A Right Standing

Israel had a covenant relationship with God, which was conditional. Had they trusted God and been obedient, they would have enjoyed prosperity in the promised land. The Lord said to His covenant people, “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, the man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil” (Is. 56:1,2).

But they were unable to keep the law. The nation divided into Israel and Judah. Because of their disobedience, God raised up Assyria to bring Israel down. Finally Judah fell along with Jerusalem in 586 BC. Because of Adam’s sin, they had no legal relationship with God, causing them to stand guilty and under condemnation. Sin broke their personal moral relationship with Him, causing their nature to be impure and at odds with God’s holiness as follows:

                                   Pre-fall man              Post-fall man

          Natural                  Righteous                 “By nature objects of wrath” (Eph. 2:3)

          Rational                 Truthful & Right          “Darkened in their understanding” (Eph. 4:18)

          Spiritual                Alive                     “Separated from the life of God” (Eph. 4:18)

          Emotional                Safe, secure, free        “Having lost all sensitivity” (Eph. 4:18f)

          Volitional               Free to choose            “Given themselves over to sensuality” (Eph. 4:19)

By the grace of God our legal relationship is restored. We have been justified. Justification is a judge’s pronouncement of a person’s right standing before the law. We are no longer condemned (Rom. 8:1). When a judge condemns someone, he does not make the person a sinner, he simply declares that such is the case. In justification, God is not making us inherently righteous, He is declaring that we are in a right standing before His law. This change of legal relationship is totally a gift from God, because of Christ’s work for us.

Out of the kindness of our Lord, our relationship has been restored. We have been set free from our sins. We are no longer children of wrath, we are children of God. We are no longer darkened in our understanding, we have been given the mind of Christ and the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth. We are no longer spiritually dead, we are alive in Christ. We are no longer hardened in our hearts, we have been given a new heart and a new spirit. Finally, we are no longer given over to sensuality, we have been given the freedom to live a morally pure life by the grace of God.

Dr. Neil

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