By Mary Stout
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. (Romans 5:1, NLT)
Yesterday we talked about prevenient grace and how God loves us so much he draws us to him. Today we will explore justifying grace. While prevenient grace calls us to Christ, it is the second grace we receive when we make the decision to follow Jesus. This is justifying grace. To understand justifying grace, we need to know what justification means.
Justification is God’s action of removal of the guilt and sin of our lives when we believe in Christ’s death on the cross for our atonement. When we allow Jesus to enter our life, we become clean in the Father’s eyes. Through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, we are made whole again. The moment we receive Christ as our Savior, justifying grace happens. When we make that decision to follow Jesus, we are hidden in Christ and God sees us as whole. To understand a bit better what it means to be saved, let’s visit Nicodemus again.
Nicodemus didn’t understand what Jesus meant when he said you must be born again. Jesus knew Nicodemus was a wise man and very educated in the Old Testament. He met Nicodemus right where he was. Jesus knew Nicodemus was well versed in OT scripture and law. Jesus explained that one must be saved by both water and spirit fulfilling the promise to Ezekiel: “I will sprinkle clean water on you [here’s the water aspect], and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you…I will put my Spirit in you” (Ezekiel 25:25-27)
That is exactly what happens when we decide to follow Jesus. God brings us into a new life in Christ Jesus. We are no longer separated from the Father when we receive justifying grace. It changes our heart and life so that we can live in right relationship to the Father again. Remember back to when you became a Christian? The resounding peace you felt when you accepted Christ is the result of God’s justifying grace.
Prayer: Father we thank you for your justifying grace. For it is by it we came to know and love Jesus and began our walk with you in right relationship. Thank you for loving us and giving us a new life. In Jesus name, Amen.