- Published: 12 December 2010
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Justification is a word in the Word that has two main streams of meaning, we will attempt to show both here in this study of one of the great promises in God's Word.
1. Remission of sins. This is the first step and the primary meaning of the word. Christ died for the ungodly. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He was the Lamb of God foreordained to take away the sin of the world. Atonement is not a subject of the Epistles of Paul however it occurs there once and should be correctly translated reconciliation.
Reconciliation is defined in 2 Cor 5:19. ...that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses against them. This great truth is rarely recognized by Christians today. Stated simply, as far as God is concerned, all barriers have been removed so that the unbeliever may step up and receive the gift of everlasting life freely. The purpose of reconciliation is to give each individual an opportunity to receive the gift..
There is another side to the reconciliation that should be considered. The unbeliever is asked to be reconciled to God. Sin is enmity against God, and those who persist in sin build up walls of their own to separate them from God. There is no wall on God's part, the path is clear so that everyone has access and all have the means set forth so beautifully in God's Word.
We are told in the Word that there is forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ, and that forgiveness is for all. This forgiveness or reconciliation does not give life. Many teach or think that if one's sins are forgiven, then he has eternal life. That is not true. This life is in Christ and he that has the Son has life. Simply living a decent life is not what prompts eternal life rather acceptance of the Son of God our Lord Jesus Christ.
This being said, then we realize that there is no possibility of the unjust in Acts 24:15 being those who are not justified. There is not an unjustified person in the world today. So we have to conclude that the just and the unjust in Acts 24 means those who have life, are believers, and have a resurrection.
2. Justification by faith. We find this first mentioned in Gen 15:6. Abraham believed God and it was imputed to him for righteousness. Here is another and even deeper meaning of justification. Unbelievers are justified in that their sins are not counted against them but the believer can not only have life and resurrection, but by faith have an imputed righteousness.
Should the Believer be satisfied with being saved as by fire? (1 Cor 3:15) The Believer should lay up treasure and that can be by faith. Abraham had life and was a believer long before Ge 15:6. it was the faith of Abraham though that pleased God and so Abraham had righteousness laid up to his account.
There are many who seek for everlasting life and an escape from an imaginary punishment in the hereafter, but how many seek for that righteousness which is of faith? Just read through Heb 11 and note all the people who obtained this righteousness by faith, believing what God had said. They have a special inheritance awaiting them in resurrection that they will enjoy throughout eternity. God wanted to reward their faithfulness with a special inheritance and God wants to reward us with a special inheritance for believing what He has said regarding the Church which is His Body.