“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Romans 4:25
“Come to the front to get right with God.” I heard that a lot at youth events growing up. I’d often respond to the altar calls: guilt-ridden, feeling condemned, recommitting my life again and again — promising God things I could never keep. Eventually I gave up promising because it felt pointless. I’d feel "right" with God one day, "wrong" the next, on and on, frenetically. It was a perpetual struggle as tumultuous as the hormones raging within my teenage body.
Millions of Christians of all ages have this spiritual illness. We think our behavior can change our standing with God when it was Jesus’ perfect behavior that secured it.
It's incredibly freeing to understand the two key points of the Christian doctrine of justification:
First, you are forgiven. You are pardoned of your sins of the past, your present, and your future! It was a once-for-all verdict. All guilt has been lifted. Jesus was punished as guilty in your place (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Second, Jesus’ righteousness was credited to us. His moral score on earth was 100 per cent. Ours is zero. Breaking just one law gives us a failing grade because the standard is God's holiness (James 2:10). And of course we break a lot more than one. But through faith, Jesus gave us a certified copy of his report card (but to receive it we first had to confess our track record as utterly insufficient to save us).
Romans 5:1-2 guarantees us an unshakable standing with God: "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God."
This video does a great job of explaining what it means to be made right with God through faith (justified). And in case you're wondering how good works fit in, it explains that too!
Media thanks to Igniter Media on Vimeo.
If you've committed your life to Jesus, you've already been tried and found not guilty! So if you've been trying to get right or stay right with God on your own, it's time to stop. Start believing that you are right with God — that you are as right with God as you’ll ever be. Jesus is never going to stop wrapping you in his robe of righteousness. Your right standing with God is impervious to your sins. There’s no double jeopardy in God’s courtroom.