Thursday, July 1, 2010

A “Tense” Conversation…

It seems every time someone mentions the word theology, people flinch. It’s the stuff of dry academia and arm-chair scholars. I like to think differently. The fact is whether you are pure hearted, Christ-follower or a die-hard atheist, in the end you mess around with theology. As it is the study of God. So for the Christ-follower, he would have a library of thoughts and opinions on theology. The atheist theology is simple: there is no God. That is his study of God. Theology is dealt with by everyone and is needed for a Christian to grow closer and understand their Creator in greater depth. Which is why I hope to present you with a bit of it over the next three posts. Today, Justification.

Romans 3:24-26 - “and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,  whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Romans 5:1 - "therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,"
This one you might of heard before. Justification, vindication, etc. There are a couple of different names for it. This is the beginning of every Christian’s life. The moment when they are saved. In the Christian walk, this is the past tense. A common way to explain it is “Just-As-If-I-Never-Sinned”. Hate to break it to those who use that explanation, but it’s a horrible illustration for justification. It’s not as if you never sinned. The best way I’ve heard it put was by one of the pastors here named Nick Floyd. He put it something like this:

You are in court, on trial for crimes against God. God is the judge. You are clearly guilty, it’s almost more of a sentencing then a trial. This is the image we have before salvation.  Then Jesus comes and says, “though he is guilty,  I will take his place. I will take the punishment meant for him. Let him off.” So here we are, clearly guilty. Waiting for judgment and here comes the man we’ve wronged. Instead of letting us have our deserved fate. He instead puts the judgment on himself. He takes off our prison uniform of sin and puts it on himself, while at the same time clothing us in his suit of  righteousness. It’s not that we haven’t sinned. It’s just that Jesus paid the price so that we could walk, we are convicted felons who have had our sentence paid by another. From that day forward, we are seen as new creations. We take on the image of Christ and God chooses to look past our sinfulness and instead see what was paid at Calvary.  That’s salvation, that’s the cross, that’s justification.
It’s the single moment in time, when you accept the offer that Jesus has for you to have freedom.
This is followed immediately by adoption.
Ephesians 1:5 -“ he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,”
1 John 3:1 - “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”
Romans 8:15-17 - “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!"  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
It’s the moment we see God’s motive for love, a deep, authentic relationship with us. We become sons and daughters of God.  We have all the benefits and rights that come with being an actual child of God.
People sometimes ask, “How does He stand our continued sin after salvation?” That’s an excellent point, which will be covered in greater depth in the next post, but here is a glimpse of the idea. It’s a three-part system. Justification is the part of salvation when you are saved from the penalty of sin. Sin is still around us and we are still corrupted bodies, but no longer is there condemnation. Justification is the rescue from the punishment. Sanctification is the part where you are saved from the power of sin. It’s where through Christ, the chains and holds that sin had on your life start to break apart. This is the part that lasts the rest of your life. Finally the last part is Glorification, where we are saved from the presence of sin. Christ comes for His children. It’s where we are given the glorified bodies that are perfect and sin is gone in every way.
Try to remember all this today, and let it change the way you live life.

Much Love,


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