The Essence of Justification

INTRODUCTION

Scriptural Reading:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us (Romans 5:1–5 NIV).

Subject: The Essence of Justification

  COMPLEMENTS  
1. We have peace with God (1).
2. We have gained access into this grace in which we now stand (1).
3. We rejoice in our suffering (2).
4. We have God’s love through the power of the Holy Spirit (4–5).  

EXEGETICAL IDEA: Justification is the process of salvation that has essences or elements to walk the believer through the Christian journey (1–5).

HOMILETICAL IDEA: You are empowered to live the Christian life (1–5).

TEACHING /SERMON OUTLINE

Subject: The Essences of Justification

I. We have peace with God (1)

A. Peace that transcends understanding and guides the heart and mind.

1.Romans 5:1

2. Philippians 4:7

II. We have gained access into his grace (1).

A. The grace that is apportioned to believers (1).

1.Romans 5:1

2. Ephesians 4:7

3. John 1:14

4. James 4:6–7

III. We rejoice in our suffering (2).

A. The suffering that tests the genuine of our faith.

1.Romans 5:2

2. 1 Peter 1:7

B. The suffering that develops and matures the believer.

1.James 1:2–4

2. Romans 5:3–4

IV. We have God’s love through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (4–5).

A. The love that comes from the Holy Spirit is the love full of truth, life, and power (anointing).

1.John 15:26

2. John 16:12–15

3. John 6:63

3. Luke 4:18–19

B. The love that comes from the Holy Spirit is the love that exhibits patient, humility, gentleness, and self-control etc.

  1. 1 Cor. 13:4–7
  2. Gal 5:16 -22

Conclusion

In our deliberation with reference to the essence of justification, it can be concluded that justification enables believers to have peace with God, to gain access to God’s grace, enables believer to suffer for Christ, and makes the believer to walk in God’s unconditional love.

Application

Know your identity in Christ and walk in obedience to the word of God daily whenever you have been tempted by Satan. Resist the devil and say no to sinful living because you have the grace and the Holy Spirit to do so. Read the Bible daily and reference scriptures that talk about your victory in Christ and develop the habit of church attendance in the local church in which you have been called to work. Meditate on the word of God daily and pray unceasingly confessing your victory in Christ.

Illustration

In the real life experience with reference to litigation or law sue, the presence of conflict is imminent; therefore, the plaintiff or the complainer should have taken the defendant to the court system as the result of conflict existing between them both. The reason of the law sue is to get justice through mediation overseen by the judge for the conflict to be resolved. Until mediation occurs through the intervention of the judge, the conflict is resolved, and justice is played out in the case, the conflict remains between the offender and the person offended. If the conflict is not resolved, it can lead to repercussion as the result of the existing conflict. In the event before the judge adjudicates the case after the plaintiff has explained what has happened between him or her and the defendant, the defendant will have to respond to the allegation leveled against him or her with the goal to defend self against the allegation. At the conclusion of the case, the judge will give a verdict to acquit or to convict the defendant. If the defendant is charged as the result of losing the case, he or she will have to pay the penalty. If the defendant is not guilty of the allegation leveled against him or her, he or she will be acquitted. This analogy explains clearly what happened when mankind disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1–15; Romans 5:12 – 18).

SERMON NOTES

Historical/Geographical Context

“Paul had never been to Rome when he wrote the letter to the Romans, though he had clearly expressed his desire to travel there in the near future (Acts 19:21Romans 1:10–12). The apostle greeted twenty-six different people by name, personalizing a letter from a man who would have been a personal stranger to most of the recipients. No doubt they had heard of Paul and would have been honored by the letter, but Paul always took opportunities to personally connect with his audience so that the message of the gospel might be better received. The apostle Paul wrote to the Romans from the Greek city of Corinth in AD 57, just three years after the 16-year-old Nero had ascended to the throne as Emperor of Rome. The political situation in the capital had not yet deteriorated for the Roman Christians, as Nero wouldn’t begin his persecution of them until he made them scapegoats after the great Roman fire in AD 64. Therefore, Paul wrote to a church that was experiencing a time of relative peace, but a church that he felt needed a strong dose of basic gospel doctrine. Writing from Corinth, Paul likely encountered a diverse array of people and practices—from gruff sailors and meticulous tradesmen to wealthy idolaters and enslaved Christians. The prominent Greek city was also a hotbed of sexual immorality and idol worship. So when Paul wrote in Romans about the sinfulness of humanity or the power of God’s grace to miraculously and completely change lives, he knew that of which he spoke. It was played out before his eyes every day. The letter to the Romans stands as the clearest and most systematic presentation of Christian doctrine in all the Scriptures. Paul began by discussing that which is most easily observable in the world—the sinfulness of all humanity. All people have been condemned due to our rebellion against God. However, God in His grace offers us justification by faith in His Son, Jesus. When we are justified by God, we receive redemption, or salvation, because Christ’s blood covers our sin. But Paul made it clear that the believer’s pursuit of God doesn’t stop with salvation; it continues as each of us is sanctified—made holy—as we persist in following Him. Paul’s treatment of these issues offers a logical and complete presentation of how a person can be saved from the penalty and power of his or her sin. The primary theme running through Paul’s letter to the Romans is the revelation of God’s righteousness in His plan for salvation, what the Bible calls the gospel. Paul writes,

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”(Romans 1:16–17 NIV).

Paul showed how human beings lack God’s righteousness because of our sin (1–3), receive God’s righteousness when God justifies us by faith (4–5), demonstrate God’s righteousness by being transformed from rebels to followers (6–8), confirm His righteousness when God saves the Jews (9–11), and apply His righteousness in practical ways throughout our lives (12–16). The structure of Romans provides a hint into the importance of the book in our everyday lives. While beginning with the eleven chapters of doctrines, the book then transitions into five chapters of practical instruction. This union between doctrine and life illustrates for Christians the absolute importance of both what we believe and how we live out those beliefs. Does your day-to-day life mirror the beliefs you hold, or do you find yourself in a constant battle with hypocrisy? Take heed of the doctrine you find within the pages of Romans, but don’t forget to put it into practice as well.”[1]

DISCUSSION

We Have Peace with God (1)

In the real life experience with reference to litigation or law sue, the presence of conflict is imminent; therefore, the plaintiff or the complainer should have taken the defendant to the court system as the result of conflict existing between them both. The reason of the law sue is to get justice through mediation overseen by the judge for the conflict to be resolved. Until mediation occurs through the intervention of the judge, the conflict is resolved, and justice is played out in the case, the conflict remains between the offender and the person offended. If the conflict is not resolved, it can lead to repercussion as the result of the existing conflict. In the event before the judge adjudicates the case after the plaintiff has explained what has happened between him or her and the defendant, the defendant will have to respond to the allegation leveled against him or her with the goal to defend self against the allegation. At the conclusion of the case, the judge will give a verdict to acquit or to convict the defendant. If the defendant is charged as the result of losing the case, he or she will have to pay the penalty. If the defendant is not guilty of the allegation leveled against him or her, he or she will be acquitted. This analogy explains clearly what happened when mankind disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1–15; Romans 5:12–18). Adam and Eve’s failure to obey God after being instructed not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, brought condemnation to mankind according to the Genesis story birthing the fall of man. The fall of man in the Garden of Eden as the result of disobedience made mankind to become enemies of his Creator, God. Mankind became enemies; therefore, the presence of conflict became imminent and inevitable. Mankind eventually became sinners by nature due to the disobedience of Adam and Eve. This crime became federally committed crime that affects the entire humanity on planet earth up to the present. In this situation biblically, mankind becomes the offender and God is the offended. In God’s judicial system, he is the judge and simultaneously the offended. The fall of man led to the condemnation of the entire human race; therefore, mankind was heading to hell. In order for God to acquit humanity from the sin penalty, he sent his Son, Jesus Christ to settle the dispute between him and humanity through death on the cross to bring redemption (Ephesians 1:7). Paul’s expression regarding having peace with God connotes that we have been justified through faith in Jesus Christ. In this passage, the essences of justification are layout, one being called the peace of God. When mankind accepts God’s Son through faith, mankind is reconciled with God and the conflict that had previously existed as the result of disobedience in the Garden of Eden is removed. The act of acquittal before God mediated through the shed blood of Jesus Christ establishes justification of believers, forgiveness of sin, reconciliation of believers, redemption of believers, and sanctification of believers inclusively called salvation.

We Have Gained Access into this Grace in Which We Now Stand (1)

Accessibility to the grace of God that enables believers to live the Christian life is dependent having Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Gaining access to the grace of God is the result of justification accomplished through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and sealed by his shed blood predicated by believers through the exercises of their faith by: (1) hearing the word of God, (2) believing the word, (3) repenting from sinful living, and (4) accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In this light, the second essence of justification is grace according to the passage. Grace is the essence of justification that enables believers to stand. That’s being said; grace anchors the believers and gives them stability to stand against adversity during trials and temptations. In the absence of the grace of God, no one can live the Christian life. It is through the grace of God believers are empowered to live holy life. The grace of God initiates the believers’ righteousness, holiness, and salvation through Jesus’ death (Ephesians 2:8–10). God’s divine power is packaged through the grace of God. This divine power springs from grace or God’s divine favor known as charisma (Romans 1:11, 11:29; 2 Peter 1:3). Believers gain access to the grace of God that makes them stand in the face of confronting the devil, failures, and disappointment. It is through the grace of God that believers gain access to the gift of grace known as charisma (Romans 1:11). Paul desired to impart some of these gifts to the believers in Rome during his planned visit so that they would be empowered to do the works of God. Gaining access to the grace of God leads to spiritual empowerment to live the Christian life and to run ministry effectively and efficiently while maximizing spiritual productivity in the areas of evangelism and church planting.

We Rejoice in Our Suffering (2)

The grace that enables believers to stand gives them the edge to suffer and to remain resilient to trials and temptations. Suffering is one of the ingredients for the Christian life that every believer should face in life while serving God in this life. This kind of suffering takes on different morphologies based on the situation God processes the believer. The suffering can be emotional, psychological, and physical. When believers are tempted to emotionally satisfy their sinful nature that has sexual connotation expressively, such as pre-marital sexual activity (fornication) or adultery (marital unfaithfulness); in response to the temptation, believers refuse, they emotionally suffer because they have refused to satisfy the sexual desires that arose in them. They deprive their biological impulses and experience emotional pain on the daily basis as the result of their refusal to indulge in these sinful habits that are detrimental to their spiritual health. How many times have you experienced this? What was your response to the situation? How long have you refused to have sex understanding that you are not married? If you are married, have you been faithful to your partner regarding marital fidelity? You should answer these questions privately while introspecting your spiritual life. If you have shortcomings, recommit your life to Jesus and mean business with God. There is no room for hypocrisy in the Christian life. You are either for Jesus or for the devil. Whom do you choose?

            Believers are required to maintain self-control in order not to sin during suffering. How many of you have been approached by a man or woman to infringe on your sexual purity? What was your response during the temptation? Sex was created by God to be carried out between husband and wife; therefore, it is wrong to have sex when you are not married. Having sex without being married is an abomination before God. Some who are reading this message might not agree with me; however, it is not I who made this theological principle. God is the one who made these regulations and we cannot alter them because we want to please ourselves. Fornicators and adulterers will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9–10). Believers are required or should suffer emotionally and become resilient to deal with sexual sin and other habitual sinful lifestyle. While suffering is emotionally related, it is also psychologically associated. When believers suffer psychologically, they resist the mind games that the devil brings to their imaginations. When believers resist sin psychologically, they also suffer and experience psychological pain that has the propensity to become a spiritual trauma in their lives; therefore, trauma in this situation exists due to obedience to God’s word to refuse to commit sin. Traumas are psychologically related to the human’s mind and can have both positive and negative imparts based on the source. Trauma is caused when an incidence or event happens and the incidence imparts someone’s life. Trauma itself has a negative connotation with reference to human predicaments in the light of social sciences; however, trauma also has spiritual or biblical standpoint with reference to obedience of God’s word and has a positive connotation imparting how believers live to bring glory to God. Are you spiritually traumatized to dwell in God’s house and to do his will (Ecclesiastes 12:13; Psalm 23: 6; 27:4)? A believer, who has been single for the past years without sexual activity and he or she is waiting for marriage, faces psychological or spiritual trauma. Until the individual gets married, the trauma remains and this traumatic event becomes a lifestyle for the individual Christian. This is a good trauma because the individual is placed in a solitary position to be prepared by God. Unless you are prepared by God, God will not use you. Many people want greatness in the house of God; unfortunately, they refuse to be prepared by God. It does not work that way. Our reciprocity to God’s word regarding our preparedness is mandated in scriptures (2 Timothy 2:20–22).

            Not only is suffering related to the emotional or the psychological, but suffering is also physical. When believers are persecuted through beating, killing, and detention, they are dehumanized and they eventually experience physical pain unbearable. Physical suffering is common in scriptures and it can be seen from the Genesis to the Revelation. Paul and Silas were beaten because they were for the advancement of God’s kingdom (2 Cor. 11:25; Acts 16:22). The reason God allows suffering in the life of believers is to train believers against eventual trials or temptations without they giving in to temptations. It reads that because of suffering, the believer develops perseverance. Perseverance or endurance is developed over time as the result of suffering. It is an inner resilient quality that enables the believer to continue the Christian life in the face of provocation. It does not retaliate neither succumb under trials and it is the opposite of anger and fear which is associated with mercy and faith. The two Greek words defined by the above definition are makrothumia and hupomone as transliterated respectively (1 Thessalonians 1:3; James 5:11; Acts 26:3). Not only does suffering produce perseverance, but it also produces character. The Christian life is a journey. While on this journey, the Christian develops character as he or she is tempted. The process of resisting the temptation makes the individual to gain experience that initiates the Christian developments. The development of the Christian character leads to growth and Christian maturity. As the believer develops in growth and Christian maturity, the believer becomes hopeful regarding expectations and develops strong faith in God while dealing with situation in the present successfully as compared to when the individual was a young believer 20 year ago. This is the reason the Bible says that we grow in grace in proportion to our faith (2 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 6:1; Colossians 1:9–10). You can bear witness with me that your faith now is stronger that 20 years ago assuming that you are a committed Christian when you became a believer 20 years from now. As the scripture says that believers rejoice in their suffering because suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, character hope, and hope does not disappoint the believer because God has poured his love into believers’ hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5: 4–5). This signifies that based on the believer’s experience as the result of the various temptations encountered previously during his or her walk with Christ, the believer’s hope is solidified in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit that indwells him or her. The Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is the Teacher, the Revealer of the truth and mysteries of God, the Counselor, and the Sustainer and Giver of spiritual gifts or empowerment to the believer. The scripture says that this hope is guaranteed because God has poured his love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit He has given us. The Holy Spirit is the seal and the protection who keeps the believer secured in the Christian journey until he or she dies faithfully in the Lord or he or she witnesses the Second Advent of Christ return to earth.

God Has Poured His Love into Our Hearts through the Holy Spirit (4–5)

One of the characteristics of the Holy Spirit is love. The characteristics of the Holy Spirit can be equated to the Holy Spirit; therefore, the Holy Spirit is love because He loves. This justifies that believer has the love of God as the result of justification and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Believers are the temple of God; therefore, the Holy Spirit indwells believers (1 Cor. 6:19–20). If believers have the Holy Spirit who is love; then, believers should love (agape) by virtue of the Holy Spirit in them. It is impossible to not love when you carry the lover (Holy Spirit). Do you love people? Do you hate people? Do you envy people when they are succeeding in lives? Do you wish someone to become great? Are you happy when people succeed in their endeavors? How do you think about Christians or ministers in the house of God? Our response to non-Christians, believers, and ministers in the house is tested by the love we have and exercised on the daily basis when it comes to walking in the love we have from God.

            God is love; therefore, all believers should love by virtue of their inheritance. This is an unconditional love called agape. When God saves us, he pours love into our hearts through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. In this light, love is an essence of justification believer received when he or she received Jesus as Lord and Savior. Apostle Paul through the power of the Holy Spirit layout the characteristics of the love that comes from the Holy Spirit as stated below:

If I speak in the tonguesof men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Cor 13:1–13 NIV).

In our deliberation with reference to the essences or elements of justification, it can be concluded that justification enables believers to have peace with God, to gain access to God’s grace, enables believers to suffer for Christ, and makes believers to walk in God’s unconditional love.

GLOSSARY

  1. Exegesis is the explanation of the biblical passages using history, geography, and the kind of literature in the bible (ex. Prophetic books, parables, letters, laws etc).
  2. Historical context is what is being studied or found in history about the passages being studied as what is seen in Romans.
  3. Geographical context is what that pertains to the land location, features, distance, or kind of people who live in that location.
  4. Literary context defines what literature is being studied. For example, is the book law, letter, prophecy, or wisdom book? In this situation, Romans is a doctrinal book called a letter, addressed to the Romans Christians.
  5. Dorea is the gift of righteousness obtained when one accepts Christ as Lord and Savior (Acts 2:38).
  6. Doron is the gift of sacrifice man offers to God for appeasement especially during the Old Testament era (Matt 2:11).
  7. Doma is the gift if ministry used to serve the body of Christ (Eph 4:8–13).
  8. Charisma is the gift of the Spirit (Romans 1:11; 2 Tim 2:6; 4:14).
  9. Exegetical Idea is the idea obtained from the biblical passage when the passage has been studied to find the meaning of the passage (what God was speaking to the original recipients that is applicable to the present audience). It is the true interpretation of the biblical passage that is used to preach to the present congregation of yours. Exegetical idea remains faithful to the meaning of the passage and does not deviate. The lack of exegetical skills in sermon preparation and delivery leads to false preaching and teaching in our churches today.
  10. Homiletical idea is the preaching idea that is condensed from the exegetical idea or the main idea of the passage and it can be very short for the congregation to remember. Some call it the theme of the message or the subject of the biblical passage.
  11. Complement is the completion of the subject in the biblical passage. For example, when Romans 5:1–5 is studied, it is observed that Apostle Paul argued that justification comes through faith in Jesus Christ instead of the Law as taught by the Greco-Judean Christians. The overall theme or the subject of Romans is justification by faith in Jesus Christ; however, there are complements which complete or satisfy the necessity of justification by faith introducing essences or elements of justification that complete the salvation process in the life of the believer. The essences or elements are layout in the outline. See the chart above for verification.
  12. Illustration is the device in sermon delivery that pins mental picture or imagery of the message.
  13. Application is the act of doing or putting into practice what has been preached or taught. It is the goal of the sermon or the message being delivered. When the sermon is not being applied; then, it has lost its purpose or goal. It is still being debated in theological circles between liberals and conservatives that preacher should not applied sermon; instead, the Holy Spirit should make the congregations to apply the message; therefore, application should not included in the sermon or teaching outline.
  14. Pastor Jallah Yelorbah Koiyan, M.Div, Founder, Praise Ministries International, Inc

[1]Charles R. “Swindoll, Insigth for Living:” The Bible Teaching Ministry, n.p [Cited 18 February 2020], Online: www. https://insight.org/.