Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Many people ask: "What is this thing called justification? It's a word that's over my head. Please help me!" The Bible is God's word; He wants us to understand; He puts the feeding trough down low so lambs can eat. Surely He will respond to our plea.
The idea is simply making something crooked straight; something bad, good; something wrong, right. So, it ends up making something unjust, just--and there's the root of the word. Justification means making them right again.
The source of all this evil is sin. Justification is therefore the opposite of sin. It reverses the evil that sin has caused, it un-does what sin has done, it untangles the knot that sin has tied in the universe of God, and especially on this planet.
Sin has caused an alienated sense of separation from God. It has left us strangers in the universe, our very home. The alienation actually causes "enmity" against God. Justification has bridged the chasm that has separated us from "home," which is the throne of God. This bridging of the chasm is "at-one-ment," a heart-reconciliation with the One whom we have thought was our enemy. He turns out to have been our Friend all along. The root of the problem has been eradicated: justification has made us friends with God again, like we used to be at Creation.
Justification is what One has done whom the Bible calls "the Savior of the world" (John 4:42). He untied the knot, reversed the evil, brought good in place of the bad, reconciled enemies into being friends with God, made everything crooked straight, and made everything wrong to become right. This was infinitely more wonderful than if He had wiped us out in one fell swoop and started from scratch creating everything new again.
Changing alienated hearts, winning enemies to be friends--this was the Miracle of the ages. It required a cross on which the Creator gave up His very life in a total sacrifice known in the Bible as "the second death"--an embracing of hell itself in love for us (Heb. 2:9; Isa. 53:12).
This act which He performed did it for all humanity; legally, He saved His lost world, yes, redeemed His threatened universe. That is justification.
But what you didn't ask is what's important: "What is justification by faith?" That's when our sinful, alienated heart appreciates the justification He accomplished for us; and that is a totally changed heart and life. You're now a new you.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 29, 2004.
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