A Legal Matter

Read Romans 4:16-25

[Jesus our Lord] was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Romans 4:25

Justification is the act of God whereby He declares believing sinners righteous in Christ on the basis of the finished work of Christ on the cross. Each part of this definition is important, so we must consider it carefully.

To begin with, justification is an act, not a process. There are no degrees of justification; each of us believers has the same right standing before God. Also, justification is something done by God, not by us. As sinners, we cannot justify ourselves before God. Most important, justification does not mean that God makes us righteous, but that He declares us righteous. Justification is a legal matter. God puts the righteousness of Christ on our record in the place of our own sinfulness. And nobody can change this record.

We must not confuse justification and sanctification. Sanctification is the process whereby God makes us believers more and more like Christ. Sanctification may change from day to day. Justification never changes. When we trust Christ, God declares us righteous, and that declaration will never be replaced. God looks upon us and deals with us as through we had never sinned at all!

Applying God's Truth:

1. Since justification is an act of God, what is your responsibility?
2. Can you give a personal example to explain the difference between justification and sanctification?
3. Do you feel you have a good understanding of justification and sanctification? If not, what resources and people can you consult?

Devotions for Renewal and Joy ©2005 by Dr. Warren Wiersbe. Used by permission of David C Cook. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

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