The Results of Justification
(c) The Ingredients of Joy
In dealing with the effects of Justification Paul is examining the subject of assurance and its various elements. Binding all of these elements together is the experience of joy. True assurance begets a sense of of joy and happiness. Therefore our security in Christ enables us to “rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (v2) and serenity in adversity is so ordered because we can “glory in tribulations also..” (v3). When the apostle reaches v11 he once again returns to joy, his recurrent theme. Assurance creates a fullness of happiness and contentment that can only be discovered in Christ. As the Holy Scriptures lead us onto the climax in verse 11, which brings the first division of this chapter to a conclusion, we can discern specific elements or ingredients in Christian joy.
1: Love v6-8
God’s love for us.
Our love for God is not a ground of joy because it cools so readily, Revelation 2:4. From the context we discern that Paul is now describing this love of God poured forth with abundance into our hearts, v5.
The people whom God loves.
Without strength (v6) – incapable of understanding spiritual things (1Corinthians 2:14), of seeing or entering God’s Kingdom (John 3:3,5) and of seeking God (Romans 3:11.
Ungodly (v6)– no good thoughts towards God, inclined away from God.
Sinners (v8) – breakers of God’s holy law (Romans 3:23).
Enemies (v10) – a spirit of rebellion and opposition to God.
“Being like Satan in his desires, we would drag God from his throne, cast him to hell and crush him into nothingness-if that were possible-which is what many people tried to do when God came among them in the person of Jesus Christ”. (James Montgomery Boice).
The proof of God’s love.
Considering the extreme wickedness and rebellion of humanity, the love of God in offering his Son becomes all the more wonderful. Love is measured in our willingness to die for another, for a nation or for a cause. Yet such love in in short supply. The righteous man is respected for his morality and judgement. It would be difficult to find one who would die for such an individual. The good man is kind and generous. He would stand a better chance of finding one to die on his behalf. But would an earthling ever die for his enemy?
This is what God did when he offered Christ. Meditate upon the force of these words “in due time Christ died for the ungodly”.
2: Justification v9
Martyn Lloyd Jones said that the greatest reason for doubts and a lack of joy in Christian hearts was a “a failure to understand the truth of justification by faith only”. Paul is reasoning out the full and logical impact of justification upon the soul of man. He does not say that we are saved because we are born again, because we enjoy the Holy Spirit or because we have repented. While regeneration and the Spirit’s ministry are vital elements in our salvation they are not the basis. Justification by Christ’s blood is the ground of our hope. Nor are we saved because of our faith. It is the subject of faith that saves, the precious blood of our Saviour. Therefore the sacrifice of our Lord in offering up himself is essential in our salvation. Furthermore Paul reasons that if have indeed been justified by Christ’s blood then we are safe from the wrath which is to come. If the blood of Christ has reversed our standing with God then no believer will ever be lost and damned. The preciousness of the blood argues for eternal salvation. To say otherwise is to claim that Christ died in vain.
3: Reconciliation v10
The verb to reconcile is a different way of expressing our justification because this is what exactly what happens to the justified person, he is reconciled in that peace is made with God. Nevertheless reconciliation adds to the power of justification in that it describes the state of those reconciled. It only those who are at odds or who are even enemies who require reconciliation. Paul, however, reasons out the logic of this reconciliation by explaining that if were reconciled by the death of Christ then we are saved by his life. The preposition “by” here literally means “in”. The reconciled people exist in the life of Christ. He rose for us, he represents our cause in heaven and we are members of his body. We are saved, we are reconciled because we belong to Christ. God sees us in his Son. This argues for our assurance and our security.
4: Joy v11
The word “atonement” is the same word as is rendered “reconciliation”. The outcome of love, justification and reconciliation is that “we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. The verb “joy” is the same verb as glory (v3). Practically we can enjoy peace despite the pressures and struggles of life by appreciating our salvation. In so doing we honour God because our salvation is not of man. It is a work of grace from beginning to end and as recipients of such favour we are safe in the knowledge that we depend upon the Lord and the merits of Christ’s death.