Do you believe you are justified before God?
His word says that if we believe, we are justified. And this is not because of ourselves but as a result of God's grace. The Lord continues to work salvation in me but I have to confess that this is a way that I have failed to believe and live out the true gospel. I have discovered that I seek justification from others through my ability to verbally explain my perspective to them. If I can make them understand then I'm good and justified in doing whatever I do. It has made me self righteous, not really righteous as a result of His work, just plain, old, false gospel, self righteous. I hate apologizing and I am starting to see that at the root, apologies are so difficult for me because I have believed that I can explain anything away and in the end be justified and if I am justified there is no need for forgiveness. Oh this is so wrong!
Romans 5:1-2 says "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Ephesians 2:8 says "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God," Justification comes from faith. Faith comes from God, as a gift. And not just any gift. The best kind of gift. The one you did nothing to deserve!
God is the one who accomplishes our justification. He did it through what many people call the great exchange from 2 Corinthians 5:21 "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." Jesus took on our sinfulness and gave to us his righteousness. Because of this those who believe can stand before God in confidence, knowing that God sees Christ gleamingly white righteousness instead of our dirty sinful pride, selfishness etc. God accomplished this out of his love for us and his natural goodness. Thinking we can accomplish justification on our own is just silly. We can't. But he offers it to us anyway. Therefore, out of gratitude that God has made me justified, I should seek repentance and forgiveness. Not because it gets me anything of value but because God has already given me everything I need