Salvation is amazing. Through seven divine works of God, guilty sinners are made ready for dwelling in the Presence of God forever, and their bodies formerly slaves to sin instantly become the very dwelling place, and temple of God. How does God do all that? He does it through the seven elements that make up the Gift of Salvation. As we open again to Romans 5, remember again what God does in each of us who believe:
In FORGIVENESS: God removes my debts. Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
In JUSTIFICATION: God changes my State. Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
In REGENERATION: God transforms my Heart. Ezekiel 36:26-27 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
In RECONCILIATION: God becomes my Friend. Romans 5:10-11 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
In ADOPTION: God Changes my Family. Romans 8:14-15 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
In REDEMPTION: God changes my ownership. I Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
In SANCTIFICATION: God Changes my Behavior. Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
This evening we again remember the greatest doctrine at the very heart of our salvation—justification by faith. Justification is the “act of God whereby He declares the believing sinner righteous in Christ on the basis of the finished work of Christ on the cross”.
Now walk with me again through these verses and highlight the life-altering truths of what God has done in us through justification, which is the:
The Greatest Doctrine in the Bible
Now as we open to Romans 5:1-11 we see the doorway to all that God has done for sinners through the cross, the wonders of justification.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
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Justification is the Doorway to all that God has promised. First we get:
Peace with God (v. 1) “we have peace with God”. Lost people are at “enmity with God” (Rom. 5:10; 8:7), which means both an inability and unwillingness to obey God. Isaiah contains a wonderful presentation of the Gospel in the Old Testament. Listen to what Isaiah says:
“There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked? (Isaiah 48:22)
“And the work of righteousness shall be peace” (Isaiah 32:17).
God has declared all of Adam’s descendents, thus every human born with an earthly father, to be sinners; and all sinners are at war against God, because the law points the wrath of God (Romans 4:15) towards sinners.
God justifies sinners when He declares them righteous. Justification gives us peace grounded in Christ's death on our behalf on the Cross. Once we are clothed in Christ's righteousness the Law can’t condemn us and God’s wrath no longer faces us.
Access to God (v. 2a) “we have access by faith”. In the Old Testament there were many barriers to even Jews, getting close to God. The Tabernacle had courts, curtains, and complicated entrance requirements. The Temple added stone walls, thick doors and even more distance to any Gentile that sought out the Lord.
But at Christ's death, the curtain was torn down by God (Luke 23:45) and the wall between Jews and Gentiles was torn down (Eph. 2:14). Christ's cross gives access to all who come by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), to the very Presence of God where we can obtain limitless mercy and grace (Hebrews 4:14-16).
We approach God’s Throne by grace. The word “access” of Romans 5:2 literally means “entrance by the favor of another”. Justification changes our standing, but it is sanctification that changes our behavior. Once justified, we become that instant, a child of the King; and children of the King can come before their father no matter how they look.
So at the moment of salvation we gained endless access to God “through the favor of One who died in our place, taking our sin and its punishment, placing His robe of righteousness upon us, and erasing every record of our sin forever.
Hope from God (v. 2b) “in hope of the glory of God”. Hope speaks of the future. Here Paul explains that our past, our present, and our future have all been radically changed through Christ's sacrifice. We have “peace” because our past is buried in the depths of the sea of God’s forgetfulness; we have “access” to God at any moment in the present to come to His Throne to get grace to help in every need; and what “hope” we have in the future to dwell in our Father’s House forever.
Character by God (vv. 3-4) “tribulation produces…character”. Jesus already promised that while we live on Earth we will be having “tribulation” (John 16:33). That means life is hard, troubles multiply, and struggles abound. But when we come to Christ we find that He uses troubles to shape our lives into greater usefulness; and that no trouble can ever separate us from His love (Romans 8:35-39).
Paul explains to justified believers that trials build character in life. The English word “tribulation” in v. 3 comes from the Latin word tribulum. In New Testament times the tribulum was a heavy wooden sled with iron spikes pointed out the underside that was used the thresh harvests and loosen the grain from the chaff.
When the tribulum sleds of trials, troubles, disabilities, pains, and woes drag through our lives, they are the tools God uses to separate the chaff from our lives. Chaff is what will burn up at the Judgment Seat of Christ as the wasted parts of our life. The more chaff Christ Jesus can remove before that final day, the better we will do as we stand before Him. By grace face each trial knowing that God is choosing to refine us to make us even more useful to Him.
Love from God (vv. 5-8) “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts”. While God is pruning our lives by trials and tribulations, He sustains us with an outpouring of His love. Notice that this overflow of love poured out within us comes in the context of suffering. If we resist, flee, and fight against the reefing sufferings sent by the Lord, we miss the overflow of His love.
James (1:1-4) tells us that patience in hard times builds the patience that grows genuine character from the Lord. Next time troubles come, expect a welling up of the love of God in your heart, overflowing your life, strengthening your patient endurance and resulting in maturing godly character!
Protection in God (vv. 9-10) “we shall be saved from wrath through Him”. Jesus who adopted us made all His promises in a new covenant, a will He wrote for us, written with His own blood. Tonight we are celebrating that blood shed on the Cross, that cup of blessing we hold and remember what He did when He justified us.
“This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20).
The will only takes effect when the writer dies, so Christ died. But rose so that He Himself could assure us that all He promised would really become ours. That is why Hebrews 7:24-25 tells us that He ever lives to intercede for us. Jesus provides for us an eternal salvation, because He is able to keep us from falling (Jude 24) and will someday present us to God.
Think of that day when we experience what I like to call the greatest day of our life: the day we finally see Jesus face to face. That will be the day we each get to stand before the Lord Jesus Christ—and kneel in front of the One who loved us so much that He came and took our sins upon Himself, died in our place on the Cross, and freely gave us His forgiveness, cleansing, and salvation.
Just think of what a moment that will be! An instant after our last breath, to be taken by the hand of Jesus, as He leads us past the marshaled ranks of the angels, along the golden boulevards of glory, up past the cherubim and the seraphim, up, up to the throne of God Himself; and then to hear the Lord Jesus call you by your name and present you in person as His well beloved! Then to hear the Father say, "Bring the best robe and put it on him.” Just think of it, a robe of white, bright as the day, pure as the light! When the Lord Jesus was transfigured on the mount, something happened not only to His countenance, something happened also to His clothes. His raiment became white as the light. What a reward for faithfulness, to have a robe like that draped around the shoulders and to be invited to walk the shining ways of glory in light transfigured clothes. The greatest, richest, most powerful of all of history on this planet were not arrayed like one of these. Just think of that!
If we really think about that moment long enough, we realize that all that matters is one thing—what happens at that moment when we stand before Jesus Christ .
Reconciliation with God (v. 11). The word reconciliation means to be “brought back into fellowship with God”. When we in our sins declared war on God, He in His love sent Jesus Christ to be the Lamb of God, slain by sinners so that He could become the One who brings Peace (Ephesians 2:11-18)
To apply these great truths to our daily lives, we need to decide that we will:
OPEN THE GIFT OF JUSTIFICATION
Because of our sin—we are all guilty convicts in God’s sight; so we need justification.
Jesus died to take guilty convicts and destroy any record that that ever committed a crime and takes their place in the punishment—that’s justification! A Sinner stands before God as accused and is declared righteous by His imputed righteousness.
In Justification we go from being accused and guilty before God to being righteous and with no record of wrongs!
We need to experience what the Scriptures often declare—God has once and for all through Christ's sacrifice justified us. That means that He has accused us, declared us guilty of sin and then made us righteous and forever deleted the record of all our wrongs.
Turn over to Romans 8 and see how Paul applies the truth of our justification:
Romans 8:33-34 “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”
I have been justified and by Christ justifying me and because the record has been erased —I am free forever from condemnation. Say that aloud with me
As the hymn writer so clearly says it:
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.
Ephesians 2:6 “…and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”.
I have been justified and by Christ justifying me and because the record has been erased —I am already seated with Christ in Heaven. Say that aloud with me
Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
I have been justified and by Christ justifying me and because the record has been erased —I always have His grace and help. Say that aloud with me
START A NEW SPIRITUAL EXERCISE
If you have never tried this I’d encourage you to start a new dimension of your spiritual life by opening your gifts God gave you in salvation. Let me share with you one of the more wonderful spiritual exercises you can ever do.
As you begin each day, each month, and as we begin this new year, one of our greatest privileges is to open and enjoy the gift of salvation God has given to us. By faith we please God when we believe what He's said about us. We need to not live by what others say or have said about us all your life.
Satan is the Accuser and wants us to only remember all the many times we have fallen; Satan delights in the days, weeks, or months he can keep us condemning ourselves for what we've done. That is his plan, so don’t fall for it. Resist Satan as you believe the truth; speak the truth; and preach the Gospel to yourself.
And when ever we fall down, God says to just turn back to Him and repent, confessing our sin immediately—and believe that what God has promised in His salvation. We are forgiven, justified, regenerated, reconciled, adopted, redeemed, and sanctified. That makes us precious in His sight, special in His plan.
One of the most powerful habits you could develop is to take these truths about the gift of salvation and rejoice by faith in what God has done and wants to do in you!
Keep this list of what God did in salvation for you in your Bible, at home, on your computer, put one on your mirror where you start your day, and in your car. Put this truth into your mind as a reminder of what great things God has promised and done through Christ's death for us!
Slowly as you understand and lay hold on these truths a life-changing transformation take place in our minds, and then in our emotions, and finally throughout our entire life as we live each day based on God’s eternal truth.
More truths of our justification:
Ephesians 3:12 “ in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him”.
I have been justified and by Christ justifying me and because the record has been erased —I can always approach God with confidence. Say that aloud with me
Colossians 3:3 “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
I have been justified and by Christ justifying me and because the record has been erased —I am safely hidden with Christ in God. Say that aloud with me