Editorial pages get a lot of press nowadays and the vast majority of cable news shows are overcrowded with opinion shows. It struck me one day that roughly half of these broadcasts (probably more) are either a pundit in a defensive posture or the host interrupting and cutting someone down. In other words, it’s an exercise in the opposite of working out the idea of being justified by the work of Jesus. Instead, around every corner, someone is trying to justify himself or herself. And this is done by either making oneself look better or by making someone else look worse. I find this to be tiresome.
Unfortunately, I am prone to this as well and was convicted in a discipleship course through World Harvest Mission that I tend to blame others and become defensive far more than is necessary or warranted. Through friends and family, I have tried to trust more and more what the gospel says about me and less and less on what I or others say about me.
I love how Eugene Peterson states it in the Message rendering of Romans 5:1-3.
“By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.”
In light of this, I want to highlight five practical outworkings of Justification (“standing..in the wide open spaces of God’s grace…”) that can make a difference in each of our daily lives.
1) If we’re justified by Jesus, we don’t have to be defensive. We can let our yes, be yes, and our no, be no.
2) if we’re justified by the work of Jesus, we can enjoy our work more knowing that what is finished by Jesus will not need to be repeated and what is unfinished by us is ok.
3) If we’re justified by faith, we can release the anxiety of what we can’t see.
4) If we’re justified by Jesus, we can enjoy the success of others more, refuse to put others down, and serve without needing to be recognized for it.
5) If we’re justified by faith through grace, we can trust that God’s timing is better than our timing and that waiting simply means we’re not in charge after all.
It has taken me a long time to see that justification can be practiced and that it’s not a doctrinal word that is dead and dull. On the contrary, I am free to love, free to be patient, kind, and generous, because what is finished has been declared and what is unfinished has an advocate who embodies sacrificial love.
Let’s all try, for just one week, to NOT make excuses, blameshift, become defensive, put someone else down, or rejoice in another’s shortcomings…let’s try this for one week and see what happens next. If you take on this challenge (just these four things listed here) tweet @bomwhite and let me know what happened at the end of the week or connect through this site.