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From the Winter 2014 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

God’s Plan for Our Growth

by Stephen D. Eyre M.Div.
City Director, C.S. Lewis Institute - Cincinnati


he human race has a character flaw: sin. We have a “sinful nature.” In the Greek the word is sarx; in older translations it is rendered as “the flesh.” The Bible portrays us as spiritually and genetically addicted to sin. It is a virus that infects everything. Whatever sin infects turns terminally malignant. Sin is a power that addicts, infects, enslaves, and destroys.
  The presence, actions, and power of sin are described by the apostle Paul in the context of his own character struggle.

When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (Rom. 7:21–24)1

  The answer to Paul’s desperate plea, who will rescue me from slavery to sin? is God.  
  Salvation is the comprehensive term we use to describe God’s rescue. We have terms to expound and explain the process of God’s rescue; two of these are justification and sanctification. Justification is what God does for us, and sanctification addresses what we must do in response. By means of justification and sanctification, we are empowered to fight the battle of sin and be enriched by God’s blessings.


  Briefly, justification can be defined as God’s saving actions in Christ applied to sin-infected beings. Justification is a rich and complex term that needs to be unpacked. We will look at it from two different angles: the blood of Christ and spiritual union with Christ.

The Blood of Christ

  “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood” (Rom. 3:23–25).
  I used addiction and infection as metaphors to introduce the need for justification. But there are other helpful ways to think about the sin problem. In the preceding verses, the apostle Paul used three:

Justified is a legal term taken from the courts. To be justified means that the accused is declared innocent of the charges—not guilty. The prisoner is released and given a clean record.  

Redemption is a term taken from the slave markets. To be redeemed means that someone paid off the slave master, and the slave is now a freed person.

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