Our scripture this morning is Romans 3:21-26.
“But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Paul explains that God’s love and righteousness have been shown through Jesus coming to be with us. He also reminds us “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (v. 23) and in order to be justified we must ask for His forgiveness. God wants us back but we must change our lives to begin the process.
The term justified is not one that comes up in everyday conversation. The dictionary gives several different definitions but the most appropriate is “declared or made righteous in the sight of God” (Oxford Online). Still a little vague? Think of using a word processor and that most of our documents are left justified, lined up starting from the left side. To be justified means to be in line with God’s will.
I learned a phrase to help remember and understand this – “Just as if I’d” – as in just-as-if-I’d never sinned. God is ready to forgive and “remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12). By accepting the blessing He offers we can be restored, made right in His love.
Gracious God, thank You for Your grace and mercy, and receiving us back in love even when we fail. Help us to be the disciples of today, going into the world to do Your will. Amen.