Archive | June 2016

Justified

I absolutely love how God works! He is so amazing! For example, in my previous blog post entitled “No Sin is Too Big,” I quoted from 1 Corinthians 6:11, “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

After I posted it, I wondered, what does the word “justified” really mean? I think I know what it means, but I also considered, do all my blog readers understand the meaning of the word? After a few hours, the topic faded from my mind. Until two days later, on Sunday, God generously provided me with two succinct learning opportunities regarding the concept of justification.

My first routine activity every Sunday morning is to select a flavorful K-cup and brew a cup of Joe with my new Keurig machine. Next, I plop down in my favorite recliner, grab the remote control, and turn on the TV to either the Inspiration channel or the Lifetime channel and watch Dr. Charles Stanley, from In Touch Ministries, preach two sermons back to back.

In his first sermon today titled Your Convictions about Eternal Security, Dr. Stanley explained that the word “justified” means we are declared “no longer guilty” by the blood of Jesus. His atoning, sacrificial death on the cross reconciled us into a right relationship with God. When we confess our sin, God is faithful and “just” to forgive us and declare us no longer guilty because He sent His Son, Jesus, as a living sacrifice to pay the death penalty for our sin. One of the Scripture passages for this message came from Romans 5:6-10. Dr. Stanley’s In Touch Sermon 06/26/16

I cracked a smile, pleased that God had designed a way to answer my justification question so swiftly. After watching Dr. Stanley’s sermons, I showered, dried my hair, slapped on some makeup, and got dressed for church.

At Radiant Church this morning, we enjoyed an excellent message by guest pastor, Curt Anes. Romans Road Chapter 5 – Sermon He started his sermon with a definition of the word—you guessed it—justified. When I heard the word, I grinned, even more pleased that God had orchestrated the universe on this day in such a way that I would receive more clarity on the word I had questioned a couple days prior.

Pastor Anes offered a similar definition, “Justified is a divine benefit we have in Christ as Christ followers. We are declared righteous in God’s sight because of what Jesus Christ did for us.”

Supporting it with Scripture, Pastor Anes read Romans 5:1-2, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”

Next Pastor Anes read from Romans 5:8-9 says, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!”

Also, Romans 3:22-24 says, “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

In summary, when we confess Jesus as our Savior and invite Him into our hearts, His blood washes us whiter than snow, and He declares us no longer guilty, but righteous children of God. His sacrificial death on the cross paid our sin debt in full and redeemed us from our slavery to sin, making us not only children of God, but also co-heirs with Christ.

I heard two sermons within two hours from two different pastors in two different parts of the country that both taught me two similar Biblical definitions of a term I had questioned two days earlier. Is this a coincidence? I think not!

I am so grateful that the Creator of the universe made the time to weave the answers to my questions into messages from these dedicated men of God that I would listen to today.

Lord, I thank You and praise You for Your wonderful works. Your ways are higher than my ways and Your thoughts higher than my thoughts. I appreciate the way You speak to me in my thoughts and through the instruction of wise, godly people. Thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit who brings Your Word to life in so many ways. I am eternally grateful for Your amazing grace in the gift of Your Son who died for me, that I might be JUSTIFIED by His blood, no longer guilty, but made righteous in Your sight. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

 

No Sin is too BIG

Have you ever felt that your sin is too BIG for God to forgive? Let me assure you, it’s NOT.

When I was a new believer, I wondered if God could really forgive my sins, or were they too great. Over the years, I felt I needed to keep asking God’s forgiveness for the same old sins of my youth, even though I was a new creation in Christ, the old ways were gone, and I hadn’t returned to them. Was my sin too BIG for God to forgive or was God’s forgiveness too BIG for me to grasp?

No sin is too BIG for God to forgive. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul assures the new Christ followers who previously were sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy, drunkards, slanderers, and swindlers, “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

When you accepted that Jesus Christ died for your sins and invited Him into your heart to be your Savior and the Lord of your life, He wiped your sin debt clean. By His death on the cross, He paid the penalty for all your sins—past, present, and future. By His resurrection, He made it possible for you to know and experience a living God who dwells in you. Jesus cleansed you of all unrighteousness, and the Holy Spirit continues to sanctify you through and through (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

It turns out my sins were NOT too great for Jesus to forgive, however, His forgiveness was too BIG for me to comprehend. Once I dug deeper into God’s Word and more fully understood His plan of salvation, I could more fully appreciate His amazing grace and accept His forgiveness. Then I could let go of the guilt and shame I tightly held and claim the freedom that His forgiveness offered me. I no longer dwelled in the prison of my past sin, but I lived the life of peace that God intended for me.

Have you asked Jesus to forgive you? He has. Have you fully accepted His forgiveness? If not, dive into Scripture to more completely understand and appreciate His plan of salvation and His promises. You are a child of God. You are forgiven. You have been washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God. Enjoy the peace that a Spirit-filled life extends to you.