Justification by Faith – Part Three
By: Roger Smalling, D. Min
Excerpt from his book Unlocking grace
A minister friend of the author started a Bible study with these words: “There is no one on earth more righteous than I!” A lady in the audience exclaimed, “How could you say such a proud thing?” He explained, “I did not say, ‘I am more righteous that anyone else’. I only said that there is no one else who is more righteous. I have the perfect righteousness of Christ imputed to me as a free gift. But this is true of every other believer in the world, including you!”
Ironically, the weakest believer can say the same. He cannot, of course, claim the same understanding, maturity or degree of sanctification. The grounds of his acceptance with God as his child remains the same.
In heaven, we will be no more justified than we are now. The glory we will experience may vary between believers. But it will be placed on the most glorious and immovable foundation that could exist; the righteousness of Christ himself.
The entire Fourth Chapter of Romans illustrates how the perfect righteousness of Christ becomes ours. Paul uses Abraham as the example.
Abraham lived more than four hundred years before the law of Moses. He had no written law of God. The only thing he had was his conscience and his faith. So Paul comments, Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Romans 4:3.
However, his faith was not in place of righteousness. Faith was the means by which God accomplished the justification. The word for, in Greek here is difficult to translate. It means something like, “with a view to.” It does not mean “instead of.”
For whom is justification by faith designed?
And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:30
Justification by faith is reserved for the elect. Their eventual glorification is as certain as any other part of the chain of events Paul mentions in this text.