Whenever people associate for social purposes, the subject of justification is always at play. It is often hidden by assumptions; and it is not usually identified by that name; but justification underlies all human relationships. There must always be some means for citizens to be justified. There is a flip side: this provision for approval not only recognizes some people as justified, but it also locks out some others from the company of the justified. “Do this (we are told)… approve of this, conduct yourself like this, behave in this way and you will be justified. If you do not approve, if you fail to work or behave in the accepted way, you will not be accepted…rather, you will be condemned. This sorting process occurs from the highest levels of society down to that unique social order that is gathered under the overpass in Spokane. It takes place both in the cathedral and in the beer hall.
It is crucial for us to understand that a the present time in Western civilization, there is new sorting going on. People whom were formerly acknowledged as justified are now increasingly outside the circle of the justified. And people whom were formerly condemned are increasingly held up for public approval and are regarded as justified.
We ordinary folk see what is going on and we shake our heads in disbelief. Just look at the double standard! we complain. This guy is an habitual and notorious womanizer and engages in the most flagrant kind of degrading sexual harassment in high places…but is given a pass? What is the deal?! Well, His actions, his behavior is overlooked because he is among the justified. Another man…(let us say, a candidate for president? Another man) favors paintings in his private residence that depict his reliance upon Christ in his professional life…and he his ridiculed, scorned, and frog-marched off the stage. What is happening is much deeper than a double standard. It is a religious sorting out. The Christian presidential candidate is sneered at, not for any trespass, but rather because he is outside of the company of the justified. The highly placed official with the roaming hands is invulnerable because…he is part of the company of the justified.
Sexual perversion of the most degrading and public kind is no longer a cause for societal condemnation; rather this sort of thing is increasingly taken as evidence of the justified status of the participants! You don’t have to be too diligent to discover all kinds of examples of who is justified and who is not in our rapidly changing culture. Those who for conscious sake refuse to bake cakes are condemned. The sexual perversion that was demanding the wedding cake?? the homosexual activists that forced the issue?…they are justified.
In the end, it comes down to a clash of religions. Those who hate the most high God, those who are in rebellion against the God of the Bible now feel themselves secure enough in their mutiny to abandon the pretense of neutrality. With a voice that is increasingly strident they are proclaiming “we will not have this man to rule over us.” Consequently, they are in the “anything but” stage of their revolt—anything but…Christ and his people. Christians and everyone who even behaves sympathetically to Christian precepts, these must be condemned, for they are not of us…they are not justified. And so, even Muslims must be justified because they are not of Christ and His hated laws. Every manner of perversion, of wickedness, and of the corruption of the soul of man must be applauded because it represents a break with the Triune God.
The separating out, the sorting, the dividing between the justified and the unjustified? This does not depend upon works. Some acts and behaviors might be deplored as repugnant or unfortunate, or distasteful, or even wrong; but these lapses do not change the status of the justified. What matters is who do you belong to? Do you belong to us? Or do you belong to the rival religion? That is the question. The consensus of society, the dominant media, the influential…and the elite will always come to the defense of those who are justified…who are justified according to the precepts of the prevailing religion.
This of course, reminds us to find comfort in our justification. We are justified not by our own works, but by the foreordaining plan of the Triune God. The scripture says that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” So let us confess our sins now, in faith believing that the blood of Christ has covered them and that we are therefore justified.