“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom 5:1-2)
“Justified,” is legal language. It’s courtroom talk. One comes before a judge and is found guilty or not guilty. Was the speed limit broken or not? Was the money stolen or not? Was the man beaten or not? If the speed limit was broken or, the money stolen or, the man beaten etc., then the law is broken and, if the law was broken the defendant is guilty. Feelings play no part in the determination of guilt or innocence. Remorse on the part of the defendant or compassion and mercy on the part of the judge cannot influence the court. These may impact a consequent judgment but cannot determine the verdict. Remorse and compassion will likewise, have no place “God’s courtroom.” Guilt or innocence will be determined according to the law and nothing else. This is an insurmountable issue for man as God “will not will not at all acquit the guilty” (Nahum 1:3) and all are guilty before Him (Romans 3:19). His compassion and mercy cannot alter the verdict. If He freed the guilty he would be an unrighteous judge! He cannot ignore justice and remain a Holy God. The gravity of this predicament is only truly appreciated when one fully grasps who God really is. His judgments are truly fearful! But, this is not the whole story. Those to whom Paul wrote were “Justified by Faith.” They are NOT GUILTY. They will never face JUDGEMENT!
However, there are two important questions that must be answered. Why does God acquit on the basis of faith? And, how can He remain a “just judge” if the guilty go free? We will look at these next time.