Justification – Grace – Redemption
The problem in the human race is established by the apostle Paul in the first three chapters of Romans. The conclusion is: “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Rom. 3:23). That’s the bad news.
The good news is immediately stated: “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” (Rom. 3:24). Study this verse through the key words.
“Justified” is a legal word which conveys “acquittal,” or pronouncement of innocence. “It is a legal term and does not mean that the person is made righteous; rather, the sense is that one is declared to be acquitted or righteous,” (Clinton Hamilton, Truth Commentaries, Romans, p.#217). When one believes (with all that is comprehended in belief), from the mind of God there is acquittal. This is based on the death of Jesus Christ.
“Grace” is the unmerited favor of God. Though man has sinned, falling short of the glory of God, God’s attitude toward man is seen to be favorable in His willingness to forgive. God is not obligated by any internal or external standard to forgive us. “It is something that God desired to do out of His love because God is love (1 Jno. 4:8-10). It is a gift from God that is undeserved on any basis,” (Clinton Hamilton, Truth Commentaries, Romans, p.#217).
“Redemption” is deliverance from bondage by the payment of a price, or ransom. Thayer says of this word, “deliverance effected through the death of Christ from the retributive wrath of a holy God and the merited penalty of sin.” Based on His death, redemption is located in Him, and we enjoy that deliverance when faith becomes active in obedience.
Each sinner, every one of us (Rom. 3:23), find no escape from sin expect by the activity of faith in Christ. We have all sinned but the gospel tells us, we can be freely justified and redeemed by the grace of God. This is possible because of Christ Jesus, who died for us. Paul has identified the problem, and announced the remedy; the only remedy God has given. “The grace of deliverance from the bondage of sin is by means of Christ Jesus. There is no room for the boasting of man, but there ought to be in all who are redeemed praise and thanksgiving for the great sacrifice for sin,” (Hamilton, p.#219).
By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 12.7; July 2005