“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus …” Romans 3:23-24 (ESV)

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter celebration, even if it was on the quiet side due to social distancing. Our family usually celebrates with a huge dinner. One of the highlights is the Easter Egg hunt for the grandchildren where we all take great delight in cracking cascarones (confetti eggs) on each others’ heads. Even the adults get in on the fun, and if someone is a newbie—well, they get a double dose.

None of that happened this year. But Easter is the time of year Christians hear a lot about the term justification. Spiritually speaking, it has to do with how we stand before a holy God. A different definition, justifying margins, has to do with how the text of a document is aligned. As is often the case, the two definitions are linked.

We could say, justify has to do with how we line up with God. Are we straight with Him?

Certainly not by our own efforts. We’re only straight with God because of Christ’s sacrifice. Because of our sin, and there’s no one who hasn’t sinned, we’re not good enough to stand before a holy God.

Actually this flies in the face of secular thinking. Lots of folks want to believe that we’ll go to heaven if we’re good enough. But who decides “good enough”? You? Me?

The truth is, God’s standard is the final authority. And God says all have sinned.

Another popular lie is that passage to heaven is contingent on how big the sin is or how often we do it. But this faulty logic is more like wishful thinking in disguise. None of that matters to God.

God set the standard for sin, but He loved us so much, He made a way so we could be justified. We can line up and be straight with God for all eternity.

This is why we celebrate Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection. Jesus never sinned, and God allowed Him to be the perfect sacrifice. For us. So we could be justified before God. When God looks at us, He doesn’t see our sin, He only sees that Jesus took our place. He satisfied the law. What He did made everything line up. All we have to do is receive His gift.

Yes, I’m justified before God. It’s how God sees me and how I stand before Him.

But since the definition can get cumbersome, I have a shorter way to think of justification. Whenever I hear the term, my lips curve up in a smile.

Because of what Jesus did, it’s just as if I never sinned.  

Now that’s reason to celebrate!

Guest blog post by Mary Pat Johns


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