126. Justification by Grace — Romans 3:24

—Redemption, justification, grace, faith; words every Christian should know, adore, and be able to teach with clarity!—

At this point in Spurgeon’s ministry, his fame has made him somewhat of a spectacle, with thousands of curious people, unfamiliar with the gospel, flocking to hear him preach each week. Spurgeon focused much of his time in the pulpit explaining the Bible’s core doctrines.
It’s vital that we understand and can teach these things!
Can you?


“Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”—Romans. 3:24.

Main Points:
1. The redemption of Christ Jesus – 3:15
2. The justification of sinners flowing from redemption – 18:34
3. The manner of giving this justification – 32:41


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The hill of comfort is the hill of Calvary; the house of consolation is builded with the wood of the cross; the temple of heavenly cordials is founded upon the riven rock, riven by the spear which pierced its side. No scene in sacred history ever gladdens the soul like the scene on Calvary.

Nowhere does the soul ever find such consolation as on that very spot where misery reigned, where woe triumphed, where agony reached its climax. There grace hath dug a fountain, which ever gusheth with waters pure as crystal, each drop capable of alleviating the woes and the agonies of mankind.

The sacrifice of Calvary was not a part payment; it was not a partial exoneration, it was a complete and perfect payment, and it obtained a complete and perfect remittal of all the debts of all believers that have lived, do live, or shall live, to the very end of time. On that day when Christ hung on the cross, he did not leave a single farthing for us to pay as a satisfaction to God; he did not leave, from a thread even to a shoe-latchet, that he had not satisfied. The whole of the demands of the law were paid down there and then by Jehovah Jesus, the great high priest of all his people.

There is only one way whereby that prisoner can be justified; that is, he must be found not guilty; and if he is found not guilty, then he is justified—that is, he is proved to be a just man. If you find that man guilty, you cannot justify him. The Queen may pardon him, but she cannot justify him. The deed is not a justifiable one, if he were guilty concerning it; and he cannot be justified on account of it. He may be pardoned; but not royalty itself can ever wash that man’s character. He is as much a real criminal when he is pardoned as before. There is no means among men of justifying a man of an accusation which is laid against him, except by his being proved not guilty. Now, the wonder of wonders is, that we are proved guilty, and yet we are justified: the verdict has been brought in against us, guilty; and yet, notwithstanding, we are justified. Can any earthly tribunal do that? No; it remained for the ransom of Christ to effect that which is an impossibility to any tribunal upon earth. We are all guilty. Read the 23rd verse, immediately preceding the text—“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” There the verdict of guilty is brought in, and yet we are immediately afterwards said to be justified freely by his grace.

Now, allow me to explain the way whereby God justifies a sinner. I am about to suppose an impossible case. A prisoner has been tried, and condemned to death. He is a guilty man; he cannot be justified, because he is guilty. But now, suppose for a moment that such a thing as this could happen—that some second party could be introduced, who could take all that man’s guilt upon himself, who could change places with that man, and by some mysterious process, which of course is impossible with men, become that man; or take that man’s character upon himself; he, the righteous man, putting the rebel in his place, and making the rebel a righteous man. We cannot do that in our courts. If I were to go before a judge, and he should agree that I should be committed for a year’s imprisonment, instead of some wretch who was condemned yesterday to a year’s imprisonment, I could not take his guilt. I might take his punishment, but not his guilt. Now, what flesh and blood cannot do, that Jesus Christ by his redemption did. Here I stand, the sinner. I mention myself as the representative of you all. I am condemned to die. God says, “I will condemn that man; I must, I will—I will punish him.” Christ comes in, puts me aside, and stands himself in my stead. When the plea is demanded, Christ says, “Guilty;” takes my guilt to be his own guilt. When the punishment is to be executed, forth comes Christ. “Punish me,” he says; “I have put my righteousness on that man, and I have taken that man’s sins on me. Father, punish me, and consider that man to have been me. Let him reign in heaven; let me suffer misery. Let me endure his curse, and let him receive my blessing.”

“There,” says another, “I like that; I shall go and believe in Christ, and live as I like.” Indeed you will not! For if you believe in Christ he will not let you live as your flesh liketh; by his Spirit he will constrain you to mortify its affections and lusts. If he gives you the grace to make you believe, he will give you the grace to live a holy life afterwards. If he gives you faith, he gives you good works afterwards. You cannot believe in Christ, unless you renounce every fault, and resolve to serve him with full purpose of heart.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon


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