JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH - Part II
Romans 5:1-2 – "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."
When a person makes the decision to come to Christ, that person is wholly justified, cleansed, and washed by the blood of Jesus. Consequently, this means that there is no such thing as a partial justification, for you are either wholly justified or not justified at all. God does not forgive some sins and leave the rest to be unaccounted for. Rather, He washes and cleanses from all sins-past, present, and future-those who would simply believe. I know that this statement might come as a surprise to many of you, but believe me, there are people who believe in a partial justification.
IS THERE SUCH A THING AS A PARTIAL JUSTIFICATION?
I can remember the first time that I ever heard of partial justification. I was attending a particular college in the great state of Oklahoma. In chapel one morning, the individual preaching, at the end of his message, told the entire college chapel audience to stand, which we did. He then proceeded to proclaim to the entire Christian college campus that none of us were “fully saved,” but that we needed to say his prayer and then we would all be “fully saved.” Well, upon hearing this, I immediately sat down. My friend who was sitting beside me asked me what I was doing and why I was sitting down. I told him that I may not know much, but I do know that when I accepted Christ, I was fully saved.
YOU ARE A NEW CREATION IN CHRIST JESUS
The Bible, which is the authority on all matters, states, ”Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation” (II Cor. 5:17-18). This statement, made by Paul under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, is a universal statement, meaning that this applies to anyone of any race, nationality, creed, age, or socio-economic background.
When a person comes to Christ, there is a change that takes place internally, thereby transforming that individual from the inside out. And, it doesn’t matter how bad that person was before; when Jesus Christ saves him, he is now a ”new creation in Christ Jesus.”
Being a new creation entails the wonderful phenomenon of regeneration (Titus 3:5), which speaks of being re-gened. All men were born in original sin, which means that all men were born lost and in spiritual deadness. However, when that man or woman has a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit begins the work of cleaning that person up, to where he or she becomes a new person. Their motives are different. Their attitudes are different. Their demeanors are different. The conversion is so profound, so deep, and so transparent that “new creation” is the only phrase that properly describes it. Everything that characterized a person before salvation-the old nature, the old lifestyle, the old way of doing things-it’s all gone. All of that person’s sins have been washed away in the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Not only have they been washed, but God has also erased and forgotten them.
The Scripture says, ”As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). What this means is that it is utterly impossible to bring the east and west together. It is the same with the believer and his sins. It is utterly impossible for the forgiven sinner to be brought together with his forgiven sins. When sins are properly confessed before God, and if there is true, heartfelt repentance, then the removal of those sins is absolutely guaranteed, and they will never be brought up again.
HOW DARE WE BRING UP PAST FAILURES
Christians, listen to me very carefully, please. If God has forgiven the sin in question, and has forgotten that particular sin, then what makes it right for us, as believers, to drag up sins of the past against a fellow Christian? If that person has truly repented of his sin and has asked the Lord to forgive him, then we should do the same.
It is wrong, and I daresay evil, for a person who claims to be a follower of Christ to bring up the past failures of a brother or sister in the Lord. Not only have those sins been covered by the blood, but also taken out of the way. Those sins, no matter how grievous, have been washed away, and God will never bring them back up to the forefront of that person’s life ever again. If God has forgiven them and no longer remembers what has taken place, then we should do the same.
We must take the Bible for what it says, and when it comes to the subject of justification, the Bible is clear and succinct. John the Beloved wrote, ”If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I Jn. 1:9). This means that when we ask for forgiveness, and do so from a pure heart, He will always forgive us, no matter how bad the sin may be, and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, either the Bible is right or it’s not, and I believe that it’s right.
This article will be continued in the October issue of The Evangelist.
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