Justification

Core Truth:

It is by faith in Jesus Christ alone that we are declared right (justified) before God. God’s gift of faith is the recognition of our utter moral bankruptcy and our inability to earn God’s favor and that we must receive and rest on Jesus Christ, who has done it all. (Discipleship Essentials p. 104)

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one-- who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 

 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Romans 3:21-31

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast; for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10
Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith--just as Abraham "believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed." So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
Galatians 3:5-9 5

A thought for today:

What comes first, Grace or Faith? Scripture tells us that faith is an act of the will empowered by the grace of God. Historically, we see that in Abraham. It took strength of will along with the inspiration (gift) of God for Abraham to walk in obedience. And Paul tells us, “it was counted to him as righteousness.” The New Covenant in Jesus, goes even farther. By the Grace of God, Jesus came to save us from sin and death. By taking our place, taking on what we deserve, he gifts us with what only he deserves. He is the only one who is truly just before God. Paul puts it this way in Romans 3:21-26: “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

It is like this. We stand on trial before God and have been found guilty of our sins. When it comes time for sentencing, Jesus comes forward and affirms he has paid the price for our sin, and we get his freedom. Jesus justifies us, and by faith in him, we can claim it. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, joyfully invite us to claim it, and this has an effect upon us. We are changed. Bit by bit, more and more into the likeness of Jesus, we are transformed. Our faith grows deeper, our joy increases and our propensity to sin decreases, as we live deeper into the presence of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our next devotional, Adoption will speak more into this. Know, my friends, you are justified in Jesus Christ.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.