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,
And then again at mine.
Do you see this? We were eternally justified in the purpose of God; but our justification was actually accomplished and perfectly performed by Christ at Calvary.
By virtue of, and upon the merits of, the life and death of Christ as our Substitute, God is both just and the Justifier of all who believe on his Son. Now, in perfect consistency with his justice , God forgives all the sins of all his people. “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” In Christ, God both punishes and saves the sinner.
III. EVERY BELIEVER RECEIVES COMPLETE JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH IN CHRIST (Rom. 4:25-5:1).
Christ has justified us by his great sin-atoning sacrifice; and all who believe on Christ as Lord and Savior receive the many benefits of his finished work. One of those many benefits which we receive by faith is justification.
Faith does not cause God to justify us. The obedience of Christ has done that. But faith, resting upon Christ alone as Savior, obtains peace with God, even the peace of perfect, complete justification.
Faith does not merit justification with God; but faith receives justification. Faith is not the basis upon which men are justified; but faith is the instrument by which justification is received.
Faith is essential; but it is not meritorious.
· Faith receives Christ; but it does not merit Christ.
· Faith receives the forgiveness of sin; but it does not merit forgiveness.
· Faith receives grace; but it does not merit grace.
· Faith receives justification; but it does not merit justification.
IV. EVERY TRUE BELIEVER IS JUSTIFIED BY HIS WORKS (James 2:14-26).
James and Paul are not opposed to each other. In Romans paul shows us the accomplishment of justification. Here James is showing us the evidence of justification. If a man is a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, he will justify his faith and prove its reality by works of righteous obedience to God, even as Abraham did. Any faith which does not produce obedience to God is a false faith, a demonic delusion. It is not the faith of God’s elect.
What kind of works justify a man and prove the reality of his faith? (free grace is not opposed to good works).
· Patient submission to the will of God (Jams 1:2-3).
· Love toward the people of God (James 2:15-16).
· Faithful obedience to the Word of God (James 2:21-23).
· Self-denial and sacrifice for the glory of God (James 2:23-25).
· Every believer is eternally justified in the purpose of God.
· All of God’s elect were actually justified at Calvary.
· Every believer receives complete justification by faith in Christ.
· Every true believer is justified by his works.
Our justification is an eternal act of God, accomplished at Calvary, received by faith, and proved by works.
1. Would you be just with God? Believe on Christ.
2. Have you been justified freely by the grace of God through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus?