Romans 4:25. [Jesus] was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Two truths stand side by side as the pillars supporting our union with Christ. In his death, Jesus paid the price for our sins, and in his life he has accomplished our justification.
First is the great truth of Christ’s substitutionary death. We deserved the deathly wage of our sin, but Jesus paid it for us. He was given over to death for our sake. Jesus took our guilt, shame, and penalty because the law demanded it.
Second is the great truth of our justification through Christ’s resurrection. Christ’s resurrection makes possible our new life in Christ. A new creation. A new standing. A new acceptance. A new righteousness. Because Christ arose we receive all that he received in his resurrection. Life. Inheritance. Glory. Justification. All the blessings of Christ (not just rocks).
We have to be a little bit careful with this verse and not forget that our justification is dependent not only upon Christ’s death and resurrection, but also our faith.
Romans 3:21-22. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.
We are not justified simply because Christ rose. There must also be saving faith. Not all people are justified. We are justified because we have been placed into the resurrected Christ by grace through faith. Now our standing is in the risen Christ. This is an act of God no less powerful than the creation act of Genesis 1. God by his creating word re-creates us. It is the ungodly that are made godly. The unrighteous made righteous. The dead made alive.
This is all made possible by the resurrection. If only the death of Christ, there would be no justification. Why? Because justification is both the putting away of sin by Christ’s death, but also the application of a new standing by Christ’s resurrection. Christ’s death satisfies the penalty for our past sins, and Christ’s resurrection satisfies the requirement for holiness. Christ’s holiness is applied to us by our union with his resurrection.
This is your forgiveness. This is your new identity. This is the verse that you scream back at Satan when he tries to convince you that your sins weren’t covered by the blood of Jesus. This is the verse that keeps you pushing forward in life. Christ has justified you. He has united his life to yours. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Let the harsh reality of this verse – OUR TRESPASSES (yes we are sinners) – be met by the exhilarating reality of this verse – OUR JUSTIFICATION (yes we are righteous).
“To live is Christ” is made possible by the work of Christ for us on the cross. It is also made possible by the work of Christ for us in his resurrection. Both are substitutionary, and both together bring about the indwelling life of Christ. Now the question is, will we live within this justification today? Will we participate in the righteous life of Christ? This too requires faith.