God Justifies the Ungodly

Romans 4:5 "For what saith the scripture?  Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.  Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."

When God chose Abram to make his covenant with him and his descendants, God chose a man that was ungodly.  That is to say, Abram did not know God.  God knew him, and God selected him through grace.  And Abram, before he had performed anything resembling obedience or service to God, believed God.  And God counted Abram's faith as righteousness.  That is to say, God accepted Abram on the basis of grace, which is God's unmerited favor.

Who are the Ungodly?

The ungodly are us sinners.  Romans 5:6, 8 says:  "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly . . . But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  And Romans 3:23 declares that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."  We all are ungodly sinners, and Christ came and died for us.  He shed his precious blood for us, in spite of us.  The Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) came down and was made flesh, and died on behalf of sinners.  "For He (God) hath made Him (the Son of God) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."  2 Corinthians 5:21.  God did this in his great love and mercy so that He "might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."  Romans 3:26.

What Does it Mean to Be Justified?

In order to fully appreciate what it means to be justified, we must first understand what it means to be condemned.  God concludes the whole world under sin.  "For all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God."  "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.  Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:  Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:  their feet are swift to shed blood:  Destruction and misery are in their ways:  And the way of peace they have not known:  There is no fear of God before their eyes.  Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith unto them who are under the law:  that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.  Therefore by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight:  for by the law is the knowledge of sin."  Romans 3:23, 10-20.   In the eyes of the righteous Judge Whose judgment alone can never err, the whole world is guilty as charged.  The human race has departed from God and not walked in his ways.  God would be completely blameless in giving us our due and blotting us out of existence forever.  We all merit his righteous condemnation against sin:  death.  "For the wages of sin is death."  Romans 6:23.  We were all on death row awaiting the execution.   

But Paul continues in Romans 3:21-26:  "But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:  for there is no difference:  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:   Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness:  that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."  God the righteous judge pronounced the death sentence on all for the capital crime of rebellion and transgressing his law.  But He provided the pardon for our sins by sending his only Son to pay the just wages of our sins, taking all of our sins upon Himself upon the cross and dying in our stead, thereby satisfying sins' wages.  And by raising again from the dead, He commutes our death sentence, sets us free to pass from death unto life through his atoning sacrifice.  What a mighty God we serve!

Justified By Grace Through Faith in Christ

We must recognize three things:
  1. We are lost sinners worthy of death.
  2. Jesus Christ died for our sins.
  3. God accepts Christ's sacrifice on your behalf when you believe that He died for you, to spare your life.
What must you do to be saved?  Just believe with all your heart that Jesus Christ died for you personally, and that He shed his blood to wash away your sins and declare you just, or righteous, in the eyes of God.  God accepts his righteous life and atoning death in place of your sins, and you are declared innocent in his sight, as though you have never sinned.  The King of the universe personally sent for your ransom, your pardon from death row.  Jesus Christ has set you free by his amazing, infinite sacrifice.  What wonderful good news!  No amount of good works could buy our pardon.  No human effort could ever repay the debt we owed.  But Jesus Christ came and paid our debt in full.  Through Him the Father gave us mercy.  And for this we should be truly thankful for the goodness of God toward us.  


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