The Level Ground
This illustration of Justification is from Sermon Illustrations and it is a good commentary on what justification really is and how it affects our lives.
My friend Dr. Roy Gustafson has the finest illustration of justification I have ever heard. It seems that there was a man in England who put his Rolls-Royce on a boat and went across to the continent to go on a holiday. While he was driving around Europe, something happened to the motor of his car. He cabled the Rolls-Royce people back in England and asked, “I’m having trouble with my car; what do you suggest I do?” Well, the Rolls-Royce people flew a mechanic over! The mechanic repaired the car and flew back to England and left the man to continue his holiday. As you can imagine, the fellow was wondering, “How much is this going to cost me?” So when he got back to England, he wrote the people a letter and asked how much he owed them. He received a letter from the office that read: “Dear Sir: There is no record anywhere in our files that anything ever went wrong with a Rolls-Royce.” That is justification.
Did Christ finish His work? How dangerous it is to join anything of our own to the righteousness of Christ, in pursuit of justification before God! Jesus Christ will never endure this; it reflects upon His work dishonorably. He will be all, or none, in our justification. If He has finished the work, what need is there of our additions? And if not, to what purpose are they? Can we finish that which Christ Himself could not complete? Did He finish the work, and will He ever divide the glory and praise of it with us? No, no; Christ is no half-Savior. It is a hard thing to bring proud hearts to rest upon Christ for righteousness. God humbles the proud by calling sinners wholly from their own righteousness to Christ for their justification.
Romans 3:21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
We live in a world that teaches us to puff ourselves up to the extent that we forget just what Christ did when He died on the cross for our sins. Paul brings everything into focus in the above verses. Our righteousness is ONLY from Jesus and what He did on the cross. When sharing my faith I quote the 23rd verse which says, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. There is so much more to this verse when we think about how God leveled the playing field so that all have fallen short of the glory of God. Which puts all in the category of needing salvation, whether Jew or Gentile. As the illustration above states the payment for the repair of our sinful life has been paid by Jesus and His blood covers our sins. This righteousness that comes from God places in our hearts and minds the desire to be more righteous and causes us to desire a closer walk with the God who saved us. This righteousness doesn’t come from something we do, but something Christ did for us so that it takes us out of the picture and puts Jesus as the focal point of being made right with God. We might think, “If I do more then God will love me more” to which He would say, “I can’t love you any more than I have at this point.” Or as verse 25 and 26 says 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 5: 15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. In other words His grace far surpasses the transgression and our sins are no more in God’s sight because of the blood filter of Jesus death. We cannot do anything to get more of God’s love because it has all been given through Jesus. And not only that, we have been given the Holy Spirit to teach us to live for Jesus and make that righteousness come alive in our spirits. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins and compels us to draw closer to God and walk with Him in every area of our lives. Satan knows this relationship that has been made possible by Jesus is very powerful and desires to keep it held back. We lack the power we need to live our lives if we keep the Holy Spirit from directing our steps and this falls directly into the plan of the enemy. But if we open our hearts to God through the Holy Spirit we see new direction, new power, and a new focus that is focused on God’s will and His ways. No matter what you have done the forgiveness of God and the justification needed in our lives is the leveling of the playing field for all of us. Christ made it so all who came to Him could receive this forgiveness and be justified. His righteousness makes our righteousness look like filthy rags in comparison and His righteousness comes from the grace God gives to us all through Jesus Christ. Isaiah said it well in. 64:6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
If you feel unworthy of serving Christ, it is because you are unworthy. We all are. There is no super spiritual person God picks over another person who seems not spiritual at all. His grace covers all and makes is possible for each of us to live in that grace and live in the power of His righteousness. Pursue God and this righteousness will become more and more a part of your life, but it will not be because of what you did, but who you are in Christ. The ground is level at the foot of the cross and praise God He made it that way through Jesus. Perhaps it might be best to hit our knees in prayer and ask God to be the lifter of our lives so that we might stand for Him in these dark days. Then we will be the light that shines in the darkness as His light shines through each of us. It is totally possible for 2 Corinthians 4:6 to really happen where it says, 6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
The level ground makes it possible for all believers to impact their world for Christ, no matter their background. We are all JUSTIFIED through the blood of Jesus. JUSTIFIED and forgiven just the same.
The Pilgrimage continues…