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Sermon #2036 — Miscellaneous Sermons


      Title:                                 Jesus Justified


      Text:                                  Isaiah 50:8

      Subject:               The Justification of Our Lord Jesus

      Date:                                Sunday Evening — January 6, 2013

      Tape #                 AA-99

      Readings:           Larry Brown and Ron Wood



The words justify and justified are used many, many times in Holy Scripture. We are all fairly familiar with them and with the subject of justification. — We have been “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). But the usage of the word in the present tense — “justifieth” — is very rare. In fact, this form of the word is found only four times in the Word of God.


Romans 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.


Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.


Proverbs 17:15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.


Isaiah 50:8 He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me.


Here, in Isaiah 50:8, the one speaking is God our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is speaking as Jehovah’s obedient Servant, our divine Surety, Savior and Substitute. I know of no reputable commentator, past or present, who questions that fact. These are the words of him who knew no sin, but was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.


Isaiah 50:8 He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me.


1st Corinthians 1


The title of my message is Jesus Justified. We will begin in 1st Corinthians 1. In the first nine verses of this chapter, Paul gives the saints of God at Corinth some of the sweetest, most assuring and delightfully comforting words found in the whole volume of Sacred Scripture.


(1 Corinthians 1:1-9) Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, (2) Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: (3) Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (4) I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; (5) That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; (6) Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: (7) So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: (8) Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Is it possible for such people as these Corinthian believers to have confidence concerning such things? Is it possible for such weak, frail, sinful men and women as you and I are to truly expect this great salvation? If it depends on us, in any measure or to any degree, the answer is, “No.” But, blessed be God, this great salvation does not depend upon us! Read verse 9. — “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord!


The Burden


I am often asked, particularly by young men, whether it gets easier to preach, as I get older and have more experience. When I am asked such a question, I always think — “My friend, if God has called you to this work, you are in for a rude awakening. Seeking God’s message for eternity bound men and women, who live in the midst of great trouble, never gets easier. The more aware I am of the weight and responsibility of speaking to immortal souls in the name of God, the more I cry out with Paul, ‘Who is sufficient for these things?’”


What the old prophets called “the burden of the Word of the Lord” only gets heavier with time. I hope the anxieties of my heart for your souls never diminish, so long as God gives me breath in this world. If I ever find this work an easy work, I promise you, I will give it up at once. Ease in the work would convince me that I have no business doing it.


My Concerns


My first great concern for you is that you be brought to Christ, that you know him whom to know aright is eternal life. I want you to know him, to be washed in his blood and robed in his righteousness. I want you to know the love of God in Christ and enjoy the blessed “peace of God that passeth understanding” by faith in him. I want you to know…

·      The Blessedness of Redemption by Him.

·      The Joy of Righteousness in Him.

·      The Confidence of Security in Him.

·      His Dominion.

·      His Goodness.

·      His Boundless Grace.

·      His Adorable Providence.


Then, I want you to be kept by him, abiding in him and in his great love, stedfast in faith unto the end. For you who are “sanctified in Christ Jesus, and called to be saints” I am completely confident. This is a rock of consolation for my soul. — “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ.” — “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” — “He which hath begun a good work in you will also perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” The faithfulness of our covenant God assures me that you who are now “dearly beloved, and longed for” will soon be “my joy and crown.”


Your Concerns


As I try to seek a message for you, I try to keep in mind the fact that you, too, have many concerns, concerns for your own souls, concerns for your families and concerns arising from the countless difficulties and troubles that arise from day to day. How very great is that burden described in our Lord’s words, — “the care of this world!


We have our times of temptation, trial, affliction and darkness. Don’t we? When you come here with needs in your heart, I want, so much, to have a word from God that will be like “the snow of Lebanon, or the cold flowing waters from another place” (Jeremiah 18:14). I constantly pray that God the Holy Spirit will speak through this worthless, empty, rusty, dirty and broken pipe to your hearts, that you may enjoy the sweet consolation of the Scriptures.


Sometimes our God and Savior withdraws his comfortable presence from our souls and hides himself. He does so to humble us in the dust, to expose our corruptions to us, to make us know our need of him, to make us hunger and thirst after him.

·      That is what happen to David, when he was brought low and cried, “There is but a step between me and death” (1 Samuel 20:3).

·      That is what happened to Job, when he sighed, “The arrows of the Almighty are within me…Oh that it were with me as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; when his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness” (Job 29:2-3).


In such times, how cheering, how comforting, how reviving it is to be reminded that “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” What a great word of grace this is to our souls. Our faithful God has called us “unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord!


The Fellowship of Christ


What does that mean? It means that we who believe have all things common with the Son of God, our God-man Mediator, Savior, and Substitute. To have fellowship with another, is to have things in common with him. In Acts 4:32 we are told that the first disciples of this Gospel Age were “of one heart and of one soul, neither said any that ought of the things which he possessed were his own, but they had all things in common.” They had all their goods in common, they shared all they had with one another. — That is what John desired to see among God’s saints regarding all things spiritually. — “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us” (1 John 1:3). The same expressions is used here in 1st Corinthians 1. — “Ye are called unto the fellowship of his Son.”


What boundless grace this is! What indescribable mercy! We who are creatures of sin and shame have been called of God unto the fellowship of his darling Son!


Proposition: He came down here, took on himself flesh and blood, and made our sins his own, took all that we had, that we might have him and all that he has as the God-man our Mediator.


The Father’s Love


Is he loved of God, perfectly, completely, eternally loved of God? Indeed, he is. We have fellowship with him in that love. When our Savior was about to leave this world, he said to his disciples, “I go to my Father.” When he died he cried, “Father into thy hands I commend my Spirit.” When he entered into heaven and passed through the opening ranks of the adoring angels, the Father said, “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” What a blessed exchange!

·      He left the frowns and curses of the world for the embrace of his Father’s arms.

·      He came from under the outpoured wrath of God into his full eternal love and smile.

·      He left the crown of thorns for the crown of glory.

Do you trust Christ? Do you believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God? Have you fled for refuge to Christ? If so, all this is yours in him. He says, “I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God” (John 20:17). God is as much your Father as he is Christ’s Father, as much your God as Christ’s God. The Father loves you with the same full, unchanging, soul-satisfying love, with which he loves the Lord Jesus.


(John 17:5) And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.


(John 17:22-23) And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: (23) I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.


(John 17:26) And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.


Oh, what a blessed exchange we have! I was an heir of hell. In Christ I have become an “heir of God, and a joint heir with Christ” (Romans 8:17). I was lost and in the pit of destruction. Now, I am a son of God! Eternity alone can reveal the full meaning of that word, “Heir of God, and joint heir with Christ!


Yes, we are love of God as Christ is loved of God!

·      Loved for the same reason (John 10:16-18).

·      Loved to the same degree.

·      Loved with the same immutability!


God’s Faithfulness


Is the Lord God faithful to Christ? Be assured, my brother, be assured, my sister, he is faithful to you, in Christ. — “God is faithful, by whom ye are called unto the fellowship of his Son.” How often we think, “The Lord has forsaken me, and my God has forgotten me.”. But that is never true. Christ was once forsaken of God for us, that we might never be forsaken! Here is a soft pillow for our souls. — “I will never leave tee, nor forsake thee!” Hear the voice of the great Shepherd, — “My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me is greater than all, and none is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

·      Satan wants you, but can never have you!

·      The world are lays snares for you, but can never take you.

·      Your own wicked heart would sometimes be for leaving the hand that has saved you, but even your own wicked heart can never destroy you who are kept by God in Christ!

·      None can pluck you out of your Savior’s hand!

·      None can pluck you out of your Father’s hand!

·      None can ever break the grip of grace!


Did the Father say of his Son, “Thou art my servant, I have chosen the and not cast thee away” (Isaiah 41:9)? That is his word to you in his Son! The soul united to Christ is not like the grass that withers, but like the tree planted by rivers of water. Even in old age you shall bear fruit, be full of sap and flourishing, — “To show that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him” (Psalm 92:15).


At the very time when Zion was saying, “My God hath forgotten me,” God had her walls engraved on his hands (Isaiah 49:16). —— Ever look to Christ! Ever trust him! Ever lean upon him! Your acceptance and your blessedness, your salvation and security are not in yourself, but in him! The love of God shines unchangeably on him. Abide in him and you will abide in the Father’s love. The more you hurt, the more assured you should be that your Father’s loving eye, tender heart and wondrous grace is bent toward you. — “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”


God’s Promises


Has the Lord God made special promises to his Son? He has indeed. And all those promises made by God to our blessed Surety are ours in him. They are the promises of God to us in Christ. And in him all the promises of God are yea and amen!

  • He promised to be with him.
  • He promised to uphold him.
  • He promised to raise him from the dead.
  • He promised to make him triumphant over all his enemies.


God’s Justification


As the Lord God was ever near Christ to justify him, so “He is near that justifieth me.” Turn back to my text with me —  Isaiah 50:8. Here is one of the sweetest, and at the same time, most profound truths revealed in Holy Scripture. None is more important. And none is more precious.


(Isaiah 50:8) He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me.


He is near that justifieth me!” — What a blessed thought! Justification and all the blessings that come with it arises and comes from, is accomplished and bestowed by our great God and Savior, the Three-in-One Jehovah: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. It is God’s work alone. It is altogether a benefit and boon of his boundless, free grace to our poor and needy souls in Christ.


We have fellowship with our blessed Christ in his justification, too. Once our Redeemer was unjustified. Once there were countless millions of sins made to be his and laid to his charge. Men, devils and even his own holy Father, hurled their fierce accusations at him. He stood silent. He answered not a word. Although “he did no sin, neither was guile found his mouth,” yet was made sin for us and was completely and utterly dumb under every accusation.


This was his great agony in the Garden and on the cross, that before God, at the bar of his holiness he was unjustified. — “He was numbered with the transgressors.” His only comfort was, “He is near that justifieth me” (Isaiah 50:8). He knew that his trial would be short and that he would overcome. The hour of darkness is now past. The wrath of God has all fallen upon him. The thunder clouds have spent their lightnings on his head. The vials of God’s anger have emptied their last drops upon him. He is now justified from all the sins that were laid upon him and made his.


Is this Christ yours? Do you trust him? Do you believe the record that God has given concerning his Son? Do you with purpose of heart cleave to the Lord Jesus? Then you have fellowship with him in his justification.

·      You suffered in His suffering.

·      You obeyed in His obedience.

·      You died in His death.

·      You are as much justified as Christ is.

·      You have as little to do with the guilt of your sins as Christ has.

·      There is as little guilt lying upon you as upon God’s dear Son.

·      The vials of wrath have not another drop for Christ, and not another drop for you. — “By him all that believe are justified from all things” (Acts 13:39).


This is the thing I have been working up to. This is the thing I want to send you home knowing and rejoicing in. — “He is near that justifieth me!Every child of God is continually being justified by Christ, our God and Savior.


On-going Work


Have you ever noticed that our justification by our God is declared to be an on-going, continual thing? Three times we read of justification being something that is presently performed (Romans 4:5; 8:33; Isaiah 50:8).


(Romans 4:5) But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.


(Romans 8:33) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.


(Isaiah 50:8) He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me.


·      Christ was justified and we were justified with him in eternity (Revelation 13:8).

·      Christ was justified and we were justified with him when he made atonement for our sins by the sacrifice of himself (Romans 4:25).

·      Christ was justified and we were justified with him when he was accepted in heaven (Hebrews 9:12).

·      Christ was justified and we were justified with him in his resurrection (1 Timothy 3:15).


God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit.” — That is a very full, meaningful statement. It means that he who was made sin for us was justified from sin when he was raised from the dead.


Robert Murray McCheyne was right when he suggested that the body of our Savior, who had been made to be sin for us, laid in an unjustified state, under the sentence of death, for three days. But on the third day, the Spirit of life came again to his body. And by his resurrection from the dead, he was “justified in the Spirit.”


He was spiritually justified, or justified as the Surety and Representative of his body, the Church of God’s elect. Our sins, which were made his, he has put away by the sacrifice of himself. And when he was raised from the dead, God declared that his work of atonement was effectual to our everlasting justification. — “He was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25).


Toplady wrote, “When the Sun of Righteousness arose from his sad, but short, eclipse, he rose to set no more.” And there is healing for us under his wings!


Let’s mull over these words with which I began my message. — “He is near that justifieth me!” He who is our God, our Justifier, and our Savior is constantly near and present with us. He is with us. He is in us. He surrounds us, all the time!


Pause and contemplate justification from this point of view. What blessedness there is here! What sweetness for my soul! What comfort for my heart! What peace, joy, and satisfaction! — “He is near that justifieth me!” Understand this, and you will sing in rapturous delight with Paul,


(Romans 8:31-34) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (32) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (33) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. (34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.


·      God the Father gave his darling Son up to death to justify us (Romans 8:32).

·      God the Son, our ever-blessed Christ, was delivered to death because our offenses and raised again because of our justification (Romans 4:25).

·      And God the Holy Spirit raised him up from the dead. We are expressly told that our Savior was “justified in the Spirit” (1 Timothy 3:16). That could never have been the case, had he not satisfied both God’s law and God’s justice as our Surety (Romans 14:9).


But, over and above these glorious truths, as the foundation of every poor believer’s hope, mark it down that as God the Father, who justified Christ our Surety, was always near to him, so he who justifies us is always near us. — “The Lord is at hand!


The covenant of grace and our pardon written down in it in letters of blood, the precious blood of Christ, is always near and at hand. Here it stands on eternal record, “God is just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.”


Present Tense


I am so glad the Holy Spirit saw fit to put this matter in the present tense. Aren’t you? —— Certainly, we are not to infer that somehow or other justification is being continually accomplished. It is not. The work is a done deal, finished, complete and perfect. Yet, we need continual declarations of it in our souls. Don’t we? Let me show you what I mean.

·      He is near that justifieth me,” as my advocate to plead my cause. When doubts arise in our minds concerning it, the Lord Jesus is near to open the Volume of Record, and there, by his Holy Spirit, show it to us, and by the same almighty power to incline our hearts to believe it, giving us “joy and peace in believing.”

·      He is near that justifieth me,” when Satan accuses me and fears arise and doubts creep in, as they often do! — When both the law and justice of God seem to revive their claims, look not within, look not at yourself, but look away to Christ. Behold him in all his fulness, suitableness and all-sufficiency, as your law-fulfiller and sin-atoning Surety, and cry out in these divine words which the Holy Ghost has given us, “He is near that justifieth me!


(1 John 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


(Romans 8:1) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.


(Romans 8:33) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.


There is no sin in God’s book against his people. He sees no sin in Jacob, neither does he behold iniquity in Israel. We are justified in Christ forever. When the guilt of sin was taken away, the punishment of sin was removed. For the believer there is no stroke from God’s angry hand — No, not so much as a single frown of punitive justice. The believer may be, is and must be chastised by his Father, but God the Judge has nothing to say to the believing sinner, except “I have absolved you. You are acquitted of all guilt and all sin, forever!” For the believer there is no punishment for sin, neither in this world nor in the world to come. Indeed, there is not even the remembrance of sin in our God against us. And he declares, “Fury is not in me!” In Christ we are free!


Sin stands in our way and Satan throws our sin in our faces to agitate us with perpetual warfare; but sin and Satan are conquered foes to every soul in union with the Son of God! Do you understand what this Book declares? — “He was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin!


“Here’s pardon for transgressions past,

It matters not how black their cast;

And, O my soul, with wonder view,

For sins to come here’s pardon too.”

Would you be justified with God? I mean, would you go home completely clean, righteous and free of all guilt and sin forever, so completely free that you can never be in danger of incurring guilt again? — Believe on the Son of God. And believing hear him declare in your soul, — “Ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” Cry out to him, like the publican of old, “God be merciful to me, a sinner,” and go down to your house justified!


Blessed be his holy name forever, “He is near that justifieth me!” “There is therefore now no condemnation” for my soul! Write it down in the book of your memory and rejoice. — “He is near that justifieth me!” —— Jesus justified means Don justified! Until Jesus can be made unjustified, Don cannot be made unjustified!





Don Fortner


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