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With New Testament Eyes: 45 - How Can Man be Just With God?

By Henry Mahan


      Job 9:2; 15:14-16; 25:4-6

      This question is asked over and over by Job and his friends. 'How should man be just with God?' (Job 9:2). 'What is man that he should be clean and righteous?' (Job 15:14). 'How then can man be justified with God?' (Job 25:4).

      This question of questions arises from an understanding of three things. The holiness of God, the sinfulness of men, and what it means to be justified.

      1. God's chief attribute is his holiness!

      If there is one word used to describe our God, it is holy (Isa. 6:1- 5). 'Holy and reverend is his name' (Hab. 2:20; Psalm 99:1; Zeph. 1:7). 'The Lord is in his holy temple.' Everything about God and having to do with our God is said to be holy--his holy angels, his Holy Spirit, his presence was manifested in the holy of holies, on the mitre of the High Priest were the words holiness to the Lord, and 'without holiness no man shall see the Lord.' When God manifests his grace, mercy, and love, it must be in keeping with his holiness. God is holy!

      How holy is God? So holy that a fallen Adam must be separated from his presence; so holy that Moses could not look upon him and live; so holy that Uzza was smitten dead for touching the ark; so holy that the seraphims covered their faces before him; so holy that Isaiah, upon discovering God's holiness, cried, 'I am cut off;' so holy that he deserted his beloved Son, bearing our sins on the cross.

      2. The word that most accurately describes man is sinner.

      Man was not created a sinner. He was created holy and upright, but he became a sinner through the fall (Rom. 5:12, 19). He is 'born in sin' (Psalm 51:5; Psalm 58:3) and incapable of any good in the flesh (Jer. 13:23; Rom. 8:8).

      How sinful is man? 'Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart is only evil continually' (Gen. 6:5). 'They are all together become filthy' (Psalm 14:1-3). 'None good, none righteous' (Rom. 3:10-19). The Scriptures declare that men are dead, having no hope and without God in this world (Eph. 2:1, 12).

      Men may seek to justify themselves (Luke 16:15) and compare themselves with themselves (2 Cor. 10:12), but in God's sight 'every mouth must be stopped and all the world become guilty.' 'Therefore, by the deeds of the law and works of the flesh shall no flesh be justified' (Rom. 3:19-20).

      3. What does it mean to be justified before God?

      To be justified is to be without sin, guilt, or blame. 'Just as if I had never sinned!' 'Holy, unblameable, and unreproveable in his sight' (Col. 1:22).

      To be justified is to have perfect peace with God (Rom. 5:1).

      To be justified is to be free from the curse of the law and free from all charges (Rom. 8:33).

      To be justified is to have eternal life and glory (Rom. 8:30).

      To be justified is to be totally reconciled to God (Rom. 5:10).

      Therefore, knowing the holiness of God, the sinfulness and inability of men, and what it means to be justified, clean, and righteous before God, the question is asked again and again, 'How can man be justified in God's sight?' How can God be just and justify sinners? A man cannot be justified by words (Job 9:20). He cannot be justified by law (Gal. 3:10-11). He cannot be justified by works (Titus 3:5). Then how can man be just with God?

      4. The answer is found in Romans 3:21-26.

      v. 21. 'The righteousness of God' is not God's own personal holiness, but that righteousness he has (by his grace) provided for and imputed to guilty sinners through his Son (Rom. 10:1-4).

      The righteousness of God signifies both the precept of the law and the penalty of the law, Christ having honored every precept in his perfect life and satisfied every debt in his death. 'Without the law' simply means without the sinner's obeying the law, for this Christ certainly did for us. 'It is manifested' in the gospel (Rom. 1:16-17). Why is the gospel the power of God unto salvation? Because in, through, and by Christ, this righteousness of God is revealed. All we need is accomplished and set forth in the gospel.

      vv. 22-23. This righteousness of God is accomplished by the faithfulness of Christ and imputed to those who believe. As the representative man (Rom. 5:19; 1 Cor. 15:21-22, 47), God was made of woman, made under the law, and perfectly obeyed it in order that all whom he represented might have a perfect holiness and standing before God (Gal. 4:4-5; Rom. 4:17-25).

      There is no difference between Jew, Gentile, male, or female; all have sinned.

      vv. 24-25. Those who believe are made righteous in Christ and are freely and fully justified by his obedience and death, even believers of Old Testament times; for Christ is also the propitiation for their sins.

      v. 26. Christ came to the earth in the flesh as the surety of God's eternal covenant, obeyed the law, and died for all our sins in order that the holy God might be just and justifier of all who believe. He is 'a just God and a Saviour' (Isa. 45:21-22). This, dear friends, is the very heart of the gospel of God's glory; for it manifests and magnifies every attribute of our holy God. In Christ, our substitute, 'mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other' (Psalm 85:10).

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See Also:
   Foreward & Acknowledgements
   1 - The Fall
   2 - Abel's Offering
   3 - The Ark Of Noah
   4 - Sarah and Hagar; Law and Grace
   5 - The Lord Will Provide
   6 - A Bride for the Heir
   7 - Bethel - The House of God
   8 - Peniel - The Face of God
   9 - Joseph Opens the Storehouses
   10 - Joseph and His Brothers
   11 - Shiloh
   12 - The Passover
   13 - The Manna
   14 - Water from the rock
   15 - The Blood Before the Lord
   16 - The Ram of Consecration
   17 - The Day of Atonement
   18 - Caleb - The Faithful Dog
   19 - The High Priest Intercedes
   20 - The Brazen Serpent
   21 - A Prophet Like Moses
   22 - The Cities of Refuge
   23 - Joshua
   24 - The Scarlet Line in the Window
   25 - The birth of Samson
   26 - The Kinsman Redeemer
   27 - The Song of Hannah
   28 - Give us a King
   29 - Saul's Great Sin
   30 - David and Mephibosheth
   31 - Why God Permitted David to Fall
   32 - Comfort from God's Covenant
   33 - I Will Not Offer to God that which Cost me Nothing
   34 - The Queen of Sheba Comes to Solomon
   35 - Three Examples of Faith
   36 - Where is the Lord God of Elijah?
   37 - Empty Vessels Filled
   38 - Naaman, the Leper
   39 - Open his Eyes that He may See
   40 - Four Lepers Teach us a Lesson
   41 - Nehushtan--A Piece of Brass
   42 - Bringing Back the Ark
   43 - Uzziah's Great Transgression
   44 - Four Things Learned in Trouble
   45 - How Can Man be Just With God?
   46 - Three Vital Questions
   47 - I Know that my Redeemer Liveth
   48 - Now Mine Eye Seeth Thee
   49 - The Psalm of Messiah the King
   50 - God's two great books
   51 - The Psalm of the Cross
   52 - The Lord is my Shepherd
   53 - True God - True Israel - True Redeemer
   54 - Eight Great Precepts
   55 - My Hope is in Thee
   56 - Many, O Lord, Are Thy Wonderful Works
   57 - A Song of Love
   58 - The Sinner's Prayer
   59 - My Rock and my Salvation
   60 - Our Lord's Sufferings for Our Sins
   61 - Mercy and Truth are Met Together
   62 - The Victory of the Messiah
   63 - Bless the Lord, O my Soul
   64 - Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So
   65 - The King-Priest
   66 - The Chief Cornerstone
   67 - The Observer and the Observed
   68 - Praise the Lord O my Soul
   69 - Wisdom in Christ
   70 - The Conclusion of the Whole Matter
   71 - Remember Now Thy Creator
   72 - My Beloved is Mine and I am His
   73 - What is Thy Beloved more than Another Beloved?
   74 - The Lord Our Righteousness
   75 - The Believers Hope
   76 - From Nothing to Everything
   77 - Lost, Driven Away, Broken, Sick
   78 - Can These Bones Live?
   79 - Four Things God Taught Nebuchadnezzar
   80 - Thy God Will Deliver Thee
   81 - Hosea--Type of Christ
   82 - A Famine to be Feared
   83 - Salvation is of the Lord
   84 - A Fountain Opened for Mourners
   85 - The Messenger of the Covenant

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