NextLevel Online: Romans

Session 5: Romans 5-1.11: Taking Justification Personally

Paul explains in Romans 3-4 that God justifies us – he declares us righteous or acquitted or pardoned – not on the basis of our good behavior but solely on the basis of his mercy and grace, solely on the basis of Jesus’ death as the perfect sacrifice that atones for our sin.



Classroom

Classroom Instructions

Lesson
Materials: Lesson Outline
Leader
  • Justified by grace through faith. Saved from wrath. Isn’t that what he just said? Paul, why repeat yourself? Well, if Paul could answer us I think he would say, “Because I want it to sink down from your head to your heart.” Because we know that there is a difference between seeing that something is true and feeling that truth in your bones; between understanding and getting it, you know? We gotta move from “I agree this is true,” to “Yes, and this will now define me.”

  • So taking my cues from Paul, what I want to do today is linger in this truth a little longer. The truth Paul explains in Romans 3-4 is that God justifies us – he declares us righteous or acquitted or pardoned – not on the basis of our good behavior but solely on the basis of his mercy and grace, solely on the basis of Jesus’ death as the perfect sacrifice that atones for our sin. That is objectively true – it’s true whether you believe it, it’s true whether you feel it or not. We learn about objective truth every time we run into a wall or stub a toe. That table leg was always there, whether we were aware of it or not. When we kicked it, we became aware of its presence.

  • That’s the objective side, and this time I want to talk about the subjective side. I want us all to move from, “Okay I agree with that statement” to “Yes, and this truth now defines me.”

  • I’ll tell you right up front that I think we need to make two moves for this to work. Two steps that begin with a choice and then proceed as we keep choosing them.

    • Let God’s opinion of you define you.

    • Let Christ’s death define God’s opinion of you.

  • The original context for justification was Jews and Gentiles trying to walk together in Christ... (Jews leave in 49, return in 54…)

  • I don’t think the question is if you seek justification, but how. ● Like I said, there are as many flavors of “justification by works” as there are people in the room. But let me mention a few things to help you ask the question: How do I tend to justify my existence by what I do?

  • Knowing. Could be college basketball stats. Could be Bible verses. Producing. Need visible evidence of your effort. If not, worthless. Earning. Paycheck makes you feel internally secure. Winning. Sports. Sales. Baking. Parenting. Impressing. We lost but I played well. Helping. You want to make an impact – to know that people’s lives are better because you were here. You need to help people to justify you being alive. You ever think, “You know, I could lose everything and not be a success, but if I can make sure my kids turn out okay then I’ll be fine.” Kids can’t bear that kind of pressure. And I can’t love them if beneath all my effort to help is a need to feel okay, to feel enough, to feel righteous.

  • Remember Romans. Remember that:

    • Your well-being is determined by your status before God.

    • Your status before God is determined by the cross.

  • Put simply: let the cross of Christ tell you who you are.

About NextLevel Online

The vision of Ozark Christian College is to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and edifying Christians worldwide. The mission of Ozark Christian College is to train men and women for Christian service as a degree-granting institution of biblical higher education.