Justification, Standing, and Walk.

God's righteousness is His acting consistently with His own holy nature and character; in fact, consistently with Himself. This righteousness has been revealed in the gospel, and displayed in relation to sin and the state of man in the death and resurrection, glorifying and session at the right hand of the Majesty on high of the perfect Man, the blessed Son of God, who glorified Him on the cross, vindicating His nature, His character, and His attributes by dying, in perfect obedience, a sacrifice for sin, bearing at the same time the sins of believers in His own body on the tree.

All the world having been proved guilty (Rom. 1, 2.), the righteousness of God apart from the law is manifested, "even the righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all them that believe;" so that God is a just God, and the justifier of the ungodly sinner who believes in Jesus.

Now through faith in the blood of Christ, and in God who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification, I am not merely justified as a child of Adam from guilt, in virtue of the blood of Christ, but also from sin in a new life - the life of Christ risen, to which no sin can ever be attached, because He in whom I am alive to God, and in whom I stand justified before God, was made sin on the cross, died for it and unto it, and lives to die no more. "In that He died, He died unto sin once: in that He liveth, He liveth unto God."

But though God justifies me - the sinner - from guilt, forgives my sins which I have committed, and never will impute sins to me as a believer, because Christ's work has perfected me for ever, and He is my righteousness before God, He does not justify my sinful Adam nature, but executed judgment on it, or condemned it at the cross. (Rom. 8:3.) Justification has thus a double aspect justification in virtue of the blood from guilt and sins through faith in Jesus dead and risen, and justification of life from sin and condemnation by means of death, Christ's one act of obedience (Rom. 5:18) when He died for sin and unto sin upon the cross. Being now alive in Christ to God, and having died with Christ, my moral end has clearly come as standing in Adam-nature and responsibility, or in flesh, before God. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." "Our old man is crucified with Christ." "He that is dead is justified from sin." "Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."

But the work of the Lord Jesus, which settled the question of the responsibility of the child of Adam, and ended his moral history in death, after judgment had been executed on his sinful nature on the cross, is the work which also puts the obedient, perfect Man, on whom the judgment was executed, into the glory of God, according to divine righteousness, and the believer into the same place of acceptance in Him, though the glory be not come. The cross is thus for God the judicial setting aside and end of the first man, Adam, and the righteous ground for setting up and glorifying the second Man, the last Adam, who endured in grace the judgment due to the first man, and who in an entirely new place is "the beginning of the creation of God."

Now redemption brings me out of one place or standing into another. Christ died "the just for the unjust, to bring us to God." I was found in Egypt exposed to judgment, and am brought through death to God, not in flesh, but alive in Christ risen, who died not only to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, but to end on the cross the moral history of the first man and the world, and then rose in the power of the Spirit of holiness to take, as fruit of the cross where God was infinitely glorified, a new place, which man had never occupied before, on the other side of death, and in the glory of God. And now beyond death, the world, sin, God's judgment, and Satan's power, there in divine favour and redemption glory He stands, the One ascended up far above all heavens - Man according to God's eternal purpose in God's own presence, and Head of the new creation. And I, a wretched, guilty worm, who had turned my back upon God's claims, His grace, His goodness, and His love, stand there in Christ, made the righteousness of God in Him through the riches of God's grace and the redemption which is in Christ Jesus - His place as Man before His God and Father, mine, "to the praise of the glory of His grace wherein he has made us accepted in the Beloved." This glorious standing is fruit of the work of redemption, God's righteous answer to the cross; and the responsibility and walk of the believer flows from his standing in Christ, now alive from the dead, risen and ascended on high.

In Romans we have the exhortations: "Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in Jesus Christ our Lord." "Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead … yield your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is, your reasonable service." As still upon earth, and in the body in which sin once reigned, but in which the Spirit of God now dwells, so that I am not in the flesh but in the Spirit, I am to walk as one whom God has brought to Himself, justified from sin, delivered from its slavery, and, as not under law but under grace, to yield my body to Him to whom it now belongs.

In Colossians - being risen with Christ, I am taken out of the world entirely, and am to walk as one dead to the world, its philosophy, its philanthropy, and traditions. "If ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances?" "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."

In Ephesians, being seen as of the "new creation" seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, suited to God's blessed nature, holy and unblameable before Him in love, His Son glorified as Man the absolute measure of my relationship, nearness, acceptance, and spiritual blessing, I am to exhibit God's nature and character, as of this new creation, in the sphere of the old creation here below. "Be ye imitators of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour." "Once ye were darkness, but now light in the Lord: walk as children of light: proving what is acceptable to the Lord."

Two great facts set forth in this epistle help me to recognize my Christian responsibility. First, the truth as it is in Jesus which I have learned is, that I have "put off the old man and put on the new, which after God is created in righteousness and holiness of truth;" and second, having heard the word of truth, the gospel of my salvation, and believed in Christ, I have been sealed with the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption. All that springs from the old man "put off" is therefore unsuited to my profession, and how can I lightly grieve the One whose permanent indwelling in my body, now become God's temple, is the strongest testimony to the abiding value of the precious blood by which I am redeemed to God. J. S. Oliphant.

God has a way in the world where Satan cannot touch us. This is the path where Jesus walked. Satan is the prince of this world; but there is a divine path through it, but no other, and there God's power is. The Word is the revelation of it. So the Lord bound the strong man. He acted by the power of the Spirit, and used the Word. The Spirit and the Word cannot be separated without falling into fanaticism on the one hand, or into rationalism on the other - without putting oneself outside the place of dependence upon God and of His guidance. Mere reason would become the master of some, imagination of others. J. N. Darby.