Enjoy a sample reading from one of our books and commentaries. The books all flow with Kris’ style of preaching and teaching. All rights reserved © Terms of the Cross by Kris Jackson
#4 – JUSTIFICATION (Chapter Four)
Next we will learn two vital terms/ JUSTIFICATION which is a legal act, and REGENERATION which is a spiritual act. JUSTIFICATION gives us a name change, REGENERATION gives us a nature change.
Justification defined – “To prove or show to be just, to vindicate. To pronounce free from guilt or blame. To absolve. To adjust, or arrange exactly” (WEBSTER)
This is a legal term. Notice the associated “JU…” words, as in judge, jury, just, justice, etc. The sinner is now in the courtroom. Conscience declares his guilt. The Law declares his guilt. If witnesses were called all Heaven would declare his guilt. The gavel strikes the Judge’s desk. “Guilty!” is the verdict and as we’ve already noted “Death!” is the sentence.
Some people accept the verdict and beg mercy – “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). Others dispute the verdict and seek to justify themselves.
“He willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29)
“…backsliding Israel hath justified herself…” (Jer 3:11)
“And he said unto them, Ye are they who justify yourselves among men: but God knoweth your heart…” (Luke 16:15)
There is nothing we can do to justify ourselves. Keeping the Ten Commandments is not enough. Doing good deeds is not enough. “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ…” (Gal 2:16) “And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:39).
So it is “BY GRACE…THROUGH FAITH”. Moral goodness has nothing to do with it. God justified the heathen. When Paul spoke of “fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexual perverts, thieves, covetous, drunkards”, etc. sitting on the pews at the Corinthian church he said,
“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God” (1 Cor 6:11)
That is the Good News of the Gospel. Any and all can come because Jesus “was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom 4:25). “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1).
FAITH ALONE! Martin Luther understood that “the just shall live by faith” (Rom 1:17). “Not by works of righteousness that we have done…that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Tit 3:5-7).
Luther and his followers were scoffed at as being “Solifidians”, that is the “solo-faith” crowd. If Paul’s epistle to Thessalonica was called “Thessalonians”, his epistle to Rome could have been called “Faith Alone-ians”!
OUR ADVOCATE – If the Law says we are guilty and if we know ourselves that we are guilty then how can our plight be made right? In Civics lessons we were taught about a “double jeopardy” clause. No man can be punished twice for the same crime.
Here’s where our great Lawyer steps into the courtroom – “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). Imagine Him addressing the Bench,
“Your Honor, remember the double jeopardy clause. As representing My client I must let the Court know that I have already fulfilled his sentence and penalty. He has placed faith in My work on the Cross, therefore I must ask executive pardon and acquittal of the case”.
Let us all restate our plea – “JUST AS I AM, WITHOUT ONE PLEA, BUT THAT THY BLOOD WAS SHED FOR ME…” The case is thrown out every time!
“Justification is a divine act whereby an infinitely holy God judicially declares a believing sinner to be righteous and acceptable before Him because Christ has become the sinner’s sin on the Cross and “has been made unto him righteousness” (M.F. Unger)
Thank God for Christ’s initial, official, judicial, sacrificial, beneficial death on the Cross for ALL! This justifying act involves four more “TERMS OF THE CROSS”. They are:
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God…” (1 Pet 3:18) Substitution is all contained in that word “FOR” – “the just FOR the unjust”. “Who gave himself FOR our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world…” (Gal 1:4)
There were three crosses on Calvary that day. One man died IN sin. Another man died TO sin. The Man in the middle died FOR sin.
By a “substitute” we imply an exchange or a replacement. For instance/ substitute teachers, a salt substitute, a substitute (pinch) hitter, etc. That which is placed “in the stead of” something else.
PREVIEWS OF THE SUBSTITUTE
In the Garden of Eden a substitute had to be offered for Adam and Eve. “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Gen 3:21) SKINS for SINS!
On Mt. Moriah, several hundred years before Jesus came to earth, Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Isaac in obedience to God, when the Lord stopped Abraham and showed him a ram caught in a thicket. The ram was then offered “IN THE STEAD” of Isaac (Gen 22:13).
This prefigures Christ, caught in the thicket of our faith, sacrificed as our Substitute. Abraham made a powerful, prophetic statement prior to that – “my son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Gen 22:8).
Abraham CLAIMS THE LAMB!
John the Baptist PROCLAIMS THE LAMB! (John 1:29)
All Heaven ACCLAIMS THE LAMB! (Rev 5:12)
At the first Jewish Passover around 200,000 paschal lambs were slain. Blood was applied to the doors of the Hebrew homes, protecting them from judgment. “When I see the blood, I will pass over you…” Notice it’s not the Name on the door that saves, it’s the Blood on the door!
Yet with all the thousands of lambs slain, Moses commands that “the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening” (Exo 12:6). He didn’t say “kill them”, but “kill IT”. There is only one Lamb acceptable with God. This foreshadows “Christ our passover” who was slain for us (1 Cor 5:7).
There are other Old Testament examples that typify Christ our Substitute, the living bird killed for the leper’s cleansing, the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement, the Levitical trespass offerings, etc. One fact comes through loud and clear, “…without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins” (1 Cor 9:22).
PRODUCTS OF THE SUBSTITUTE
Caiaphas, High Priest at the time of Christ’s death declared – “consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not” (John 11:50). He didn’t realize that his statement would prove prophetic.
Christ died FOR US!
In the Garden it was a Lamb for an individual.
At the Passover it was a Lamb for a house.
On the Day of Atonement it was a Lamb for a whole nation.
John saw Him and cried that it was a Lamb for a whole world.
One day we will shout that Jesus is the Lamb for the whole universe!
Christ died – Barabbas went free. Christ died – we all went free!
“Price for healing was paid when those cruel stripes were laid, in Pilate’s Judgment Hall…”
“Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow…”
Defined – “That which renders favorable, appeases. Atoning sacrifice, specifically the self-sacrifice and death of Jesus viewed as appeasing divine justice and effecting reconciliation between God and man”
“And he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2, also 4:10)
God set forth Jesus “to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness, for the remission of sins that are past…” (Rom 3:25)
Christ was the “ATONING VICTIM”. By death He was the VICTIM, by resurrection He is the VICTOR.
Through the death of Christ all the wrath of God was poured out upon His own Son. The penalty for all the sins of the world committed from Adam to the last of his fallen race was carried in the body of Jesus Christ. There is an interesting analogy between Christ’s death and the rolling back of the Jordan River waters in Joshua’s time. When the priests stepped out on the river the waters parted from a city called “Adam”, all the way to the “salt sea” (Josh 3:16). Don’t you love those 3:16 verses? Think of it – Joshua of the Old Testament parted the waters all the way back to “Adam”, and Yeshua (Jesus) of the New Testament parted the river of human sin all the way back to Adam!
ISAIAH 53 – there is no chapter in the Bible that gives as clear and graphic a portrait of the propitious work of Christ as Isaiah 53. It says that Jesus:
“hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows…”
“was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities…”
“hath laid on him the iniquity of us all…”
“he was cut off out of the land of the living…”
“he shall bear their iniquities…”
“he hath poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors”
Blood poured forth from Christ: His sweat glands for our stress, His face for our joyful countenance, His back for our healing, His head for our mental health, His hands for our works and His feet for our walk. He was bruised, hemorrhaged within for our inner pain, and He bled from His side to purchase our new creation.
As Adam’s side was opened to create his bride, Eve, so Christ’s side was opened to create His bride, the Church. Water and blood gushed forth to prepare a Bride, sanctified by “the water of the Word” and redeemed by the “blood of His cross”.
On Calvary’s Cross Jesus literally “became sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor 5:21).
A TRANSFER was made on the Cross. His righteousness for our sin! Christ who was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Heb 7:26), “who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1 Pet 2:22), who “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb 4:15), took away our sins and gave us His righteousness.
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col 1:13).
This is all done on the merits of simple “faith” – “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness…even as David describeth the blessedness of the man whom God imputeth righteousness without works” (Rom 4:3,6).
Anyone acquainted with Electronic Funds Transfer knows that credit is given without an actual exchange of cash. Christ’s merit is accredited to our account with God by simple faith.
But there is also an imputation on Christ’s behalf. He “bore” our sins. “The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all…” (Isa 53:6) The degradation, sin, shame, vileness, guilt and hell of the world’s sin was imputed into the body of Christ. As the ancient High Priest laid his hand on the sacrifice’s head and confessed the sins of Israel, so God heaped upon Christ the guilt of the world. He became the Sin-bearer.
The levitical “scape goat” carried the Hebrews’ sin to a “place uninhabitable” and was devoured by the wilderness beasts. Imagine the horror that struck Christ as His Father turned His head from the gory Calvary scene and would not look upon sin. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Jesus cried as He experienced the Hell of being separated from the Father for the first time in eternity. At that point, the terror of judgment upon sin gripped the heart of the Substitute, and He “by the grace of God [tasted] death for every man” (Heb 2:9).
That sacrificial act effected “reconciliation” between God and man. Notice, it is always worded “between God and man”, never “between man and God”. God was the offended party. He alone holds right to any action adjudicated against us. Religion is man’s feeble attempt to bring God down to our level – “man and God”, but reconciliation is God’s activity in bringing man back to Himself.
To “reconcile” means to “make friendly again, to bring back into harmony, to adjust, settle or make right”. To “reconcile” your wristwatch means that you have adjusted it to a true standard. To “reconcile” your checkbook, you make it balance with the bank statement. A reconciled marriage is one where both parties have come back into harmony and agreement once again with a shared standard. God’s righteousness is our perfect standard.
“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them…” (2 Cor 5:19)
“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Rom 5:10)
Because of sin man became the ENEMY of God. But Christ became our MEDIATOR, our Go-between. Because He is “on talking terms” with the Father, He is able to “make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Heb 2:17). Christ restores the broken fellowship between sinful man and an offended God.
ONLY HE CAN DO IT!
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ; who gave himself a ransom for all…” (1 Tim 2:5,6)
Christ, being the Son of God is able to take the hand of the Father, and Christ, being the Son of man is able to take the hand of the sinner and join them together in reconciliation, “having made peace through the blood of his cross” (Col 1:20). The Son of God became the Son of man so that we sons of men can become sons of God. What a wonderful prospect!
WHAT DOES RECONCILIATION ACCOMPLISH IN US?
A CLEAR CONSCIENCE – “A justified believer emerges from God’s great courtroom with a consciousness of Another, his Substitute, has borne his guilt, and that he stands without accusation before the bar of God” – M.F. Unger
“There is now therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom 8:1)
A SETTLED ACCOUNT – “Much more then, being justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Rom 5:9). There is an audit scheduled for every one of us (Rom 14:12). All will “give account of themselves to God”. Sin bankrupted the human race. We had “nothing to pay”. Yet “He paid a debt He did not owe; I owed a debt I could not pay…” Because of sin we all had a long list of spiritual debts, liabilities, fines and penalties stacked up against us that an eternity in Hell could not even repay. But Christ paid our debt on Calvary, and not only cleared the debt but then shredded the documents that testified against us,
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross” (Col 2:14)
He took that sin “out of the way” – which implies that our debt of sin stood as a impassable obstacle between us. Heaven put out a “road closed” sign. Lines of communication were severed – “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isa 59:2). All that changed because of the Cross.
PEACE WITH GOD – The feud ceases at Calvary! How can God any longer be angry at us when He has already deliberately poured all of His wrath out on the Victim on the Cross?
“He maketh wars to cease…” (Psa 46:9) and the war with the greatest death toll in human history was that war between human nature and God. Thank God that the battle is over. When Jesus cried “It is finished!” cease-fire was ordered and, as Bill Gaither wrote, “all prisoners of war could go home”. But greater still, the Cross didn’t just effect a temporary truce, it won the battle, vanquished the enemy called SIN and restored repentant man into “right relationship” with God.
Now by simply accepting the free transfer of Christ’s righteousness, “by faith”, we can now “have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. What an awesome privilege! We now have the PEACE OF GOD as our emotional status, and PEACE WITH GOD as our spiritual status.
A BRAND NEW START – “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor 5:17). That’s a new start, a new heart and a new part!
UNSPEAKABLE JOY – “…we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Rom 5:11). This is what David called the “joy of my salvation”. This joy goes beyond anything the world can give. As the old chorus proclaims – “the world didn’t give it to me, and the world can’t take it away”. The believer is now the possessor of a new life, a new purpose, a new Friend, new horizons…which automatically carries with it a sense of new joy.