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Sermon Message

"The Blessings of Justification"

Romans 5:1-11
Theme: This passage describes the blessings that belong to those who are declared righteous by faith in Jesus Christ.

(Delivered Sunday, January 31, 1999 at Bethany Bible Church. All Scripture quotes are taken from the New American Standard Bible, 1995 update)  


A. The subject of this morning's text is the most wonderful thing that a sinner could ever experience. Martin Luther called it the article of doctrine on which the church stands or falls. It is, in fact, the very heart of the Good News of the Gospel. It is the Bible's doctrine of "justification"; God's gracious act of declaring undeserving sinners "righteous" through faith.

1. Do you remember the parable that Jesus told regarding a Pharisee and publican (or tax-collector)? In Jesus' day, there was no one who was thought of as more "righteous" than a Pharisee; and no one thought of as more despicable a sinner than a tax-collector. The Pharisee, in prayer, rehearsed all his righteous deeds before God; but the tax-collector couldn't even look up to heaven. All he could do was beat his breast and say, "God, be merciful to me, the sinner!" And Jesus said, "I tell you, this man went to his house justified [i.e., dikaioġ; "declared righteous"] rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 1:9-14).

2. This parable, to my mind, illustrates something of the blessedness of the doctrine of justification by faith. There's no more wonderful news to sinners than that God is willing respond to their plea for mercy, and declare them "righteous" on the basis of what Jesus has done on the cross for them.

B. We can't really discuss the implications of the Bible's teaching on "justification" if we don't really understand what "justification" itself means. It's one of those words we hear used, but rarely hear explained. Here, then, is a biblical definition: Justification is an act of God in which He declares an undeserving sinner to be genuinely righteous; having credited the very righteousness of Christ to that sinner by means of his or her faith alone. "Justification through faith", as we find it in the Bible, involves:

1. ... A legal declaration of righteousness. It isn't that a sinner is merely made to 'feel' righteous in a subjective way. Rather, God "declares" the sinner to be objectively righteous in a forensic or judicial sense -- regardless of his or her feelings. It's a legal declaration rather than a feeling. Like Paul says in Romans 8:33; "Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies."

2. ... A genuine righteousness. God doesn't simply decide to overlook the sinner's sinfulness and "pretend" that he or she is righteous when that really isn't the case; nor does He simply "cover up" the sinner with the righteousness of Jesus in such a way as to conceal his or her real condition of sinfulness from His eyes -- as though simply covering him or her with a "righteousness" coating. Rather, when God justifies a sinner, He declares that sinner to be made really, genuinely, completely righteous, because that sinner is "in Christ." Paul says, "But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption ..." (1 Cor. 1:30). Elsewhere, he says, "He [God] made Him who knew no sin [Jesus Christ] to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21). The idea in these verses is that of being actually "made" righteous with the full righteousness of Jesus Christ -- not merely being covered up with His righteousness.

3. ... An imputation of righteousness. To "impute" something means to 'attribute' it or 'credit' it to something or someone else. If, for example, I had a 'zero' balance in my checking account, I would draw some money out of my savings account and have it "imputed" or "credited" or "attributed" to my checking account. The only way that the checking account could have cash value is if it is "imputed" into it from another account. Similarly, in God's act of justifying a sinner, he or she is not made "righteous" on the basis of anything that they do -- nor on the basis of anything God enables them to do. Rather, God completely "imputes" genuine righteousness to them -- "attributing" it to them, or "crediting" it to their account. Paul makes this point in Romans 5:18-19; comparing the imputation of the one sin of Adam upon the human race with the imputation of the righteousness of Christ on those who place their faith in Him. "So then," he says, "as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as thorough the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous."

4. ... A righteousness through faith as opposed to works. It's important to point out in all this that sinners are not "justified" on the basis of their faith -- or on the basis of any other work they could do, for that matter. They're declared righteous before God on the basis of two things: that their sins were placed onto Jesus when He died on the cross; and that His perfect obedience and righteousness imputed to them -- He became sin for them (and died in their place); and they became the righteousness of God in Him. Faith isn't the cause of justification; rather, its the means by which the sinner comes into possession of that imputed righteousness. As it says of Abraham in Gen. 15:6, when God made the promise to him that, even though he was childless, he would one day have as many children as the stars in heaven, "Then he believed the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness." Paul speaks about Abraham's experience of being "justified by [that is, by means of] faith" in Romans 4:19-25, where he says, "Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God has promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness. Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sakes also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification". Justification by faith is a faith in what Jesus has done for us -- not a faith in "faith".

C. That, in short, is what "justification by faith" means. But in the passage we'll be looking at this morning, we find not only the fact that God is willing to justify sinners, but also what the benefits of being justified are. In the fifth chapter of Paul's great letter to the Romans -- a letter in which he systematically explains how God justifies sinners like you and me by faith -- we find that he describes the blessings that belong to those who He declared righteous. What then are the blessings of being "justified" in the sight of God, as Paul describes them in Romans 5:1-11? Any single one of them would be enough for us to talk about all morning. But I find seven mentioned in this passage. They are ...


"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (v. 1).

A. "Peace" here isn't meant to be understood as the same thing as "tranquility" or "quietness of heart" -- as in the sense of Jesus' words, "Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful" (John 14:27). The peace that Paul here refers to means "an end of hostilities"; peace between two parties that are at odds with one another -- in other words, "reconciliation."

1. Have you ever had a problem with someone -- something 'between' you and them -- so that, when you saw them at a grocery store or shopping mall, you duck around the corner to avoid them? Similarly, we are born in a state of enmity toward God because of the guilt of Adam's sin imputed to us, and because of the sinfulness of Adam's nature that we've inherited from him as his children. There's a problem in our relationship with our Creator -- something 'between' ourselves and Him. It's the guilt of our sin. And we cannot be "reconciled" to Him until that sin problem has been taken care of.

2. But when we've been declared "righteous" before Him through our faith in Jesus' work on the cross for us, the problem of sin is taken away. There's no longer something "between" us and God. We cease to be in a state of enmity toward Him. We've been "reconciled" to Him -- meaning that the distance between us has been bridged, and we can now "draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water" (Hebrews 10:22).

B. I believe that every man or woman alive today needs to have peace with God. I believe that an absence of peace with God in is at the bottom of most of the problems and anxiety that people feel. One of the great blessings of justification is that of finally having "peace" with God. We're no longer in a state of enmity toward our Creator. What a wonderful thing that is!


"... our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand ..." (vv. 1b-2).

A. Being "justified" means that, by God's grace, we've been declared righteous by the God against whom we've sinned; and in that righteous state, we've been ushered into His very presence by His Son who died on our behalf We have been reconciled to God in the Person of His Son; and now, it's as though the Son of the mighty King against whom we've rebelled has brought us into the presence of His royal Father; and now, we are introduced to Him completely forgiven of our rebellion and declared "righteous"! We now are the objects of God's favor; and by God's grace, we're made to remain in that condition of favor forever! By Jesus, we've been introduced into grace; and it is in this grace that we stand!

1. Suppose that God, having shown us His grace in forgiving our rebellion and declaring us righteous, were then to say to us; "Now that you are declared by Me to be righteous, you are in My favor. I am now pleased with you. Take care, then, to make the most of your situation. Do all that you can to keep in my favor. Follow my commandments to the letter! Do nothing to ruin your righteousness and, thereby, lose My favor and become displeasing to Me again." If God had done that for us, it would have been much more than we deserve.

2. But the fact is, that's not what He has done! He hasn't merely reconciled us to Himself and then left it up to us to keep ourselves in that state. He has placed us "in Christ"; and in Him, we have been made "the righteousness of God" by His grace. And being in that state of righteousness, it's only by His grace that we stay that way! Through Jesus Christ His Son, we "have obtained (in the perfect tense, indicating a completed act) our introduction by faith into this grace, in which we stand" (again, in the perfect tense, indicating a once-for-all-time state of being). We are not left to ourselves to keep from wandering in and out of God's favor all the time. We've been introduced to a state of favor before Him through Christ; and in Christ, it's in this state of favor that, by being in Christ, we forever "stand"!

B. The implications of this are enormous!! Just think of how many discouraged people there are that mistakenly believe that, though they may be made acceptable to God on the basis of faith, they still must keep that acceptability before God on the basis of their performance.

1. They know they could never be "good enough" to "become" loved and accepted by God; but once saved, they still believe they've got to be "good enough" to "stay" loved and accepted by Him. And so, they crack the whip over themselves, pushing themselves harder and harder to be a "better Christian" -- "better" usually being measured in terms of "performance". They don't simply relax in the fact that they're already made acceptable to God in Christ as they'll ever be!

2. Paul wrote to the Galatian church about this once. The Christians in Galatia were fearful that, even though they were brought into God's favor by His grace, they needed to keep the old Jewish ceremonies of the Old Testament in order to stay in God's favor. Paul wrote to them very strongly and urged them not to place themselves under those rules and ceremonies. "Are you so foolish?", he asked them; "Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?" (Gal. 3:3). "It was for freedom that Christ set you free," he reminded them; "therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery" (5:1).

C. There is no way that you or I could ever stand before God on the basis of "performance" -- that is, on the basis of our conformity to the principle of Law. The Law was never meant to make us acceptable to God. Paul said, "by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin" (Rom. 3:20). We could never earn God's favor through obedience to the Law; and having been brought into favor with God through the sacrifice of Jesus, we will never be able to keep God's favor through the Law either. We stand in a state of favor before God on the basis of Jesus' obedience to the Law -- on the basis of His righteousness alone; and in that state, we don't obey His commandments to become loved and accepted by Him -- rather, we obey His commandments because we're loved by Him already, and always will be! We've not only obtained our introduced into this grace through Christ; but its in this grace we stand!

D. I sometimes watch my wife wrap her arms around my two boys and say, "I love you, and I'm never going to stop." One of the blessings of justification is just that -- God has loved us in Christ as an act of His grace; and He's never going to stop! "For I am convinced," Paul says in Romans 8:38-39, "that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." One of the great blessings of being declared righteous before God by faith is that we can freely bask in His grace! We can relax! We've already been made acceptable to Him by faith! He's already declared us righteous; and He wont revoke His declaration!


"... And we exult in the hope of the glory of God" (v. 2).

A. We weren't always in His favor. Paul describes the sinner's condition before justification in Ephesians. In 2:1-3 he says, "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest." In verses 11-12, he says, "Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who were called 'Uncircumcision' by the so-called 'Circumcision,' which is performed in the flesh by human hands -- remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world." What a hopeless situation! The outlook for someone in such a state is grim indeed! -- "by nature children of wrath"; "having no hope and without God in the world" ...! What could be worse?

B. But Paul tells us that one of the great blessings of being "justified" -- being declared righteous before God -- is that we now have a whole new outlook.

1. The prospect before us now is that of being sharers together with Christ in His glory. The apostle John said, "Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is" (1 John 3:2). That prospect comes from being "in Christ". Jesus Himself prayed to the Father, "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as we are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me" (John 17:22-23).

2. And what's more, this prospect of future glory in Christ is one that is certain and sure. It's not called a "hope" because we merely hope it will happen. Paul's meaning is that it's a "hope" in the sense of a certain expectation; because, as he says in Romans 8:28-30, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. for those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified." Do you notice that those whom God has justified will also be glorified? That future state of glory is connected to our justification as its final goal. Justification in Christ and the future glory of being conformed to Christ are bundled together in a packaged deal of being "in Christ." If one has been accomplished, the other is sure to follow.

C. I heard about an old, saintly Christian gentleman who said, "I may not be much to look at right now; but one day, I'm goin' on parade!!" That's true for all of us sinners who have been declared righteous before God by faith in Christ! We "exult" -- that is, "boast in a joyful way" -- in the hope of the glory of God!


"And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope ..." (vv. 3-4).

A. The word here translated "tribulations" has its origin in a Greek word that means to "squeeze" or "press" something; and so, this word is a figure for pressing circumstances or distressing hardships.

B. This is where we really step out of the realm of abstract theology and into the realm of practical, day to day living. If we were not in a state of God's favor; if we were left in a condition of enmity toward Him; it would be a very sensible thing to fear the difficult circumstances of life. All the universe would seem to be against us; because we're not right with the God of the universe. And one thing's for very sure: we'd never rejoice in our tribulations unless we had absolutely gone nuts!!

1. But one of the blessings of being "justified by faith" is that we can know for certain that, when going through a time of tribulation, God is not punishing us. All our punishment has already gone onto Christ, and He took our punishment for us. And what's more, His righteousness before God was placed to our account.

2. That being true, then there's nothing left to think about our troubles and trials but as things that our sovereign God permits to come upon us in order to make us grow into the glorious image of Christ that He has predestined us "in Him" to be.

C. Look at the way God uses the "pressure times" in the life of someone that He has declared "righteous" before Him.

1. First, he says that tribulations produce "perseverance" or "patient endurance". They produce the quality of learning to trust in God and wait upon Him, relying upon His strength in the knowledge that He has nothing in mind for us but our good. There is, of course, no other way to come to a settled confidence in the sustaining grace of God this by trusting His grace while going through tribulation.

2. He next says that perseverance produces "proven character." It reveals what we really are inside. Someone has once said that the difficult times of life don't make us into anything different -- they just show us to be what we really are. If someone comes out of their trials a bitter person, it's because, deep within, they were already bitter in the first place -- and the circumstance simply proved their true character. If someone comes out of their trials with a sense of confidence in God, giving praise to Him for what He has done, it's because God developed perseverance in them through the exercise of their faith in Him -- and the circumstance simply proved their true character.

3. Next, proven character produces "hope". I believe that the "hope" being produced here is meant to be understood as different from the "hope of the glory of God" referred to in verse

4. This "hope" is the praise we'll receive from Jesus for having been faithful to Him -- even while undergoing a time of trial; His "Well done!"

a. The apostle Peter spoke of the heavenly inheritance God has prepared for those He has justified; and he said, "In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1:7-9). The testing of our faith through times of trials will have it's final product in the day when Jesus is revealed in all His majesty as King of kings and Lord of lords. And at that time, those trials will resound to praise, glory and honor. He will get the praise and glory and honor; and we will share in His joy!

b. And what's more, it's a hope that "does not disappoint", as it says in verse 5, "because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." It's a hope that already has a guarantee of victory to it because He already loves us! All this, because He has declared us righteous in Christ!! Praise the living God!!


"... And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. for one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for a good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (vv. 5-8).

A. Another blessings that come from being "justified" before God is a confident assurance in our own experience of His great love for us. What a wonderful thing it is to be loved by God -- but how much more wonderful still to be confident in our knowledge of that love! We can know for certain that all God promises to do for us, He will surely do -- because He loves us.

1. Just before He went to the cross for us, Jesus told His disciples about the the depth of the relationship with God that would be brought about afterward. He told them that, in that day, they would make requests to the Father in His name. "... And I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father" (John 16:27). Later, He prayed for them, saying, "O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that you sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (17:25-26).

2. In fact, Jesus even prayed that the extent of God's great love for us would become clearly known; "... that the world may know," He prayed, "that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me" (John 17:23). How can we help but gasp when we read that -- that the Father loves us as much as He loves His own Son Jesus!! Oh, that the fact of God's love for us would sink deeply into our hearts as a confident certainty!!

B. How do I know that God loves me? I find that Paul mentions two ways.

1. First is a subjective experience -- that of the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit. The love of God has been poured out within the hearts of those He has justified through the Holy Spirit who was given to them. If I may speak personally, I had this experience when I first trusted Christ as my Savior. I felt the burden of my sins literally disappear the moment I finally trusted Christ as my Savior; and it was as if I felt the strong arms of God reach down from heaven and embrace me -- as if to say, "Finally; we're at peace! Oh; how I love you!!" That was, I believe, the Holy Spirit testifying to the Father's love for me in Christ. I have felt that affirmation of love again and again ever since that first day. It has only grown deeper and deeper within me as a settled conviction.

2. But how do I know that I'm not just psyching myself up? How do I know that this subjective experience of the love of God is a true one? What objectively can I point to to validate it? This is the second way Paul mentions that I know God's love for me -- it's because of what Jesus did for me as an objective fact of history to demonstrate that love. He died for me. "Greater love has no one than this," Jesus said, "that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).

a. Look at the demonstration of that love. Paul says that, while we were still sinners -- while we were still in a state of enmity against God -- at the right time, two-thousand years ago -- "Christ died for the ungodly."

b. And look also at the extent of that love. Paul makes the concession that there might be some people who would be so daring as even to lay down their lives for a good and worthy person. But God's love was proven to reach much further and much deeper. He demonstrated His own love's extent by the fact that, while we were still sinners -- far from worthy; being His enemies -- Christ, the sinless Son of God, died for us.

C. Love that would reach down this far for us is a love that is undeserved. There's nothing we could ever do to make ourselves lovely enough to the Son of God to move Him to leave the glory of His heavenly throne and die for deplorable sinners like us. There's no other way to explain such a sacrifice; He gave His life for us because He loved us first! And if He first loved us when we were His sinful enemies, He will never take His love from us now that we are his own children -- declared "righteous" in His sight. "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not with Him freely give us all things" (Rom. 8:32)? This is yet another blessing of being declared "righteous" in His sight -- the certain knowledge of His love for us.


"Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" (vv. 9-10).

A. Paul begins this next blessing of justification with the words "much more then ..."; showing that this is related to what he has just said about the love of God as an argument from the greater to the lessor. If He so loved us when we were still sinners -- which is the far greater thing; then now that we've been declared righteous by Him out of His love for us, He will surely spare us from His wrath against sin -- which is the lessor thing.

B. This is a sobering point in our examination of this passage. So far, we've talked about the grace of God toward sinners who receive that grace by faith, in that He declares them "righteous". But we find that just as God is gracious and ready to forgive; He is also just and is fully prepared to pour out His wrath on sinners that will not receive His merciful offer, but who continue to defiantly rebel against Him.

1. He declares His own character to Moses in this way: "The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty upunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations" (Exodus 34:6-7).

2. This gives us cause to stop and remember that while He is always and ever ready to forgive any sinner that cries out to Him, "God, be merciful to me, the sinner!"; He still remains a holy God and will not put up with sin. To those who will not turn from their sins and receive His gracious offer of "justification by faith", there remains this warning of His wrath.

C. Again, let me speak personally. Before I placed my trust in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, I felt very strongly that threat of wrath. I knew for certain that I was in a state of enmity before God; and I spent most of one whole year suffering from a dreadful fear of death; knowing that I was a sinner doomed to hell. But when I trusted Christ, God declared me "justified" in His sight. Immediately, that awful dread of hell was gone. I can honestly testify that, in all my years of knowing Christ, I have never again feared the wrath of God. Hell has been the furthest thing from my mind; and I spend most of my time now day-dreaming about the glories of the heavenly home Jesus is preparing for me, and of my inexpressible joy at finally seeing the face of the Savior who loved me and made it all possible. Salvation from the wrath of God is one of the blessings of being justified in His sight.


"And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation" (v. 11).

A. Paul, it seems to me, has saved the best for last. Not only do we exult in all these wonderful blessings from God that come from our being reconciled to Him through justification, but we exult, most of all, in the very One to whom we've been reconciled. Peace with God results in an exultation in God Himself!

1. The Bible tells us that one of the great reasons God saves us from our sins is so that we would eternally give praise to Him. Peter says, "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy" (1 Peter 2:9-10). He saves us for the very purpose that we might "exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

2. But there's another sense in which one of the blessings of justification is that we might exult in Him. Jesus saved us from our sins so that we might enjoy an experience of eternal, ever-satisfying, ever-thrilling, ever-expanding fellowship with Him personally. Jesus prayed before going to the cross for us, "Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24). He wants us to be with Him and to behold His glory!! On that same night, He told His disciples, "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; If it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:2-3). To my mind, one of the most beautiful pictures of the fellowship justified sinners like us will enjoy with Jesus in heaven is found in Revelation 7:15-17; "... they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes."

B. Of all the blessings that come from being declared "righteous" by God, this is, by far, the most wonderful. We will exult in the very Person of God through the One who made it all possible by His death for us. We will be forever with the One who loved us and gave Himself for us.


A. I remember hearing about a believer who was once approached by a member of a cult. This cult member was attempting to persuade this believer to become a member. The Christian responded, however, in a surprising way. He laid a challenge down before the cult member by saying, "Friend, I have placed my trust in Jesus Christ -- the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Because of my faith in Him, God has already granted to me "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3). That's a whole lot! Now; if you think you've got something better than that, tell me about it. I'd be very curious to know what in the world it could possibly be!" Of course, the cult member had nothing to offer that could beat what the believer already had.

B. I hope that, now that you know the rich blessings that come from being justified through faith in Jesus' sacrifice -- peace with God, a standing of grace before God, the sure hope of the glory of God, joy over God's work through our troubles, confidence in God's eternal love, salvation from the wrath to come, and exultation in the very Person of God Himself! -- you'd know, too, that there isn't anything better than that the blessings that come from being "justified" in God's sight.

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