God Who Justifies

WHO shall lay any charge against those whom God Himself justifies? Who is he that shall institute judicial proceedings against those whom God Himself, the Supreme, the Judge of all, has declared free from every charge? Suppose a king, having heard every charge brought against a man guilty of a crime worthy of death, pardons that man and sets him at liberty—who in the realms of that king should dare revive the accusations and institute afresh proceedings against the man? In such case the controversy would be between the king and the accuser. The pardoned man would be under the protection of the majesty of the king, whose will of mercy and whose prerogative of pardon would be directly assailed by the accuser. And thus is it with God's elect—to assail their security is really to rise up against God Himself in His way of grace and mercy, and in His own wonderful ways of pardon, and of justification.
We may confidently abide in peace, for the challenger who cries, "Who shall lay anything against the charge of God's elect?" is none less than God the Holy Spirit, speaking through His inspired apostle. This trumpet-voice sounds throughout the universe of God, and none in heaven nor in hell shall rise up and accept it, for so to do would be to join issues with the Eternal, the Infinite God. What a confidence is here for your heart, poor trembling believer in the Lord Jesus Christ! Yet, though neither heaven nor hell shall accept the challenge, still on earth the hearts of God's elect do at times beat with fear lest after all they themselves should not be truly secure!
Now, as we consider our justification, first of all there must be no question as to our proven guilt. God has brought in all guilty before Himself. (Rom. 3:1919Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (Romans 3:19).) Whoever, whatsoever the sinner, he has been adjudged guilty. His case has been tried. It requires no fresh trial. A man tried and proven guilty, and under sentence of death, is not to be tried over again: hence to attempt to clear oneself by works is simply to try to set aside the divine verdict—guilty. But if the king so will he may pardon; if not, the law must take its course. God has pardoned—yea, justified—so our confidence is in God.
How often do really seeking souls miss the great reality respecting themselves that lies in the word "guilty," and act as if their case were not already concluded against them as sinners by God's own proof, and by His sentence recorded in Rom. 3:1919Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (Romans 3:19). It would save seekers after pardon many a fruitless hour if they did but believe what God says as to this; and many a profitless hope, that perchance they might do something to please God and to merit His mercy, would be avoided. The solemn reality is this: all men now at this moment are either guilty before God or are justified by God. Each of us is either like the criminal whose case has been tried, and who is awaiting the sentence of death, or each of us is like him who, though once guilty, is now pardoned! No intermediate place does anyone occupy.
Now it is GOD who justifies the ungodly. God, before whom all are proven guilty, has set forth His righteousness. He has proclaimed His own righteousness to us in His gospel concerning His Son. We have no righteousness in ourselves, and it is too late for us, being guilty, ever to attain to righteousness of our own. Human righteousness which is of works cannot be found; it is hopelessly too late to seek for it; but now, in this day, since the death and the resurrection of Christ, God's righteousness is manifested and declared. God has given His Son to die for the guilty sinner. Jesus, our Lord, has been delivered for our offenses, and has been raised again for our justification, and God, who gave His Son to die for us, and who raised Him from the dead, counts us righteous upon our faith in Himself. It is obvious that we cannot attain to God's righteousness; but when we believe His gospel, God reckons righteousness to us. (Rom. 4:24, 2524But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:24‑25).)
God reckoned righteousness to Abraham on the ground of Abraham's faith, and what God did in regard to the father of the faithful, He does now for us. God's principle of justifying sinners has been the same in all ages, viz., the sinner's faith in Himself and in His word. But now that God has openly declared and eternally magnified His own righteousness, both in regard to His hatred of sin and His dealing with it. by the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, God sets Him forth in His death and resurrection the object of the faith of the guilty sinner. God sets Him forth, through faith in His blood, a mercy-seat, for the trembling soul who dreads the due of his sins; God shows to us in Jesus and His work His own righteousness magnified; and upon our faith in Himself God justifies us.
And since Jesus was delivered for our offenses, and has been raised again for our justification, there is nothing to be done more. The work is perfect. Every demand divine justice had against the sinner has been met by the Lord's death on our account; and now, since God has raised Him from the dead, God shows to us what a perfect justification is ours through His Son. Jesus risen is the blessed witness to our souls that our sins have been fully and forever accounted for through His death.
Thus none shall dare lay anything to the charge of the feeblest believer in the presence of God. For who shall presume in His presence to question the efficacy of the death of His Son? Who in God's presence shall dare to affirm that that work of His Son lacks completeness? for, lo! at God's right hand is seated His Son whom He raised up from among the dead! The majesty, the glory, the greatness of God—if we may so speak—all refuse the faintest breath that any should dare to breathe against His elect. Wonderful grace wherein we stand; and in this state of free favor the weakest of God's people does stand!
Let our hearts, dear fellow believers in God, and in Jesus Christ our Lord, respond with gratitude and confidence to the justifying grace of our God as we consider His own words, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.”
"IF by grace, then it is no more of works.”