These He Also Justified
Romans 8: 30b
The word," justify," is ordinarily used when someone does something
he should not have done, and he is asked to give a reason for his actions.
When he begins explaining, he is trying to justify himself.
He is trying to make himself what he ought to be by arguing that he did not do any wrong.
Many try to justify themselves before men and God, not so much by good works
as by just plain work.
After all it is hard work and success which make a man worth something.
They give a person self respect.
They prove that he is a good husband and father.
They win approval for him and win the admiration of others.
So, a man works harder and harder.
After all -- isn't that the answer?
But the very work which was supposed to give his life meaning becomes a cruel slave driver
which turns his life into a threadmill.
It was supposed to give him self respect, but he is constantly threatened by the fear
that he has not performed well enough or climbed high enough, and is constantly
tormented by the thought of failure, loss of work, or retirement.
The work which was supposed to have made him a good, responsible husband and father
takes so much time that he neglects his family.
It was supposed to win the approval of other men, but it turns them into rivals and opponents
to be defeated and dominated.
The very work which he thought would justify his existence and life to himself
and before other people becomes self-destructive and alienates him from them.
Some try to justify themselves by being critical of other people, thinking that if they
can make others look little, they will look big.
But the need to run down others is itself a sign of their own insecurity and of their
desperate need to be able to accept themselves and to be accepted by others.
The more one tries to build oneself up by tearing other people down, the more insecure,
unlovable, and lonely one will become.
So, a person becomes trapped and condemned by the very means by which they thought to
Others try to justify themselves by being critical of themselves.
They think that the more humble and self accusing they are, the more admired and
justified they will be.
But the need to run down themselves is not a sign of genuine humility.
It is a sign of arrogant pride by saying, "I am more humble than anyone -- therefore
I am better than anyone."
Such self-depreciation sometimes seems to lead to self-sacrifice and "selfless" service of others,
but in fact it is only self-serving and a means of manipulating others, and even an attempt
to manipulate God.
The very means by which they try to justify themselves condemns them to a lonely,
guilty life of self-centeredness.
Still others, try to justify themselves by trying to be good.
They do so to try to convince themselves of their own worth and to win the love of others
and possibly that of God.
And so, they would say: "If I can't justify myself by being rich or powerful or by being popular
or by being intellectual, perhaps, I can do it by being good -- that is, by achieving
This attempt is also self-defeating for there is none that doeth good for "All have sinned..."
So, depending on what is important to us and what is possible for us, all of us try in some way
to justify ourselves in one way or another.
And whatever means we use, the result is always the same.
No matter how hard we try, we cannot justify ourselves for we cannot save ourselves.
And the ways we have discussed are not the ways which God justifies -- not all
of them or one of them.
God does not say that whatever I have done is all right.
God does not excuse man or alibis for man.
Sin is awful in the sight of God, but God is able to remove that sin.
It is His gift of grace to us.
Justification by grace, as a "gift," (Romans 3:24) means quite simply that we cannot buy
or earn God's love and acceptance.
God does not say, "I will love you if you are good," or "if you prove yourself worthy" or
"if you first love me."
He does not even say, "I will love you if you first have faith in Me or if you first humble yourself
God says simply, "I love you just as you are -- you, not your righteousness or your humility
or your faith or your accomplishments."
Romans 5: 6-8 declares: "While we were yet helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly...
while we were yet sinners Christ died for us."
God's love is not a reward for what we do or confess that we have not done, but His love is a gift
-- a gift of His grace.
So, it is not what we do for God, but what He has done for us.
It is not what we give, but what we receive that justifies us.
The Method of Justification
We are not justified because of anything we do, but we are justified because of what
Christ Jesus did.
"Through Him all that believe are justified." (Acts 13: 39)
Faith is never the ground of justification, but only its means or channel.
All the New Testament references to faith indicate this in the clearest, possible way.
Faith implies dependence upon another, and ceasing to depend upon ourselves.
We are not justified by belief in Christ, but by Christ in whom we believe.
The divine proof of our justification is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
As our Head and Representative, He died for our sin.
As our Representative and Lord, He also rose from the dead.
We read in Romans 4: 25 that He has "delivered Him over for our transgression
and raised Him for our justification."
So, the words: "justification," "justify," and "righteousness" describe God's work
of free grace in which He brings us into the faith in which we receive in Christ
a new standing before God and a new way of life.
So, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus..." (Romans 8: 1)
In Christ we are fully acquitted from sin and its guilt and its penalty.
So, the forgiveness of our sins or justification is a total and radical conversion.
God makes that which is evil, good.
God makes that which is sick, whole.
God makes that which is feeble, glorious.
God makes that which is dead, alive.
We were totally evil when we entered His judgment, and we are totally cleansed
when we leave it.
It is an incredible, divine miracle.
What a thrill!
"And whom He called, these also he justified."
The Christian has been justified.
This is full of wonderful comfort and great assurance.
Justification is the foundation of peace.
"Being justified by faith, we have peace with God." (Romans 5: 1)
When this is realized, all questions of human merit disappears.
Justification is the secret of spiritual liberty.
Justification is the foundation of holiness.
"And those he justified, he also sanctified..."
Justification is the best news that you and I will ever hear because our soul is introduced
into the presence of God, and we receive the Holy Spirit, and we realize the indwelling presence
It is in these wonderful truths that we find the secret of and guarantee of purity of heart
and life in Christ.
"I am amazed that God could ever love me,
So full of sin, so covered o'er with shame;
Make me to walk with Him who is above me,
Cleansed by the pow'r of His redeeming name.
I am amazed that God would choose to bless me,
Choose me an heir to riches of His grace;
Till that perfection shall at last possess me,
He has reserved for all who seek His face.
I am amazed that God would ever save me,
Naught but the cross could take away my sin;
Thru' faith in Christ eternal life he gave me,
Now He abides forevermore with-in.
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White