Lesson 12: A Humanitarian by Giving Us a Wonderful Status
Study Guide Pages 91-99
There’s always a great deal of anticipation when the Supreme Court hands down a ruling in a controversial case. Everybody knows it will set the standard in that particular area for generations to come. Even its judgments, however, can be modified by future Supreme Court decisions.
This isn’t the case when God, the ultimate Judge, gives a ruling. His judgment stands firm forever. It never changes.
His most significant ruling is declaring sinners not guilty! He can do this because Jesus completely appeased God’s anger over mankind’s sin. Scripture says,
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.Romans 3:23-24
The word “justify” translates a word which was often used in a courtroom to describe an acquittal.
Pause and think how wonderful this is. The ultimate Judge, whose rulings never change, has legally declared you “not guilty.” What is so amazing is that his verdict doesn’t depend on anything you do. Remember how the Scripture said he rendered it “freely” because it was based entirely on Jesus’ redemption? Jesus was punished for all people’s sins. As another Scripture says,
He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes, we are healedIsaiah 53:5
It is essential to be crystal clear on this. Whenever you approach God, the only thing you will want to point to is what Jesus has done for you. Do that, and you have an air-tight case. If, however, you also include something you have done – keeping the commandments or walking the covenant path – you instantly ruin your case. No matter what we point to, all we can add to Jesus’ perfection is our imperfection – imperfection which God must condemn.
The verdict is in. God has already declared you “not guilty” because of Jesus. Believe it. And rejoice in it.
Key Bible Verses
Paul describes the problem of our sin and God’s solution in Jesus Christ, which he describes as “a propitiation through his blood.” Note: propitiation means “the act of gaining or regaining the favor or goodwill of someone or something.”
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.
Isaiah’s words make it crystal clear that as our sin-bearer, Jesus was punished in our place.
He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes, we are healed.
Paul warned the Galatians about trying to add their works to the perfect work of Jesus.
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Questions to Consider
- Although “God is love” and wants all to be saved, why must he punish sin?
- Why is it dangerous to try to add anything to the work that Jesus did for us?
- As you think about what it means that you are “freely” and “fully” forgiven in Christ, what thoughts come to mind?
- What is the “righteousness of God?” How does it become ours? (See Romans 3:20-25)
- Agree/disagree: Although we are still in a state of sinfulness, our status is one of total innocence.
- Agree/disagree: Everyone in the whole world has been forgiven.
- Since God’s verdict of “not guilty” can never be overturned, how does this change the way you view life and eternity?
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