And here is love: … and those whom he called he also justified...
This is the steadfast chain of salvation that links us to God forever and ever.
Predestination is God’s mere thoughts, affections, will, and decisions towards us. From eternity past, God thought of us specifically and was mindful of us intentionally.
Calling is the voice of God that actively makes us alive in our dead and sinful state. The calling of God is the voice of the Father bringing us to life and calling us according to His purpose.
But, to be justified by God? That is the awesome grandeur splendid of his glorious majesty.
How come? The justification of God for his people alone was not done as predestination in the secret community of God himself before time and space were created. Also, being justified by God was also not clearly observed by the intended target, namely the individual saved by God.
Justification of the people of God was done on the grandest scale that changed the course of mankind for all of eternity. Atheists disbelieve in God. Agnostics question the existence of God. But since it happened, there is no human with access to written history can ever deny the historical evidence nor significance of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ upon that cross on Golgotha as ordered by Pontius Pilate some 2000 years ago.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Death, who laid so many claims to so many lives, would have its own existence claimed by the death of the Son of Man upon that same hill.
But why such extremes? Why did the Son of God have to perish so that others will live?
For you see, apart from God and without God we stand before God with no representation. We stand before a good and right judge who rightly judges his people from not his people.
Divide those who called upon His name to be saved and those who suppress their own knowledge in order to defy his plainly observed existence. 1
Bifurcate those who have the gift of the Holy Spirit from those have experience and claim the deeds the power of the Holy Spirit for themselves. 2
Separate those who live according to the Spirit from those who live according to the flesh. 3
Redirect those who have entered the narrow gate of life away of the masses on the wide gate to destruction. 4
Justification is often referred to as a legal term because one, it is and two, a trial actually occurred.
Matthew 27:15–23 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” And he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”
Barabbas is us and Christ is Christ! There is no coincidence nor mistake in the timing of the feast of the governor and the trial of Jesus.
And there is no mistake that the gospel of Matthew has more details about this occasion than the other gospels. This was the rhythm of the Old Testament: animals killed and drained of their blood and then grilled to a burnt crisp upon the altar. Also, the priest praying, laying on hand upon the goat and to release that scapegoat into the wilderness with all the sins of the people to be forgotten forever and ever. All of that didn’t accomplish what it represented but it pointed to this one singular day. Barabbas versus Jesus.
Barabbas was guilty as sin. Yet, Christ stood in his place to appease the blood-thirsty crowds.
We are guilty as sin. Yet, Christ stood in our place to satisfy the just and holy wrath of God upon those do not believe and obey the Son of God. 5
And here is love, the cross of Christ where “steadfast love and faithfulness meet and righteousness and peace kiss each other”. 6
In the end, we will all stand before that same Son of Man. I will stand before my Savior. But instead of Jesus being mocked, stripped naked, shamed, and in excruciating torturous pain crying out to His Father, Christ Jesus will be glorious, sitting in majesty and at the right hand of the Father.
And I imagine that one person right after the other attempting to talk their way out be damned apart from him. They will give the grandest defenses and blame everything everyone but themselves. They will even claim that they were able to exercise the power of God by prophesying or casting out demons. They will even claim all of their good deeds that they have done all of their life. And Christ will simply say, “Be gone from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
I have heard some good intentioned Christians hope they have the sense of mind and spirit to claim the blood of Christ while standing before him.
But don’t you see? What do you think the Triune God would appear to us? Would he dare soften and lessen his glorious state just for our sake? I think not.
We will stand before him in complete awe and shock. Likewise, what do I have before my sweet Savior who loved me and gave himself up for me?
I have not enough tears to express the depth torment of my sins that plagued me since birth. But I have no song that will be good enough to express His worthiness of my praises. I will have no joy great enough that could properly convey the loveliness of my beautiful God.
How can I defend myself?
I lay prostrate, my face hot with tears, as his glory is too bright and my eyes are too blurred to take it all in. I cannot imagine I will know what to do or what to say.
But then I hear the whisper of the One who has been with me from the moment my Father called me out of the darkness and despair. He tells me, “Do not be afraid”.
In that same sweetest and most joyous voice, I hear His Spirit bear witness with my spirit, “Father, this is your son!”
Christ turns to His Father and My Father as if to say, “What do you say?”
The Father bellows out in a voice that shakes the heavens, “This is my son in whom I am well-pleased!”
It is then my glorious God, the Son of God who is the Son of Man, the Living Word, the Spotless Lamb, King of kings, and Lord of lords, descends from this throne comes to me, sets me upright before him, drapes his own spotless robe over me, and declares with once and for all to hear, “NO CONDEMNATION!”
I stare into the face of the loveliest face that I have ever seen in my existence and for the first time, I know that I am truly and fully known. I simply mouth these words, “Thank you, My Lord.”
He looks into my eyes, and with the sweetest smile, he says to me, “Enter in the joy of your master.”
It is only by the sovereign grace of our Father, through the power and might of the Holy Spirit, by the glorious life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus that we are justified to God forever.