The Word Of God - Lesson III D
The Word of God teaches that anyone who trusts in Jesus is justified. This means that we have right standing with God. It is a one-time event when we are declared “not guilty” even though we are sinners. We are cleared of any charges against us because of Christ’s sacrifice at the Cross. At that time He was punished in our place, satisfying the demands of the Law and God’s justice upon sin.
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood. He did this to demonstrate His justice, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – He did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
Therefore. since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.
Sanctification is a process. It begins the moment we are born again and continues throughout our life on earth. It is the process whereby we, as believers, empowered by the Holy Spirit become increasingly more Christ-like in character. The Apostle Paul explains the role of the Holy Spirit in the sanctification process in:
I Corinthians 6:11
But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
II Corinthians 3:17-18
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
It is important to remember that, unlike justification, we as believers are to co-operate with the Holy Spirit in the work of sanctification as the Apostle Peter tells us in:
I Peter 1:14-16
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: Be holy, because I am holy.
This sanctification process involves our minds being renewed through the study of God’s Word as we can read in:
John 17:17, which is part of a prayer Jesus prayed:
Sanctify them by the truth; Your Word is truth.
Paul writes about the importance of the renewed mind in:
Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God –this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is –His good, pleasing and perfect will.
Our glorification will happen at the return of Christ as the Apostle Paul describes for us in:
I Corinthians 15:51-53
Listen, I tell you a mystery, we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
It is at the time of glorification that our sanctification process will be fully complete. Our bodies will be changed, our old sin nature eliminated and we will see the risen Christ in all His glory as we can read in:
I Corinthians 13:12
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
Next, we will study the subject of the Second Adam which will show us that Jesus was indeed the Second Adam who was able to take away the sins of the world.