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Righteousness in Romans (6) Justified

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Those who translate “dikaio” as “justify” assume that the problem that needs to be put right is our guilt toward God. They assume that our sin has offended God, so he needs to be appeased before he can relate to us. This makes justification a legal issue. They claim that when we put our trust in Jesus, we are justified from sin because God is satisfied with Jesus’ death in our place. We are made “not guilty”.

The problem with this view is a distorted view of God. It assumes that God is angry with our sin and needs to be appeased. If this were true, being justified would be a benefit. The truth is that God loves us and has forgiven us. We don’t need to appease him, and we do not need to be justified or declared “Not guilty” before we can be his friend.

Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord will never count against them (Rom 4:7-8).

This is the blessing that those who have chosen to love and serve Jesus live under.

I have no desire to be justified because I know that most of my sinning was not justified; it was just bad. I don’t want to be declared “not guilty” by God because I know I am guilty. I am not interested in God making a false declaration to make me feel better about my life.

I don’t want to be declared “not guilty” because that would make me over-confident and blasé going forward. I wonder if the reason that many big-name preachers fall into the same sins that they committed in the past is that they have come to believe that they were not guilty and have let their guard down against temptation.

Some commentators claim that being justified means “just as if I’d never sinned”. However, I do not want to be treated like that. I do not want God to forget my sins. I want him to remember my weakness and lead me accordingly. I pray to God: “Do not lead me into temptation”. He can only do that if he knows my sins and understands how I could be tempted. I want God to remember my failings and consider them as he leads me.

Some teachers claim that God totally forgets all our sins when we put our trust in Jesus. I do not think that is true. I want him to remember my sins and my frailty and lead me gently as he leads me through life.

I was going to say that I do not want my sins to be taken into account, but that is not quite right. I do want God to take my sins into account so that he can lead me into an area of service where I will not fall into the same sin, or at least provide support that will enable me to overcome it.

Guilt and Shame
One of the problems that I do need rectified is my guilt and shame, as they make it hard for me to relate to God. What I really need is for God to declare that he has forgiven me and that I can make a fresh start without my sins being an unnecessary drag on my future.

Shame and guilt have disrupted my relationship with God. I know he loves me and has forgiven my human failings. They don’t surprise him. By sending the Holy Spirit to fill me when I sought forgiveness and decided to live according to his will, he confirmed that I am OK. The presence of his Spirit (The Comforter) deals with the problem of my guilt and shame.


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