For an introduction to the series, read this.
We continue moving through my church’s statement of faith on the doctrine of salvation:
Statement of Faith Article for the Week
Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. It includes the pardon of sin and the promise of eternal life, which are not bestowed, because of any righteous works which the believer has done but solely through faith by which Christ’s perfect righteousness is freely imputed to the believer by God. Justification brings the believer into a relationship of peace and favor with God.
Thoughts for Discussion with Children
When somebody has been accused of a crime, he normally goes to a courtroom where his case presented before a jury, a group of twelve people who will decide whether or not he is guilty and should be punished. First, a lawyer makes the argument for why the jury should say he is guilty, and then another lawyer argues for why the jury should say he is not guilty. Then, when all of the arguments are made, the jury gives their decision, either “guilty,” or “not guilty.”
What would happen if a jury knew that a man was guilty but said, “not guilty” instead? Of course, that would be wrong. But the strange thing about the gospel is that God does exactly that! God, knowing full well how guilty we are, delivers his verdict, “not guilty” for all who believe in Jesus as their hope. How can this be?
It’s because Jesus has fulfilled the Law perfectly and has already paid for our sins that we can be declared “not guilty,” or right with God, because we are joined to him by faith. His righteousness becomes our righteousness. We are saved from God’s judgment, not because of anything we have done, but only because of what Jesus Christ has done for us. This is what justification is. God “justifies” us when he says we are not guilty but righteous, not because we have done anything to deserve it, but because God sees the righteousness of Jesus Christ wrapped around us like a robe. If we did not have the hope of justification by faith alone, not by our works, we would have no hope at all before God. Jesus is our only hope, but he is hope enough.
Suggested reading for the week: Romans 3:21-26; 4:1-8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:1-10.