“Justification may be defined as that act by which unjust sinners are made right in the sight of a just and holy God. The supreme need of unjust persons is righteousness. It is this lack of righteousness that is supplied by Christ on behalf of the believing sinner. Justification by faith alone means justification by the righteousness or merit of Christ alone, not by our goodness or good deeds.” – R. C. Sproul in Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, p. 188.
I am not feeling very well tonight. Not in the sense of illness, more in the sense of depression. I am less than pleased with my own recent performance.
Just when I think I’m getting better, along comes another opportunity to indulge the flesh, and I give in to temptation. It’s not that it was a matter that would be considered particularly bad by most. I just became very angry, and I lashed out at some friends. I apologized, but that doesn’t seem to help me much. I just fell into an old, self-destructive habit.
What does a Christian do when he sins? I’ve only found one way to help myself.
I admit I am wrong. Not some general, vague admission. Not some blurting confession to another person. A real, honest admission of guilt to Almighty God. I agree with the voice in the back of my head saying, “You have made a horrible mistake.” Not just lip service, full agreement. It doesn’t matter whether the voice is Satan’s or The Spirit’s. What it is saying is true.
Then I flee to Christ. I drink in the forgiveness He has earned for me. I remind myself of the great doctrine of justification. I relish my standing before God. I know, with certainty, that He has forgiven me. I remind myself each time. I pray for the power to do better.
I feel better already. I have no reason to feel guilty, because, in a very real sense, I am not guilty. I have been given a righteousness earned by Christ.
The current debate over justification is settled for me. It was settled the moment I faced my sin. Without the Protestant view of justification, what hope would there be?