Heavens Light 5-11-09 The Gospel – The Message of Jesus Christ – Justification By Faith – The Heart of the Gospel – The Basis of Justification Part 1

The Gospel – The Message of Jesus Christ

Justification by Faith – The Heart of the Gospel

Romans 8:33

Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; NASB


The Basis of Justification

But how and on what basis can God pardon freely? How is the justice of God actually met if we do not pay the penalty for our own sins? This is an important question to which the Scripture says much and gives clear answers. As we have discussed, justification is a legal term describing the act whereby God declares us righteous based on the merits of Christ. This justification is a complete work of God whereby He fully meets all the requirements of divine justice and then on that basis declares the sinner righteous. In this work God……..

  • satisfies and appeases the divine requirements of justice – Propitiation
  • completely removes the guilt of our sins, – Expiation
  • credits the righteousness and merit of Christ to the believer – Imputation
  • restores relationship and rightstanding with God – Reconciliation

It is clear from scripture that in the death of Christ upon the cross, that God’s wrath because of sin has been satisfied by Christ’s payment of death. This is called “propitiation.” Because Jesus was without sin, His was qualified to pay the debt for all sin by His death. He died as a substitute or in place of sinners, and bore the wrath of God Himself, not dying for His own sins but for the sins of all who would trust him. This sacrifice of atonement, that is, the death of Christ, affected a real and fundamental change in our relationship to God by taking our place and bearing the guilt of our sins as an offering to appease the holy wrath of God.

Hebrews 2:17 – 17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. NASB

It is in this “propitiation” that God, in His requirement of divine justice is actually propitiated.  Because God has instituted the sacrificial system as a means of atonement, he has therefore been pleased to have a sacrifice appease or satisfy His wrath. Propitiation is an “appeasement” or “satisfaction.” The holy anger and wrath of God toward sin demands a satisfaction of justice, and His vengeance is enraged toward sin and must have a subject to inflict the good and righteous penalty of death.

Romans 6:23 – 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. NASB

Therefore we must have a substitute to satisfy God’s wrath or be consumed ourselves. This is what sets Christianity apart from every other world religion. Jesus Christ is the only sufficient substitute who can meet the just requirements of God’s law (divine justice) in order to die vicariously (for us) as a substitute (in our place).  Jesus becomes then this propitiation Himself to appease the wrath of God.

1 John 4:10 – 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. NASB

Notice here, that this propitiation is not only what Christ did (the work of Christ), but that Jesus Christ Himself (the person of Christ) is the propitiation for our sins. The New Testament words normally translated as “propitiation” are the Greek [hilasterion 2435] and [hilasmos 2434], and carry with them the idea of “expiation” (to remove offense or guilt) or to “cover over.”  In fact, these Greek terms actually hold a more personal meaning to the means of expiation, namely that of “an atoning victim” or the actual sacrifice of atonement, an expiator. This idea, that Jesus is the “atoning victim,” the propitiatory sacrifice, means that Jesus paid a very real price. He literally bore the penalty for our sins! Our chastisement became His! He carried our griefs….and our sorrows! This was beautifully expressed by Isaiah’s prophecy, in chapter 53.

Isaiah 53:4-6, 11-12 – 4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. 11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors. NASB

Therefore, the atonement does in fact satisfy God’s holy wrath toward sin because it is God’s own work, graciously creating the means for us to be justified and His holy wrath to be appeased. All of this was designed in eternity by God and implemented by Him in the course of History because of the great love that He wished to express to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Peter 1:18-20 – 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you NASB

But propitiation is not the only thing that justification is. Not only has God’s wrath been appeased but, the actual guilt of sinners has been removed by Christ’s payment, because He paid the full price of that guilt. This is called “expiation.” Jesus removed our guilt having paid the full price of redemption for our sins. Christ made a fundamental change in our relationship with God by expiating our guilt. In expiation, our guilt has been removed by meeting the demands of holy justice for sin on our behalf. The offense of our sins has been absorbed by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus for us, and the requirements of God’s justice for sin have been “cancelled out.”

Colossians 2:13-14 – 13 And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. NASB

The penalty deserved in our guilt, has been paid in full by the sacrifice of Christ. This is to say then that the atonement is redemptive, that it pays the price required by justice. Jesus death on the cross is seen as a ransom price paid to redeem us from the penalties of the law, “the certificate of debt consisting in decrees against us” that we owed to God because of sin.

1 Timothy 2:5-7 – 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time. NASB

This is why the scripture can say, there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Having our guilt cancelled, the corresponding condemnation for our sins has been removed.

Romans 8:1-2 – 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. NASB

Jesus death is the full payment price demanded by the law because of our violations of it. He redeemed us from the curse of the law.

Galatians 3:13 – 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us —  for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” NASB

All of this was done by God, who justifies, and this has removed our guilt and condemnation.

Romans 8:33-34 – 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.


This teaching is a part of a 18 month series called “The Savior, The Cross, and The Gospel” ….


See the Outline here….. http://www.abqhcf.com/lessons/08-09/handouts/abc/Brochure-08-09.pdf


This teaching can be heard on audio here:  





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Shaan Sloan
Heritage Christian Fellowship – ABQ
The Lord is the Strength of My Life


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