Justified in Christ: How are Christians like Hawaii?

By Justin

On July 4, Hawaii will celebrate its Independence Day. That is, Hawaii will celebrate the fact that on July 4, 1776, the united American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain and became the United States. The Fourth of July is Hawaii’s Independence Day. We all know this, right?

And yet it’s kind of strange when you think about it. After all, Hawaii didn’t send any delegates to Philadelphia in 1776. Not one Hawaiian signature can be found on the Declaration of Independence, and not one drop of Hawaiian blood was shed to free us from Great Britain.

If all that is so, then why does July 4 have anything to do with Hawaii? Answer: because in 1959 Hawaii joined the Union. She entered into union with the United States, such that our history became her history. When we fought, she fought. When we triumphed, she triumphed. Because of her union with the U.S., our privileges of citizenship have now become her privileges of citizenship. Our army has become her army, and our flag her flag. And on the flipside, her debts became our debts. This is what union with America is all about about.

Something similar is going on with what the Bible calls “justification.”

As Christians, we celebrate the fact that we have died to sin and have been raised to righteousness. We glory in the fact that God has forgiven us of all our transgressions and declared us to be completely righteous. As far as God is concerned, it’s as though we had never sinned and had always obeyed. There is no condemnation. None. “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10).

And yet it’s kind of strange when you think about it. After all, we deserve God’s condemnation. We actually have sinned–often!–and we haven’t always obeyed. Given God’s righteous character and hatred of sin, forgiving our sins seems totally unfair, even reprehensible. As the Proverb says, “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, are both alike an abomination to the Lord” (Prov. 17:15).

If all this is so, then how can justification by God have anything to do with us? Answer: because like Hawaii, we, too have entered a union. Not a union with America, but a union with Jesus Christ, such that his history becomes our history. When he obeyed, we obeyed. When he died and was raised, we died and were raised. Because of our union with Christ, Christ’s privileges of Sonship have now become our privileges of sonship. His righteousness has become our righteousness, and his Holy Spirit our Holy Spirit. And on the flipside, our sin became his sin, and he carried it in his body on the tree. This is what union with Christ is all about.

And this is how we are justified–by being in Christ through faith. “There is now no condemnation”–for whom?–“for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).

Now that’s a union worth celebrating. And you don’t even have to wait for the Fourth of July (2 Cor. 6:2).

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1 thought on “Justified in Christ: How are Christians like Hawaii?”

  1. THE PHARISAICAL MYTH

    Are the modern day Pharisees those who believe that you have to follow God’s doctrine in order to be saved? The example.
    FAITH (John 3:16
    REPENTANCE (Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19)
    CONFESSION ((Romans 10:9-10, Acts 8:37)
    WATER BAPTISM (Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, Acts 22:16, 1 Peter 3:21)

    Are the contemporary Pharisees those who teach that Christians, who make sin a lifestyle, will not enter the kingdom of God? (1 Corinthians 6:6-11, Galatians 5:19-20)

    Was the problem with the Pharisees that they kept God’s law to the letter and forced others to do the same? ABSOLUTELY NOT! The Pharisees were keeping their man-made traditions, they were not keeping God’s law to the letter.

    Jesus did not condemn the Pharisees for keeping the laws of God to the letter. It was the exact opposite.

    Mark 7:1-9 The Pharisees…..7 ‘But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men! 8 Neglecting the command of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” 9. He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandments of God in order to keep your traditions.

    Jesus made it very clear that the Pharisees did not keep God’s laws to the letter. The problem with the Pharisees were they were keeping their man-made traditions!

    Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you , scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.

    Jesus was not rebuking the Pharisees for following God’s law to the letter, He was admonishing them for neglecting the law.

    Matthew 5:20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

    Jesus did not question the righteousness of the Pharisees because they were living in strict obedience to God’s law. They were not even close to following God’s laws.

    Matthew 16:6-12 And Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”…….12 Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of the bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and and Sadducees.

    Jesus was not warning of the teaching of the Pharisees because they were advocating strict adherence to the Scriptures. They were teaching from their man-made creed books.

    Matthew 23:13-33….33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?

    Jesus did not refer to the Pharisees as serpents and ask them how they would escape hell, because they were following the Scriptures to the letter of the law. THEY WERE NOT KEEPING GOD’S LAWS!

    The problem with the Pharisees was they were following their man-made creed books. They were not living in strict obedience to the Scriptures, they were not even close.

    John 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

    JESUS DID NOT ADMONISH, REBUKE, LECTURE, NOR REPRIMAND THE PHARISEES FOR KEEPING HIS COMMANDMENTS NOR GOD’S COMMANDMENTS TO THE LETTER OF THE LAW. IT WAS JUST THE OPPOSITE!

    TEACHING THE BIBLICAL TERMS FOR PARDON ACCORDING THE BIBLE IS NOT BEING PHARISAICAL!

    THE MAN-MADE CREED BOOKS OF TODAY ARE NO MORE GOD’S WORD THAN THE CREED BOOKS OF THE PHARISEES.

    IF THE DOCTRINE YOU FOLLOW CONTRADICTS SCRIPTURE, THEN, IT IS MAN-MADE TRADITION!

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