The preacher at the front of the church asked the congregation, “What is the definition of the word justified?” Then he gave an old familiar answer: “It means, just-as-if-I’d never sinned!” Of course, everyone grinned as they got the pun.
The word “justified” doesn’t literally mean: “just-as-if-I’d never sinned.” It means to have righteousness imputed to us when we didn’t deserve it. When we are justified by God, the result is that we are made righteous in His sight. If we have been made righteous, it is then that we stand before Him just as if we had never sinned. Does that make sense to you?
Don’t misunderstand what is being said here. It does not mean that we have never sinned. It means that we have been justified from our sins by the work of Christ on the cross. He died in our place, He took our sins upon Himself, as if they were His own. He shed His blood so that we might have the full remission of our sins. When we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, the record of all of our sins was removed from us, because it was taken away through the cross. The result was that we stood before Him spotless, pure, clean and white in His sight.
As God’s saints, most of us have accepted this truth that we were made perfectly clean when we accepted Christ. However, we often have a hard time believing that we stand before Him like that now. We are too well aware of all the sins of our past. How do we appear in God’s sight now?
The Apostle Paul wrote:
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1 NKJV)
The result of our justification is that we have been made righteous in His sight. When we sin, we now have the ability to confess that sin and have God remove it from us through the blood of His Son. His blood forever remains as the testimony of what Christ has accomplished on the cross. So we stand before Him spotless, pure, clean and white in His sight.
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)
We do not need to run around with dingy, soiled garments. We can keep ourselves clean with the blood of Jesus, by being always quick to confess our sins. The result is that all God sees is the righteousness of His Son upon us.
The Apostle Paul 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)
When we were placed in Christ by the Holy Spirit, we became the righteousness of God. We were clothed with His righteousness, and that is how we should see ourselves every day.
We need to stop focusing our attention upon all of our faults and failings, and start focusing our eyes on God’s righteousness in us. The more we more we do that, the more we will have victory over those sins that so easily entangle us. We need to stay under the blood of Jesus!
One day I saw a truck driver whom I recognized from a church I had once attended. After I got talking with him and renewed our acquaintance, I asked him, “Are you righteous?” I was interested to know what his response would be. He sheepishly replied, “I sure hope so.” I then encouraged him by quoting the verse I mentioned above. I wanted him to have the assurance that he was righteous. Like many saints today, he needed to know his true identity in Christ.
In order to grow stronger in our faith, we need to know who we are in Christ and embrace that fully in our lives. If we don’t, the enemy can take advantage of us and cause us to slip back into sin. His goal is to entice us back into the world. When we are strong in our faith, we can resist him more easily.
Every day we should boldly declare, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. I stand before Him pure and white, without spot or wrinkle, because of the blood of Jesus!”
You are holy, dear saint!
[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]