Tag Archives: justification

Romans 1-5; Just-As-If…

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!


The Choice

I was reading in Psalm 90 this morning and heard the author remind me that our life spans maybe 80 years if we are strong. In light of eternity, our days on earth are but a blink. Yet these hours on earth determine our eternity. What we do with our lives is the difference between life and death.

Paul says in Romans 5 that there are only two results of a life: condemnation or justification. Jesus died for all mankind. We can be justified before God simply by accepting it. It’s an intentional act of will.

I go to God, admit I am a sinner, humble myself and recognize my need of a Savior. Then I ask God to forgive me, and to BE my Savior. That act, that confession, opens the door of heaven to me.

We are justified by faith. And there is no one anywhere who cannot be saved if they accept Jesus’ gift of grace, the forgiveness of sins bought by Jesus’ blood shed at Calvary.

But be warned. There is only condemnation for those who refuse what Jesus offers. And condemnation brings with it eternal separation from God, a hell more painful than we can imagine.

There is no Plan B. God made it plain and simple: justification or condemnation. Jesus or no Jesus. Yes or No.

I choose Jesus. I pray you do, too.

Our Scapegoat

Have you ever had a bad day… or year? You are frustrated, disappointed, angry, unhappy, and maybe you have a headache on top of everything. Then someone close to you says something stupid and you erupt. You let them have it with both barrels and say things that are just plain cruel. But when you get right down to it, they didn’t really deserve all that. It’s not their fault you are miserable.

You made them your scapegoat.

God instructed the Israelites to use a scapegoat. (Leviticus 16) They symbolically put all their sins on this goat, then released the goat into the wilderness.

It’s a picture of what Jesus did at Calvary. God wants us to put all our sins on Jesus. All of them. It wasn’t his fault that we sinned. He doesn’t deserve our punishment. But God says, give them to Jesus anyway. Then, release them.

Too many of us put that scapegoat on a leash. We let it have some lead, but then we occasionally call it back. We feel the guilt. We may even repeat the sin.

But God, through this picture in Leviticus, and through his Son, tells us to let it go. (I saw Frozen this weekend and, even though I don’t know all the words to the song, I think the tune is going to be in my head all day!)

Let God remove that sin from the camp, from our lives. Cut the chord.

But, you say, my sins are too heavy. My sin is mine to carry. My sin is too ugly to place on Jesus. Where in the Bible does it even hint at such a thing? The only sin God can’t forgive is the unconfessed sin.

Jesus told the parable of the seed. (Mark 4) Here is a better use of your effort: Repent of that sin, and let the Scapegoat take it away. Then dig in, grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus, and bear fruit. Love, joy, peace…

So much better than clinging to a goat.

My Dear Scapegoat, thank you for removing my sin, for taking it upon yourself and taking it away. Forgive me when I continue to call those sins back. Help me to do what you intend, and that is to allow you to remove my sin as far as the east is from the west, never to be used against me… ever. Thank you Jesus. Thank you for forgiveness. Thank you for allowing me to live my life free from the guilt and pain my sins deserve. May I be rooted in Scripture, and may I bear fruit for your kingdom. Help me to allow you to remove my sin, to let it go, and enjoy sweet fellowship with my Savior.

March 12

Numbers 34-36

The Old Testament doesn’t really say anything about rehabilitating criminals, does it? Their laws were pretty black and white. If you murder someone you die.

I don’t want to get into a debate about capital punishment and I praise God for men and women who have found the Savior while paying a debt to society. But once again I am reminded that God cannot tolerate sin. He cannot let the guilty go unpunished and the wages of sin is death.

When a person gives his or her life to the Lord that person is justified by faith. I have heard it explained that means God looks on him, “just as if I’d never sinned”. In a sense that is true. When we become Christians our Holy God looks on us as clean, spotless, even holy. But make no mistake about it. That position comes at quite a cost.

It’s not as if I’ve never sinned. Its that every sin I’ve ever committed nailed Jesus to the cross. He didn’t just tear up the bill and forgive the debt. He paid the debt of my sin in full with his own precious blood.

As we come into the Easter season I am reminded how much Jesus loves me and what my sins cost him. How can I help but love him when he loved me so?

Dear God, once again I thank you for your Word. Thank you for reminding us how serious you are about sin and what our sin cost Jesus. Thank you for the cross. Thank you for forgiveness. And thank you for such an amazing love.