Sunday, August 30, 2015

Word Study: Justified


SERIES: Topical Messages:  Word Studies

SETTING: North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE: Sunday AM (August 30, 2015)

SUBTITLE: A Word Study:  Justified

SCRIPTURE:   Romans 3:20

SUBJECT: justified

SUMMARY: Justification takes place instantaneously by God’s declaration that the sinner is righteous by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the sinner

SCHEME: to understand justification


Our theme is:  the Greek verb “justified”

It is important that we understand biblical, theological, and doctrinal terms.

 Proposition:  Justification takes place instantaneously by God’s declaration that the sinner is righteous by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the sinner

Interrogatory Sentence:  What does justification encompass?

Transitional Sentence: Our word study for this morning will show what justification encompasses by examining the meaning and the means of justification.

Word Study: Justified
Romans 3:20


Scriptures: Romans 3:20
Subject: Justification

Summary: Justification takes place instantaneously by God’s declaration that the sinner is righteous by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the sinner as seen in these three (3) points:

The Interpretation
The Instrumentation
The Implication
A. The Text

Because by   works        of law          not   will be justified                all           flesh        before    

Him           through   for         law        full   knowledge  of sin

B. The Translation
“Because by the works of the law no flesh will be justified through the law is the knowledge of sin.”

C. The Teaching

The touchstone of the Reformation
The difference between the Reformers & the Roman Catholic Church

I think that if you understand church history, you know that justification by faith was the hallmark, the touchstone, of the Protestant Reformation. This single doctrine marked the difference between the Roman Catholic Church and the puritans and separatists that forged the reformation.

The difference between the two groups is simply this, the puritans wanted to remain in the Catholic System and reform it or purify it back to the bible and the separatists believed the Catholic system could not be reformed or purified and left it in order to develop churches with pure biblical doctrine.

You remember the story of how Martin Luther was a Roman Catholic monk in Wittenberg, Germany, and how he sought for years, even as a learned teacher of the Bible, to discover peace with God.

He was reading through the Bible, searching for peace and couldn’t find it. He felt God was angry with him and far away. He actually came to hate God. He believed God was requiring something of him, and from all men, that they were incapable of producing or performing. He knew that he, nor any man, could produce the righteousness that God required in order to be redeemed.

And he was right, wasn’t he? But he was only half there – he knew he couldn’t obtain righteousness from himself, he just didn’t know at that point that God had provided it through Jesus Christ.

The turning point of his life came when he made that historic journey to Rome. As he was crawling up the stairs of the church in Rome, with tears running down his face, saying the “Our Father” and praying to God for Him to make himself real to him, kissing each stair, while he was climbing to the top of those stairs, suddenly a text of scripture burst into his mind— “the just shall live by faith.”

 In that great and glorious moment Martin Luther understood that it is not by crawling, it is not by kissing the steps, by going to church, nor by human effort, but it is only through faith in Jesus Christ that a man is made right with God.

From that great realization came the spark that ignited the flame that became the Protestant Reformation that spread around the world. We are here today as heirs of the Protestant Reformation tradition because what Martin Luther believed is exactly what we believe today, that man is justified through faith in Jesus Christ, wholly apart from the works of the law.

This, then, is the answer to the question that Job asked thousands of years ago,
“How can a man be made right with God?” (Job 25:4)
There is only one answer in the Bible. He is made right with God through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

D. I checked twenty different translations and I discovered that this word was translated six ways in those twenty translations:

Be justified
To have righteousness
Made right
Put right
Will not justify
Declared righteous

These translators tried to be as careful as they could in translating the Greek Word in English, They wanted to use a word that most clearly conveyed the meaning of the Greek Word. So it is helpful to compare different English words to deepen or broaden your understanding of the meaning of words.

So it seems that in the case of “justified” in Romans 3:20, most translators used at least four ways to convey the meaning:

Righteousness (have righteousness)
Right (made right or put right)

So, assuming the integrity and skill of the translators we can initially conclude that justified is related to righteousness, being or made right, or justification. This doesn’t tell us a whole bunch, put it is a good start.

[So, having said these things, let’s look at…]

I. The Interpretation of Justification.
We use the word justification, or more often the word justify, to speak of a man justifying himself. What we really mean is he has done something wrong and is going to offer some excuses to mitigate or somehow cause people to forget about what he has done.

For us, to justify means to give excuses for behavior or misbehavior. That is not what the word justify means in the Bible. In the Bible it is a legal term, a forensic term, a term from the courtroom.
In the Greek, to justify means to declare righteous.

Definition:  Justification is God’s act of remitting the sin of guilty men and accounting them righteous, freely, by His grace through faith in Christ on the grounds, not of their works but of the representative law keep and redemptive blood-shedding of the Lord Jesus Christ on their behalf.

It means to pronounce, accept, and treat as just. It is a forensic term – denotes a judicial act of administering the law, by declaring a verdict of acquittal, which excludes any possibility of condemnation. Justification deals with the legal status of an individual.

It is the pardoning and acceptance of a sinner.

It is the action of a judge, it is a forensic term meaning to acquit, to declare righteous. By a judicial declaration God declares the repentant and believing sinner as having conformed to His laws, His standards.

Ro 3:23-26; 4:5-8; 5:18; Pss. 32:1-5;130; LK 7:46-50; 18:9; Acts 10:43; 1 JN 1:7-2:2

You justify someone when you declare them not guilty and innocent and righteous in the eyes of the law. It does not mean to make righteous, it means to declare righteous. It means to look at someone who is guilty and declare that they are now not guilty; they are innocent, righteous, and free to go. The record has been wiped away.
If you want a technical definition, I would give it to you this way: justification is that divine miracle whereby God declares righteous the sinner who believes in Jesus.

This term is a forensic term. That means it is a legal term. This term comes from the law courts. The sinner is on trial before God charged with sin, with offending God and violating God’s standards of holiness and righteousness.

Keep in mind that this verb does not make someone something, such as righteous, but it means to treat or to reckon, to account the sinner as something, in this case treat, reckon, or to account as righteous.

So God treats the ungodly, the sinner as if he had been a perfect or righteous man. This is what shocked, bewildered, and even angered the Jews – to the Jews to treat a bad man as if he were a good man was incomprehensible and reprehensible.

Prov 17:15 says, “He who justifies the wicked is an abomination to the Lord.”

So, it means to render as just or innocent, free if guilt or charge.
Keep in mind that justification is more than just a pardon.
Justification is not simply a legal transaction between two parties, such as God and yourself.

A pardon can be defined as an act that releases an offender from the penalty of the law. Even though the person is no longer required to pay the penalty for a crime, the pardon does not change the nature of the offender.

Justification is directed right at the nature or the character of the sinner. Justification takes into consideration the sinner in order to make the sinner right. Justification establishes a new and a right relationship with God.

This new and right relationship comes by or through faith and not by any works, deeds, efforts, or self-righteousness on the part of the sinner.

By faith a sinner is declared to be righteous by God because the sinner’s righteousness is derived from God. By the way, it is not because of faith, it not because you exercised faith, the vehicle, and the medium is faith and not works.
II. The Instrumentation of Justification.
In order to give you the means of justification, I want to read some well- known verses. If you go back and read the Bible, you’ll discover that the doctrine of justification is found throughout the New Testament. There are many places where you find it, but there is no place laid out so clearly as in Romans chapter 3. "How, then, can you be justified before God?"
A. Justification is by the grace of God.
Romans 3:24 says, “And all are justified freely by his grace...” Justification starts with the grace of God. It is not something that you have to work up. It is not something you do through your effort. You are not justified before God by coming to church or being baptized or giving money. Those things count for nothing at all when it comes to justification.

B. Justification is through faith.
Read on in Romans 3:24-25, “...Through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith.”

Faith in Christ – it is not faith itself, otherwise that would be a work
Ro 4:4; 4:16
C. Justification is always on the basis of the death of Jesus Christ.
“Through faith in his blood.” Jesus died on the cross and shed his blood. He was buried and he rose from the dead so that through the effects of the blood of Jesus Christ you could be justified or declared righteous in the eyes of God.

Jesus Christ acting on behalf of sinners has satisfied the claims of God’s law, put away their sin, and won for his people the status of “law-keeper” on the basis of God accepting His sacrificial death.

Christ’s atoning work:

Experienced as reality only by faith
Atonement proves Christ’s righteousness
Anticipates the future status of perfection of the sinner

D. Justification is wholly apart from all human effort.

Read Romans 3:28, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.” The law here is the Old Testament. The law is the Law of Moses, the Ten Commandments. What God is telling us in this passage is that you aren’t going to be justified by anything good that you do, no matter how good you are, and the reason is that nobody has ever been good enough to be justified. Do you know how many sins it takes to send you to hell?
Only one. If you commit just one sin and then are righteous for the rest of your days, that one sin is enough to send you to hell forever.

So if God is going to justify you, it has to be apart from the law, apart from coming to church, or making any human effort whatsoever.

If you have not memorized Romans 4:5, this is a verse every Christian should know by memory. It reads,

“But to him who does not work (doesn’t come to church, hasn’t been baptized, forgets to bring his tithe on Sunday morning, and disobeys in many ways) but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness…” (Romans 4:5, NKJV)
Notice the shock is always in the first part of the verse. It is not to the man who works, not to the religious man, not to the church member, but to the man who trusts God who justifies the wicked. This, my friends, is the heart of evangelical Christianity, that our God justifies the wicked.

I think the thing that keeps so many people from coming to Christ is they feel they aren’t good enough. They feel they are too lost in sin. They feel as if they are lost in sexual sin, lost in addiction to alcohol and drugs, to anger or bitterness, lost in a terrible, destructive way of life.

There are people who say, “You don’t know how I have been living.” No, I don’t, but let me tell you this: our God is not in the business of justifying the good. He is in the business of justifying the bad. He doesn’t justify the righteous. He justifies the wicked, because that is the only category of people God has on earth to deal with. He justifies the wicked while they are still wicked. He justifies the sinner while he is still a sinner.

What I am saying is God never said to anybody, “Clean up your act and then I’ll save you. Get yourself in a better shape and then I’ll forgive your sins.” No, no, no! Maybe we in the church have said that. Maybe in our relationships we have unconsciously said that to lost people. Maybe we have told them they are too dirty, but if they would get their act together, we could get them together with God. But God never said that.

God says, “Turn from you wicked ways, run to the cross, embrace Jesus Christ and you will be justified even while you are still in a wicked state.”

A few months ago we had the case of Jeffrey Dahmer, when he was killed up there in that prison. People ask if I think he is in heaven. I don’t know the genuineness of his heart. That is between him and God. But he is a really good example for us to test our doctrine on because when we look at a guy like that, most of us secretly say, “If he’s going to heaven, I don’t want to be there. I don’t even want to think about God letting a man like that into heaven.”

If our evangelical doctrine of justification means anything, it means that God justifies serial killers while they are still guilty of their sin. If there is no hope for Jeffrey Dahmer, there is no hope for you and me.

1. Justification is a divine miracle of God. It starts with God. It is not something you work up. If you are justified, it is because you have received a miracle from God.

2. Justification is not an experience. It doesn’t matter if you feel justified or not. Justification happens to the believer at the moment you trust Jesus Christ. There is no such thing as somebody who is partly justified or half-way justified. There is no one more justified than someone else. Justification happens to every believer at the moment of salvation.

3. Justification means your salvation must be eternally secure because it does not rest on you, but wholly on God and his work on your behalf.
III. The Implication of Justification.
A. If you are justified, you are completely forgiven.

B. If you are justified, you have a new righteousness.

That is what II Corinthians 5:21 is saying, “God has made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Let me see if I can explain this somehow. Let one of my fists represent you in your sinful state.

That is the state of every man and every woman. A fist, blackened with sin, raised toward God. What happens the moment the sinner comes to Jesus Christ? What happens when the sinner says, “Oh Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God.

I ask you to come into my life and save me?” At that very moment God justifies you. He declares you righteous. Then he takes the perfect and pure righteousness of Jesus Christ and he covers your sin so that when God looks down from heaven he doesn’t see the blackness of your sin anymore. All he sees is the purity of the righteousness of his son. Your sin is covered and it is gone forever.

All that God can see when he looks at you is the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

C. You are declared not guilty and you can never be condemned.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Jesus Christ.” You can never be condemned by God. You can never be condemned by Satan or anybody else, including yourself. What does Romans 8 say?

“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
Who shall condemn us? It is Jesus Christ who died, yea who rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of God making intercession for us.”
Can the devil condemn us? No.
Can our friends condemn us? No.
Can our enemies condemn us? No.
Can the demons condemn us? No.
Will God condemn us? No, he won’t.
Will Jesus condemn us? No, he won’t. He died and rose again for us.
Can we condemn ourselves? We can try, but we can’t even condemn ourselves, because through justification you have a standing that is eternally secure in the eyes of Almighty God.
God is not confused by your confusion.
He is not bothered by the fact that you do not even understand this completely. God says he will not condemn you, and he won’t. That is the great implication of justification.

The story goes that there was a man in England who had purchased a Rolls Royce. The man decided to take a holiday in Europe and he wanted to take his Rolls Royce with him to tour through the French countryside. So he put the Rolls Royce on the ferry and went across the English Channel. He was going through Europe, looking at the sights, when suddenly his Rolls Royce broke down and there was nobody there who could fix it. He sent a cable back to the company in England and they flew a man over who did the repairs. He got the car running again, then left and went back to England. The man thought to himself, “This is going to cost me a ton of money.”

They never sent a bill. When he finally got back to England, never having received a bill, he sent a letter to the company telling what had happened, how the mechanic had come over, and wondering what the charge would be. He got a letter back from the Rolls Royce Company, saying as follows, “Dear Sir, Thank you so much for your letter. You need to know that we have no record in our files that any Rolls Royce has ever broken down at any place, at any time, for any reason.”

Brothers and sisters, that’s what justification is all about. You may fail, you may break down and run yourself into a ditch, but God Almighty looks down at you and says, “There is no record that my child has ever broken down at all.” That’s what justification is. It is just as if you had never sinned at all. The record is wiped away and you are credited with the perfect, eternally secure righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ.

No wonder this is a central doctrine of the Christian faith.

No wonder Martin Luther said this is the cornerstone of Christianity.

No wonder this was the flame that went around the world, because it is the heart of all that we believe.

I think that you could argue that justification is the greatest miracle of the Christian faith, greater even than the new birth itself, because this is the miracle whereby God declares righteous a wicked sinner, while he is still lost in his sin. It is also, then, the answer to Job’s question, “How can a man be made right with God?” There is an answer, and there is only one answer. You can be right with God through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ who paid it all for you.
I close with this question:

Do you understand your justification and do you fully rejoice and revel in the fact that by God’s grace you are treated as God treats Christ?

Oh, my friend, run to the cross, lay hold of Jesus Christ, grab onto him and let him take you all the way to heaven. Turn from your self-righteousness and self-effort and grab onto Jesus.
You will never get over it.

No comments: