Joy in Justification


Psalm 32:1–2 // Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. 

Isaiah 53:11 // Out of the anguish of his soul He shall see and be satisfied; by His knowledge shall the Righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and He shall bear their iniquities.

Galatians 2:16 // Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

Romans 4:5 // And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.

Romans 5:15–17 // But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

Philippians 3:8–9 // Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.

From the ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible:

"Paul affirms that only faith in Christ justifies Jews and Gentiles, not works of the law (v. 16). God declares people righteous on the basis not of their actions but of their belief in the crucified and risen One. Paul and other Jews believed in Jesus for divine acceptance, which they no longer seek by works of the law (v. 16), as he categorically explains: “By works of the law no one will be justified” (v. 16; cf. v. 21). Some were teaching that law-keeping must be added to trusting Jesus for salvation, but Paul rejects this out of hand. Faith in Christ alone brings divine acquittal, which adherence to the law or doing good deeds can never accomplish.

All believers are justified and spiritually united to Christ. Because Paul has been spiritually joined to Christ in his death, he no longer lives, but “Christ . . . lives in” him (v. 20). Paul does not deny his personality, but insists that the old Paul, who was in Adam and enslaved to sin, has died with Christ. The new era has dawned in Christ’s resurrection, and all believers now enjoy the life of the age to come. Jesus not only died and rose outside of us; he comes to make his home within us and makes us his own people.

A change of lordship from law to Christ has taken place. But that is not all, says Paul: “I have been crucified with Christ” (v. 20). Those who place their faith in Christ are united to him by that faith—united so closely that his experience now becomes theirs: they share his death to the old order and his resurrection to new life. And even as grace through faith in God’s Son justified them once for all, they continue to live as God’s people by the same grace through faith. Paul warmly and gratefully refers to Jesus as he “who loved me and gave himself for me” (v. 20).

Todd Perkins