Tuesday: By His Grace

Keeping in mind what we have studied so far about the law and what the law cannot do, read Romans 3:24. What is Paul saying here? What does it mean that redemption is in Jesus?


Image © Phil McKay from GoodSalt.com

What is this idea of “justifying,” as found in the text? The Greek word dikaioo, translated “justify,” may mean “make righteous,” “declare righteous,” or “consider righteous.” The word is built on the same root as dikaiosune, “righteousness,” and the word dikaioma, “righteous requirement.” Hence, there is a close connection between “justification” and “righteousness,” a connection that doesn’t always come through in various translations. We are justified when we are “declared righteous” by God.

Before this justification a person is unrighteous and thus unacceptable to God; after justification he or she is regarded as righteous and thus acceptable to Him.

And this happens only through God’s grace. Grace means favor. When a sinner turns to God for salvation, it is an act of grace to consider or declare that person to be righteous. It is unmerited favor, and the believer is justified without any merit of his or her own, without any claim to present to God in his or her own behalf except his or her utter helplessness. The person is justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, the redemption that Jesus offers as the sinner’s substitute and surety.

Justification is presented in Romans as a punctiliar act; that is, it happens at a point in time. One moment the sinner is outside, unrighteous, and unaccepted; the next moment, following justification, the person is inside, accepted, and righteous.

The person who is in Christ looks upon justification as a past act, one that took place when he or she surrendered himself or herself fully to Christ. “Being justified” (Rom. 5:1) is, literally, “having been justified.”

Of course, if the justified sinner should fall away and then return to Christ, justification would occur again. Also, if reconversion is considered a daily experience, there is a sense in which justification might be considered a repeating experience.

With the good news of salvation being so good, what holds people back from accepting it? In your own life, what kinds of things cause you to hold back from all that the Lord promises and offers you?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons