Wrapping up Romans Chapters Three - Five, I hoped it would be helpful now in order to deepen our understanding of the gospel to consider the following questions. These were taken from Wayne Grudem's book Bible Doctrine, p 324-5.
Over the next few days I'll post my own answers to the following eight questions:
1. Define the word justify as used in the New Testament in verses such as Rom 3:20, 26, 28 Rom 4:5, Rom 8:33.
2. Does God’s act of justification actually change our internal nature or character at all? Why or why not?
3. God’s declaration of justification involves what two factors?
4. How can God declare us righteous when we are in fact guilty sinners? Is this righteousness based on our own actions or actual inner nature? If not, then on what is it based?
5. Briefly explain the difference between a belief system which teaches you are declared righteous and justified based on an internal change God has done in you -- verses having the righteousness of Jesus Christ credited to you? Contrast how these might affect the practical living out in an individual, how it would affect the way they view their relationship to God if they held to one or the other view. Contrast how these reflect on these two differing ideas of justification relate to the glory of God.
6. What is the relationship between faith and justification? Does faith earn us salvation? Explain.
7. If you think of yourself standing before God on the day of judgment, would you think that it is enough simply to have your sins all forgiven, or would you also feel a need to have the righteousness of Christ reckoned to your account?
8. Have you ever wondered if God is still continuing to punish you from time to time for sins you have done in the past, even long ago? How does the doctrine of justification help you deal with those feelings?
Today we will deal with Question 1:
QUES 1: What do we mean by JUSTIFY or the doctrine of JUSTIFICATION?
- Define the word justify as used in the New Testament in verses such as Rom 3:20, 26, 28 Rom 4:5, Rom 8:33.
A. THAT GOD declares one to be RIGHTEOUS as a JUST VERDICT. Faith in Christ being the means or connection we have to CHRIST who is our head so that on the basis of the Perfect HEAD of his PEOPLE, the righteousness of JESUS CHRIST is declared to be ours, who believe. All our sins are paid for by him who died upon the cross in OUR PLACE. Jesus Christ as the Head and Representative of his people, himself having their sins counted unto him, the debt and guilt of them discharged from those who are IN CHRIST and laid upon Christ by imputation, Christ then dying upon the cross and paying the penalty of the sins of His people, the elect, those who believing are in Christ. On the cross Christ bore and absorbed the wrath and punishment of God justly due for sin.
Also justification includes the perfect life lived by Jesus Christ, in perfect conformity to the law and righteous requirements of it, being counted to us, who believe, as our perfect righteousness. Christ who is the HEAD of his PEOPLE lived the life he lived as our representative fulfilling for us all righteousness. And this righteousness is counted to us by faith. So that God declares righteous or justifies those who are in CHRIST believing.
IT IS NOT WHAT WE DO that is our righteousness. It is not works but faith. It is WHAT CHRIST HAS DONE.
Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Rom 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
..the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus: Jesus, the Saviour, is the object of faith, as he is the Lord our righteousness; the believer in Jesus is a real, and not a nominal one; God is the justifier of such in a declarative way, and God only, though not to the exclusion of the Son and Spirit; and which sentence of justification is pronounced by him on the foot of a perfect righteousness, which neither law nor justice can find fault with, but entirely approve of; and so he appears just and righteous, even though he justifies the sinner and the ungodly.
(Dr. John Gill, John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, e-sword, Rom 3:26)
Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. The subject of justification is, "man", not in opposition to angels; nor does it design the Jew against the Gentile, though some have so thought; but the apostle names neither Jew nor Gentile, but "man", to show that Christ's righteousness is unto all, and every man, that believes, be he who he will; and is to be understood indefinitely, that every man that is justified is justified by faith. The means is "by faith", not habitually or actually considered; that is, either as an habit and principle infused into us, or as an act performed by us; but either organically, as it is a means of receiving Christ's righteousness; or objectively, as it denotes Christ the object of it: and all this is done "without works", of any sort; not by a faith which is without works, for such a faith is dead, and of no avail; but by faith without works joined to it, in the affair of justification; or by the righteousness of Christ imputed by God the Father, without any consideration of them, and received by faith, and relied upon by the believer, without any regard unto them.
(Dr. John Gill, John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, e-sword, Rom 3:28)
Rom 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
This declaration of righteousness is based on a righteousness imputed/counted to the believer – the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Rom 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
it is God that justifieth; he against whom sin is committed, who is the lawgiver, and the righteous judge, justifies them from every charge; not by teaching them the way of justification, nor by infusing righteousness into them, or on account of any works of righteousness done by them, but by pronouncing them righteous through the imputation of the righteousness of his Son unto them: observe, that "God's elect", as such, are the objects of justification; which proves the eternity of it; the speciality of it as belonging to particular persons, and the everlasting security and continuance of it.
(Dr. John Gill, John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, e-sword, Rom 8:33.)