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August 2, 2016

JUSTIFICATION

by Leslie John

Leslie M. John

1 Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption

Justification is the declaration that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ makes before the Father about a sinner, who believes in Jesus Christ and accepts him as his personal Savior. The sinner, who confesses him as the ‘Lord’ is justified by him as righteous because Christ has borne the sins of sinner on the cross of Calvary and made him righteous.

The justification originates in and through the grace. It is by grace through faith in him that a sinner is saved. No amount of good works can save a person, nor can justify him as righteous before God.

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” Romans 3:24

It is judicial act that Jesus has performed on the cross. He paid the price for the redemption of sinner. He died in the stead of a sinner. That is how he justifies the sinner as righteous before the Father. All that a sinner needs to do is to accept the fact that Jesus Christ has died on the cross in his stead and rose from the dead on the third day.

It is by faith in Jesus as the redeemer that a sinner is saved and no charge is laid against him, irrespective of what gross sin he/she has committed. Every sin, except blasphemy of Holy Spirit, is pardonable by God. Christ has established the law by taking upon himself the penalty of sin, which is death.

As believers in Christ we have blessed hope that after death we will have a glorified bodies that are not made of hands but that which will be with the Lord eternally in the heavens. The body that we have now is made of dust and we groan in this body to be clothed to hide nakedness, in contrast to the glorified bodies that we will have in heaven.

Our bodies are made with the dust from this earth and, therefore, suffer sickness and decay in contrast to the glorified bodies that do not suffer any sickness or decay in eternity. This is the reason why we believers are happy to be absent in this body so that we can be present eternally with the Lord, and, therefore, we do not fear death. In this body we labor to earn for our life on this earth, but in eternity we are blessed with the rewards that our Lord gives us for the works that we have done for him on this earth.

Jesus died for our sake, and rose again from the dead giving us the blessed hope that even though we die we will rise once in glorified bodies.

“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption ; it is raised in incorruption : (1 Corinthians 15 :42)

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature : old things are passed away ; behold, all things are become new “. (2 Corinthians 5 :17)

“The Price is already paid for” John 19:30

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

This is one of the seven sayings of Jesus when he was on the cross of Calvary. He was despised and rejected by man

This is the fulfillment of prophesy that is written in Isaiah 53 :4 -7 “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way ; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth “.

He was led like a lamb to be slaughtered. His hands and feet were nailed. He was numbered with the transgressors his death.

Isaiah 53 :10 “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. ” His blood was paid as price for our redemption. There was nothing more, nor is anything more to be done any person for receiving salvation.

It is just the faith in him as Lord and Savior is the requirement to have everlasting life. Jesus took upon himself our infirmities and sin so that we may have everlasting life by accepting as our Lord. It pleased the Father to bruise him so that we may receive salvation. There is no price attached to that invaluable gift that is made available for us. The price is already paid.

Admonishing Galatians time and again, Apostle Paul continues to emphasize on the fact that there is salvation only in Jesus through faith by grace and not by law and works associated with it.

Getting entangled with law and with the thought that they need to do something to be saved, is tantamount to be under the yoke of bondage, he says. About, circumcision, he condemns it and says that if anyone is of the belief that circumcision is necessary for salvation or for justification, the obsession of such thought will not profit them and Christ and his blood is of nothing to them.

Everyone, who is circumcised becomes debtor to the whole law and Christ and his sacrifice has nothing for him. We are reckoned as righteous only by faith in Jesus and by his grace. Neither circumcision nor un-circumcision avails anything to a believer in Christ.

Walking in the Spirit and hatred of lust of the flesh are necessary on the part of a believer to lead a holy life. One great truth a believer has to understand is that flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh and these are contrary to each other. If we are of the Spirit and are led by the Spirit we are not under the law and would not yield to the desires of the flesh.

After having known of the love of God through His one only begotten son, Jesus, why would we turn yet unto beggarly elements like observing the days, months, times and years, and be subject again to be under the bondage of the law? When the price for our sin and redemption is already paid for, why would we turn again to work for our salvation by ourselves? Salvation is available free of cost; the price is already paid for. All that is needed on the part of sinner is to believe that Jesus paid the price of his sin on the cross, and that he needs to believe in his/her heart this fact and accept him as his/her personal Savior.

Apostle Paul blesses those, who do not voluntarily subject themselves to be under the yoke of law, but accept Christ’s death upon the cross. He says fulfilling the law of Christ is more important than that of the Old Testament laws. No one should boast of himself nor glory himself/herself, but everyone should glorify Lord Jesus Christ, whose marks were borne by not only Apostle Paul but all those, who realize the efficacy of the blood of Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul’s feels as if he was under the travail of child birth to explain to Galatians the difference between law and grace, and how hard it is to be under law rather than accept ‘grace’ alone as the way for salvation. He calls them, now, ‘my little children’, and try to explain to them about the implications in believing that law and works only would save them. Galatians were under the erroneous belief that law and works only can save them. They desired to take pride in a list of rules they prescribed for them and as they keep the rules they would consider them as perfect. That, in other words, renders a notion that man can earn his own salvation by keeping a set of rules, like being good and doing good etc.

These things help men to be good men but would not secure salvation that is available free of cost as a result of belief in the works of Jesus, the Son of God, did for men. He came down into this world to redeem us from the bondage of sin, and, therefore, took upon himself, our transgressions and died for our sake. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance. A saved man will have in him the Spirit of God and will have the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

However, possession of these good qualities without accepting Jesus as ‘Lord’ will not make us a man eligible to have eternal life. The only way to have eternal life is to believe in the efficacy of the blood of Jesus Christ and accept the fact that he died in our stead on the cross.

Paul explains to Galatians, just as a matured man explaining to children that all those who believe that law can save them are like those, who are of ‘bondwoman’ and all those who believe in the ‘grace’ of Jesus are like those, who are of free woman. He quotes from Old Testament the things that have happened in Abram‘s life as described in Genesis 16th Chapter.

Sarai sent her handmaid, Hagar to sleep with Abram, and a son was born. It was legalism on the part of Sarai and Abram a method that finds a way out for them. Later a son was born to Abraham and his wife Sarah as a consequence of the promise of God to them. This son of the promise of God was of faith in God and His grace.

The son, who was born to Hagar was of the flesh, and the son born of promise to Sarai, was blessed. The posterity of bondwoman are still under bondage of Mosaic law, and the posterity of the free woman, who are supposed to be free from the bondage of Mosaic law, have unfortunately, embraced the law and works as their way for salvation, rejected Messiah as their Savior, and are still under the bondage of law.

Paul desires that everyone should embrace the belief that it is by ‘grace’ of God that saves a man. Paul allegorizes this to the Jerusalem, which is above all, that consists of the posterity of Isaac, born of Sarah and that ‘grace’ alone saves a person. The legalists still insist that it is right to be under the law and keep the law to be saved. Such legalism will lead to the belief that there is no justification by the grace of God, but their own works will lead them to have eternal life.

Speaking of law and grace and the firm belief of Jews in their belief of laws plus works for their salvation rather than depending on pure mercy of God by grace through faith, another point that could we could meditate is on the fact as to why God did not have his own people, Jews, realize this so quickly that pure grace from God is alone sufficient for their salvation.

There is enough reason, as we understand, that God not only wanted his own people, Jews, to have their salvation, but also Gentiles to enjoy that privilege of calling him as ‘Abba, Father’. .

Apostle Paul wonders if God cast away his people and immediately reaffirms that it was not so, because he was also of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God did not cast away his people, whom he foreknew. Even when Elias was taking pride in himself that he was alone available to intercede on behalf of Israel, God says to him, that he had reserved seven thousand men unto him, who could intercede on behalf of Israel. If the salvation, therefore, is by ‘grace’, then it is not by ‘works’.

What then happened exactly that their attitude and belief has not changed yet? Yes, it is because God blinded their eyes and gave them spiritual slumber, that they should not see and that they may not have ears for hearing unto this day. Have Israel stumbled that they should fall then?

Apostle Paul himself answers these questions (Romans 11th Chapter) that God did not blind them or made them deaf because of they were stumbling blocks nor is it because they have stumbled, but because of the desire God had that everyone in the world, irrespective of Jews or Gentiles be saved and have eternal life.

Pillars are the strength of monuments and on the pillars are seen inscriptions or designs that either bring to us some remembrance of those, who responsibly raised them, or help us admire their beauty. Heaven does not need any pillar to support it, but the new Jerusalem, that John saw in his vision coming down from heaven was like a bride adorned for her bridegroom. In this New Jerusalem were seen the pillars on which were written the names of those, who served the living God, and the names of who those, who they served and represented. Some in the Church at Philadelphia (Rev 3:3-5) had not defiled their garments and they were worthy to receive blessings. God promised that he who overcomes shall walk with Him.

Those that overcome stand for the living God, and they are like pillars in the temple of God, and on them are written the names, such as ‘name of my God’, ‘name of the city of my God’, which is ‘new Jerusalem’, and His new name. (Rev 21:2-5)

This is the difference between the earthly Jerusalem and the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven. John saw a new heaven and a new earth after the first heaven and the first earth passed away and there was no more sea. In this new Jerusalem there was not seen any difference between Jews or Gentiles, but those who were there were all one in Christ. They had put on righteousness of Christ as their garments. They had received Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord by grace through faith in him.

More than anyone taking of airs of his belonging to any clan the important fact that is to be borne in mind is that it is the grace of God that saves a man. No man needs precious metals such as gold and silver to earn a place in new Jerusalem, but all that a man needs is to have simple faith in Jesus, the Son of God and make him Lord of his/her life. God wipes away their tears. There shall be no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying and no more pain. God shall give freely to all that thirst for such a life the fountain of life. He who overcomes the world and the temptations therein shall inherit the blessings from God and he shall be His son.

Apostle Paul explains elaborately the plan of God for the salvation of Gentiles in Romans 11th Chapter. It was not because Israel have stumbled nor because they were stumbling blocks to anybody that their eyes were blinded and their ears were short of hearing and understanding who their Messiah was and what exactly they needed to do for their salvation. They always insisted that because God had done something for them they owe to God something that they essentially do and such recompense only will fetch their salvation. It is because of their misunderstanding that salvation is come unto the Gentiles.

Paul warns Gentiles that they are like grafted wild olive tree in the places, where the branches of the natural branches were broken off. The Gentiles are partakers of the root and fatness of the natural olive tree. Therefore, he says, Gentiles should not be of high-minded, but fear. The branches of the natural olive tree were broken off by God himself, because of their unbelief, and the Gentiles, who were like wild olive trees have, now, the sap and blessings from the root of the natural olive tree. If Gentiles were to be high-minded and take pride in themselves or their own merits, God will not hesitate to chastise them. If God did not spare the natural branches of the olive tree would he tolerate the grafted olive tree; never!

In the book of Hosea the pathetic condition of Israel is seen. Israel, who had been blessed and to whom were the blessings and covenants given, continually fell from the presence of the Lord. In the sight of the Lord, who asked Hosea to marry a prostitute, Israel was similar to Prostitute, dishonest with her infidelity. God, who was like husband to them had to see her deviation from the honesty and loyalty, had to chastise them time and again. The Lord goes on to say that they are not his people, and he is not their God. He was like a frustrated husband trying to bring them to the path of salvation, yet they erred time and again. This was the reason, why God had to extend salvation to the Gentiles, thus making Jews and Gentiles one in Christ.

It was not a mystery that the Gentiles should be saved but one mystery was certainly there that God would form Church consisting of Jews and Gentiles, and that Church is above Jews and Gentiles. This purpose was hidden in God until it was revealed to us in Ephesians 2nd Chapter. The Church is the body of Christ. In this Church are no differences as to who is Jew and who is Gentile, but everyone has similar status. In this Church is seen no more distinction of earthly differences of race, ethnicity, clan, color, and nationality. It is the blood of Jesus that saves a man from being condemned to death and eternal destruction. It is the water that Jesus gives that becomes living water for the sinner. It is the life that Jesus gives to sinner that becomes eternal life.

God in his mercy and love for us quickened us in spirit together with Christ and by grace we are saved. He has given us the privilege to be seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Faith in him alone saved us and not of any good works in us or by us. If the salvation is by works, then anybody could boast of himself/herself by doing good works that he is worthy to receive salvation by himself, and of his good works. This renders the sacrifice of Jesus of null effect. The very purpose of Jesus coming into this world was to bear on himself, the sins of the world so that whoever believes in him could be saved. If good works of any man could save him, then Christ need not have come to this world. There is a fundamental error in believing that good works of any man would save him from his sins. “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works”.

This was in the plan of God even before the foundation of the world. The good works of a man will not save him but in Christ Jesus we will do good works as a result of having the fruit of the Holy Spirit. “We were without Christ, and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel” We had no hope of having salvation but in the blood of Jesus Christ we are made one.

Apostle Paul emphasizes in Romans 6th chapter that sin shall not have dominion over a born-again child because he/she is not under the law, but under grace. Those who seek to do good works and earn salvation by their own works have nullified the importance of blood of Jesus Christ and in their lives the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses the sin has no value for them. They diligently keep doing good works neglecting the repeated emphasis from the Lord Jesus Christ that his blood saves and gives eternal life to all those, who go to him and accept him as the Lord.

After having been delivered from the bondage of sin by grace through faith should a child of God keep sinning because he is under the grace but not under law? Paul very firmly says, “God forbid”. Never should a child of God return to sin and lose blessings from God. Salvation is not lost for those who are saved in the blood of Jesus Christ; however, the Scripture does not endorse repeated sinning. God will surely chide and chastise the one that falls repeatedly into sin and seeks grace time and again.

Should we not consider the fact that if he yield to sin we are servants to sin and sin becomes our master; we are under grace and we should remain servants to our Lord and be of obedience to righteousness. We were, once, servants of sin, but after accepting Jesus as our master, we have become servants of righteousness. We have our fruit unto holiness, and everlasting life. The law has concluded all of us under sin, but the gift of God is eternal life through Lord Jesus Christ.

John Chapter 10 deals with the subject of the relationship between him and those who have accepted him as the Lord. The comparison of the shepherd and his flock with Jesus his beloved ones is that Jesus is good shepherd. He is the door and there is no other way to the pasture. A thief does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but enters climbing the wall and entering some other way. Jesus said, if any man enters by Him he shall be saved. A good shepherd gives life for his flock, but a hireling does not give his life. Hireling would run away leaving sheep helpless, when he encounters some danger.

On the contrary, a good shepherd will leave ninety nine sheep aside and seek after the lost one sheep, and finds it and brings it back to the flock. Jesus is our good shepherd. ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine ‘. The word, ‘know ‘ here shows the love that the sheep show toward their good shepherd, whom they trust and obey. Jesus asserts here that he is the good shepherd, who will not let his sheep be stolen by his enemy. He would leave ninety nine sheep aside for some time to go in search of one lost or backslidden sheep to bring it back to join the ninety nine.

John 10:27-30 ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one. John 10:14 ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine ‘.

The word, ‘know ‘ here shows the love that the sheep show toward their good shepherd, whom they trust and obey. Jesus asserts here that he is the good shepherd, who will not let his sheep be stolen by his enemy. He would leave ninety nine sheep aside for some time to go in search of one lost or backslidden sheep to bring it back to join the ninety nine. John 10:27-30 ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one. John 10:14’

Jesus Christ is the Son of God and very God Himself. Jesus said, in John 10:30 ‘I and my Father are one ‘. He said in John 16:15 ‘All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you ‘. He said in John 17:11 ‘And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are ‘. Apostle Paul wrote about Jesus Christ in Colossians 1:15-18 ‘Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

When we think of the sin King David did by committing adultery with Bathsheba we cannot think of any reason why God would not forgive our sins. David was blessed one, God chose him to be King, yet one day when [2Sam 11th Chapter] saw from the roof of his home, a beautiful woman named Bathsheba washing herself. David sent messengers and took her, and committed sin with her. He did not end his iniquity there but conspired and got her husband, Uriah, killed in the battle. God punished David for his sin. David’s son from Bathsheba died, and David had to pay great penalty for his sin. Yet, when David repented of his sin, He had compassion on him and forgave him, and restored him.

Jesus became poor for us even though he was rich in his glory and was with the Father from eternity. He said he is the beginning and he is the end; he is the Alpha and Omega. He is the creator of this universe, he owns everything, every creation and he is the King of kings, he is the Lord or lords, and he is the God of gods.

Lord Jesus was in the form of God and did not think it robbery to be to equal with God, but made himself of no repute, took the form of servant, and became like a man and dwelt among us. He was born of the Virgin Mary, by the works of Holy Spirit, and was laid in a manger. He was raised in a poor family. His earthly parents offered turtle doves as offerings (Luke 2:24), which was a provision made for poor and those, who could not offer bull or goat as sacrifice as per Old Testament Law. In Colossians 1st Chapter verses 15 to 17, there is a clear description that Jesus the creator. He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature, and by him were all things created; yet we see that he took the form of man for our sake. He testified, in Luke 9:58 how poor he was on this earth. All this was took place because Jesus became a sacrifice on our behalf, when he took upon himself, our curse, our sin and shed his precious blood upon the cross of Calvary. The salvation is received by his ‘grace’ through faith in him that he died and rose for our sake, and by accepting his as ‘Lord ‘. He offered himself on the cross so that we may have riches in him. The earthly riches are not true riches. What if a man earns whole earth his soul? We are saved by his precious blood and not of any of our works. We are not purchased by gold and/or silver, but by the blood of Jesus, who paid it as price for our salvation.

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