Those [God] called, he also justified.
Imagine you are in God’s courtroom. He is the judge. You are on trial for breaking his law: “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
Be perfect. No sin. Every thought, always perfect, all the time. Every word, always perfect, all the time. Everything you do, always perfect, all the time. Are you that good? No. So, how are you going to defend yourself?
Self-justification? Justify means to declare not guilty. But no courtroom allows the person on trial to declare him or herself not guilty. The Judge has to do that. So self-justification simply won’t work.
But there is hope for you. Just don’t look inside yourself for defense in this trial. Look outside yourself.
Look to a manger where the newborn Son of God lies. Look to the perfect life Jesus lived for you; every temptation trounced. Look to a bloody cross, where sin’s wage was paid. Look to an empty tomb, where sin was buried, and death was broken. Look to Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
So, how do you defend yourself? Try this: “Your honor, I admit that I deserve to be separated from you forever. But I know One who suffered on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He has taken away my sin.”
And just like that, the trial is over. The verdict? Not guilty. God justifies you for Jesus’ sake. Who could ever have imagined? Only a God as good as ours.
Lord Jesus, thank you for serving my sentence, on the cross, in my place to justify me. Amen.