(Article for publication week of 3-14-2012 AD)
“I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God” (Job 9:2)? Job was made to ponder the most important question a man could consider- “how can I be just with God?” How may I , a loathsome wretch, stand justified before the Thrice Holy Judge of all the earth? This is a question that every child of grace is made by Divine grace to consider, and to which every sensible sinner desires the answer. Dear reader, have you ever considered how you may be just with God?
Today we begin a fresh series of articles for the Narrow Way in which we will expound the Biblical truth of justification. As my dear friend and Brother, and most able preacher, Elder Jimmy Barber has said, justification is the very ‘heart of the gospel”. Dear old Martin Luther said that justification is the article of faith upon which the Church stands or falls. The truth of how God declares a sinful man right with Himself, and in right relation to His holy law is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Without a Biblical understanding of this fundamental doctrine, we have no gospel to preach. Justification is the foundation of every other Biblical doctrine, and without a clear Biblical understanding of it, we will be wrong on every other point.
Justification is a legal or forensic term. To justify a man is to declare that he is “not guilty”. Justification does not change a man internally, or do anything to him concerning his disposition, but finds the man in right relation to the law. In a human court, when a judge pronounces a person “not guilty”, that person is freed from the charges, and no one in the commonwealth may do anything to that person regarding that particular charge (that is in a commonwealth based on Biblical law, as ours was at one time). When God justifies a sinner, He declares that sinner “not guilty” in His Own court of law. When God justifies a sinner no one can ever bring a charge against that sinner (Romans 8:33). It matters not what anyone else says or thinks, or even what the sinner himself may think, because the Judge of all the earth has declared that person in right relation to His law. Again, using a human court as our illustration and example, consider a person standing before the judge waiting to hear the finding of the court after the presentation of all the evidence. When the judge says “not guilty”, he is saying that the jury has examined all the evidence, and the defendant is declared just in the sight of the law. You see , this is exactly what God says when He justifies a believer. He says that all the evidence is in, and He finds no sin in the person’s record.
Dear reader, would you not like to know that God has pronounced you “not guilty”? Would you not like to know that you are fully absolved of all your sins from first to last? Well, I am not going to make you wait for the whole series of articles to get the answer to Job’s question. I am going to tell you today that justification is by God’s grace alone, in Christ Alone, and that it is unto and upon every one who believes in Christ. Go right now and read Romans 3:22, and if the Holy Spirit is pleased to give you understanding, you will be rejoicing the rest of your days and for eternity! How shall man be just with God? By sovereign grace alone, through faith alone in Christ Alone.