What does it mean to be “justified?”

As you know, many of God’s people have trouble believing they are righteous, just as much as believing they are holy.

What about you?  Are you righteous?
You may be struggling with this issue yourself.

The very first thing we need to do is establish what it is: Righteousness is having right-standing with God. The Bible is abundantly clear that we have right-standing with God through faith, and faith alone.

You may have heard this often-quoted Scripture:

“Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness”
(Romans 4:3 NKJV)

The Apostle Paul used this Scripture, quoted from Genesis 15:6, as a basis for the message of the Gospel: Christ died on the cross for our sins, and purchased our salvation with His own blood, so that we might be cleansed from all of our sins and receive eternal life through Him. By believing this message, God extended to you His righteousness and brought you into right-standing and right-relationship with Him.

When you were saved, the Holy Spirit separated you from the world, and placed you in Christ. As a result, you are now clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and you are also clothed with His righteousness.  You are righteous because you are now in Him.

The Apostle Paul made this truth so clear when he wrote:

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV)

Did you understand that?  You have become the righteousness of God in Christ – you are righteous!

Now the Apostle Paul used another word to convey this same truth, it is the word “justified”. Just like the word “sanctified” means “to be made holy”, the word “justified” means ” to be made righteous” – to be declared righteous!

You find this word in the following Scripture:

 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17 NKJV)

You may have heard this saying before: “Justified” means “just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned”. This is exactly how God sees you in Christ. You stand before Him just as if you had never sinned!

When you received Christ as your Lord and Savior, God cleansed you from all sin with the precious blood of His Son, and you stood before Him spotless, pure, clean and glistening white. You can maintain that purity before Him at all times by being quick to always confess your sins.

The Apostle John wrote:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV, emphasis mine.)

The moment you confess your sins, He instantly cleanses you of all sin, and you once again stand before Him, spotless, pure, clean and glistening white – just as you were when you first received Christ!

It has been my practice over the years to constantly ask God to cleanse me from every iniquity and every stain, even when I am not conscious of having done anything wrong. By doing that I stay before Him spotless, pure, clean and glistening white all day long. You can too!

You are holy!

In my next post, we will look at why God has made you holy.
Steve Smith

[All quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]


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