Summary: We need to be justified. "Just as if I had never sinned" is what justified basically means – and that is the title I have given to this sermon.
JUST AS IF I HAD NEVER SINNED
Q. What direction does a Polar Bear, in its natural habitat, look when it looks back? Looks to the right? Looks to the left? And when it looks straight ahead?
A. In each case it was looking South. It’s on the North Pole!
Q. What does a Christian see if he/she looks back? Looks ahead? Looks around?
A. Salvation – Look back: you have been saved.
Look around: you are being saved.
Look ahead: you will be saved.
Our past, present & future are all transformed because of Him! Because of Jesus.
Since God is without sin – we must be free from sin, also, if we are to spend now and eternity with Him. If we are to experience the Salvation that He has to offer, we must be holy as He is holy. We need to be justified. "Just as if I had never sinned" is what justified basically means – and that is the title I have given to this sermon.
Please read with me Romans chapter 3 and verses 9 to 31.
Firstly, lets consider some ways in which we may try to be justified in God’s sight. I want to look at 4 common ways – starting with:-
1. JUSTIFICATION THROUGH GOOD WORKS
Many people know about God & believe Him to be a good Being who requires people to be good. So they make all sorts of efforts to be good. These are the people who work tirelessly for the community – they are involved in helping people, no end.
They believe they are justified, because they are nice, righteous, helpful people. They will go to heaven, because after all, that is what they deserve! And how dare you be so narrow & judgemental as to suggest otherwise! Their God is a loving God!
Sure, these people may recognise they have some shortcomings, but their goodness far outweighs those – And God is not so petty as to hold those little things against them. After all, they are just like God – as they understand Him to be.
Well, if you are in this camp, the news is all bad, bad, bad!
Isaiah 64:6 tells us that as far as God is concerned, " all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment". And Paul, here in Rom 3:10, says "there is none righteous, not even one". And verse 12 says, "there is none who does good".
Your deeds may be of value to fellow man, but they are of no value in bringing about justification before a Holy & Righteous God.
Another way we may try to bring about justification is, through religion:-
2. JUSTIFICATION THROUGH RELIGION
There are some branches of the so called "Christian" Church, that proclaim special rites & rituals in order to obtain, or secure salvation.
Some other Churches say – "We are the true people of God – we alone, offer the means of obtaining salvation – of being justified. If you leave us, you are leaving the only true people of God – stay with us and you are justified in God’s sight". I was told this by one of the churches I was attending, in response to informing them that I was going to study at the Bible College of Victoria!
The Pharisees prided themselves in their "godliness", and yet Jesus said to them in Lk 16:15,"You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God".
And Rom 3:11 says, "There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God". Paul says here, that your religion in effect is a pretence for your own pride!
In addressing the Jews, who prided themselves, in being God’s chosen people & keeping His Holy law, Paul says in Rom 2:24, "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you", and he goes on to say in verse 29 that, " he is a Jew (that is chosen of God) who is one inwardly; and circumcision (representing the Law) is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God".
We need to be careful that we don’t get caught up in religion – and become just like those Jews, or Pharisees, "those who justify themselves in the sight of men". We know God’s Word – but we haven’t become a Jew inwardly!
Paul spent much of his life as a Pharisee, trying to justifying himself & he now considers all that as rubbish.
Attempting to justify yourself through religion is detestable to God.
It has the head knowledge of God, but denies His power. It in effect denies Almighty God Himself! We know about God but we can manage His affairs just fine by ourselves. We don’t need Him to interfere in our religion.