The Goal of Justification
The message of salvation becomes distorted and confused when we
are told to clean up your act and then God will save you.
Justification is not sanctification. However, justification always
leads to sanctification. We are not saved because we are good. We are saved because we are
lost sinners who are not good. Jesus declares no condemnation, and then He
sends us out to live a holy life. No one can clean up their life and then come to Jesus.
It is always the other way around. He saves us, and then the Holy Spirit does a
progressive work of sanctification in us for the rest of our lives.
The law was not able to produce righteousness in people in order for
them to be saved. Jesus went to the cross and accomplished that for those whom He came to
save. God saved us apart from good works so that we might be able to produce good works.
The death of Jesus dealt with our penalty for sin, the power of sin
was broken, and then when He comes we will be removed from the presence of sin.
The goal of justification is our sanctification. We have been set
apart to God in a once for all act of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, He is also progressively,
moment by moment, separating us to God. Jesus Christ has saved us so that we might live
holy lives. God condemned sin in Christ, so that His righteousness might
appear in us (2 Cor. 5:21). Our salvation is the work of Christ apart from any human merit. We have
been saved to live for Christ. The goal of justification is that we might live this new
life in Christ before a watching world. We are saved to be different.
When we focus our spiritual eyes on Christ we follow Him
along His pathway, and walk according to His purposes. If we are following Him we will
stay within His boundaries, and He will not lead us astray from Gods law. If we do
stray we are not walking with Him. The apostle Paul wrote, For what the Law could
not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of
sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the
requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh
but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:3-4).
Our focus is primarily on Christ, not the law. It is by
walking in the Spirit that God fulfills in us the law. It takes God in us to do it.
Sanctification is always the work of the Holy Spirit. It is
sad but true that even Christians cannot keep the law by themselves. What we try to do we
cannot do in our own strength (Romans 7). It is not where there is a will there is a
way. It is Christ, and only as I make myself available to Him that I fulfill
Gods holy purpose for my life. It is only by the power and the presence of the Holy
Spirit abiding in us that we can live a holy life. This calls for abiding in Him moment by
moment. As I make myself available to Him He lives His life in and through me to bring Him
glory. I am a trophy of Gods free grace.
It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can
reckon or count ourselves dead and alive in Christ. It is only as
we yield to the Holy Spirit that we do not let sin reign in our body and obey its evil
desires. We can only offer ourselves to God and become instruments of His righteousness as
we make ourselves available to the Holy Spirit.
There is no secret, and no shortcuts, to holiness or sanctified life.
God has told us plainly to put our faith in what Christ has done for us on the cross and
His resurrection, and to conform our behavior to what we know to be true in His Word. The
indwelling Holy Spirit applies Gods Word and the truth God has done for us in Christ
to enable us to live His kind of life (Romans 6:11-13). You cannot separate Romans 6:11-13
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Click for printer friendly page
CLICK to E-mail SELAH! to a friend.