Thursday, January 8, 2009

10 Things Part 8: Justification

The other night my wife and I were lying in bed talking about our frustration with the fact that sometimes we feel so emotionally disengaged from God. It can seem really messed up sometimes because we are the very ones who God has chosen to save and yet we feel like it’s nothing.

Thoughts like these inevitably lead to imagining what God’s response will be like in the future judgment. “Look at all I’ve done for you and yet it means nothing to you!” However, this isn’t the God we serve. Yahweh is a God of unimaginable underserved grace. So how can we find confidence for the last day even though we can be so shallow in the present? The answer is, of course, Jesus!

In the apostle Paul’s day people looked to different things, “I’m Jewish, I’m circumcised” or “We have the law and follow it!” But Paul always says that trusting in those things is useless. They only bring God’s judgment as the past has shown over and over (i.e. the exile). But God has remained faithful to his promises to Abraham that one day he would, through him, bless many nations.

The promise today is that through Christ we become part of his true covenant family, the one’s who are ‘righteoused’. So when God looks at those who put their trust in Christ’s faithfulness, not their own faithlessness, then he declares them righteous, not guilty. And what’s even greater is the fact that we don’t have to wait until the end wondering if we will be justified. God makes this declaration in the present by virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection and the Christian’s unity to him. Just as Jesus was declared to be in the right when God raised him from the dead so does he of all those who are in Christ.

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