Innocent by faith?

   Paul said in Romans 5:1, "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." A couple questions I have from this is what is does Paul mean by the word 'justified'? How are we justified? What kind of faith does it take to be justified? That is more like three but who is counting.

    What does Paul mean when he says "we have been justified"? When Paul uses the word justified he means we have been made innocent. But that implies that we are not already innocent. In fact it means that we are guilty naturally because we have to be made innocent. Why are we guilty? What are with guilty of? Scripture makes a profound declaration that we have all been charged with sin (Rom. 3:9) and that all have sinned (Rom. 3:23), and because of the presence of sin we are all short of God's glory (Rom. 3:23).

    How then are we justified or made innocent? The answer that Paul gives is that we are made innocent in the sight of God "by faith". Biblical faith is best defined in Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen". It is believing that God created the world out of things unseen, it is believing He exists, and without faith no one can please Him (Hebrews 11:1,3,6). Yet faith is also being "fully convinced" that "God was able" to raise "from the dead Jesus our Lord", like Abraham was "fully convinced" that "God was able to do what He had promised" (Romans 4:21-24).

   In conclusion, what clears you and I from all charges of sin in the sight of God is being fully convinced that God was able to raise Christ from the dead. And I would add that Jesus is the Son of God (Romans 10:9). If you or I are not fully convinced, completely confident, entirely satisfied that God raised from the dead Jesus our Lord and that Jesus is God's son, we cannot be made innocent of all sin. If there is any skepticism, pessimism, wavering in unbelief or faithlessness at the consideration that God was able to raise Jesus from the dead or that Jesus is the Son of God, we cannot be made innocent of sin. God's plan to clear us of all charges of sin is by faith alone.

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