Spurgeon: "God justifies the wicked"


The apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, so is expressed:

“To those who do not work but believe in the one who justifies the wicked, his faith is counted as justice” (Romans 4:5).

I wish to focus your attention on the words “He who justifies the wicked”. They are not wonderful? The word “ungodly” it refers to all those who show disrespect and aversion to what is pious and holy. You are not surprised that such an expression is found in the Bible? Who does not believe in the doctrine of the cross, accuses God of caring for the wicked and calling to Himself the vile and the least deserving. Well, Scripture accepts this charge and declares it openly! By the mouth of His servant Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, God takes on the title of “He who justifies the wicked”.

He makes those who are unjust righteous, forgives those who deserve to be punished and goes out to meet those who should be rejected. It is all too obvious to think that salvation is reserved for the good, may God's grace be for the pure, for holy people, for those who are free from sin. maybe, The hypothesis flashed in your mind that if you were perfect God would reward you, and you thought that, since you are not worthy, you will never get a chance to enjoy His favor. You will be, then, surprised to read such a statement: “He who justifies the wicked”. No wonder you're surprised, as, despite all my familiarity with God's grace, never ceases to amaze me. It is not surprising that a holy God can justify a person who is anything but holy?

We often talk about our goodness and what we deserve; we probably think we have something particular capable of attracting God's attention. But God who sees beyond all appearances, he knows that there is absolutely nothing good in us. He states that “There is not fair, not even one”. He knows all our righteousness is like “a dirty dress” e, then, the Lord Jesus did not come into the world to seek goodness and justice, but to bring goodness and justice and pour it out on people who have none at all. He comes not because we are righteous, but to make us so: God justifies the ungodly.

A lawyer, usually, enters the courtroom to plead a cause of an innocent person to justify him before the court of the accusations that have been brought against him. The lawyer's task should be to justify the innocent; he should not attempt to defend the culprit. Man has no right or power to justify the guilty party. This is a miracle reserved exclusively for God. From the height of His infinite justice, the Lord knows that there is no one exempt from sin and therefore, in the splendor of His ineffable love, it assumes not so much the task of justifying the right, as much as that of justifying those who are missing. God has found a way to make the sinner appear pure before Himself: He has conceived a plan of grace by virtue of which he can treat the guilty with perfect justice, as if he were completely free from sin. God justifies the ungodly.

Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. It is a surprising work – something that leaves you speechless especially those who have experienced it. Even today, the greatest miracle I have heard of is that God justifies me too. Without His almighty love, I feel totally unworthy, full of corruption, a heap of sins. I know with certainty that I am justified by faith in Jesus and that I am being treated as if I were perfectly righteous; I know I am God's heir and Christ's joint heir; but yet, humanly I am but a sinner. I, that I am completely unworthy, I am treated like I am deserving. They are the object of the love that I would receive if I had always been right; instead, I was but a sinner. Who wouldn't be surprised by this? Gratitude for such a great favor is accompanied by an irrepressible wonder.

However surprising such a reality may be, I would like you to notice how much this makes the Gospel accessible. If God justifies the wicked, then it can justify you too. This is not really your condition? You are not converted, this defect fits you perfectly: lived without God, you have not practiced justice, in other words, you are but a wicked one. Maybe you have never been to a place of worship, you lived without worrying about the Lord and His Word indeed, you felt aversion to it; this confirms that you have been ungodly. Even sadder is the fact that perhaps you even doubted the existence of God. You lived on this earth, filled with proofs of God's presence, but until now, you closed your eyes to the evidence of His power and divinity. You lived as if God did not exist. In fact, you would have been very happy if you could have proved to yourself with certainty that God does not exist. You have probably lived this way for many years, until you root yourself in your bad habits thus leaving God totally outside your life.

maybe, your form of impiety is not so declared: indeed, you have regularly practiced all outward forms of religiosity, without, But, participate in it with the heart. As much as you met with the people of God, you have never met God personally; maybe you have even been part of the choir, without, But, praise the Lord with the heart. You lived without love for God, with no respect for His commandments. Good, you are just the kind of person to whom the gospel is directed: the Gospel of God that justifies the wicked. All of this is not only wonderful, but it's also absolutely within your reach. That's just what you need. It is perhaps not true? How I wish you would accept it! If you are a sensible man you will understand the immensity of God's grace that comes to meet someone like you, for this you will say: “He justifies the wicked! Why shouldn't I be justified too, why not right now?”.

Indeed, so it must be: God's salvation is for those who do not deserve it. It is quite understandable that this statement is contained in the Bible because, no one needs to be justified except those who know they are not right at all. If any of the readers feel okay, certainly will not want to be justified. It will seem to him to do his duty well indeed, he will almost feel that heaven is under obligation to him.

What do you need a Savior or divine mercy for? What do you need justification for? You will already be tired of reading my book, because it does not deal with topics that may interest you. If you are giving yourself these airs listen to me carefully: you will be lost, as it is true that you now live!
You men who consider yourselves righteous, whose justice lies entirely in your works, you are deceivers or deceived, why the Scripture, who cannot lie, declares openly: “There is no right, not even one”. Anyhow, I have no gospel to preach to those who consider themselves righteous, no, not even a word. Jesus Christ himself did not come to call the righteous, and I have no intention of doing what He did not do. If I called you, you would not come and therefore I will not call you that. Rather, I ask you to look to your alleged justice until you realize what kind of self-deception it is. It has the texture of a spider's web. Get it over! Leave it! The only people who understand their need for justification are those who realize their injustice. They need something done that can make them righteous before the throne of divine judgment. Trust this: the Lord does only what is necessary. Infinite Wisdom never engages in what is not needed. Jesus never undertakes anything superfluous. Making righteous those who already think they are righteous is not God's job – it would be the task for a fool; but making those who are unjust righteous is the work of infinite love and mercy. Justifying the wicked is a miracle worthy of God!

Consider this: if somewhere in the world there was a doctor who had discovered safe remedies who would turn to? Perhaps to those who are perfectly healthy? I do not think. Put him in an area where there is not even a sick person and he would feel out of place. He would have nothing to do. “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, and in malati”, said the Lord. It is not so clear that the remedies of grace and redemption are for all the sick in spirit? They can't be for the sane, they would be of no use to them.

Be yourself, Dear friend, you feel spiritually sick, know that the Doctor is “came into the world to heal you”. If you are completely ruined because of your sin, you are the very person to whom the plan of salvation is aimed. I argue that God, in His love, he had you in mind when he conceived the plan of grace. Suppose a man moved by great generosity has decided to forgive the debts of all those who owe him money; it is clear that this only applies to those who are truly indebted to him. One person owes him a million, another fifty; everyone has to do is present their account and their debt will be forgiven. But no matter how generous a person may be, he will never be able to forgive a debt to someone who owes him nothing. It is beyond the power of the Almighty to forgive those who think they have not sinned. Forgiveness therefore cannot be for you claiming that you are not at fault. Forgiveness can only be reserved for the guilty; grace only to the sinner. It would be absurd to forgive those who do not need forgiveness and to give grace to those who have never committed sin.

You think you are lost because you are a sinner? Well, this is why you can be saved. Precisely because you recognize that you are a sinner, I want to encourage you to believe that grace is for someone like you.

The most beautiful truth is that Jesus seeks and saves what is lost. He died making an authentic atonement for true sinners. When people don't play with words, when they don't define themselves “miserable sinners” out of false modesty, I am very happy to be able to meet them. I also like to talk all night with bona fide sinners. The hotel of mercy never closes its doors to such people or during the week, nor on Sunday. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not die for imaginary sins, but His blood was shed to wash away those stains that no one else could have removed.

If one feels a “dirty” sinner, he is exactly the kind of person that Jesus Christ came to make pure. A preacher of the Gospel one day presented a message based on the biblical text: “Now the ax is placed at the root of the tree” and the sermon was such that one bystanders told him: “Looks like you preached to criminals. His sermon should have been delivered in some prison”. “Oh no”, replied the good man, “if I had preached in a prison I would not have been inspired by this text. I would have preached on the verse it says: “This word is certain and worthy of being fully accepted: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”. just like that. The law is for those who consider themselves right, to humiliate his pride; the Gospel is for the lost, to eliminate his despair.

If you are not lost, what you need a Savior for? The Shepherd would go looking for sheep that have never been lost? Because the woman would sweep the house in search of the coins that never fell to the ground? No, medicine is for the sick, forgiveness is for the guilty, liberation for those who are prisoners, the opening of the eyes for the blind. How can the existence of a Savior be explained, His death on the cross and the entire Gospel of grace if we eliminate the assumption that men are guilty and deserving of condemnation? The sinner is the very reason why the Gospel exists. My friend, if you don't deserve anything, if you consider yourself worthy only of condemnation and perdition, then know that you are just the kind of person for whom the gospel was prepared and proclaimed. God justifies the ungodly.

I would like to make this concept accessible to everyone. I hope I have succeeded but, in any case, however much I try to make it understandable, only the Lord can make man fully assimilate it. At first, to a person with an awakened conscience, it seems quite surprising that salvation is precisely for her: to be guilty and lost. He believes he must remedy his condition, thus manifesting sincere repentance. “Oh”, think to himself, “I have to behave in a certain way” which is true, since he must behave in a very specific way as a consequence of salvation; but salvation comes to her before she has manifested the fruits of salvation itself. It comes to her, while it only deserves the title of “oscillate”. This is what a person is exactly when the Gospel reaches him to justify him.

I would therefore like to urge those who feel they have no good, nothing that can recommend them to the Lord, to believe that our God of grace has the power and the desire to welcome them without any recommendation, to forgive them spontaneously, not because they are good, but only because He is good. God does not let His sun shine on the righteous and the unrighteous? It does not bear fruit, giving rain and sun even to ungodly nations? Even Sodom had his sun and Gomorrah his dew. The immense divine grace surpasses mine and your understanding and I would like you to consider it appropriately. How high are the heavens above the earth, so your thoughts are higher than ours. He can forgive sins abundantly. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners: forgiveness is for the guilty.

Don't try to refurbish yourself to appear something other than who you really are; Come, Rather, to the One who justifies the wicked as he is.

A great artist painted a picture in which he represented the various social groups of the city in which he lived and intended to include in that work some characteristic characters of that community. There was a beggar, disheveled, torn and dirty that he was known by everyone and in the painting there was a suitable place for him. The artist told this crude individual: “I'll pay you well if you come and pose in the studio”. He came, but he was immediately returned to the begging business, for he had washed his face, he had combed his hair and put on a decent dress. He was needed as a beggar and he had not been invited to fill a different role. In the same way, the Gospel will welcome you into its courtyards only if you come as a sinner. Don't try to reform yourself, come immediately to receive salvation. God justifies the ungodly, for this reason you can be accepted in the very state you are in now: in your worst state.

Come as you are, come to Heavenly Father with all your sins. Come to Jesus with all your sloppiness, dirty, naked, unfit to live as well as to die. coming, you who are the beggars of creation; come you who hope for nothing but death. Come, you who have despair in your heart, pressing on your chest like a horrible nightmare. Come and ask the Lord to justify yet another wicked one. Why shouldn't it? coming, because His infinite mercy is precisely for those like you. I use the language of the text, and I couldn't make it stronger: the Lord himself makes use of this epithet: “He who justifies the wicked”. He makes those who are by nature wicked righteous and worthy to be treated as such. This is not a wonderful truth addressed to you? Do not get up from your chair until you have considered all this well.

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