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Just as if I'd never been Justified in Murder     From Nothing but the Blood Audio
Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm and said, 
“Now gird up your loins like a man; 
I will ask you, and you instruct Me.
Will you really annul My judgment?
Will you condemn Me that you may be JUSTIFIED?
Or do you have an arm like God,
And can you thunder with a voice like His?”
 —Job 40

Much more then, having now been JUSTIFIED by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while 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. . . .  So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted JUSTIFICATION of life to all men. —Romans 5

The third thing our belief in the blood of Jesus Christ did was to JUSTIFY us to God.

As I look through the times the word “Justified” is used in Scripture (26 in the NASB) I can break them into two camps

    1. instances where folks looked to justify themselves, and
    2. times where God justifies another.

I could just have easily said:

    1. instances where bad things happen next, and
    2. times where hope for a great tomorrow is seen.

We don’t have a great context for the word Justify, but Jerry Leachman taught me to think of Justified as just-as-if-I’d-never. Consider this story:

This is a story of two Men. One night, the First Man got drunk, blacked out and drove home, for the first time ever. The Second Man did the same, but he’d been doing it for years.

The news the next morning reports that two girls were killed in separate incidents in the early morning hours.

Both are charged, convicted and end up in the same jail cell.

A few years later, the Warden comes and swings the door open wide. “Pack up your stuff. You’re both getting released today.”

They look at each other and the First Man says, “What happened?”

The Warden sighs, “The Governor pardoned you. You’re free to go.”

The Second Man points to himself and says, “Did the Governor pardon me, too?”

“No. Some Other Guy came forward and confessed that he did it.”

The First Man was pardoned, but the Second Man was justified. The First Man was free, but he walked from prison knowing that he killed a little girl. The Second Man was free and lived the rest of his life just as if he’d never . . .

Although that’s a great story, it’s complex, too. The Second Man did the exact same thing that the first man did, except in his case, though he had no recollection of it, when the veil of his intoxication was lifted, he learned that he was innocent of the crime.

But what if you did kill a little girl? What if you’re the first guy? What if the thing separating you from relationship with God is a feeling that something you’ve done is too terrible to forgive? It’s going to be difficult to discuss this without a context of belief in the Gospel. Just like you have no foundation of truth to explain Calculus to a fifth grader or the intricacies of local party politics with an astrophysicist, but we’ll try.

Christians believe that we all fall short of the glory/standard of God (Romans 3:23). In the world, we tend to rank sins—murder’s at the top and (white) lying, gossiping and such are at the bottom. We imagine a line separates a good guy from a scumbag.

But God gave us a different standard (Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28) and the line is far out of reach. Someone that’s only killed one person is a murderer. Someone that’s only looked upon one person with lust is an adulterer. You get the point.

To God, any sin, the first sin, puts me/you/us on the other side of that line. So, yes, the Second Man can get a job and has a clean record in the world, but he still committed the crime.

The blood of Jesus makes us right in God’s eyes because, finally, an acceptable sacrifice was made. We’ve known from nearly the beginning that blood was the way back, but there’s a heart piece, and we’re never going to earn out of jail ourselves, so God stands in the gap because it was always possible that One, the right One, could cover for everyone and God said all along that He was sending Jesus to be that One.

Just like the Other Guy took responsibility for the death of the second girl, Jesus took responsibility for the death that I/you/we brought to the world. We weren’t pardoned. No, we were Justified.

But just like the Man who never returned to the pawn shop to redeem his treasure, failure to accept the Justification means living on forever in prison like that of the First Man. I’m/You’re/We’re not humble or pious because we continue to carry the burdon of sin around with us.

Failure to accept the right relationship with God and the justification by the blood of Jesus is the unpardonable sin (Mark 3:28-29). I/You/We are made right in the eyes of God. Now go out and live it.

l love you.          

This is the fourteenth part in a multi-part post expanding on an exceptional talk Billy Graham gave at the University of Cambridge in 1955 with influences from Tim Keller's sermon series Christ: Our Treasury (The Book of Hebrews). To hear an overview of this material, consider listening to the original Nothing but the Blood audio, linked here (it'll stream from a mobile device), read all the posts to date by clicking #nothingbuttheblood, or hear the most recent version of the Nothing but the Blood talk by streaming it on the player, below. If you'd like to get these posts sent to you via email (and you're not already), click here to register and make sure to tell us that you're a Back Porch Friend.

The next in this series, Part 15. What Does It Take To Reconcile? is available by clicking here.

The above media player has something new on it. I've mastered the audio a bit to make it sound a little better and added a new intro and close. I'd love to hear your feedback on it down below. Just click play and it'll stream from your computer, tablet or mobile device.
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