Word for Wednesday…Justification
(Note: For the Advent Season we are doing a series on the gifts of God. For the next four weeks, the “Word for Wednesday” will be a follow-up from the preceding Sunday.)
“Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely then, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life” (Romans 5:9-10).
You may find this hard to believe (given that I am a pastor), but my wife and I have had at least one argument in our 18+ years of marriage. I don’t recall what the argument was about, but I remember feeling as if it created a wall between us. To borrow a phrase from one of my favorite movie franchises, “there was a disturbance in the force,” and I didn’t like it. I so desperately wanted things to be right again between us that I admitted I was wrong, apologized, and probably did the dishes. A rift in any relationship can be very unsettling, but none so unsettling as the rift between us and God, a rift created by our own sin. This wall between us and God bothers every human being, even those who are not aware of its existence. In the words of St. Augustine, we all experience a “restlessness in our hearts” on account of it. We want so desperately to make things right, but are unable to do so. Even if God had dirty dishes, they would be far too big for us to wash them. Since the problem was caused by sin, the only solution is a sacrifice, a payment of sorts, but we don’t have nearly enough to make up for what we’ve done. This is where Jesus comes in. Through the blood Jesus shed for us on the cross, we can receive forgiveness for our sin. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, paying our debt and taking upon himself the punishment we deserve. As a result, the wall that existed between us and God has been torn down, making things right again between us and our Creator. Only when our relationship with God is restored, can we be the complete and whole human beings he created us to be. This is the gift of justification. Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus, and receive it.