Justified in Christ, Sanctified by the Spirit – Part One

“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.” (Hebrews 22-24)

“When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more, And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair; When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore, And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there. (James Black)”

The day is coming quickly when the saints of Christ will gather on the yonder shore in the blessed fortress of Mount Zion. There they shall enter into the Holy City of Jerusalem and live in the peace and joy of our Lord as His bride. They shall enter in through the Gates where the angels guard the entrance, the Gates of the Holy City which have the names of the twelve tribes of the chosen people of God written upon them. The saints will walk on streets of gold so pure that its appearance will be like that of transparent glass. They shall be blessed to drink from the Water of Life and eat the fruit of the Tree of Life. In this the Holy City of God no unclean creature shall enter in, not creature that practices abomination or has a heart of deceit or lies shall ever pass through its gates. Only those, the saints of Jesus Christ, whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life shall ever see the City of God’s Kingdom.

The Church of Jesus Christ, fully justified, fully sanctified, the Bride of the Bridegroom, shall be presented to God the Father spotless without blemish for the Glory of God. There to live evermore in the Kingdom of their God in peace, joy and tucked in the arms of the Father’s Love.

What is it to be justified? How is it to be sanctified? Who of us can by our own efforts be, made perfect? Let us together seek the answer to this question, how are we to be made perfect?

Justification is not a process that man can achieve. There is not a way that one could go back into history and change the misdeeds of life to justify what has been done. To make the wrongs of the past right. Our sins of the past, our disobedience to God’s Word, are like the arrow shot into the sky, it cannot be taken back before it falls to the mark of its target. The damage it causes cannot be undone. Mending perhaps, but the intent of the heart that released it cannot find excuse. The act is made and cannot be withdrawn. We can rationalize, we can excuse, but we cannot justify that we have done in error. Therefore justification is not a process that man can achieve.

Justification is an act of legality. It is a forgiveness of past wrongs committed by one who has the authority to erase the error from the record. In view of that what man has the authority?

When I was a child living in my father’s house I was not the black sheep of the family, I was the black char-coaled wolf of the family. I had sticky claws. My father found me out one day and asked how I came to have certain possessions. After much resistance on my part and grueling interrogation of my father’s part, I confessed to the crimes I could no longer hide. My father went to all those whom I had stolen from, that he knew about, and paid for what I had taken. Was this being justified by my father, no. I had not only stolen from the local merchants their property, I had also stolen the honor of my father. I had broken his trust and also shamed myself before those merchants. True I worked many hours at .05 per to pay back the debt I owed until finally my father forgave the debt. Was I then justified by my father, no. I could not take back the effect it had on him and his life in the community, or the effect it had on me every time I went into one of those stores. As much as my father loved me he cannot justify what I had done in my life.

The problem is bigger than that when we look at it in the realm of God. By the trinity of the God-head God is a communal being. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit act together as one and are in perfect unity. If one person of the God-head sinned, then the God-head would no longer exist and there would be no God of the universe. All creation would fall to destruction. If Jesus had fell to the temptation in the wilderness, then that would have been the end of the never ending story. Because God is communal His creation is communal. God created man and woman, He created family, and society. Each member of the community effects each member of the community. If my sticky wolf claws steel you medicine you will suffer for it. It may even be life threatening or worse. If I cheat on my taxes then services to the community may have to be withheld. The wrong I do effects everyone in the community.

God’s Word was given that we might learn how to live as a community. When we brake God’s Word our disobedience effects everyone in the community. I can pay for the property damages I cause but there is nothing I can do to erase the effect of the spiritual damage. King David realized this when he was found out for his sin with Bathsheba. “Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge.” (Psalm 51:4) We not only sin against man, worse we have sinned against God. Man may forgive us, or we may pay the price of our wrong doing, but what can justify the effect we have had upon the spirits of men, more than that the disobedience against God’s Word, against God?

There can be no stages to justification. We are either justified or we are not. We cannot be 51% good and enter into the gates of the Holy City. Only the ones who are made perfect will enter the Holy City Jerusalem. “And nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:27) 99% will not work either. Justification is an all in legal act that God can perform. “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 10:12)

We receive justification by our faith in Jesus Christ. Man’s fall in the Garden of Eden effected every man that would follow Adam. All men are born into sin by the transgression of the fall. The meaning of the word Adam in Hebrew is “human being.” All human beings are of the seed of Adam and we are all effected by Adam’s sin. Jesus Christ is the second Adam and was what the first Adam was created to be, perfect. Therefore only Jesus is the perfect sacrifice to pay the wage of sin, which is death. (Romans 6:23) When a man, you and I and who will trust in the atoning blood of Jesus and believe in Him in faith in what God has done through the death, burial and resurrection of the Christ the follower of Christ is them justified. “But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.” (Romans 5:15)

To each is a time appointed to die. All of us, save those who are called out, will pass through the door of death into the next realm. Following the departure comes the judgement. There are two states of man at that twinkling, the righteous and the unrighteous. Those that are at peace with God and those who are enemies of God. Man must be at peace with God before his death on earth. To stand before God he must be righteous and to be righteous he must be justified. We must seek God through Jesus Christ to be justified. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1) The tribulation of man is soon coming when God will pour out His wrath on the universe for the sin that abounds. I believe that the only way to avoid this seven year period of tribulation is to be a member of Christ’s Church and be called out. I don’t mean attending Church services, giving to the good works of the Church, or living a good life in the measure of fellowmen. I mean an abiding belief and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who is your personal Savior. Then you will be justified and free. “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” (Romans 5:9)

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) This is not a rite of passage it is a gift for passage. A gift given to us by a God who loves us more than he hates to sins we have committed. Even as before mentioned that I was the coal charred black wolf of the family. I was basically, very basically, a good sort. But none of my goodness, great or small, could overwhelm the badness. There is nothing that man can do to justify himself before a Holy and Righteous God save the blood of Jesus Christ. When we are justified through Christ then God no longer sees us as what we are but who we will become through Jesus Christ. God who lives in the future tense no longer looks at us in that which has been removed but in that which will be when the good work He has started in us is finished. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Lastly I cannot work my way to heaven neither can I buy my way into heaven. Neither can no man. Without the love of God and the work of His Son Jesus man is in an endless state of hopelessness. It was God who sent his Son to save the world. (John 3:16) It was God who sacrificed His Son in place of our sin. (John 1:29) It is God who sees us in the light of the righteousness of His Son. (2 Corinthians 5:21) By His grace God has restored our relationship with Him for all those who will call upon the name of Jesus. “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30)

By the will of God He has acted through His grace that any man by his faith in Jesus Christ can be acquitted of his sin and be justified in the sight of God. To those who have accepted this free gift of God’s grace are now right before God and have peace with God. Live in the light that you may pass through the darkness.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, May 17, 2015

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