Paul spends a lot of time talking about sin and condemnation, faith and justification. When you read his letters you can’t help but see that we are all sinners condemned to an awful eternity separated from God. And you can’t help but see that Jesus went to the cross, while we were still sinners, and took our punishment on Himself so none of us ever has to be separated from Him.
But Paul also makes it clear that, although Jesus died for the sins of every man and woman who ever lived, not every man and woman will enjoy the fruits of His sacrifice. Only those who receive it by faith will be justified. No amount of rule-following, or kind deeds can do what Jesus did on that cross.
What does it mean to be justified by faith? I’ve heard it explained that when we confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive and cleanse us, so that we can stand before Him, “Just-as-if I never sinned.”
Can you imagine? I have no fear of standing before a Holy, Holy, Holy God because He will only see purity, guiltlessness, holiness in me. I can hardly imagine.
But as I sit here today and consider this precious truth, I am overcome. Because, you see, I am a sinner. There is nothing pure or holy about me, and I’m certainly not guiltless.
It occurs to me that on that day, when I stand before the throne, God is not going to look at me as if I never sinned, so much as He is going to look at me wearing Jesus’ righteousness because HE never sinned. God won’t see me as something I’m not (holy, pure). He’s going to see my Savior’s blood that covered my sins. Every one of them.
I’m not going to stand there and look God in the eye sinless. But I am going to stand there before Him, gaze into those piercing and Holy eyes, forgiven!