How God Justifies Even the Worst Sinner

COPYRIGHT WARNING

What was the purpose of God in bringing the Messiah from the line of David? After all, David was an adulterer, murderer, deceiver, and man of war. Many of David’s descendants were people of grievous reputation.

It is my opinion that God chose David’s line because he was a fallible man who was also a man of great faith. Although he fell into terrible sin, David’s response to his sin is forever an example to all of us for what true repentance is all about.

Psalm 51 was written by David in direct response to his sins of adultery and murder with Bathsheba and her husband Uriah. As David comes before the Lord in brokenness and deep sorrow, he does not blame anyone but himself for his sin. He takes full responsibility for his actions and describes his sins as being ultimately a terrible offense against God, more than against those to whom he committed the actions.

Psalms 51:1-4 Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.

Though David had directly sinned against Bathsheba and her husband Uriah, he recognized that all sin is ultimately an offense against God. We were designed by God to be perfect in every regard. Our inability to be morally perfect does not preclude our responsibility. God expects us all to exhibit the same righteous behavior that He displays–always and in every way.

As fallen beings, we tend to compare ourselves with each other in determining whether or not we are “good people.” God uses Himself as the model and demands that we uphold the same behavior–if we will dwell with Him in His home. Certainly we understand that each one of us chose to live with people who exhibit a certain code of moral behavior. Most of us do not want to live in our home with a consummate liar, murderer, rapist, or thief.

In the same way, God choses to live with people who are like Him—morally perfect. Those who have obeyed His command to have their sins dealt with forever, by the sacrifice of His Son. Jesus death has paid for and removed every sin from every person–forever. Those who believe this truth and receive Jesus as their Savior, have the removal of their sins and God perfect righteousness added to their account.

David’s model of remorseful prayer is the only kind of repentance that God will hear and accept. Today, every person must come to God with deep sorrow for their sins, if they will be accepted by God. A message of salvation that is presented without the element of repentance from sin is lacking the necessary power to convey that salvation. There is no forgiveness—apart from sincere repentance.

For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.

David’s sincerity and acknowledgment that he alone was responsible for his actions—vindicated the righteous justice of God and allowed for his restoration.

Daniel’s prayers as recorded in chapters 9 and 10 of his books, are additional examples of the heart that God will receive:

Daniel 10:12 Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.”

Throughout the Bible there are three parts to salvation that are revealed.

Justification
Sanctification
Glorification

Justification is the instantaneous moment by which God makes us perfect, without sin, and ready for heaven. The entire work of justification occurs at the moment we repent of our sins and receive Jesus as our Savior. There are several individaul parts of Justification that are further defined later in this chapter.

Romans 3:24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus

Sanctification is an instantaneous and life-long process whereby God sets the believer apart for Himself, by many trials. This aspect of salvation involves the participation and cooperation of the believer. Sanctification is also the most difficult part of salvation to understand as it requires great patience and endurance.

We are sanctified at the moment of salvation:

Hebrews 10:10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

We are sanctified as a continual process of our life:

Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

Glorification occurs at the moment of death when our spirit departs our body and enters into the presence of the Lord. Free from our bodies, we are now delivered from the presence of sin, forever.

Romans 8:30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

The elements of Justification:

The moment of salvation is an event whereby God declares eternally—our sins have been properly dealt with and we are now suitable for heaven. Justification is also a legal term, used to describe the adjudication of sins.

Prior to Jesus sacrifice for our sins, every person who has been born on the earth, remained under condemnation, with no hope of heaven.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Ephesians 2:1, 12-13 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins… that at that time you were without Christ… having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Adam’s single act of disobedience brought the curse of sin and death to all human beings. In the same way—Jesus single act of sacrifice for all our sins has taken them away and makes-righteous, all those who believe in Him for their salvation.

Romans 5:18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense (Adam) judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous (Jesus) act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.

The intent of justification is to take a person who is guilty and deserves the penalty of eternal death—not guilty, pardoned and set free. Moreover, these persons exist in an eternal state of complete innocence—as if they had never sinned.

Most people think of forgiveness as letting a former offense go, while the reality of the offense still remains. When God forgives our sins, He treats us as if the offense never took place. In order for God to acquit us in this way, He must have a justifiable basis. The Lord could not simply ignore our sins, nor clear our guilt—without a righteous basis.

God is the origin of all laws, as well as the judge and executor of those laws—therefore, He must carry out judgement against all unrighteousness. Before the foundation of the world, the Lord determined that every person who sins—will experience the penalty of eternal death, which is separation from God, for eternity.

Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.

Romans 6:23 For the payments for sin is death

Since every human being has sinned, we are all hopelessly under the sentence of death. There is no good work, nor further action that can be done by us, to change this sentence. Paul emphasizes this reality when he describes our present condition as sinners.

Romans 5:8-10 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Paul defines the moment we believe in Jesus as our Savior as saved from wrath. This statement defines the guilt of all persons as fixed and unbreachable. Only an act of intervention by God could change this sentence. Without Jesus death for all sins—every person would personally stand before the Lord and be sentenced to an eternal separation from His presence—with no hope of reprieve or pardon.

The Love of God

Because it is not the will of God that any person should perish—nor see His wrath—He allowed His Son to take the penalty for our sins. In this amazing event, we understand the depth of God’s love for all people, for all time. God is very loving and kind, but He is also very just and righteous. He will punish sin and carry out the just punishment He has determined.

If God were to simply overlook our sins and allow us admission into heaven without dealing with those sins—He would not be just.

Could any of us imagine a judge who would ignore the crimes of a murderer or rapist and simply let the guilty go free as an act of benevolence? A righteous judge must punish the guilty—according to the law.

God is just and the justifier

Paul described the actions of God in convicting the world of sin—while also acting as the justifier of the world to remove those sins—by the death of His Son—as His righteousness.

Romans 3:26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

According to some people, God is so loving that He would not condemn any person to an eternity in Hell. If this were true then it would be impossible to trust God. His unwillingness to judge and punish evil would cause every person to view Him as unfit as the originator of all righteous law. Any government which enacted laws without the enforcement of those laws—would not be a valid government.

No person would be secure under any system that failed to punish those who hurt or take advantage of others.

Consider the reality of an earthly judge who acquits a murderer instead of pronouncing the sentence that he deserves. He would be unjust. The job of a judge is to hear evidence against the accused and them pronounce and carry out the penalty for those crimes. In the same regard, God is the judge of all human beings, by virtue of His right as our Creator. He is the source of all laws and the only one who is capable of determining what has actually occurred and how justice should be carried out. He knows all things—which includes what is in the heart of those who have committed actions worthy of judgment.

Other terms associated with Justification are:

Reconciliation

The relational work of bringing two antagonistic parties together in a peaceful settlement of differences, so that they are agreeable and united with each other once again.

2 Corinthians 5:18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation…

Atonement

An act which is sufficient in value to remove sin and cause the former offender to be “at-one” with the person offended.

In the New Testament, “atonement” and “propitiation” are similarly defined as: “An offering to appease or satisfy an angry or offended party.” Propitiation in the book of 1 John is translated from the Greek word, hilasmos. John describes the blood that Jesus has shed, which appeases the wrath of God against our sin.[1]

1 John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Intercession

The acts of bringing two apposing parties together as an advocate, mediator or peacemaker.

The New Testament describes Jesus as our great High Priest who ever lives to make intercession for us.

Hebrews 7:25-26 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens

Redemption

The economic work of paying the cost or expense of restoration that has a legitimate basis sufficient to restore the former and intended position of something or someone.

Galatians 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”). Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying: (Jesus) “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

Propitiation

The acts of a mediator who appeases the offending party by bringing together the offended and the offender.

Propitiation and atonement appear as similar terms in the New Testament. When two parties make an agreement they have exercised propitiation, as they come back together in fellowship they have experienced atonement.

Paul uses propitiation interchangeably with redemption and justification in Romans chapter 3—as he describes the work which was accomplished by Jesus sacrifice for us on the cross—when He became the justifier of all those who place their trust in Him.

Romans 3:24-26 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Ransom

The economic work of paying a price sufficient to obtain the release of a guilty or captured party or prisoner.

Mark 10:45 (Jesus speaking) For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” 1 Timothy 2:6 (Jesus) who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time…

Forgiveness

The forensic work of acquitting or clearing a guilty party by pardoning their offense—through a penalty paid by an innocent party.

Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. Colossians 1:14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Satisfaction

The legal work of providing a sufficient payment to an offended party or judge to make an appeasement or act of restitution for former wrongs committed—which enables a state of contentment.

Isaiah 53:11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities.

Pardon

The legal work of declaring a guilty party free from their crimes and made innocent before the law or judge who originates the charges.

Mediation

The actions of a person who represents an offending party to negotiate a settlement and allow for a state of peace to exist between them and the offended party.

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus

Acceptation

Legal work which results in the offending party making sufficient actions to amend their former conduct—resulting in acceptance by the one offended.

Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ…by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Imputation

A legal work in which an innocent and non offending party—takes the charges and penalty of the guilty into their own account—as well as the insertion of the righteous attributes of a good person, into the life of someone who has formerly committed unlawful actions.

Romans 4:5-6 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works...

Adoption

The familial work of a parent who assumes the life and responsibility for a child that is not their by natural birth.

Romans 8:15 …you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.

Ephesians 1:5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will

Responsibility

Having received all of these marvelous blessings, could any person resist the great love that God has show to all of us? Since God has so thoroughly displayed His desire to save us, every person is rightly obligated to respond accordingly and receive Jesus as their Savior. To ignore or cast aside the Love which the Father has shown to us, to scoff at and ridicule the sacrifice Jesus has made for us—is to place ourselves under condemnation and wrath and leave us without excuse on the day of judgement.

Hebrews 10:29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

Romans 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse...

Matthew 12:36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.

When we consider all of these terms which encompass our justification by Jesus sacrifice for our sins, we are stunned by the great care and work of God in making salvation available to every person—regardless of their sins.

Certainly God chose David and his line of descendants as a visible record of how the Lord can show grace and mercy to any sinner who simply believes what He says. David’s sins were terrible and destructive to himself and his family—yet the Savior God would send later, was able to remove David’s sins and all sins, forever.

God has delivered His Son to the world as the one method by which all sins can properly be dealt with and removed.

It is clear that God also chose the line of David because his heart was after God. David genuinely loved the Lord, although he was a terrible sinner. David’s love for God commanded his spirit to worship and praise Him from a sincere heart. In every sense of the phrase, David worshipped God “in Spirit and in Truth” (John 4:24).

If the Bible only contained examples of men and women who were perfect, then none of us would be able to identify with these servants of God. Because most of those who are listed as “great men and women of faith” are also terrible sinners, we can understand that God will accept anyone who has committed any sin, as long as they are willing to turn from those sins and come to God in sincere repentance.

If we examine the people who are described in Hebrews Chapter 11 as men and women of great faith, we see that they are often fallible and unqualified individuals whom God uses to accomplish His will.

From Hebrews 11 and the Old Testament:

Noah: a drunk
Abraham: fearful, doubting God, a liar
Sarah: doubting God
Jacob: a deceiver
Moses: a murderer, anger problems, doubting God
Rahab: a prostitute
Gideon: fearful, doubting God
Samson: lustful, prideful
David: an adulterer, murderer, liar

In the New Testament:

Peter: prideful, arrogant, denied he knew Jesus
John: wanted to call fire down from heaven to kill those who would not receive Jesus. Later, as an old man on Patmos he wrote the book of Revelation.
Matthew: a tax collector, drunkard, adulterer, and fornicator.
Thomas: doubter of God, and cynical.
Mary Magdalene: a prostitute, possessed by demons.
Timothy: too young.

In spite of their inadequacies, failures, insufficient faith, and lack of qualifications, the Lord used these people greatly. Why? Because they were willing to repent from their sins and turn to God in faith and serve Him. For this reason, they are listed in the “Halls of Faith” in Hebrews Chapter 11.

Hebrews 11:4-32 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. 8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. 17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,18 of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. 21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones. 23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command. 24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. 32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets…

Hebrews 11:39-40 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.

Regardless of the sins that you may have committed in your life, God has provided a Savior that is able to remove all of your sins and make you perfect before God. All you must do is come to Jesus in sincere repentance for your sins and receive Him as you Savior.


 

NOTES:
[1] Strong’s Concordance: 2434 hilasmós – properly, propitiation; an offering to appease (satisfy) an angry, offended party. 2434 (hilasmós) is only used twice (1 Jn 2:2, 4:10) – both times of Christ’s atoning blood that appeases God’s wrath, on all confessed sin. By the sacrifice of Himself, Jesus Christ provided the ultimate 2434 /hilasmós (“propitiation”).

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