Romans 8:30 – Justified — A Christian Growth Message - Hope 103.2

Romans 8:30 – Justified — A Christian Growth Message

We're going to spend four weeks looking at four words considered the "golden chain" of Romans 8:30 – predestined, called, justified and glorified.

By Simon ManchesterSunday 12 Feb 2023Christian Growth with Simon ManchesterFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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Many years ago at the Academy Awards, the winning actress said some very famous words, which went down in history and became a little bit of a joke. But they were very heartfelt. As she clutched her Oscar, she said, these words, she said – “I cannot deny that you like me.” As she looked out on the academy audience, she said, “You like me.” Quite a surprising thing for a famous person to say but obviously that’s what meant so much to her. That winning the award meant that she was liked, and I can imagine in our city, which is marked by a lot of outward stuff and a lot of inward unhappiness, that there are a lot of people who are wondering whether the person who they live with likes them or the family, that they’re part of like them, or whether the business colleagues they work with like them.

Or maybe there are people who are completely alone and wonder whether anybody likes them. If you think I’m making this up, just remember the huge escalation in our city, our prosperous city of medication, counselling and suicide, and the great sense that many people have, that even our country is a bit of a mess.

And what has been lost and I think deliberately lost is the power of God’s acceptance and his love for people. And it comes to us in the one word that we are considering today that comes in Romans Chapter eight, Verse 30. This is a word of God to people of great acceptance and love, and it’s come from God to people for 2000 years, and it comes like a steel cable and wraps itself around you and makes you more secure than you could ever possibly be from the human race.


It’s the promise of God that a person can be justified or, we might say, accept it or even liked, and I want to say, Believe it or not, if that is in place in your life, you can cope with a lot of trouble. If it’s not in your life, there’s almost nothing that will fill the void, and you’ll notice that people today are trying so hard to be liked.

So we’re following one New Testament verse on these Sundays, and we saw a couple of weeks ago that God predestined his people, that is, he comes to his people, he comes to people and he wakes them up and carries them hope.

And then we saw last week that he calls people that his gospel message comes not just to the outer ear that comes to the inner ear and changes a person completely. And today we come to something which really is in the present, because the pre destiny is in the past and the calling is in the past. And today we come to something which affects you in the present, and that is that God looks at his people and says “You are justified.”

So it’s a little doctrinal series, but it’s a very personal series. Tim Keller imagines on one of his talks that somebody is saying to their spouse, or perhaps to a friend, Why do you love me? And the person says, Well, because you’re so clever because you’re so attractive because you’re such fun because you’re so interesting because you’re so powerful and the voice goes back and says, And what happens when I’m no longer attractive and I’m no longer fun and I’m no longer interesting and I’m no longer clever, and that is the grief you see of human love. But it isn’t the problem with God’s love, because God’s love is not determined by what we can produce. It’s determined by what he thinks. What he decides, what he steadfastly does for us.

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So three quick questions this morning. What is justified mean, how does it happen and why does it matter? First of all, what is justified me now this is the shock. I hope you’ll really absorb this this morning because this word has been the word in the history of the church for the last 500 years, which has been very central and very significant. Justification is an announcement from God. Listen carefully to this, that a person is entitled.

to everything that a perfect law keeper is entitled to. That’s what justification means. It’s the opposite of condemnation from a judge. It’s a declaration by God that a person is free of all guilt, and they are entitled to all blessings. It’s God speaking in his courtroom to people who believe in Jesus and are saying to those people, you are to be treated as a model human being, so justification is more than forgiveness because it’s not just that the list of sins has been removed,

but the list of obedience has arrived. If we were using a bank account illustration, we would say that the bankruptcy has been removed and a huge amount of wealth has been invested into your account.

The meaning of justification

If we are using the schoolroom illustration, we would say your report card of straight EFS has been destroyed and you have been given a report card of Straight A’s by God. Justification is God’s way of turning enemies into friends.

Now, you may say to yourself at this point, well, this just sounds all wrong. This sounds unjust. A person should pay their Jews, and they should not be given such an easy escape. But you see, God looked at the human race, and he realised that we could not escape our sins and we could not produce obedience. We are completely helpless.

And so in his great mercy, Christ came and willingly and perfectly and justly dealt with our problem of sin at the cross. It’s very important to know the justification is an announcement by God, and you’ll need to say to yourself, if you’re a believer as you go home and you’re reflecting on the fact that you’re not that great as I will be Reflecting on the fact that I’m not that great, I’ll need to be reminding myself that this justification is an announcement by God. We’re used to announcements being made that give people a new status. Think of the minister who stands at the front of this building and says to the couple, husband and wife, Or think of the institution that says to the couple, You are now the adoptive parents of the little girl, the little boy.

Or think of the people who say two new citizens or new immigrants into this country. You are now citizens of Australia. It’s an announcement, or the doctor who says you’re now free from all traces of cancer or the judge who says you’re acquitted of all charges. It’s an announcement.

It doesn’t make the husband perfect. It doesn’t make the wife perfect. It doesn’t make the citizen perfect. It doesn’t make the adoptive parents perfect, but they’ve got a new status. Even if their performance is not perfect, they’ve got a new status when God announces the gospel to the person who puts their trust in Christ, he says. You’re justified. Your status in my site is perfect. Your life may not be perfect, but your status in my site is perfect. It’s as if I’ve taken off the filthy robe of sin, and I’ve put on the perfect robe of Christ on your back.

Now the genius of God, you see, is that he not only provides the work of Jesus for us at the cross, which makes us immediately justified. But he also provides the work of Jesus in us by his holy spirit, to make us slowly but surely godly. But if you and I look at our imperfect life, if we look at ourselves in the mirror and say How great are we? One day we’re going to be proud. The next day we’re going to be depressed.

We need to look at what God says in the Gospel, which is that the person who puts their trust in Jesus is seen by God to be perfect, clothed in his righteousness alone, says the him faultless to stand before his throne. Is this my friends too good to be true?

It is too good for us, but it’s also true. It’s wonderfully true. So God doesn’t look at people in the world you see and say, Listen, you’re all wonderful, which is not true nor does you look at people in the world and say It’s hopeless. You’re all finished and lost. Now he comes into the world with the message of Christ and says, you can be forgiven. You can be in fellowship and you can have a future. So that’s what justification means. It’s a declaration by God that because of faith in Jesus, his righteousness has been credited to your account.

How does justification happen? What’s the sequence? You may know the story of the little boy who says to his dad, Dad, where did I come from? And after getting a very long anatomical explanation, says to him, That’s interesting, Dad. But my friend comes from Byron Bay, and I was wondering where I came from. So not to get too complicated. Let me simply say the sequence of God’s plan goes like this. It begins with the grace of God.

He doesn’t owe us anything. He is not obliged to do anything for us. We are not attractive in the sense that we dragged down his grace. It’s his grace to us. As Luther says, the help comes from outside.

And then the reason that Jesus that we can be justified is because Jesus made an exchange at the cross. He accepted at the cross in himself the penalty due to me and you, and he provides for all believers the treatment that is due to him. So the cross is a swap. If you wanted to put it as simply as possible, and therefore the obedience of Jesus through his life was so important. I don’t know if you ever think about this, but the obedience of Jesus every hour of every day was so important every hour of every day. Jesus saying no to sin and yes to God in order to pay the sins of somebody like me who so frequently says no to God and yes to sin.

The obedience of Jesus was so important because it meant there could be a perfect sacrifice. And then, of course, the sacrificial death of Jesus was so important because they needed to be a perfect sacrifice that would pay. That’s the reason that he can justify sits because of Jesus. It’s a just just justification. And then the benefits of this justification, our forgiveness and adoption, God’s decision to cancel forever the sins of our lifetime and God’s decision to welcome forever as sons and daughters. Those who believe the scope of the plan is global. Everybody in the world is invited. Everybody in the world is given information to start seeking God. Everyone who turns from sin to Christ is welcomed and justified.

We mustn’t torture ourselves with how the Plan of God works around the world in various places. We’ve got to remind ourselves that God is a good communicator. He knows how to get people seeking. And the death of Christ is sufficient for everybody. And the condition for justification is simply faith. We are justified by faith. Faith is holding out an empty hand, and receiving faith is not some mystical thing. You don’t need mystical faith to go to your doctor, do you? You don’t need mystical faith to go to Jesus.

Faith is also not some clever performance on your part. You don’t need a clever performance to go to your doctor. You don’t need a clever performance to go to Christ. Faith is putting your trust in another, and in this case, it’s putting your trust in the Saviour Christ. You may know that most Christian churches use words like grace and faith in their services. Almost all the denominations use the word, grace and faith. But some denominations wrongly think that salvation is actually a joint effort that we will contribute to our salvation. I remember having a conversation with a lady not far from here, and she told me that if she was ever going to go to heaven, she would have to contribute 50%.

Now that’s a complete mistake. Archbishop William Temple famously said. The only thing we bring to our salvation are the sins from which we need to be delivered. So at the Reformation, they clarified everything by using the word alone. It’s grace alone that saves its faith alone. That receives. And so this is what we need to ask ourselves. And we need to occasionally ask people as well. Do you believe that your salvation is by grace alone? It’s a gift.

And do you believe that your response is by faith alone, not by performance. So this is how the whole sequence happens. It begins with the grace of God, giving his son, who pays the price offering to the world, forgiveness and adoption to be received by an empty hand. Thirdly, and finally, why does justification matter now? Stay with me.

We are under a lot of pressure today to see people as very fine and wonderful. You may notice this in all the media at the moment that we are being told that we are worth everything and that we are wonderful, wonderful, wonderful people. And of course, it’s a lovely thing to say just happens to not be true from God’s point of view. We’re greatly loved by him, but were helpless and we’re sinful and therefore we need to be saved were also under enormous pressure today. To say that God is either irrelevant, non existent or just nice is not the judge. But God is the judge, and in the end, justice will be done, which is very important.

And the third thing we’re under enormous pressure to see the cross as just something sad or again irrelevant. Or maybe Jesus was just showing us an example. But actually the cross was in exchange him, taking what we deserve in order that we might receive what he deserves. And that’s the problem, you see, because if there are people today who won’t see self as needy, sinful and they won’t see God as just and they won’t see the cross is the solution, they’ll never really appreciate justification.

They’ll just have to go through this world living their life, dying their death and suddenly coming face to face with the judge of all the world, people are told, Aren’t they today that guilt is a terrible thing, a depressing thing. We shouldn’t talk about guilt, but is no one guilty? Are we completely innocent?

See, the gospel brings us into the real world. It says We should feel guilty for sin, and we should be grateful for salvation. You may remember Bertrand Russell’s daughter was raised as an atheist, raised to think of Christianity as dreadful and eventually hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ, she said, For the first time, I could face myself as I am and then to discover a father in heaven. Her life was wonderfully changed, so justification brings the very mighty news of acceptance to us. It’s an announcement, regardless of how we feel, regardless of how we perform that if our faith is in Christ, we are accepted by God.

It brings the verdict of the last day into the present. Wouldn’t you like to know what God will say on the last day? Aren’t there some of you sitting here thinking to yourself? I wonder if it will all be well in the end. Justification is the verdict of the last day brought into the present so that you can know. It’s like having your exam results giving to you immediately after you finished the last word. It’s like having your medical results. Good results given immediately after you’ve done the test justification brings the verdict of the last day into the present.

And the message of justification, therefore must shout in our ears louder than the voices around us, which tell us that we’re either nobody’s or that were saints. Neither are true, and it’s the voices of the self that lurch, as I say, from pride to despair. Now, did you know that the message of justification has also been the key message? Whenever the church has revived, whenever there has been a reformation or a revival in the church, it’s because the great news of justification has been proclaimed and grasped and rejoiced in.

So I’m going to finish with two little quotes from Luther at the Reformation was helped to move from agony to joy. This is what Luther says on the subject of justification, Luther says, who on hearing this news will not rejoice and who, on receiving such comfort will still be afraid for the righteousness of Christ is ours and our sin is his.

And so we learned to rejoice in eternal life and to scoff at death. And then this is a quote about Luther. Somebody has said that, knowing that Luther was justified by faith, he prayed incessantly, knowing that God would hear his every thought, his every prayer, his every intercession. He prattled to God all day long, like a child on a walk with his parent. Isn’t that lovely? He prattled to God all day long, like a child on a walk with his parent.

He prayed with the confidence and a certainty that God would hear him and help him, knowing that his prayer in the name of Christ was acceptable, as he himself was. So, Dear friends, some of you are listening to this. You know the joy of justification, and I urge you to keep preaching to yourself because it slips out of our heads very easily. Keep reminding yourself of what God has announced.

Some of you are listening will find this message a complete stranger. And I think it’s because you have not yet come to know Christ and it’s Christ who says to you in the last book of the Bible, I stand at the door and I knock. If anyone opens the door, I will come in and sup with him and he with me, she with me. So let’s thank him. Let’s bow our heads and pray.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, we thank you that there is this gospel message that for the sake of Christ, a person like us can be forgiven and given such wealth, spiritual wealth, we ask our heavenly father that the news of this would govern our minds and hearts and flow through us in praise to you and help to others. We ask it in Jesus’ name, amen.