Read Matthew 19:30-20:16.
In Matthew 20:1-16 we learned about workers who each received the equal pay as the master promised. Likewise, all who believe in Christ receive the gift that God has promised: justification from sin and the inheritance of eternal life. Here’s a definition of the Christian doctrine of justification from J.I. Packer:
“Justification is a judicial act of God pardoning sinners (wicked and ungodly persons, Rom. 4:5; 3:9–24), accepting them as just, and so putting permanently right their previously estranged relationship with himself. This justifying sentence is God’s gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:15–17), his bestowal of a status of acceptance for Jesus’ sake (2 Cor. 5:21).”
Read the following passages on justification:
2 Corinthians 5:21
Summarize these truths through answering these questions:
What gift do all believers receive?
From which of our sins are we justified through faith in Jesus?
Is any Christian more justified than another?
Q1: How do you respond to this truth? Is there anyone you feel should not receive the righteousness of God?
Q2: How does it feel to know that you are equally righteous as a serial killer or human trafficker who repents and has faith in Christ?
Q3: How does it make you feel to know you too have the righteousness of God—the highest righteousness we could ever imagine?
What about Christians that seem more mature in their faith? While we all receive the righteousness of God, some are more sanctified than others. Justification is our righteous standing before God: we have been declared innocent. Sanctification is the ongoing process of being made more holy like Jesus and made to more resemble the character and life of Jesus. Justification happens at our Christian birth; sanctification is our growth.