One of the problems with anything is jargon. I know, because I use it a lot. I use historical jargon, the
jargon of the Classicist that's usually Latin or Greek, philosophical jargon, and, of course, Christian jargon. Some days
I just get sick of it--sick of the Christian jargon. There's the evangelical jargon, the Anglican jargon, the Catholic jargon,
the theological jargon, the big words people use because they like to look smart, the preachers who say, "the Greek word for
orchestra is orchestra", the preachers who say, "The Hebrew word, ruach means both breath and spirit". And in
the midst of all this jargon and these big words is genuineness, sincerity, and some real livin'. And some of these big words
are important big words. On St. Patrick's Day, we had Bishop Eddy Marsh preaching at the church I attend. He's the retired
bishop of some part of Newfoundland. He preached on what Jesus does for us and how we can have Jesus living in us, how he
can live through us. He had three really good statements about how Jesus saves us:
W We were saved from the penalty of sin. This is justification.
W We are being saved from the power of sin. This is sanctification.
W We will be saved from the presence of sin. This is glorification.
The next three issues of Randomness will deal with these three important big words respectively, beginning
Justification is one of those words we hear a lot about. Let me rephrase that: justification is a word that
we hear a lot. A stereotype of the loud Southern preacher (whom I imitate) is known to shout at the top of his voice,
"Are you JUSTIFIED?!" Uh . . . yes? What does it mean? How in the world am I justified? What is this crazy word with
five syllables? I prefer monosyllabic words, thank you very much. I like words like food, drink, chocolate (wait, that has
three . . .), beef, pork, chips, pop . . . mmm . . . . Basically, the moment a polysyllabic word falls from someone's lips,
the mind of the listener goes to something more pleasant. We move from the Bread of Life to the bread of dinner. Therefore,
it is important for us to be able to say, "Yes, Bruthuh Larreee, AH AM JUST-IF-EYED!!!!!!! ALLELUIA! AAAYYYY--MEN!!!" Or something
We already have a starting point, thanks to Bishop Eddy. Justification means that we were saved from the
penalty of sin. As well, justification comes through Jesus Christ. A basic, untheological, unphilosophical, everyday meaning,
according to The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English (1911) "to justify" is to "show the justice or rightness
of . . . ; vindicate, (of circumstances) be such as to j[ustify]." The only problem with my dictionary is the fact that it's
from 1911, and the people in Oxford in 1911 thought that the sort of person who wanted to know what justify meant would know
what vindicate meant. Vindicate means to clear of blame. Therefore, through Jesus Christ we are cleared of blame. Basically,
I just rephrased that we were saved from the penalty of sin. What does it mean to be cleared of blame or saved from sin's
Before even getting into the penalty of sin, what is sin? Sin is any action that goes against what
God wants. Sin is anything people do that separates them from God. Sin is everything from telling your brother a fib to bludgeoning
the Tribune of the Plebs to death, dragging his corpse through the streets by hooks and dumping it in the Tiber. Sin is acting
in an unrighteous, ungodly, unholy manner. Sin is that look you gave to the ugly guy in the caf today. You know the guy I
mean. Sin is bad business. Second, what is the penalty of sin? Romans 6:23 tells us, "The wages of sin is death." If we sin--and
we all do--our penalty is death. This penalty is the curse of all of Adam's race from way back in the day. See, God made this
paradise for people to live in--the Garden of Eden. It was excellent. The only rule was to not eat from this one tree, the
Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. If the people did, then they would surely die. The serpent deceived Eve, the woman, so
she ate from the tree. Adam, the man, was right there the whole time and followed suit. Various things happened as a result
of this first sin, and death was one of them. But Romans refers not only to physical death but to spiritual death as well.
The wages, penalty, result of sin is death. Because of sin, everyone's destiny is to be dead. Forever. That's not cool. We
all gonna die, my friends.
BUT WAIT!!! There's good news!!! And that's what justification is. Justification is that Jesus saves
us from that penalty. Through Jesus, we are no longer going to receive our payment of death at the end of the day. Because
of the curse of Adam, we're all going to die in this physical world. But because of Jesus, we are all able to live forever
with him in Heaven. The body will die, but the spirit has a chance to live on--through Jesus. Indeed, Romans 6:23 has a nice
but in it: "but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
The next question is: how does Jesus justify us? Well, for everything we do against God there must be blood.
It's a fact of the Law and life. In Leviticus 17:11, we read, "For the life of a creature is in its blood, and I have given
it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life." Throughout
the Old Testament, sacrifices were made to atone for the people of Israel's sin--to justify them. Jesus led the perfect life.
He never strayed from the will of God the Father. When he died on the cross, he took the sins of the whole world for all Eternity
upon himself and died as the sacrificial lamb once and for all. No longer do we have to go through the process of sacrificing
animals. We are forgiven.
So how do I get myself justified? Easy. Justification comes through Jesus. In order to be justified, all
we have to do is ask Jesus into our lives. He will save us from the penalty (death) of our sin. If we ask Jesus into our hearts
to live in us and through us, we are getting a free ride to Heaven, my friends!
Are you justified, my brothers and sisters?! I know I can say, personally, that I AM JUST-IF-EYED through
Jesus Christ!! Hallelujah! Praise God! Amen.
Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act
of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.
For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience
of the one man the many will be made righteous.