Summary: Justification sounds like a $20 word that nobody would use outside of Church. But surprisingly the words justify and justification are interwoven into our culture and are used in ways that tell us a lot about what God did when He justified us.
I’m going to show you a list of some common English sayings on the screen.
Tell me you recognize them.
A thorn in the side
Eat, drink, and be merry
Handwriting on the wall.
The blind leading the blind.
Like a lamb to the slaughter
Do not throw your pearls before swine
Can a leopard change its spots?
The skin of your teeth
Feet of clay
Fly in the ointment
Salt of the earth
By the sweat of your brow
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone
There’s nothing new under the sun
Did you recognize all of them?
Now, what did they all have in common?
That’s right… they were all from Scripture:
A thorn in the side (2 Corinthians 12:7).
Eat, drink, and be merry (Luke 12:19).
Handwriting on the wall (Daniel 5).
The blind leading the blind. Luke 6:39
Like a lamb to slaughter (Isaiah 53:7).
Do not throw pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6).
Can a leopard change its spots? (Jeremiah 13:23).
The skin of our teeth (Job 19:20).
Feet of clay (Daniel 2:33-34).
Fly in the ointment (Ecclesiastes 10:1).
Salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13).
By the sweat of your brow (Genesis 3:19).
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone (John 8:7).
Nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
Lots of people use those terms and they'll often use them without realizing where those sayings came from. Most folks don’t realize how deeply Bible phrases and words have influenced our English language, and that’s especially true of the word we’re going to consider this morning:
JUSTIFY or JUSTIFICATION
Those sound like $20 words.
Many people would think no one ever uses those terms anymore.
But they’d be wrong.
These words are so interwoven into our culture, that even I was surprised how often people use them.
But before we get to that, let’s consider how God uses these words.
And “The judgment followed one sin (Adam’s) and brought condemnation, but the gift (Christ’s death) followed many trespasses and brought JUSTIFICATION” Rom. 5:16
And “the result of one act of righteousness (Christ’s sacrifice on the cross) was JUSTIFICATION that brings life for all men” Romans 5:18
So what does justified and justification mean to God?
It means that God took away our sins so that it would be “JUST AS IF I’D” never sinned.
You get it?
Justified… “just as if I’d" never sinned?
I wish I’d thought of that.
I could have patented it and retired a rich man.
It’s so simple and powerful and it rightly explains what justification is.
The blood of Jesus removed us from judgment by covering our sins.
Jesus made the sins “go away” in the eyes of God.
And because of the blood of Jesus I’ve been made “RIGHT” with God.
So Justification is when I am proved “Right” before God because of the blood of Jesus
As I researched how people use “justify” online I found phrases like these:
“The end doesn’t JUSTIFY the means.”
(Your objective doesn’t make your methods “RIGHT”)
Another phrase asks:
“How can you JUSTIFY what you’ve done?”
(You need to show me that what you did was the “RIGHT THING” to do)
You’ve heard those before haven’t you?
Both of them are basically saying:
“I am JUSTIFIED when I can prove that what I’ve done is the RIGHT THING.”
ILLUS: In fact, that’s why the word “justify” is used… even in Math class
You remember when they asked you to “Justify your answer” in Math?
They were saying: “Prove that you’ve arrived at the right answer in the right way.”
Show me that you did the RIGHT thing.
I always hated that!
In fact, most math students have hated that.
Why? Because they hated having to JUSTIFY their answers.
They wanted to guess at the answer.
They wanted to fudge on what the RIGHT answer was and they couldn’t do that if they had to show their work and justify how they arrived at the answer they gave.
But justifying their answer implied there was only one right answer.
Fudging wouldn’t work, and students struggled with that.
That’s justification meant in math class.
And it means the same thing in everyday life.
People struggle with this concept of justification because they know there is a RIGHT answer but they don’t like that right answer. They either have failed to measure up to that answer… or they don’t want to. And because of that, they can’t justify what they’ve done in their lives.
ILLUS: Years ago, in “Parade” magazine, I read comments like these about “Cheating” from teenagers:
Jason age 16 said “Cheating is not okay if there is a victim, as in cheating in a relationship. Cheating is morally wrong, but schools put a lot of pressure on students to succeed, and they don’t always look at a student’s effort. I only cheat in school and not in anything else.”