Finally and Totally Justified
By John Piper
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.(Romans 8:33)
Paul could have said here, “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” and then answered, “No one! We are justified.” That’s true. But that is not what he said. His answer instead is, “God is the one who justifies.”
The emphasis is not on the act but on the Actor.
Why? Because in the world of courts and laws where this language comes from, the acquittal of a judge might be overturned by a higher one.
So what, if a local judge acquits you, when you are guilty, if a governor has the right to bring a charge against you? So what, if a governor acquits you, when you are guilty, if the emperor can bring a charge against you?
Here’s the point: Above God, there are no higher courts. If God is the one who acquits you — declares you righteous in his sight — no one can appeal; no one can claim a technicality; no one can call for a mistrial; no one can look for other counts against you. God’s sentence is final and total.
Hear this, all you who believe on Jesus, and become united to Christ, and show yourself among the elect: God is the one who justifies you. Not a human judge. Not a great prophet. Not an archangel from heaven. But God, the Creator of the world and Owner of all things and Ruler of the universe and every molecule and person in it, God is the one who justifies you.
The point: unshakable security in the face of tremendous suffering. If God is for us, no one can successfully be against us. If God gave his Son for us, he will give us everything that is good for us. If God is the one who justifies us, no charge against us can stand.
My own idea, for what it is worth, is that all sadness which is not either arising from the repentance of a concrete sin and hastening towards concrete amendment or restitution, or else arising from pity and hastening to active assistance, is simply bad; and I think that we all sin by needlessly disobeying the apostolic injunction to “rejoice” as by anything else. Humility, after the first shock, is a cheerful virtue: it is the high-minded unbeliever desperately trying in the teeth of repeated disillusions to retain his “faith in human nature” who is really sad.
From The Problem of Pain
Compiled in Words to Live By
The Problem of Pain. Copyright © 1940, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.”
I believe that the issues of healthcare, immigration, care for the environment, etc. are very important and have no simplistic answers. What we need is a sincere, rational civil dialogue without the inflammatory rhetoric and name calling that has captured our discourse. BOTH sides have made valid assertions and have come forth with solutions that should cause us to stop and give them their just due. Some issues may not allow compromise because of sincere convictions, but many do, and indeed demand, a conciliatory and truly bi-partisan effort.