Armor Up

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For several years I was an active member of the Every Man’s Battle community.  One thing I discovered while being a part of this group was that most guys like the idea of accountability, but don’t like the actual task of being held accountable.  The truth is that many men who say they want help enjoy their sexual sin too much to give it up.

If you’re going to be on the internet you need something in place to help keep you accountable. Inaction will give the enemy an open door straight to your heart.

I know a guy who got caught by his wife while watching porn.  We’ll call him Greg. Greg was up late almost every night after his wife and kids had gone to bed, and he would spend a couple of hours each night watching pornography.  One night his wife got up to go to the bathroom, and she saw the light from the monitor flickering, and as she started to go towards the glow of the computer screen, she heard Greg, clicking frantically. The look on his face when he saw her told her more than she wanted to know.  Devastated she told him to seek help or their marriage was done.

At church the next Sunday she came up to me (knowing my background and history) and asked me if I would help Greg. Greg stood there completely ashamed and admitted that he was struggling with it, and asked for help.  As we began to talk, I asked if I could have a few minutes alone to talk to Greg and his wife stepped away.  I told him I would love to meet with him each week, but I felt as though he needed to put something in place on his computer to help in the interim, and  I pointed him to the X3Watch computer software, and told him I was more than willing to be his accountability partner. I sent him the link to the software, and didn’t hear from him for a few weeks.

Two weeks passed until I saw him at church. I asked him about the software and Greg told me that he never got the email, so I re-sent it. When I saw him that Wednesday night he proceeded to tell me that he couldn’t get the download to work. I put the software onto a cd and gave to him the following Sunday. He never installed it. For a few weeks afterwards, whenever he saw me at church he would avoid me entirely, sometimes walking the complete opposite direction whenever he caught a glimpse of me coming down the hall.

Greg was sorry he got caught, but not sorry for what he was doing to his marriage. He never sought help, and to my knowledge is still struggling with pornography today.

Being a man alone on the computer is a dangerous thing without accountability.

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We don’t have to go looking for temptations, most of the time they will come to us.  In our culture today, temptation is waiting around every corner. If we aren’t pursuing the lusts of the flesh, they are pursuing us. You can’t even watch a television commercial for a hamburger without being bombarded with sexual innuendo.

Accountability is a much needed thing in our world today.

I remember reading a confession several years ago posted on the Every Man’s Battle website and I was floored the moment I read it.  The man struggling with a pornography addiction said “this is the sixth time this week that I have slipped up.”

The man indulged pornography six times already during the course of the week. There are a lot of things that bothered me, not to mention the fact that he considered six times a ‘slip up’.   That’s not a slip, that’s a defiant jump off into the abyss of sin. Six times in a week?  Did he not have any red flags or warning signs say after the second, third, fourth, or fifth times?

Where is the accountability?  Did this guy have anything set in place to guard his eyes or his mind?

How many times have you slipped this week or last week?  Did you have anything in place to help keep you accountable? So, it comes back to the same question I asked in a previous post:

Do you want to be held accountable?

You need to think about what saying yes to that question would look like in your life. The sad reality is that many have determined that the cost is too high, to give up their secret sin.

They live life fully defeated because of the guilt, the shame, and the condemnation. You have a choice, right now, today, to respond. I am praying for you today, that you will not fall victim to the lies of the enemy any longer. May the Truth of God’s Word shine brightly in the dark corners of our hearts this week.

Do you want to be held accountable? Is your heart truly set on taking this first step towards honesty and integrity?

For many guys, the journey towards sexual purity ends there. The moment you bring someone else into the picture  they don’t want any part in it. Accountability means responsibility. If you are struggling with sexual sin and have no accountability partner, why do you think that is?

It could be an issue of pride.  Is it your pride that is keeping you from reaching out to someone and saying “I need help?”. I’ll admit as a man I don’t like to admit that I need help. We don’t ask for directions and we won’t ask for help. “ I am directionally challenged.  It’s no secret I need a lot of help whenever it comes to finding my way across the town I live in. I know a lot of guys who will keep on driving, lost for 30+ miles before they finally give in and stop to ask for help.  I’m not as bad as I used to be, but my wife get’s pretty frustrated whenever I drive because I struggle with asking for help. Our pride can keeps us from reaching out for help.

Whenever God broke down the walls of my pride I cried out for help.  I ran into another roadblock however.  I didn’t have any issues finding guys who weren’t struggling.  I knew plenty.  My issue became finding someone who was no longer struggling.  All of the men I knew and had talked to were all in the same boat. They all had the same struggle, but no one to help keep them accountable.

I couldn’t find an accountability partner. I installed content filtering software on my computer that blocked any and all kinds of inappropriate websites. This software required a password in order to view any blocked site. I told my wife to come up with the password, something so complicated, that I would never guess what it was, because I didn’t trust myself on the computer. I told her not to use anything I could guess, because I wasn’t sure that I wouldn’t try to figure out what that password was. She agreed, and to this day, I don’t know what that password is.

Guys, if you aren’t willing to be held accountable on the internet, you are fighting a losing battle with temptation.

“For as men in battle are continually in the way of shot, so we, in this world, are ever within the reach of Temptation.” – William Penn

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“True character is who we are when no one is looking.” – T.D. Benton

My friend T.D. Benton has taught me much about the character of a man and what happens when he is alone.  I believe that who we are when we are alone is what really matters the most. When no one else is looking, what are we doing? We can say what we want to say, but our actions whenever we are alone will speak to the truth.

There is a difference between your character and your identity. Our identity is in Christ, but our flesh wants control. Whenever we are alone that is when our character begins to show itself.

It’s not rocket science to figure out that most men surrender to temptation easier when they are alone, than when they are in the company of others.  Several years ago I signed up to be a member of the Every Man’s Battle online community completely unaware of what that was going to happen as a result of being a part of this community. A few days after signing up I began receiving emails from the website that were confession emails from men who were struggling with pornography addiction. At the end of the day, I would receive a heartbreaking summary post of all of the day’s submissions.

These guys were pouring their hearts out in this anonymous emails. I’m talking the gut-wrenching – tear your heart out – kind of honesty. Men who had fallen into sexual sin, repeatedly, broken, distraught, and despairing, these guys held back no details.  After a few days of weeping over these emails something became painfully obvious to me.  There was no accountability in place for these men. They were free to submit confessions all day long but had nothing in place to keep them from situations that would cause them to have a need for confession.

So let’s ask ourselves a very important question: Do we want to be held accountable?

Your response to that question, will determine the difference between your success and your failure. This battle for purity is lost if your response is no. If you are wrestling over this question let me ask you another one.  What happens whenever you’re alone?  Are you winning the war against temptation whenever you are isolated and by yourself?

I know that whenever I am alone I am most vulnerable for attack, and because of that, it is important to take protective measures whenever those times come. For me, that began with television. Men, we are visually stimulated creatures. It doesn’t take long watching television for something to appeal to our eyes. You can’t watch sports without seeing a lot of skin during the commercials. Prime time television which used to hold family standards now conforms to the “anything goes” standard. It’s almost impossible to avoid seeing something provocative on television, no matter what time of the day or night you watch it. I don’t watch television whenever I am alone. In fact, I rarely watch television at all, anymore. If it is a business trip, and I am out of town, the first thing I do whenever I get into a hotel room, is unplug the tv. It’s as simple as that.

My mind cannot absorb such provocative images without being negatively affected, and I’m not interested in seeing how long I can resist such a strong temptation.

Years ago, it would almost be like a game to me. I would have seen something, whether on tv or the internet, and my mind would dwell on it all day long. It would almost be like some sort of twisted challenge to see how long I could withstand the temptation. Let me tell you something.. I lost every time.

If you find yourself playing that game, you too will lose.

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We’ve spent the past several posts looking at what Scripture has to say about our identity in Christ. You can read what Scripture says about your identity but the fight begins whenever we make the application.  This is the point where we need to believe the word of God. Take hold of these truths in confidence and take possession of all of this that Jesus has conquered for you.  This is indeed a fight.

I am thankful for the work that God has done through John Piper’s ministry Desiring God, and what I am going to share with you is what God has taught me in regards to the fight of faith for believing my identity in Christ.

Fight To Become In Practice What You Are In Christ.

The Apostle Paul teaches us in Romans Chapter 6-7 that we are “by faith, embrace all that God is for your good in Christ and all you are for his glory in Christ. ”

There are eight statements that John Piper makes that are to help us understand the nature of what it means to be a new creation in Christ Jesus.  This is our fight.

1. Statement of newness: Romans 6:14, “Sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Command to become new: Romans 6:12, “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body.”

2. Statement of newness: Romans 6:18, “Having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” Command to become new: Romans 6:19, “Present your members as slaves to righteousness.”

3. Statement of newness: Romans 6:6, “Our old self was crucified with Him.” Command to become new: Romans 6:11, “Consider yourselves to be dead to sin.”

4. Statement of newness: Colossians 3:9, “You laid aside the old self with its evil practices.” Command to become new: Ephesians 4:22, “Lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit.”

5. Statement of newness: Colossians 3:10, “You have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.” Command to become new: Ephesians 4:24, “Put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

6. Statement of newness: Galatians 3:27, “All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Command to become new: Romans 13:14, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

7. Statement of newness: Galatians 5:24, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Command to become new: Romans 13:14b, “Make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”

8. Command to become new: 1 Corinthians 5:7a, “Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump [of dough].” Statement of newness: 1 Corinthians 5:7b, “. . . just as you are in fact unleavened.”

What we have learned from Romans 6 and 7 is that when we trusted in Christ as our Savior and Lord (as our Treasure!), we were united to Christ (Romans 6:5; 7:4).

In this union with Christ we died (Romans 6:8; Colossians 2:20; 3:3) and rose again (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12; Ephesians 2:6).

Therefore a decisive and irrevocable new creation came into being (2 Corinthians 5:17), and a decisive and irrevocable liberation happened (Romans 6:14, 18). We passed from death to (eternal!) life. Our decisive judgment is behind us – at Golgotha (John 5:24). We have moved from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of God’s Son (Colossians 1:13).

But we also learned that our liberation from sin is not yet final and perfect. Decisive and irrevocable, Yes! But final and perfect, No! Sin still dwells within us (Romans 7:17, 20). Evil is present in us (Romans 7:21). The “flesh” is a daily troubler of our souls (Romans 7:25). We are not yet perfect nor have we already obtained our crown and prize (Philippians 3:12). We are liars if we say we have no sin (1 John 1:8, 10).

Believers are commanded to become in practice what we are in Christ: dead to sin and alive to God.

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When you are ‘in Christ’ you also have a new identity and your relationship with God no longer is based on what you do, but on who you are: His child. God has given us our identity in order that His identity might be proclaimed through us. God made us who we are so we could make known who He is.

 “Our identity is for the sake of making known His identity. The meaning of our identity is that the excellency of God be seen in us.” – John Piper

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. – 1 Peter 2:9-10

What gives us our identity is not color or culture.  It isn’t about what you do. It’s about being chosen by God.   What does it mean for God’s chosen people.

It means that you are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). Lacking nothing.  You are free forever from sin’s power (Romans 6:14).  You are sanctified (1 Corinthians 6:11), loved eternally (1 Peter 1:5, and eternally kept in the palm of His hand (John 10:29).

It means that you are kept – both from falling (Jude 1:24) and kept by the power of God, and you are one with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17).

You are seated in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3).  You are a light in the darkness (Matthew 5:14). You are a candle in a dark place (Matthew 5:15). You are a city set on a hill (Matthew 5:14), as well as the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13).

You are more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37).  Born again (1 Peter 1:23) you are covered by the blood of Jesus (1 Peter 1:19).

There is a lot of discussion in our day of self-concept or self-identity. How do we view ourselves? It is an important question. Our identity  is not defined in terms of who we are in and of ourselves. It’s defined in terms of what God does to us and the relationship He creates with us and the destiny He appoints for us. In other words as a Christian you cannot talk about your identity without talking about the action of God on you, the relationship of God with you, and the purpose of God for you. The biblical understanding of our identity is radically God-centered.

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Growing up I had a lot of different ideas about God and who He was.  For most of my life God was an angry judge who was punishing me. If I made a mistake (and I made a few thousand) it would only intensify His anger and wrath towards me.

I learned a few years after God saved me that although there was some truth to the wrath of God, that in Christ He was no longer my angry judge.  Transitioning from angry Judge to loving Father was a bit of a challenge for me.  I grew up believing I could never please my earthly father, so I didn’t even try to please my heavenly Father. I knew that if I didn’t measure up to my own dad, I certainly couldn’t measure up to His standards.

My relationship with my dad, affected my relationship with God more than I had ever realized. The enemies lies were thick, and the deception was almost impossible to differentiate from reality. Several years ago I began going through a Bible study and as I was reading one of the chapters I stumbled across three pages that changed everything. What was written on those pages looked more like bullet points, but the Truth of Scripture was there.

I had an identity crisis.  My identity was always tied up in the things that I did, where I worked, and in who accepted me.  Jesus wrecked my world whenever He showed me who I am in Him. I want to share some of those same truths with you and I pray that God will also wreck your world through the truth of His Word.

I am one with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17)

  • But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.

I am a light to the darkness (Matthew 5:14)

  • “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

 I am blessed with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3)

  • Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

I am chosen (Ephesians 1:4)

  • even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

I am the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13)

  • “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

 I am not meant for this world (1 Peter 2:11)

  • Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.

I am hidden in Christ with God (Psalms 32:7)

  • You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.

You can do all things through Christ.  That’s not just a cliche’d verse.  It’s not anything you can do in and of your own strength, but through Him who loves you. It’s all because of Jesus and the Spirit that lives within you.

It means that you can find mercy and grace to help in the time of need, and come boldly to the throne of grace. (Hebrews 4:16). You can quench the fiery darts of the enemy (Ephesians 6:16). You can declare liberty to the captives (Isaiah 61:1). You can pray always and everywhere (Luke 21:36).

It also means that there are things you cannot do.

You cannot be separated from God’s love (Romans 8:35-39).  You cannot perish or be lost (John 10:28, John 3;16).  You cannot be moved (Psalm 16:8).  You cannot be taken out of His hand (John 10:29).  You cannot be charged or accused (Romans 8:33). You cannot be condemned (Romans 8:1-2).

This is good news for those of us who are in Christ.  My prayer is that we will take these truths to heart, pray through them, and believe them.

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Redeemed, Forgiven, Justified, Righteous, Alive, Masterpiece, these are just a few of the words used to describe those who are in Christ. Does your life reflect those truths?

Would you have used those words to describe who you are?  In part 2 I mentioned the truth of Romans 8:1, and that in Christ there is no condemnation for the believer.  The weight and the truth of this passage is too important to miss.  It’s not about how you see yourself, but how God sees you.  The question now becomes this:  How does God see you?

God sees you in light of what Jesus has done on the cross, not what you have done in your sin.

This is hard for many people to understand.  It’s a double edge sword for me sometimes as well. Too many people today want to tell you all about the grace of God, but neglect personal sin. Some lean way too much on our sins without exploring the glorious riches of His grace. Too often we swing to the attribute of God that relate to, or like the most, without considering that our God is Holy God, that we cannot contain, nor describe with a simple word. It’s amazing to me to know how God sees me. How he sees you.

In Christ you have been:

  • Redeemed by the blood (Revelation 5:9).
  • Set free from sin and condemnation (Romans 8:1-2).
  • Set free from Satan’s control (Colossians 1:13).
  • Set free from Satan’s kingdom (Ephesians 2).
  • Chosen before foundation of world (Ephesians 1:4).
  • Predestined to be like Jesus (Ephesians 1:11).
  • Forgiven of all my trespasses (Colossians 2:13).
  • Washed in the blood of the Lamb (Revelations 1:5).
  • Given a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
  • Given the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22).
  • Adopted into God’s family (Romans 8:15).
  • Justified freely by his grace (Romans 3:24).
  • Given all things pertaining to life (2 Peter 1:3).
  • Given great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4).
  • Given ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 1:22).
  • Authority over the power of enemy (Luke 10:19).
  • Access to God (Ephesians 3:12).
  • Been given wisdom (Ephesians 1:8).

Through the blood of Jesus Christ you have been all of these things.  Read them again.  Look up the verse references. Pray over them and ask God to make the truth of these passages to come alive in your heart today.  As you read through this list, which of these stands out to you?  Which one gives you the greatest comfort and joy?

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It’s time for you to exchange the lie that you’ve been believing for the truth about who you are in Christ.

You have died with Christ to the power of sin (Romans 6:1-6). We are no longer slaves to sin, so why do we still let it control us?

You have been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). In Christ, we have an understanding of things that the world does not possess!

You have been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20). Quoting this verse is easy, but the implications of living this out are staggering.

You have been made alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:5). You are a walking miracle. Once dead, now alive.

You are God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). You are His workmanship. He created you just the way that He wanted. God doesn’t make junk.

Whenever you read these passages and allow the truth of what they say to sink in, it’s almost impossible to see yourself as the same person before God saved you.  You are a new creation in Christ. It has taken me years to understand some of these truths, and to be honest I still struggle with some of them.  But I have come to learn and accept that whatever is true about Jesus, if I am in Him is also true about me.

By nature I am a very introspective person, which can be a dangerous thing at times. Anytime someone tells me to start digging around in my heart to see what is there, I could easily get lost for days, perhaps even weeks.  I don’t know my own heart. My heart can be a dangerous ground to plow through.  I would much prefer to fix my gaze on Christ and allow Him to show me things as He leads. If I start digging myself, it won’t take long for me to be completely overwhelmed.  With all of that being said, I do want to share with you one time when digging around in my heart was productive.

It starts with a very well known passage in Romans 8 verse 1.

“There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

In Christ, I am not condemned, I am in fact free from condemnation.

This was a truth that I recognized I was not experiencing. I had to ask myself two questions: Do I believe this truth?  Do my actions reflect this truth?  I got out a pen and paper and began to write down all of the ways that my life did not reflect these things.  Here is what I uncovered after just a short time of digging.

I condemn myself by beating myself up for my mistakes.  I could do 100 things right, 1 thing wrong and my focus would always drift the the thing that I did wrong – every time. I also discovered I had an incredible and overwhelming fear of failure. It paralyzed me. This fear affected every thing that I thought and did. Instead of living as someone who was set free, I was in bondage.

This process took me through Scriptures one by one to determine what the root of my fears were, what lies I was believing, and what truth in Scripture will set me free from those lies.

You don’t have to dig very deep in your heart to uncover many of these things.  In fact, I believe God will show them to you if you would only ask Him. I know how I see myself, and that is a problem.  Anytime I go there, I get all consumed with me, and my eyes are off Christ.

What will it take for you to be set free?

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God says that in Christ, you are redeemed and Forgiven (Ephesians 1:6-8). Do you believe this?  In Him, you have been made righteous (Romans 5:1). Do you have His peace ruling your heart right now?  In the next two posts I am going to unload a few things on you.  I am going to give you the truth, and the verse references, but I am praying that God will shine a light on your heart and make these truths more than just head knowledge.  My prayer is that as you study these passages for yourself that the Holy Spirit will make the truth alive in your heart.

It begins with a powerful question:  Who Are you?

How do you define yourself?  Do you define who you are by what you do?  Do you define who you are by your accomplishments, your possessions, or what you want others to think about you?  If  you are basing your identity on any of those things you will find yourself disappointed.  We were designed to live as children of God, and we were created to find our fulfillment and contentment in Christ alone.

God says that in Christ,

You have eternal life (John 5:24).

Jesus said that whoever believes in Him and hears His Word has eternal life. Are you living as though you believe this is true?  How has this truth shaped and changed your life? This life which Christ offers to every man is a present possession; it is a fact. The moment that you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ you live, and there is no more death.

You have received the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:12).

Do you realize that you have the same power inside of you that raised Christ from the dead?  Secondly, are you accessing that power?  How has the knowledge of this helped you in your battle against your sin?

You are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The old has passed away. In Christ you are not who you once were.  Does your life reflect that of a new creature? Do you think of yourself as the same person you’ve always been?

John Wesley writes…

“All things are become new – He has new life, new senses, new faculties, new affections, new appetites, new ideas and conceptions. His whole tenor of action and conversation is new, and he lives, as it were, in a new world. God, men, the whole creation, heaven, earth, and all therein, appear in a new light, and stand related to him in a new manner, since he was created anew in Christ Jesus.”

I believe that one of the reasons why we don’t experience the freedom and the power of what it means to be a new creation is that we really don’t understand who we are in Christ. If we saw ourselves as God sees us in His son, it would transform everything. I believe our desires to sin would take an incredible blow, because we would have a greater glimpse into the glory of God in our lives.   We would see that we have a new purpose for living.

The new self is “to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).  We are to be like God not just in the resurrection, but even, to the extent possible, in this life. We are becoming like Jesus, who showed us what God is like when living in the flesh. We are not just hoping to be like Him in the next life, we are already to be like Him in this life. In our behavior and in our devotion to God, we are to be like Jesus Christ.

It’s time for us to exchange the lie for the truth about God and the truth about who we are in Jesus.

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It’s by grace alone that your sins are forgiven, and it’s by grace alone that the wandering allegiance of your heart is reclaimed.” – Paul David Tripp

Over the past few posts we have been looking at our identity in Christ, and what the Scripture teaches about who we are.  We’ve looked at the foundational truths that in Christ you are redeemed and forgiven.  You cannot be one of these without the other and if these two things are true about you, then there is another truth that you must come to understand.

You are justified by faith in Christ alone.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. – Romans 5:1-2

I want to look at these four words “having been justified by faith.”  The Greek word for justified is dikaioo from dikaios and it means: just and righteous.  The same root for the words translated to mean righteous, righteousness, justification, just, justifier.  It defines the act of declaring one not guilty. Justification is not something that is going on now; it is something that happened and was completed the moment you were saved.

In a courtroom setting when a jury read the verdict, the defendant is no longer considered “the accused”. Legally and officially they instantly become either guilty or innocent–depending on the verdict. Nothing in their actual nature changes, but if they are found not guilty they will walk out of court a free person in the eyes of the law, fully justified.

In biblical terms, justification is a divine verdict of “not guilty–fully righteous.”

Justification is more than simple pardon; pardon alone would still leave the sinner without merit before God. So when God justifies He imputes divine righteousness to the sinner (Romans 4:22-25). Christ’s own infinite merit thus becomes the ground on which the believer stands before God (Romans 5:19; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Philippians 3:9). So justification elevates the believer to a realm of full acceptance and divine privilege in Jesus Christ.

because of justification, believers not only are perfectly free from any charge of guilt (Romans 8:33) but also have the full merit of Christ reckoned to their personal account (Romans 5:17). Here are the forensic realities that flow out of justification:

  • We are adopted as sons and daughters (Romans 8:15)
  • We become fellow-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17)
  • We are united with Christ so that we become one with Him (1 Corinthians 6:17)
  • We are “in Christ” (Galatians 3:27) and He in us (Colossians 1:27)

Are you beginning to see a progression here in our understanding of our identity in Christ?  Understanding justification by faith tells us something about who we are.

You are an adopted son and daughter.  You are a fellow heir with Christ. You are united, one with Him.  You are in Christ.  He is in You.

There are some obvious practical implications to justification by faith.

It gives us security to struggle against sin. rather than struggling to be accepted, Christians know they have been accepted by God in Christ, and are now free to struggle against sin with all their might. We know that even if we fail, our standing before God is not affected, because our standing/acceptance is not contingent upon our performance, but upon the performance of Christ.

It gives us boldness. Not only in our relationship with God, but in our relationships with other people. We can be so afraid of what other people think about us, but the better we understand justification, the less we’ll let other peoples’ opinions of us affect us.

It gives us humility. Our salvation is completely outside of us, and so we never have anything of which to boast.

It gives us honesty.  The truth that we are justified by faith and not by works tuss one that we aren’t as good as people give us credit for being and that we are actually worse than people know.  It’s a reality check.

It gives us love. Justification by faith creates a community of broken sinners saved by grace, coming together to worship our Savior.

There is one other thing that it does.  It gives us peace with God.  Are you experiencing that peace in your life?

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