Section 6: Salvation – Part 1
Week 4: Justification – God’s Declaration of Our Righteousness
Day 4: Justification Is the Result of Our Union with Christ
How is it that God is able to treat Christ’s righteousness as our righteousness? We’ve said that Christ serves as our representative, and that’s true. But let’s take a closer look at the nature of our connection to him. In the Digging Deeper section on Humanity, we noted that God sees all of humanity as an organic whole with Adam as its head. Because of that connection, God treats each one of us as if we had sinned right along with Adam. When we put our faith in Christ, that changes. Through the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives, we are now united with Christ rather than Adam. We, thus, become a part of a new humanity with a new head.
Our union with Christ impacts the lives of believers in a number of different ways, as we’ll have an opportunity to see throughout our discussion of salvation. As for justification, our union with Christ is essential because it allows God to consider us as having died with Christ (Rom 6:5-6, Col. 2:20, 3:3). Because we are united with him, his death was our death and thus paid the penalty we owed for sin. In the same way his righteousness is our righteousness. As a result, Paul is able to say:
If by the trespass of one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. or just as through the disobedience of one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of one man the many will be made righteous” Rom. 5:17-19.
Read Rom. 8.
Why is Paul able to switch so easily from Christ being in us to the Spirit being in us? Does this have anything to do with what we’ve learned about the Trinity? How does your union with Christ impact your understanding of justification?