When an NFL referee announces the results of a replay review, normally one of three possible answers is given: “the call on the field is confirmed,” “the call on the field stands,” or “the call on the field is overturned.” If a call is confirmed, it means there is visual evidence that the referees made the correct call. If a call stands, it means that there wasn’t enough visual evidence to confirm the call, but there also wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call either. If a call is overturned, it means that there is visual evidence that the referees made the wrong call on the field. By NFL rules, there has to be “indisputable video evidence” to overturn the call made on the field.
What if our eternal salvation worked like an NFL replay review? What would God find if he went into the replay review of our lives and took a look at the evidence? If our eternal salvation was based on a review of how we lived our lives, our salvation would always be overturned. The evidence that stands against us is indisputable. We are reminded of that in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
But the amazing thing about that passage is that it doesn’t end there, it continues in verse 24, “and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” To understand what that passage is saying, we need to understand what it means to be justified. The word “justify” is really a courtroom term. It is a declaration of “not guilty.”
How is it that we can be declared “not guilty” when a review of our lives proves the exact opposite to be true? It’s all because of Jesus! When Jesus willingly went to the cross and died, he did that for us. And when he died, he died for the sins of the whole world (including yours and mine). Therefore, our sins have been taken away and replaced with the perfect life Jesus lived on our behalf.
Therefore, when God goes into the replay booth of our lives, he no longer sees the evidence that stood against us (i.e. our sins), instead the replay shows the perfect life that Jesus lived for us. That’s what it means to be justified.
If you would like an easy way to remember the meaning of the word “justify,” just break it down into smaller part: just/if/y. Through Jesus’ death on the cross for us, he made it “just” as “if” “I” never sinned. Therefore, the official review of our lives announces: “the call of your eternal salvation is confirmed in Jesus.”
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