Spurgeon: It is God Who Justifies

Posted On September 13, 2013

The following is taken from Spurgeon’s classic book All of Grace—an earnest word for those seeking salvation and God

Romans 8:33, “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.”

You cannot justify yourself

A wonderful thing it is, this being justified, or made just. If we had never broken the laws of God we should not have needed it, for we should have been just in ourselves. He who has all his life done the things which he ought to have done, and has never done anything which he ought not to have done, is justified by the law. But you, dear reader, are not of that sort, I am quite sure. You have too much honesty to pretend to be without sin, and therefore you need to be justified. Now, if you justify yourself, you will simply be a self-deceiver. Therefore do not attempt it. It is never worth while.

If you ask your fellow mortals to justify you, what can they do? You can make some of them speak well of you for small favors, and others will backbite you for less. Their judgment is not worth much.

Our text says, “It is God who justifies,” and this is a deal more to the point. It is an astonishing fact, and one that we ought to consider with care. Come and see.

Justifying sinners was God’s idea

In the first place, nobody else but God would ever have thought of justifying those who are guilty. They have lived in open rebellion; they have done evil with both hands; they have gone from bad to worse; they have turned back to sin even after they have smarted for it, and have therefore for a while been forced to leave it. They have broken the law, and trampled on the gospel. They have refused proclamations of mercy, and have persisted in ungodliness. How can they be forgiven and justified? Their fellowmen, despairing of them, say, “They are hopeless cases.” Even Christians look upon them with sorrow rather than with hope. But not so their God. He, in the splendor of his electing grace having chosen some of them before the foundation of the world, will not rest till He has justified them, and made them to be accepted in the Beloved. Is it not written, Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:30)? Thus you see there are some whom the Lord resolves to justify: why should not you and I be of the number?

None but God would ever have thought of justifying me. I am a wonder to myself. None but God would have ever thought of justifying such a man as Saul the persecutor; but the Lord God is glorious in grace.

Justifying sinners is God’s work

But, even if anybody had thought of justifying the ungodly, none but God could have done it. It is quite impossible for any person to forgive offenses which have not been committed against himself. A person has greatly injured you; you can forgive him, and I hope you will; but no third person can forgive him apart from you. If the wrong is done to you, the pardon must come from you. If we have sinned against God, it is in God’s power to forgive; for the sin is against Himself. That is why David says, in the fifty-first Psalm: “Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight”; for then God, against whom the offense is committed, can put the offense away.  None but the great God, against whom we have committed the sin, can blot out that sin; let us, therefore, see that we go to Him and seek mercy at His hands.

God justifies sinners in a manner that is divinely perfect

Only God can justify the ungodly; but He can do it to perfection. He casts our sins behind His back, He blots them out; He says that though they be sought for, they shall not be found. With no other reason for it but His own infinite goodness, He has prepared a glorious way by which He can make scarlet sins as white as snow, and remove our transgressions from us as far as the east is from the west. He says, “I will not remember your sins. ” He goes the length of making an end of sin. One of old called out in amazement, “Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy” (Micah 7:18).

The Lord is a Great Forgiver

Friend, the Lord can blot out all your sins. I make no shot in the dark when I say this. “All manner of sin and of blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men.” Though you are steeped up to your throat in crime, He can with a word remove the defilement, and say, “I will, be thou clean.” The Lord is a great forgiver.

“I believe in the Forgiveness of Sins.” Do You? He can even at this hour pronounce the sentence, “Thy sins be forgiven thee; go in peace;” and if He do this, no power in Heaven, or earth, or under the earth, can put you under suspicion, much less under wrath. Do not doubt the power of Almighty love. You could not forgive your fellow man had he offended you as you have offended God; but you must not measure God’s corn with your bushel; His thoughts and ways are as much above yours as the heavens are high above the earth.

“Well,” say you, “it would be a great miracle if the Lord were to pardon me.” Just so. It would be a supreme miracle, and therefore He is likely to do it; for He does “great things and unsearchable” which we looked not for.

Look to Him and be saved

I venture to say that a sinner justified by God stands on even a surer footing than a righteous man justified by his works, if such there be. We could never be surer that we had done enough works; conscience would always be uneasy lest, after all, we should come short, and we could only have the trembling verdict of a fallible judgment to rely upon; but when God himself justifies, and the Holy Spirit bears witness thereto by giving us peace with God, why then we feel that the matter is sure and settled, and we enter into rest. No tongue can tell the depth of that calm which comes over the soul which has received the peace of God which passes all understanding.

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