Category Archives: Justify

pertaining to being justified

Justified freely

Romans 3:23-24  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

The redemption that is in Christ Jesus, unfolds towards man in different stages, to those who first trusted in Christ, the body of Christ, Eph 1:11-12, and then all things in heaven and on earth, Eph 1:10, 1Ti 4:9&10. There is different doctrinal beliefs in today’s Christian world concerning salvation and being justified by grace. In order to understand what it means to be justified, the word itself should be defined, and then we will see what the scriptures themselves have to say about being justified. The following definition of the Greek word translated into the English word justified is from a Online Bible Greek Lexicon.

1344 δικαιοω dikaioo dik-ah-yo’-o

from 1342; TDNT-2:211,168; {See TDNT 192 } v

AV-justify 37, be freed 1, be righteous 1, justifier 1; 40

1) to render righteous or such he ought to be
2) to show, exhibit, evince, one to be righteous, such as he is and wishes himself to be considered
3) to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be

The primary definition of render, from a online dictionary is “to cause (someone or something) to be in a specified condition”. That specified condition is righteousness. Since we are justified and saved by grace, Ro 3:24, Eph 2:8, it would profit us to read two sets of scriptures that specify how the justification process by grace takes place. But before we do that a simple analogy might help in understanding the roles faith and grace play in salvation. Faith is the vehicle that transports us to our salvation, 1 Pe 1:5, and grace is the gasoline that powers the vehicle and does the work in justifying the ungodly man.

Titus 2:11-12 KJVS
[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Titus 3:4-7 KJVS
[4] But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, [5] Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; [6] Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Both sets of scriptures describe in a large part how we are justified by grace. It is God working within our hearts, purifying our heart by faith with the abundant washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost, that is instrumental in helping to justify us. In conjunction with God working on us externally, judging and correcting our errant behaviors. More on this a little later on. Many Christian denominations view justification as positional, but I also see the scriptures describing it as a process. Since the end target of being justified by grace is righteousness, Ro 3:21-24, then how can justification be simply “positional”. A scripture that makes this apparent is Gal 5:5.

Galatians 5:5 KJVS
[5] For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

If being justified is positional and based solely on believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, then there would be no reason to have to wait through the Spirit for the hope of righteousness by faith. Now don’t misunderstand me, being justified can only take place by being in Christ Jesus, so in that regard it is positional. But justification is a process a believer goes through to render him righteous.

Ga 2:16  Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

The following two sets of verses put faith and belief in the proper perspective in regards to salvation.
Romans 1:16-17 KJVS
[16] For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. [17] For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
1 Peter 1:5 KJVS
[5] Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

I urge you all, in your study of scripture, to look at the definitions of the various Greek prepositions used in many scriptures describing being justified, salvation and the role grace plays in salvation. Let us look at a definition for the Greek preposition, G1519, that is translated into the English word “unto” in the KJV bible version in the above verses.

Thayer’s Definition
1. into, unto, to, towards, for, among

Many Christians are confused, I know I was in times past, about differentiating between the works of the law and grace. To understand the difference between works of the law and grace, in regards to being justified, and how it impacts the body of Christ, one has to examine the scriptures and see what they say concerning the law and what they say concerning grace and justification by grace. First, one should keep in mind, that when the Apostles mentioned the law and grace, they were often contrasting the two ways of life a individual would seek to be justified before God. A scripture that demonstrates this is in Acts.

Acts 13:39-41  And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
40  Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;
41  Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.

The work that is being worked, is God’s work in justifying the ungodly man throughout his life, using His Spirit in the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, and chastising and disciplining a man, Titus 3:5, 2:11-12, He 12:5-8, 1 Co 11:31&32. The element of time is often and easily overlooked when reading these scriptures. Largely due to the fact that the Aorist verb tense in the Greek is most often translated to the past tense. When in fact, Aorist is said to mean without horizon, this verb tense is explained more fully by experts more qualified than I, in a upcoming article on this site. In the before mentioned Ga 2:16 verse, when it states that a man is not justified by the works of the law, one should keep in mind that the law was a way of life, that a person who lived under the law, observed their whole life, Ro 7:1. If one sinned, then he had to offer a sacrifice. So attempting to be justified under the law was very much so, a way of life, revolving around animal sacrifice. A fruitless way of life, in that the inner nature of the man observing the law was never really changed, Heb 9:10, Ro 8:3. Never the less, a Jew was bound to observe and live under the law. When we are called to Christ we are justified by, or throughout a life of faith, Ga 3:24. When a man works not, Ro 4:5 , and believes that God justifies the ungodly, through His grace, then his faith in God is counted for righteousness, Ro 4:3. The Greek word and definition for the word counted or accredited for righteousness in Ro 4:3.

“G3049  logizomai  log-id’-zom-ahee

middle voice from G3056;

to take an inventory, i.e. estimate (literally or figuratively).

Might this in fact be similar to making payments on a item placed in a layaway plan? Every time a payment is made, it is counted or accredited towards the item that is being purchased. Once the total balance is paid, then the item in layaway is given to you. So to, believing throughout your life that God justifies the ungodly, that belief is counted, inventoried or accredited towards righteousness until the redemption of the purchased possession, Eph 1:14.  Now remember, it is written that we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith, Ga 5:5. Even though a man’s faith is counted for or towards righteousness in God’s eyes, because the man believes God, and takes Him at His word. That does not mean that work is not being done throughout the man’s entire life, justifying him. Only the work that is being done, is done by God rather than by the man himself. And the work God is doing in a man’s life, is due to His grace, that changes a man to the point where the man is righteous in God’s eyes. This fact is crucial in understanding justification, Ro 10:3. The end result of the body of Christ being justified, is righteousness and to be found in Christ at the first resurrection, Php 3:10.  The man is not doing the work himself, but GOD IS! Much could be written about this subject and many scriptures cited but every once and awhile you stumble across a statement that so aptly and simply describes a certain thing, that it sticks in your mind. I often go to a local used book store because they have quite a number of used bibles and bible study resources at a very modest price. I bought a Catholic bible called The New American Bible for a few dollars. I bought it because it was a study bible with many footnotes. In some areas of doctrine, Roman Catholic theologians are quite good. In a footnote explaining Romans 3:26, this is written. “Divine mercy declares the guilty innocent and makes them so.”  That short description captures the essence of justification. God does in fact, by His grace, justify the ungodly. Let us see another one of the ways this is done.

Tit 2:11-12 ¶  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

One aspect of the grace of God, is that through grace, we are being taught/disciplined/chastised. The Strong’s definition of the Greek word that is translated “teaching” in this verse is as follows:


G3811  paideuo  pahee-dyoo’-o

from G3816;

to train up a child, i.e. educate, or (by implication), discipline (by punishment).

KJV: chasten(-ise), instruct, learn, teach.

This same Greek word is used in Hebrews 12:6 & 7 as the English word “chasteneth”. It is important to understand the distinctions Apostle Paul was making between a man, by his own effort, being justified or trying to be justified by works of the law, in contrast to God justifying a man through His grace. First off, Paul makes it clear that no flesh can be justified by the deeds of the law and that by the law comes the knowledge of sin:

Ro 3:20  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Furthermore the flesh is too weak to observe the law and that is why God sent His son as a sacrifice to redeem us from the law and to condemn sin in the flesh, Ro 8:3. But all this does not somehow happen by magic, instantaneously, due to grace because we believe. God Himself is the one justifying us, and He does it freely, using His grace during our lives. Which teaches us and chastises us, Titus 2:12, He 12:6-11, on the one hand and then being washed in the regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, on the other hand, Titus 3:5. But notice, God is freely doing this work in our lives. Another aspect misunderstood by many is the word freely, and what it implies. Let’s take a look at that verse in Romans:

Ro 3:24  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

You have to go to a couple verses later in Romans to understand what is being said in the previous verse, in context with the point Paul is making.

Ro 4:4-5  Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

God wants a person to realize that He is the one that is justifying the ungodly man. Man, oh how he loves the work of his own hands. So much so at times it borders on idolatry. But God wants to make it clear, that none of our work entitles us or deserves the wage of salvation. God is freely justifying us by His grace, working in our lives, to make us capable for our inheritance, Col 1:12, Titus 3:7. God is doing the work. Have you ever heard the old saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Well, that is what God is doing. God is going to mature each and every one of us. God is building the house with Jesus Christ, Heb 3:4&6, Ps 127:1. The sacrifice of Jesus redeemed us from the law, Ga 3:13, and now God is freely justifying us by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the one who paid the price to redeem us from the law and reconcile us to God, and God is the one who does the work in justifying and sanctifying us, using His Spirit.

1Co 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

We are God’s workmanship in Christ Jesus, Eph 2:10. A scripture that demonstrates this explicitly is Php 2:12-13, the latter part of verse 13 should read ” both to will and to work his good pleasure”.

Php 2:12 ¶ Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

In Hebrews the 10th chapter, God Himself states what it is He is doing in the new covenant:

Heb 10:16-17  This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

God is going to put His laws into our hearts and in our minds. Justification takes place in our hearts because the heart is what motivates our behavior, Mk 7:21&22. That is why Apostle Peter stated that our hearts are purified by faith, Ac 15:9. God sent Jesus to bless us by turning us away from our iniquities,  Ac 3:26. God alone does the work in justifying the ungodly man freely by grace, and that grace is only available through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. In the book of Galatians, Paul uses a metaphor, that if you examine closely and in conjunction with what I have just wrote, is quite illuminating.

Ga 3:24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

The meaning for the Greek word translated as “schoolmaster” in the Authorized Version, means a slave whose duty was to escort a child to school. This slave had little or no part in educating the child.  Neither does the law, but when we are called to be in the body of Christ, we are in school. God’s school. Where He uses His word and His Spirit to discipline us and teach us and purity our hearts. All growth, all knowledge gained, all fruit of the Spirit, are all acquired through experience. It can’t be imprinted on us or imputed. You learn from a teacher or from books and even learn from the school of hard knocks. A school which I attended for many years and still sign up for a course every now and again. But you only learn through some form of experiencing. So that is why Paul was so concerned with the Galatian church observing the law. Because man’s effort to justify himself, by his own work, his own effort, frustrates the grace of God, and the Spirit of God.

Ga 2:20-21  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
21  I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Ga 3:3  Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

The washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost

Titus 3:5-7 KJVS
[5] Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; [6] Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

It is funny how this web site seemes to write itself. Perhaps because it mirrors the progression of my understanding of the mystery of God in my life. The Christ in you, the hope of glory. It should go without saying, but we are God’s workmanship in Christ Jesus. The new creature, 2 Co 5:17, that is being created through the agency of the Holy Spirit, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost in the individual members of the body of Christ, throughout their lives. I have noticed in the last couple years a progression of the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit in my life. Probably because I am asking God for grace more often. Life is getting harder for me. I have lived over thirty years with a spinal cord injury, with every added year making the struggle all that more difficult. This struggle has made me bone weary and tired of the seemingly endless repetition of days, filled with pain and the struggle against weakness. And yet I find myself walking around smiling and conversing with people in a agreeable manner, even though I am fighting to take every step and at times living in the kind of pain most people can not imagine. Now, I can not attribute this to myself, not as if it was any work of righteousness on my part, but as it states in the scripture above, it is due to the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. In essence God is purifying my heart by faith. Praise God and His holy name. The last couple years I’ve gotten in the habit of starting my mornings out with a cup of coffee, then I open the iPad and listen to a few Christian song videos. I have bookmarked quite a few, many of which I have also purchased from iTunes. And most every morning as I listen and praise and worship God and sing along, the Spirit washes over me, regenerates me, and renews my heart. God and His Spirit sustains me and hopefully will continue to sustain me through this fiery trial until the day God heals me, I die, or the Lord returns. The regeneration of the Holy Ghost is bringing about the new creature God has in mind, which is to be the resurrected body of Christ. There are only a few verses that mention this new creature in the New Testament.

2 Corinthians 5:17 KJVS
[17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Galatians 6:15 KJVS
[15] For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

The first scripture does not ring true to me as it appears, so I looked at the Strong’s definition for the Greek word translated into the English word “creature”. The primary definition is more in line with my thoughts regarding the meaning of the verse. The definition follows. 1.the act of founding, establishing, building etc. This definition gives one the sense that it is a work that is presently underway, rather than a past tense, completed state of being. The rest of the verse is also suspect to me in regards to verb tense. Unfortunately, translators have a difficult time translating the Aorist tense into English, and most often use the past tense. If you remember, Aorist tense is the Greek indefinite, indefinite in regards to verb tense, and means without horizon. Since I am not a expert translator in koine Greek, I can only compare the above verse to other verses in the bible to arrive at a better understanding of 2 Co 5:17. I have read in the past that 43% of the main verbs in the New Testament are Aorist. Just a scant few verses later in 2 Corinthians, is a verse that puts light on the preceding verse 17, part of this verse is used as a tag line for this web site.

2 Corinthians 5:21 KJVS
[21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

That we may be made the righteousness of God in him does not sound as if this new creature is already a established and completed fact. Most every day of my life I do not feel like a new creature in Christ. Not in the sense that it is already a completed state of being in my life. Thoughts like this do not appear to line up with a verse like 2 Co 5:17. Thoughts like this can be troublesome and make you feel as if you, in some fashion, have missed the boat. Especially when you are in a dire situation where weakness, pain and doubts about how long you can continue to live alone and take care of yourself, trouble you on a daily basis. If you look at the verse I started this article with, you see the words “washing of regeneration”. Part of the Strong’s primary definition of the word “regeneration” is “new birth, reproduction, renewal, recreation, regeneration”. So we are going through a process of being reborn through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost. A scripture I just recalled today, agrees with this. I read and edit these articles sometimes dozens of times after I publish them. Correcting typos or making additional comments or adding scripture verses that come to mind, after the fact, that make subjects I am writing about clearer. This is one of those times.

Ephesians 4:24 KJVS
[24] And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

This verse gives a good mental image of the process of becoming this new creature, new man that will be the body of Christ. The word “put” is not in the manuscript, just the word “on” and I really like the Strong’s definition for the Greek word.

Strong’s Number
Original Word
Transliterated Word
Phonetic Spelling
Parts of Speech
1. to sink into (clothing), put on, clothe one’s self

You get the real sense of being in the process of clothing yourself in righteousness. Believe it or not, just knowing this gives me comfort. I got to admit, that this “name it and claim it” theology mind set of certain areas of Christianity, has been and is troubling to me, for a very long time. The onus of not having the faith to be healed is always on the individual who is sick, weak or injured. I have a spinal cord injury. I was paralyzed for ten days. I cried like a baby from the intense pain when they first put me on a mat in Physical Therapy and told me to get into a sitting position. I lost over 30 pounds of muscle in ten days due to atrophy while paralyzed. It took 3 months of painful therapy to walk 100 feet on my own. And I have lived with this injury and pain associated with it for 31 years. I can remember early on, being in a halo vest, a device worn to stabilize the cervical vertebra that were fractured, and going to a healing service at a local church. This visiting healer placed his hand on my chest to push me back and fall into the waiting arms of two young men. I suppose it was to mimic being slain in the Spirit. I did not fall back due to fear of possible additional injury but the theatrical nature of the healing ministry rubbed me the wrong way. If God is going to heal me, He will do it without fanfare or theatrics. So this whole prosperity, name it and claim it theology, that implies people lack the faith to be healed, can lead a person to feel as if he missed the boat. Maybe I don’t have the faith to be healed. Maybe the trial of my faith will bring me to the place where I do have the faith to be healed. Or maybe it is necessary for a hardhead tough guy like me to suffer so, in order to die to the pride in ones own strength,and other ungodly lusts, 1 Pe 4:1&2. Or maybe I needed to suffer in order to understand why suffering is necessary in order to be conformed to the image of Christ, Php 3:10, and relay that knowledge to others. God only knows, but knowing that I am a work in progress and having the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost in my life, is a experience that is reassuring and certainly quells the notion that I have somehow missed the boat. If I were to translate 2 Corinthians 5:17 on my own, it would look something like this.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is becoming a new creature: old things are passing away; behold, all things are being made new.

This translation would agree with many other verses that make the new creature in Christ, salvation and righteousness, appear to be a ongoing work of progress in our lives, Ro 6:6, 2 Co 12:9, He 9:28. I have read Titus 3:5 hundreds of times over the last decade and never really understood the importance of the verse in regards to salvation. Salvation in Christ, again due to the mistranslation of the Aorist tense, is largely presented as a past tense action by Jesus Christ alone, by modern day Christian theology. I have mentioned before, that years ago I bought Concordant New Testament. This translation has various marks before the verbs that indicate different verb forms in the Greek language, which allows the reader deeper insight into the various scripture verses in the Word of God. All these realizations concerning the meanings of various scripture verses, in regard to verb tense, is a recent development in my life. Largely propelled by searching the scriptures because of the feeling of having missing the boat in some fashion, due to the long term difficulty of my life. By recent, I would say the last ten years. I don’t think you can truly understand scripture until God works it into you and you say, “yeah, that verse is what is going on in my life.” For that reason it is hard to impart this knowledge to others. And let’s face it, the scripture verses in the New Testament are many and complex. Of which many religious organizations are using in purposely deceiving humanity with their various doctrines, Eph 4:14. The Word of God and the truth of the gospel is important to me. But of late, all I can manage to do is publish a infrequent article for this web site using my right index finger to peck out the articles using a iPad. Before I damaged my spinal cord I was able to type 60 words a minute using the home row method, but due to the nerve damage in my left side, I have limited dexterity in my left hand. Sitting at my computer typing with two index fingers is slow and painful due to 4 fused vertebrae in my neck, so I have come to rely on the iPad. I can lie in bed with the iPad resting in a wood holder I made, that rests against a wood clamp that is attached to the headboard of the bed. I am not likely to start a fellowship or attend a church regularly or even try and teach at a local church due to the pain and weakness. Not that any church would embrace some of the doctrine I espouse, like Universal Reconciliation with a hell of limited duration. I have been asked to leave a few churches when bringing those topics up in casual conversation. I have little choice but to be outside the camp bearing Christ’s reproach it would appear, He 13:13. Plus, God has made me a honest man, so deception by omission would not sit well with me. From my perspective God has sidelined me, or rather allowed me to sideline myself so the Holy Spirit can teach me and hopefully, I teach others. So we have God and Jesus Christ in our lives, working from the inside out and the outside in, creating this new creature.

John 17:23 KJVS
[23] I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

This being made perfect in one and being justified requires teaching, discipline and chastisements from God. Trials, afflictions and sufferings in order to put to the proof, the fruit of the Spirit God is growing in us. Carrot and stick approach, with the carrot being the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, that can be accompanied by joy unspeakable. I see all this at work in myself. But so slowly does change take place, that it requires much patience and hope to hold onto the eventual promised adoption and redemption of our bodies.

Romans 8:22-25 KJVS
[22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they , but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit , the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

So with patience I wait for it. And one of the things that God has given us, like a clear sweet spring of water bubbling up out of the ground, if you will, is the frequent washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost in our daily lives, which is partly instrumental in the formation of this new creature within us.

That the heart be established with grace; not with meats

Hebrews 13:9-13 KJVS
[9] Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. [10] We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. [11] For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. [12] Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. [13] Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

Peter makes a statement at the Jerusalem council which also contained two of the same words in the above verses, grace and heart.

Acts 15:9-11 KJVS
[9] And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. [10] Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? [11] But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Notice that Peter said, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, and part of the process of being saved is having the heart purified. Much of the whole focus of the New Testament regarding salvation, is involved with two words. Grace and the heart. Let’s look at another verse. Just about every Christian, young or old, can rattle this one off the top of their heads. But the 64,000 dollar question is, do they truly understand it?

Ephesians 2:8 KJVS
[8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Most all Christians will agree that grace is the driving force behind God’s salvation of mankind through Jesus Christ, Ro 2:24. But in what manner does grace save us? That is what I intend to show you, using scripture. Apostle Paul wrote a very important verse that shows the fundamental problem mankind has with obeying the law of God. Remember Jesus himself said he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it, Mt 5:17. So let us look at what Paul had to say about the law.

Romans 8:3 KJVS
[3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

The flesh of man is too weak to obey the law, and understanding this fact is absolutely necessary when contrasting justification through the law or through grace. Man, by his own efforts, is incapable, too weak, of following the law. Largely because out the heart of man, emerges the varied lusts of the flesh that overwhelm a man, Ro 7:17. Jesus during his ministry, made a statement that sheds some light in this regard.

Matthew 15:19-20 KJVS
[19] For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: [20] These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Paul expands on this in great detail in the 5th chapter of Galatians. You would do well to read the chapter sometime, but for now I cherry picked two verses out of that chapter to make a point.

Galatians 5:13,16 KJVS
[13] For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. [16] This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Then, following this statement Paul outlines some of the lusts of the flesh and lists the fruit or fruits of the Spirit. The primary fruit of the Spirit is love. Paul describes love as the means by which we can be obedient to the law of God in the book of Romans.

Romans 13:9-10 KJVS
[9] For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [10] Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Simply put, the heart of man needs to be brought to the point, by God, to love in this way. Paul in another epistle, states that brotherly love is taught to us by God.

1 Thessalonians 4:9 KJVS
[9] But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.

Being taught by God is a function of grace and a verse written in another epistle by Paul expands on this theme.

Titus 2:11-12 KJVS
[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

The Greek word translated into the English word teaching is G3811. It is used three times in the 12th chapter of Hebrews, two of which are in the following verses.

Hebrews 12:6,10-11 KJVS
[6] For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. [10] For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. [11] Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible has this to say about fruit of righteousness.
“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness – That which righteousness in the heart produces. The fruits, or results, will be seen in the life; and those fruits are – honesty, truth, charity, kindness, meekness, goodness. The wish of the apostle is, that they might show abundantly by their lives that they were truly righteous. He does not refer to liberality merely, but to everything which true piety in the heart is fitted to produce in the life.”

Barnes states it quite well. It would seem to be counter intuitive that the fruit of righteousness would be grown in man by God chastening them. But there is another aspect to grace that offsets being chastised, and is directly responsible for changing a man’s heart, which the following verses makes clear.

Titus 3:4-7 KJVS
[4] But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, [5] Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; [6] Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

I can attest that this is true and see it working in my own life. I have suffered pain and weakness due to a spinal cord injury since 1984. The last twenty years have been difficult. The last ten years exceedingly so, largely due to a increase of low back pain. The only thing that has kept my heart right before God, has been the frequent washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost. I have been chastised by God more than a few times. Chastisement, for me, has involved a large degree of mental suffering cause by the frustration wrestling with sin that dwells in me, Ro 7:20. The 31 years of suffering due a car accident, in which I severely damaged myself due to recklessness and irresponsibility, is at times hard to understand in the context of salvation. This whole trial by fire has been quite difficult for me but suffering is another aspect of the salvation process overlooked by many.

1 Peter 4:12-13 KJVS
[12] Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: [13] But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Paul puts it this way.

Philippians 3:9-10 KJVS
[9] And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: [10] That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Weeks before the car accident that so drastically changed my life, a scripture verse kept running through my head often times when I daydreamed. I was boning hams at a local meat packing plant working 2nd shift. It is line work. By that I mean you stand next to a moving conveyor belt, in the same place for eight hours, cutting the bones out of a pig’s lower hip and thigh. Plenty of time to daydream. At odd times this one bible verse kept running through my mind, over and over for about a three week period before the accident.

Colossians 1:24 KJVS
[24] Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

I did not know what it meant then, I only knew it was important. I know what it means now. Our hearts are purified through faith, Acts 15:9. So it stands to reason that the trial of faith, 1 Pe 1:7, is aimed towards the purification of our hearts. Suffering in its many forms plays a big role in this process.

1 Peter 4:1-2 KJVS
[1] Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; [2] That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

We suffer when God chastises and sometimes God uses evils in life to chastise us in order to instill the fruit of righteousness. I cannot honestly claim that the fruit of the Spirit and fruit of righteousness are one in the same, but think they are. There is also trials and afflictions ordained for us to endure, 1Thess 3:3. God’s ways are often not readily discerned. When God tries you, he is putting to the proof, that in which He is painstakingly instilling in you. The suffering, difficulties, afflictions and persecutions in life is also the fire of the sin sacrifice altar, outside the camp that burns up the flesh, He 12:11&13. We know Jesus was the lamb of God that was a sin sacrifice. His body is the church.

Ephesians 5:23 KJVS
[23] For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Jesus was without sin, but he became us in his role as a sin offering, in order that we might become the righteousness of God in him, 2 Co 5:21. I think the failure of today’s theology is it does not understand that the body of Christ is one with the altar mentioned in He 13:10. Sacrifice and altars of sacrifice were a common part of life for Jew, Christian and pagan alike.

1 Corinthians 10:16-18 KJVS
[16] The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? [17] For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. [18] Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

Jesus at one point made a statement that was responsible for turning away many of his disciples.

John 6:53-56 KJVS
[53] Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. [54] Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. [55] For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. [56] He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

This was pretty powerful language and those Jews who were listening knew it was against the law of Moses to drink blood or to eat off of the body of the sin sacrifice, plus what he said would smack of cannibalism. But the point Jesus was making, was that unless you received the Spirit of adoption and became a part of his body, and then have your flesh burned up and destroyed on the sin sacrifice altar, you would not rule and reign with him during the millennial kingdom. The phrase eternal life is a poor translation. Young’s literal translation properly translates eternal life this way.

Jn:54 he who is eating my flesh, and is drinking my blood, hath life age-during, and I will raise him up in the last day;

Another set of verses that point to this sin sacrifice altar is in Romans.

Ro 6:5 For if we have become planted together in the likeness of His death, nevertheless we shall be of the resurrection also,
6 knowing this, that our old humanity was crucified together with Him, that the body of Sin may be nullified, for us by no means to be still slaving for Sin,
7 for one who dies has been justified from Sin. CLV

I like this particular translation rather than the King James Version because of how the 7th verse is translated. The verb tense does not seem right in context with the tail end of the previous verse. One who dies has been “justified” is a more literal translation. The King James uses the word “freed” rather than justified in the seventh verse but the Greek word used, and its definition and usage follows.

Strong’s Number
Original Word
Transliterated Word
Phonetic Spelling
Parts of Speech
Strong’s Definition
From G1342; to render (that is show or regard as) just or innocent: – free justify (-ier) be righteous.
Thayer’s Definition
to render righteous or such he ought to be
to show, exhibit, evince, one to be righteous, such as he is and wishes himself to be considered
to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be
Usage by Word
justified (26), justify (4), justifieth (2), shall (2), was (2), being (1), by (1), freed (1), he (1), i (1), is (1), justifier (1), righteous (1)

As you can see, this Greek word has been translated most often into the English word justified in the New Testament. Being dead in Christ, Ro 6:5, is not the same as having our old man of sin nullified or destroyed. That takes place due to the offering of the body Jesus Christ, on the sin sacrifice altar, once for all.

Hebrews 10:10 KJVS
[10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all .

There are a couple aspects involved with being a member of the corporate body of Christ. First we are members of his body, his flesh and bones, Eph 5:30. There is also the aspect of being a part of the corporate body of sinful flesh, that we, the body of Christ possess, that needs to be destroyed, Ro 6:6. It is very hard to separate justification from sanctification because sin is only truly eradicate in our lives when the sin nature, the sin that dwells in us, Ro 7:17, is completely burned away on the sin sacrifice altar. And yet in He 13:9-13, which is a clear allusion to the sin sacrifice altar, starts out by stating it is good thing for the heart to be established by grace and not by meats. In essence our efforts, our works have little to do with our salvation. The heart is the problem, and the driving force behind sin.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 KJVS
[9] The heart is deceitful above all things , and desperately wicked: who can know it? [10] I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

I think the problem in understanding justification and sanctification in relationship to each other, lies in viewing these concepts separately and in light of the types and shadows cast by the law and its various sacrifices and offerings. That is only true in a very broad sense.

Hebrews 10:1 KJVS
[1] For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

The first part of the tenth chapter of Hebrews is about sanctification. About our inclusion in the body of Christ as a offering for sin. In short perfection is attained only through the nullification of the power of the flesh over us, Ro 6:6. Insight can be gained by reading the definition of the Greek word translated into the English word “destroyed” in Ro 6:6.

Thayer’s Definition
to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, inoperative
to cause a person or thing to have no further efficiency
to deprive of force, influence, power
to cause to cease, put an end to, do away with, annul, abolish
to cease, to pass away, be done away
to be severed from, separated from, discharged from, loosed from any one
to terminate all

The flesh is not necessarily destroyed but it’s power over us is nullified, or rendered idle. This involves the heart being purified by or through a lifetime of faith, Acts 15:9. This may not seem obvious at first, but if we truly love God, we would be like Jesus, and always do that which would please the father, Jn 8:29. Paul touched on this in the seventh chapter of Romans.

Romans 6:17-19 KJVS
[17] But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. [18] Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. [19] I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

So, to me, the line gets blurred between justification and sanctification due to the heart being the prime motivator of sin. And in order for sin to be rendered idle in our lives, our heart needs to be purified/justified. Another reason the line between justification and sanctification is blurred is because Jesus is in us, and God is in him.

John 17:17,23 KJVS
[17] Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. [23] I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Justification in my mind is usually associated with God justifying and purifying the heart, Acts 15:9, wherein sanctification involves Christ being in us and we in him, and our communion in the offering of the body of Christ on the sin sacrifice altar. Since Jesus is in us, and God in him, the line of distinguishing between being justified and sanctified is blurred to the point of not being able to differentiate between them. Both God and Jesus Christ are involved in the salvation process which includes being justified and sanctified pretty much simultaneously, 1 Co 6:11. Both God and Jesus Christ in their own way bring us to the place where we are made perfect/mature in love.

Colossians 3:14 KJVS
[14] And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.