Lesson 3 -- second quarter 2005
March 20, 2005
© Copyright 2005, Christian Light Publications
Probing Your Own Heart
On what do you rest your personal justification?
Can you present evidence from your own daily living that grace does indeed abound over sin?
Building on Some Foundational Concepts
Justification is by faith.
We know that only by our faith in Jesus do we experience justification. So we believe in Him for the salvation of our souls. At times, though, as we transit a day's journey, we catch ourselves trying to justify ourselves. Daily we need to rest in the finished work of Jesus, resisting the temptation to somehow gain or establish or prove our justification with our own words and deeds.
Jesus gives us access to grace.
God's grace frees us to stand boldly in His presence. God's grace delivers us from the power of the flesh and of sin. God's grace makes possible abundant, victorious Christian living. And Jesus gives you and me direct and free access to this marvelous grace. That means Jesus must be central and foundational to our lives.
Jesus didn't wait on us.
Jesus didn't wait for us to achieve moral and spiritual fitness -- "when we were yet without strength...Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6). Jesus didn't wait for us to overcome our sinfulness -- "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
God gives more than enough grace.
When you see so many opportunities for unrighteousness and the power of sin grows stronger, look for God's grace -- there's more than enough! Sin can never exceed or even match God's grace.
Questions and Responses
What is justification?
Justified allows for a definition that engages this play on words: "Just as if I'd never sinned." Such a definition for justification is simple, convenient, and easy to remember. However, we must understand that justification does not return us to some sort of just-as-if-I-had-never-sinned state nor does it erase all the consequences of our failures. Rather, justification washes us completely clean from our sins, renews us thoroughly and throughly, and restores fully our standing with the Just One.
What is grace?
In the effort to define this short term, many words have been variously arranged in sermons, topics, conversations, articles, and books. Most certainly all those writers and speakers have succeeded in offering some good definitions and explanations of grace. For this small space, let's borrow some wording from Philippians 2:13 and say that one facet of grace is the desire and ability to do God's will and pleasure. Since I personally have neither the power nor the will to do what I ought, God works both in me when I turn to Him. Isn't that great! Yes, and it is also grace.
Saved by His life?
Jesus died. His sacrifice for our sins makes possible our forgiveness and cleansing. To accomplish that for us, He could have stayed dead -- the last sacrifice, the only complete and effective sacrifice for sin. Had His only mission been to forgive our sins, He need not have come back to life. But His mission was and is more than that. So He came back to life, rising from the dead and living to this day with no death in His future. He lives again as the Eternal One. And this is so, in part, for our own justification (Romans 4:25). The power of His resurrection working in me makes me more and more just, righteous, and godly. Because of His resurrection and His life today, I am saved from sin -- free from sin so that as His resurrection power works in me, I have less and less need for forgiveness. That's deliverance. That's salvation!
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