Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Righteousness in Christ

“For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

2 Corinthians 5:21
 

The word “justification” is a legal term meaning “the state of being justified”. It cannot be otherwise (if so) because no person can be righteous before God, in his character, or become so by his own effort (Romans 3:10). This must therefore be accounted to man by someone who is permitted to, able and wants to do so. God is permitted to because He is the creator, and God can, because Jesus Christ completed the works of forgiveness of sin at the cross, and God wants to because HE is merciful and kind. Paul writes in Romans 3:22-24 “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” The second aspect of justification is faith (Romans 5:1). This has something to do with trust, that God indeed forgives sin (which is made conscious to us from above) in accordance with the Word of God in the Bible and by the free grace of God. Man cannot earn his own salvation through works (Ephesians 2:8-9), he needs repentance and faith to come to God – Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” We also experience concrete justification through the blood of the Saviour (Romans 5:9). That is the high price for the forgiveness of sin. If Christ only died and was not thereafter resurrected, faith would be worthless and His blood would have flowed in vain (1 Corinthians 15:12-14). But, our justification was complete, as Paul tells us in Romans 4:24-25 “But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”

How do we then understand that which is written in James 2:22-24 “Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” Do Paul and James have opposite views here, and is man ultimately redeemed and justified by works? No, by no means, it is impossible! We are also not taught to compromise here, that is faith and works in mutual interaction. What James means here is simply that we are justified by faith which leads to good works. How does one prove to oneself, to others and to God, that one believes? By performing good works, not only believing in thought and theory, but also by substituting your talk with action (James 2:14-17). Faith is indeed invisible, but it should not remain so. Therefore, it should become visible by good deeds and works. And whomever is a child of God, is also led by the Spirit of God to perform these deeds (Romans 8:14). What James points out is the effects of faith (works) whilst Paul teaches the reason for faith (grace). The one is the root, the other the fruit. Ultimately, it is God Himself who justifies us – who can question that? Paul writes to this effect in Romans 8:33-35 “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is He that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”

(Translated by Linda Gates)

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