Chapter 3:21-31 defines "justification." It means to be declared righteous in the eyes of God; not through the merits of self, but through the merits of Christ. It could be explained as, "Just as if I had never sinned." Justification is God's righteousness imputed to man's account. We must remember that justification comes freely by God's grace; not by works, good intentions, gifts, or prayers--but freely, by the grace of God, through our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Chapter 4 is one that should be mastered by all. It illustrates how God justifies ungodly people through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We see again in verses 1-8 that justification is not by works; and in verses 9-17 that it is not by law--but by grace. Paul very wisely uses the illustration of Abraham in describing justification. Abraham's justification was not by works, but because he believed God (see Genesis 15:1-6).
Today, just as in years gone by, mankind is seeking peace. Chapter 5:1 tells us how we can have the peace the world is seeking. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." In this chapter we also read of how sin entered into the world. Read verse 12 very carefully. It tells us that by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. In chapter 3:23 we read that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And chapter 6:23 notes that the wages of sin is death; but* the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Chapter 5:8 tells us, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." When He died on the cross, the wages of sin were paid. When man, by faith, believes and receives the atonement of Jesus, sin is no longer imputed to him, but he is born-again by the grace of God. What a blessed truth we, as Christians, can share with a lost and dying world! Christ came into the world, lived a perfect and sinless life, and then died on the cross that all who believe in Him might have everlasting life.
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