The word for the week is: “Justified”.
The thought for this week is: “God is Holy and just, man is sinful and under judgment; however, we are justified by faith in Jesus.”
Many times over the course of life, we are faced with situations that do not have an easy solution. This is especially true for people in positions of leadership, whether at work, at home or in church. Think back to some of the difficult problems you have had to solve. How did you arrive at the solution and was if satisfactory to all parties involved? After the Fall of man, God faced what looked to be an impossible problem to solve: how to reconcile his holy love which detests sin with his holy love for man and his desire for a deep relationship with him.
As we consider this situation, we see that the cross becomes a balanced understanding of the gravity of sin and the majesty of God. If we diminish either, we then diminish the relevance of the cross. In other words, if we view sin as only a lapse instead of rebellion and we view God as indulgent instead of indignant, then the cross of Christ becomes meaningless. Also, this type of view also degrades both God and humanity. However, a biblical view of our sin and of God’s wrath honors both. Man is honored by affirming his accountability and God is honored by affirming his character.
In Romans 3:19-26, Paul follows up his previous condemnation of the state of man’s sinful condition by demonstrating that God is just and the one who justifies. We see that the righteousness of God is given to all through faith in Jesus to all who believe. After reading this passage, how do you see it contradicting human pride? Looking at verses 19 and 20, what do you see being accomplished by the “Law”. Notice as you read verses 21-24 that God becomes both judge and the one who justifies. Looking at verse 25, what does the phrase “a sacrifice of atonement” mean? Twice, Paul says that Christ’s death demonstrates God’s justice. Why do you think he repeated this statement? Let us rejoice in knowing that our sins have been atoned for and that this could only have been accomplished through the cross.
This week, reflect on the many ways that we falsely try to satisfy God’s righteous requirements on our own instead of by faith. Memorize and pray through the following: “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 3:22-24)
Prayer: Our Father in Heaven, we praise your holy name. Thank you for taking the initiative to do something about our rebellion and sin against you and for not leaving us to go our own way. We rejoice in knowing that because of the victory won on the cross, we are now justified before you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
By Rory Barneche