Recently, Pastor Keith used the word “Justification” in his meditation on the front of the newsletter. He was commenting on the signing of a document between Lutherans and Catholics establishing agreement on this doctrine. But what is this justification business all about?
Some time ago, one of the teachers was writing short reports on students at report time. After reviewing them I said to her,” These reports are great, but it would be good if you could justify them”. She quickly started to say that of course she could. She had lots of test scores, records of observations and checklists, which showed that what she had written, was right. She could confidently back up what she had written.
However, that was not what I meant at all. She had justified (lined up) the left margin using her computer, but not the right margin. All I was asking was that she justify both margins. In our modern world we don’t talk much about justification, except to prove ourselves correct or to line things up using a computer.
In a religious sense, justification is God providing forgiveness and repairing relationships. He remakes the relationship, repairing it so it is just as if the blow-up didn’t happen. Through the forgiveness Jesus brings we are again, using our computer terminology, lined up and made neat with God. Both Lutherans and Catholics agree that only Jesus saves us from the damage we do to each other, from anger, hate and sin and provides forgiveness, restored relationships to each other and to Him. And being right with God (justified) He freely gives us the sure hope of life everlasting.
I hope next time you line up your margins on your computer you remember that God freely justifies you with Him, and that His loving forgiveness is always there for you. Believe it, it’s true!
Neil P. Schiller