Just Part I
Updated: Jun 10, 2022
But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, Deuteronomy 25:15.
What does it mean to be just? Before we look at the word's New Testament implications and before we look at the concept of being justified, we need to understand the very concepts of being just at its very roots. Israel was commanded to have more than a perfect system of weights and measures. It was also to be just.
Imagine an old style scale in which a weight is put on one plate and a quantity of wheat, meat or some other substance is put on the other. The merchant placed a pre-agreed upon weight on one side of the scale and slowly added the wheat or whatever onto the other side until the scale evened out indicating that whatever was piled on the one side, equalled the other side in weight.
A perfect system was needed in which everyone agreed upon the values of the weights and measurements involved. Think of the headaches involved converting metric measurements to standard measurements or vice versa. The weight also had to be just. A merchant could not have a slightly lighter weight to place on his scale in order to deceive his customers. God considers that important enough as to make having a just weight and a perfect weight contingent upon whether or not Israel was to remain in the land.
A man could be considered just if his dealings with his neighbors and business associates were honest. When two men contended over a business dealing, a judge examined the case and declared which man was indeed just in his dealings and which man was guilty. If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked, Deuteronomy 25:1.
One of the many miracles involved in salvation is that God declares unjust men to be just. To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus, Romans 3:26. By his faith in the blood of Jesus Christ, the Father made him to be a propitiation for our sins. The Father declared himself to be just and the justifier in those who believed on Jesus Christ. That is broken down in these three links; here, here, and here.
From that moment on, the believer is secure in Christ Jesus. There is a new creature born within him that cannot sin, 1st John 3:9 and Ephesians 4:24. What this new believer cannot escape while still in the body of this flesh is his adamic sin nature. His old adamic nature may get the best of him and cause him to die far sooner than he may have otherwise, but it cannot damn him. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die, Romans 8:13. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, Romans 8:38,39.
I realize that I am compressing multitudes of verses and doctrine into just a few short paragraphs, but it is not the purpose of this post to reexamine the tenets of eternal security. Be assured that both God and I strongly believe in eternal security and your King James Bible clearly states it. Even if I didn't believe it, 1st John 3:9 makes it clear that the new nature in a believer cannot sin. My unbelief couldn't change that verse and it wouldn't change God's mind.
What I want understood in this post is that even though a believer is spotless in the eyes of God when his eternal soul is weighed in the balances of heaven, and even though his sins are thoroughly and completely paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ, a believer can besmirch his character and his standing with men and God on this earth. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same, Romans 13:3.
Why did the Apostle Paul need to admonish believers to do good? He needed to because many believers have fallen back into bad habits. As Peter said; For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently?, 1st Peter 2:20. There are believers who upon being saved, need to be taught to do good works; And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful, Titus 3:14. Paul admonished believers because being just in the new man, and having the absolute assurance of a complete pardon from God, does not make a man necessarily walk justly in this world; But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints, Ephesians 5:3.
Being justified in Christ Jesus does not make a man just in his everyday walk with other men. For this cause bishops are to be chosen out of those who are just before men. But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate, Titus 1:8. When a man is justified, it sometimes (if not often) refers to more than just his eternal standing with God. As seen in the verses that I have referenced, every man in Christ is just before God through the blood of Jesus Christ, but he can come far short of being considered a just man on this earth.
I am currently reading the book, The Islamic Jesus by Mustafa Akyol. Like most other writers both Christian and otherwise such as this Muslim author, he stumbles at the supposed contradiction between James's and Paul's doctrine. He stumbles because like so many other writers he cannot see the difference between a righteousness freely given through the grace of Jesus Christ and the righteousness that a believer is required to live by in this life. We will look at this further.