Romans Bible Study #9
Words - Justification and Redemption
23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
for all have sinned “Genuine fellowship is grounded upon a negative… Precisely when we recognize that we are sinners do we recognize that we are brothers.
and fall short of the glory of God “lacking” the glory of God. Sin is not holding, having, honoring God with all of your life. God deserves to be at the center and at the first-place in all of our dealings. Sin is a failure to embrace God as our highest treasure, the person of supreme value in our lives. So we exchange that ‘glory’ for some other lesser thing. Sin is mainly about God. Dishonoring Him who is deserving of all honor.
We choose to love, lean on, and find satisfaction in some other thing, and not in The God who created the whole universe to display His glory. We were created to value, honor, and display the glory of God. Paul Washer put it like this, every dancer will be confronted with, Why wasn’t every step for Me? Every scientist and engineer with, Why didn’t you discover and reveal Me? Every carpenter with Why didn’t you pound every nail for Me. He is worthy of all. The world goes haywire when it is in rebellion against the purpose that the Creator made it for. Chaos, misery, dysfunction are a result of rebelling against God. Sin is contemplating God as the supreme value and rejecting Him, in favor of something else. What is that thing in our lives?
“being justified” A verb in the passive voice. God is one who is justifying, we are the ones who are being justified. Justification is not our work, it happens to us from outside of us. We are receiving the righteousness of God thru faith. Condemnation is the opposite of justification. These are ‘court of law’ terms. Condemnation is what we deserved. Justification is given freely to us. To be justified by God, means to be counted as just. It is not an act upon our nature or state, but an alteration in how God views us and treats us.
The actual progressive, little by little, becoming-like-Christ is sanctification.
Justification is a “static” thing, a reckoning. It is a declaration of God saying NOW this one is not guilty. We fight the fight of faith, we start off in the Christian life from a place of “not guilty.” God puts us on the solid ground of His declaration, so that we are not tremulously (timidly, fearfully, anxiously) walking out the life of faith, from a position of a person carefully carrying a glass vase around, whoops I dropped it, now it broke, all is lost.
“Being justified” speaks of something far more solid, a foundation of God’s doing. A secure place that we can return to and jump off from again and again. The process part, sanctification, will have many steps forward and back, the Solid part, justification gives us an unwavering ‘house built on a rock’ to withstand the storms.
“as a gift by His grace” Freely given, not earned, not ‘wages’, but a gift.
All that we have earned is condemnation. Without price, available to all. It is an abomination to work for God, to act like you can put Him in your debt.
All we can “do” is receive from Him. He owes us nothing, but gives us everything. Romans 11:35 “Who has ever given a gift to God that he should be repaid?” A song, a missionary life, fasting, etc. None of that can put God in your debt. It is all “from Him and to Him and through Him.”
“through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” All this amazing freely given grace flows to us thru redemption - deliverance at a cost. Release at the payment of a price. Ransom paid, now freedom is obtained. We owe everything to this. Thru no other means could God reckon us as righteous. ONLY thru the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. This is the root that holds down the oak tree in the storm. This is the 11th hour reprieve for the prisoner on death row, that includes being welcomed into the Judge’s household with all the benefits of being His son. Jesus suffered the judgment which was due to us. He paid our ransom. The debt was paid in full by Jesus.
This last part is a direct quote from a guy named Reggie, who really “gets it.”
Yes, this so-called 'great exchange' sounds dangerous to the legalistic mind, but let someone get a hold of the implications of the glory of this, and you'll see what the scripture means that the truth sets the heart free, as there will soon follow a far greater power and liberty to fulfill all obedience than ever otherwise. Then will be seen in far greater and more authentic measure the so-called 'practical' righteousness that works itself out into deeds of real love and faith, the outward testimony and evidence of "Christ in you," which reality MUST result in true holiness and the true fruits of the Spirit, and not their laborious and proud religious imitations.
To truly lay hold of this is a resurrection event indeed. "They believed not for joy." Many fail of it, simply because it's just too good to be true. It's just not 'rational'. Exactly! No wonder Rome is offended. What devout and well meaning child of nature wouldn't be? Especially those that are chomping at the bits to "become" sons by their own will power, and are nervous that if they just believed on Christ for their sanctification no less than their justification, why, they might be buying in to 'cheap grace' and lose their guarded restraint against their carnal appetites and impulses. I tell you that those that think in those terms know not the gospel or the power thereof! No wonder such a gospel makes legalism to stumble. Spurgeon once said something like "if you can preach a gospel that doesn't lend itself to the kinds of accusations charged against Paul, then you're probably not preaching the same gospel that he preached."
If we want true holiness; if we want the real implications of true calling unto the fullness of mature sons, then let us approach the standard of holiness and the true fulfillment of the law in this glorious and holy gospel way. Then we will experience the Spirit's liberating empowerment that follows really believing the testimony of God as set forth in the good news of the gospel. That's where the power is; it is nowhere else. Any other source of power, however well meaning and religious, is deceitful and proud and threatens to bring one to the dread reply of Mt 7:21. This is where Israel stumbled; they approached the standard "as IF" it were a law of works" (ro 9:32). That's where all stumbling occurs. Why, I'm certain that any lapse into carnality is only due to a lapse of faith and apprehension of the glory of this most foundational tenet of the unshakable foundation of God (see 2Tim 2:19). And since the Spirit that works the all and all of anything acceptable in the believer is received by faith alone apart from works or pre-qualification, there is no risk that this faith will not be vindicated by the Spirit's liberating power unto true holiness, true sacrifice, because of true love created by the Holy Spirit and shed abroad in a heart set free by the gospel.