“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:21-24, NKJV
Today, let’s listen to the Lord shout out three big words: righteousness, justification, and sanctification.
The New Testament is loaded with pregnant truths on these three things! I know these are big, theological words, but when we receive God's revelation on righteousness, justification and sanctification, we will experience a pivot point and a trajectory change in our lives. Let’s look at it:
Righteousness – We Have Been Made Righteous In Christ: We must know, believe and receive the fact that the sinless Jesus became sin on the cross so that we could be made as righteous as He is. When we believe on and receive Jesus Christ as Lord, He gives us the gift of righteousness. This gift is absolutely separate from any works we have done or could ever do. We can’t add to it; we can’t take away from it. Jesus gave us right standing with God. This is a fact of redemption and the sooner we believe it, the better it will be for us! A revelation of righteousness completely uproots a root of guilt, condemnation, unworthiness, inferiority, rejection and disapproval and fills us with the reality that we are forgiven, accepted, approved and worthy because of Jesus and His finished work on the cross!
Justification – Heaven Has Declared That We Are Not Guilty: When we believe on and receive Jesus Christ as Lord, we are made righteous and God makes a declaration from Heaven’s courts that we are, Not Guilty! The gavel has come down and the verdict is in, our sins – past, present and future – have been forgiven! God will never repeal this declaration. We are justified – it’s been announced that we are “just as if I’d never sinned!” Let’s shout out our praise and thanks to God for His indescribable gift!
Sanctification – We Progressively Become More Christ-like: Someone might wonder if God wants us to do good works? After all, shouldn’t Christians obey, do good deeds and have works to show for their faith? If righteousness and justification is a free gift separate from our works – where do our works or good deeds fit in? Our works are the evidence of our faith and our right standing with God; they are not the means to it. (God justifies us by faith. People justify our faith by our works.) We are not to put our faith in the works we do, but in the finished work Jesus has done! When we have our faith in God and His Work, not in our own works, we stay free from self-righteousness and we desire to honor God and please Him with our lifestyle and deeds. Because we have been made righteous and justified, we will want to do good works and live pure and holy lives. We will desire these things because God has already been so good to us, not because we’re trying to get God to be good to us. Can you see the difference? As we cooperate with the Lord, His Word, His grace and His Spirit, He does a work of sanctification in our lives and we are consecrated to His will, His plan and His pleasure.
Say It: “Father, I am so thankful for these three big words. Thank You for shouting them out to my heart! I believe and receive it – I am the righteousness of God in Christ. I have been justified – in Heaven’s court it’s 'just as if I’d never sinned!' I am becoming more and more like Jesus because of Your work of sanctification in my life. I love You Lord. In Jesus' Name, Amen.”