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It’s Great to be Justified

You might have read some of my prior articles whereby I described what mental and spiritual shape I was in during the first part of my senior year in high school. If not, permit me to summarize it by saying that I had made a complete failure of my life, was crushed with fear from the current events of the 1960s, had a juvenile police record, and with my hopes of being a chemist having been dashed I had no where to go upon graduation. Suicide looked like a great option during December 1969.

However, as the Holy Scriptures so often state, “but God” had been intervening. A friend suggested I listen to Billy Graham so for a number of months I had been tuning in to him on Sunday nights. It was God’s grace to cause me to think about his message on January 25, 1970 wherein he ably expressed the fact that the risen Christ, being all God and all man, was not only the perfect judge, but He was the perfect redeemer. After thinking about that and some other things Rev. Graham said, just under an hour later I surrendered my life to Christ. In that moment I sensed everything I had done wrong was wiped out and faithful trust in Him replaced my hopelessness. I looked to Him as my Shepherd and I was his sheep, no longer a wolf, an enemy of His. As it is written in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

This aspect of salvation reflects a Biblical truth that when one surrenders to Christ they, though naturally guilty, are justified — viewed as, proclaimed as, accounted as, and created as righteous before God. Paul addressed that point to a synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia when, during his address to them, he said (Acts 13:35-41), “Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 36  For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: 37  But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. 38  Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39  And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. 40  Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; 41  Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.”

From this passage, I see the following three points.

I. The Source: Christ Declared Just 35-37

The Holy Scriptures make it very clear that no one, outside of Christ, was righteous and therefore totally justified. God also made that clear when He raised Christ from the dead. In his address to the synagogue, by the Holy Spirit Paul pointed out that even those whom the Jews considered “good men” still missed the mark. He mentioned in verse 22 that David was called by God Himself a man after His own heart, but even being that good did not mean David could attain to an incorruptible resurrection.

By contrast, though killed, Christ’s body saw no corruption and was raised by God. This was a declaration by God of Christ’s righteousness, that He was just. Like the rest of the life of Christ, this declaration was not needed for Christ’s sake, but for the sake of our salvation. He was the only one that was ever righteous.

II. The Saved: Made Just 38-39

Christ’s bearing of our sin and its punishment upon the cross made it possible for God to be just in forgiving those who surrender to Him through Christ. It is written, (John 1:29), “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” As we continue to surrender to Him, daily trusting Him, relying upon His Holy Spirit, we are made just by God (Romans 5:19). This occurs as Christ dwells within us and we in Him.

III. The Sinner: The Unjust 40-41

At this point the Holy Spirit leads Paul to describe those of the lost who might reject Christ as despisers. W. E. Vine [1] describes the Greek word here translated as “despisers” as “…lit., to think down upon or against anyone…, hence signifies to think slightly of, to despise.”

As a result of their rejection of Christ they are first told to marvel, which reminds me of what Peter said by the Holy Spirit in 1 Peter 4:4, “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:”

Sadly, though, Paul had to warn them they will perish. According to Vine [2], there were five possible words the Holy Spirit could have chosen. This Greek word is not the same one as found for John 3:16 which means in part to be destroyed.The one in Acts 13:41 simply means “to make unseen…, in the Passive Voice, is translated ‘perish’ in Acts 13:41…”

As you can see, there are many good reasons to be justified by God. God is not playing games with sin. He is not making believe our sin is gone. Christ actually took our sin. The justification is ours if we surrender to God and make Christ our King.


{1} Vine, W. E.: An Expository Dictionary Of New Testament Words (Flemming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, NJ : 1966) Vol. 1, p301

{2} Vine, op. cit., Vine V3, p177

God willing by April 16, 2013 (hopefully much sooner), you should be able to hear the actual message (sermon) by selecting a link at .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the 1769 Authorized Version with spelling of some words updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHWH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates.

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