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"The Blessings of Justification"
Wednesday PM Home Bible Study
September 24, 2003
The subject of this 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. "Justification" can be defined as 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. It involves: (1) A legal declaration of righteousness
(Romans 8:33); (2) A genuine righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21; (3) An
imputation of righteousness (Romans 5:18-19); and (4) A righteousness
through faith as opposed to works (Gen. 15:6; Romans 4:19-25).
This has been Paul's theme in this letter so far. In this passage, we find
not only the fact that God is willing to justify sinners, but also what the
benefits of being justified are. They are ...
I. Peace with God (v. 1a).
A. The peace that Paul here refers to means "an end of hostilities" - peace
between two parties that are at odds with one another.
B. Every man or woman alive today needs to have peace with God. 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 (Hebrews 10:22).
II. Grace before God (vv. 1b-2a).
A. 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's not that we must perform in order to maintain it. It
is in this grace that we stand!
B. 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 (Gal. 3:3).
III. Hope in the glory of God (v. 2b).
A. We weren't always in His favor. Paul describes the sinner's condition
before justification in Ephesians 2:1-3 and 11-12.
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
1. The prospect before us now is that of being sharers together with Christ
in His glory (1 John 3:2; John 17:22-23).
2. This prospect of future glory in Christ is one that is certain and sure
(Romans 8:28-30). Justification 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.
IV. Joy in trials (vv. 3-4).
A. 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.
B. 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.
1. First, he says that tribulations produce "perseverance" or "patient
2. He next says that perseverance produces "proven character."
3. Next, proven character produces "hope" (1 Peter 1:7-9) - a hope that
does not disappoint. It has a guarantee of victory to it because He
already loves us!
V. Confidence in God's love (vv. 5-8).
A. This speaks of a confident assurance in our own experience of His great
love for us.(John 16:27; 17:23-26; Eph. 4:14-19).
B. How can we have the confidence that God loves us so much?
1. First is a subjective experience - that of the inner testimony of the
Holy Spirit who testifies of that love to our hearts (Rom. 8:15-17).
2. Second is an objective fact - that Jesus, in love, died for us (John
15:13; Rom. 8:32).
VI. Salvation from God's wrath (vv. 9-10).
A. 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 His offer of
grace (Exodus 34:6-7; John 3:36).
B. Paul's words ("much more then ...") show 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, then He will surely
spare us from His wrath against sin (1 Thess. 5:9).
VII. Exaltation in God Himself (v. 11).
A. Paul has saved the best for last. Peace with God results in an
exultation in God Himself! (1 Peter 2:9-10; John 14:2-3; 17:24; Rev.
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 believer was once approached by a member of a cult. This cult member was
attempting to persuade this believer to join. 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, I'd be very curious to know what in the
world it could possibly be!" He waited ... but nothing better was brought
Paul here tells us what some of these blessings are that belong to the man
or woman who is justified before God by faith in Christ. Such a man or
woman has 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! There isn't anything better than the abundant
blessings that come from being "justified" in God's sight through faith in