“Such were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus and in the Spirit of our God”
– 1 Corinthians ch6 v11
The message of the New Testament centres upon what God achieved in Christ, through his death on the Cross and his Resurrection..
All this was happening “on account of our sins”, for the sake of doing something about them.
And the promised result is the forgiveness of sin.
We are told that we have been ”justified”.
In ordinary language, “justice” may be defined with reference to the law.
In Biblical language, the word for “justice (also translated as “righteousness”) should be defined with reference to God.
The Hebrew word is frequently found in parallel with “upright”. For that matter, both sets of English words have roots which imply
That is our clue to understanding what it means to be just or righteous.
God himself is righteous by definition.
The rest of us are righteous when we are truly aligned with him, in harmony with his will.
That is, when we are “right with God” or “straight with God”.
In the Old Testament, the most obvious expression of God’s will is the code of law provided by Moses.
So the expectation is that “the doers of the law will be justified” (Romans ch2 v13).
However, Paul goes on to observe that nobody in practice keeps the commands of the law fully enough to be justified by that means, and the history
offered in the Old Testament seems to support that claim.
Therefore “no human being will be justified in [God’s] sight by works of the law” (ch3 v20).
Since we can’t achieve righteousness, the solution offered in the gospel is that we are to be counted as
righteous in the sight of God,
following the example of Abraham, our spiritual ancestor.
Instead of working our way into that status, we receive it as a gift, which is what is meant by the word “grace”.
We are receiving this gift through Christ;
That is, it comes to us in the first place as the consequence of his death and resurrection;
He was “put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (ch4 v25).
That is why we are said to have been justified “by his blood” (ch5 v9), which is a shorthand expression meaning “by virtue of the fact that he
“Grace abounded… so that grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (ch5 vv20-21).
At the same time, we are receiving this gift in and through our faith;
“We are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus… to be received by faith” (ch3 vv24-25).
In this, we are following the model provided by our spiritual ancestor Abraham, when he trusted in the promises of God, “and it was reckoned to him
In the same way, “to one who trusts
him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness” (ch4 v5).
The effect of being justified is that “we have peace with God” (ch5 v1), we are “reconciled with him” (v10). Being counted as righteous means
that our sin is no longer held against us.
We can no longer be found guilty; “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” (ch8 v33).
This is how God’s righteousness is demonstrated, in that he passed over former sins with forbearance “and justifies him who has faith in Jesus”
Putting it another way, we share in the righteousness of Christ;
For Christ Jesus was “made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians ch1 v30).
So it is in Christ that we become
the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians ch5 v21).
Nevertheless, there is a sense in which our righteousness will only be perfected when Christ returns and we are reunited with him.
“Through the Spirit, in faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness” (Galatians ch5 v5).
“There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but also
to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy ch4 v8).
Thus we wait for a new heavens and a new earth “in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter ch3 v13).
When Paul combines together those three claims, namely “washed”, “justified”, and “sanctified”, that indicates at the very least that they
were all made complete at the same time.
But it also implies that these are three different ways of saying the same thing.
Namely that, in the eyes of God, our state of sin is no longer held against us.
In the absence of the old barrier of sin, we have entered into a new relationship with God.
edit on 16-11-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)