Thursday, June 4, 2009

Self-justification versus God's justification

A money matter this past weekend revealed just how selfish, hurtful, conniving, and distrusting of God I really can be. Just a day before, I was talking with some of my students about how their innate response to any wrongdoing of theirs is to defend themselves and proclaim themselves innocent. Ha! Now I too was doing the exact same thing. It's funny how that works, eh?

As sad as it is that such things happen, God has been teaching me a very important lesson through it. I realized that as long as I was trying to find excuses and explanations for my behavior, I was trying to create my own circumstances for vindication--a self-justification. But on what basis would that stand before God? To do such is to fall from grace (Galatians 5:4). Yet in God's faithful persistence, the Spirit whispered to me the truth: Christ the Son has made full atonement for all my sins, and by faith in him I stand fully and forever vindicated before God the Father. But such faith in him means that I no longer lean on any edifice of my own works, logic, or vindication, and instead rely wholly on him. In Christ I was (and am) free to be a sinner, to say I'm sorry, to admit my wrongs in every gruesome detail, and to ask for forgiveness. And such forgiveness did I find, both from the offended party at hand and from God as well.


Ted M. Gossard said...
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Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, good lesson for sure. It's actually crazy for us to seek to justify ourselves. At the same time the Psalmist does pray that God will vindicate him, since he leads a blameless life and trusts in the LORD without faltering (Psalm 26).

I really think in this is an important lesson for us as well. While it's true that no one in themselves can ever stand before the Lord justified, it's also true that God does vindicate the righteous in this life, and not because they are wrong, but their trust is in the One who is right. But because they are righteous, and like Daniel may receive God's vindication as such in this life, and most certainly will in the next. God's grace certainly underlies and permeates this reality. And one is not speaking of sinless perfection here. But just the same, it's true, I believe.

Of course our grounds of justification and basis for having any righteousness worked into our lives by the Spirit, is solely on Christ and what God has done for us in Christ in our salvation.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thinking more on this, I think it is odd and a challenge to us to think that there can be two related somethings occurring at the same time, which though related are not precisely linked together.

It is so true that self-justification is inherently wrong, by the way, in case my original comment seemed to miss that point. We're all on the same level there, for sure- all equally in need of grace. So that we need to quit looking down on others from our self-exalted place.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I'm afraid my comments can come across as discouraging.

What stands out to me in your post here, is how you share from your life, Andrew. That's powerful.

And how true it is that when I'm working through something, or somehow come to a fresh revelation- how that soon is challenged, and seemingly to the nth degree!