Justified in Christ (Identity in Christ, part 6)


Question #6. How do we stand before God in Christ?

We stand justified, not condemned, because God has declared it so. 

First, we know we could never be justified (i.e., counted righteous in God's eyes) by our own works of obedience. 

"For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20)

Second, we know we can only be justified based on Christ's sacrificial death on a cross. 

Third, we know we can only be justified by grace through faith in the risen Christ.

  • We stand justified by grace through faith in Christ based on His sacrifice.
"But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—[22] the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: [23] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, [25] 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." (Romans 3:21-25)
"Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith." [12] But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them." [13] Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"—[14] so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith." (Galatians 3:11-14)

  • We stand justified apart from works of obedience and therefore prior to true devotion, holiness, and obedience.
"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. [28] For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law." (Romans 3:27–28)
"We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; [16] yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified." (Galatians 2:15-16)

  • We stand justified as ungodly people to whom God has counted righteousness.
"For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." [4] Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. [5] And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness." (Romans 4:3–5)

  • We stand justified as a direct result of the mercy and ministry of the risen and exalted Christ.
"But the words "it was counted to him" were not written for his sake alone, [24] but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, [25] who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification." (Romans 4:23-25)

  • Since we stand justified in Christ, we have peace with God and we have the hope of future glory.
"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. [2] Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5:1–2)

Fourth, we know that as those justified through faith in Christ, we can never come under the condemnation of God.

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1)

Discuss or Meditate

Think about the meaning and the great blessing of being justified. It means being declared righteous in the eyes of God. Why can this only be received through faith and not by works? Since it is received through faith, who gets all the credit? If justification were achieved by works, who would get the credit? How did Jesus make it possible for sinners to be justified before God? How would you summary the benefit of justification by faith to an unbeliever who has never heard about it? Why does natural man resist this truth, even though it is good news?

For Prayer 

Thank God that He has made a way for us to escape His righteous judgment. Praise Jesus for His sacrificial death on our behalf. He is our only hope of salvation from the ruin and misery of sin.