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Self-Examination: Am I Trying to Justify Myself, or is Jesus My Justification?

Over my years in ministry, I have seen a lot of church goers do many things to justify their lifestyles when confronted with scriptures. The amount of excuses used, the self-justifications, they all break my heart, but the worst, I think is “Well, that’s your opinion, the Bible is open to interpretation.” Where did this argument come from, exactly? Why does it exist in the mouths of those who profess to follow Christ? Simply put: we don’t want to listen to what the Bible says, even as it’s said plainly, and we want to have Jesus justify our lifestyles and worldliness, as opposed to being Justified by Christ and conformed to His image. And so here is the question we must always ask ourselves: am I trying to justify myself, or is Jesus my justification? When we say things like “that’s open to interpretation,” what we’re doing is telling God and our brother who is trying to correct us that we don’t really want Jesus or what He teaches, we just want the rights and privileges that go along with following Him. When we justify ourselves, we try and remove God from the throne and place ourselves upon it. It is in Christ alone that we have any justification. When we self-justify, I’m not sure we have a full grasp on what we’re invoking before God. We’re telling God, our selves and others that we don’t need God’s righteousness because we’re enough in our own right. And yet, when we stand before God, we’ve unleashed the Law against ourselves, and it is by the Law, not the righteousness of Jesus, that we will be judged. All of our deeds will be shown before God, and if we are in violation of any of the Law, we will be found guilty, and sent to our just punishment. This is what Christ came to save us from! It is through Christ’s life, death, burial and resurrection, God has given us a new life and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, who guides us, counsels us and conforms us in to the image of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit interprets the word for us, and He cuts and prunes away the flesh that keeps us from God that we may be men and women of the Spirit, connected to the One on the Throne, with Jesus as our High Priest and advocate. It is God who gets to determine what we are and what we should be; He is our author, our designer, our creator, and He alone has the right to who and what we should be. Galatians 2:15-21 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Romans 5:1-11

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

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