Springs in the Valley tells the story of a man who found a barn where Satan kept his evil seeds stored, ready to be sown in the human heart. After a quick survey of the barn, the man discovered that the seeds of discouragement were more numerous than all the other seeds stored in the barn. He further learned that the seeds of discouragement were “super-seeds” because they could be made to grow almost anywhere. So the man went on a mission to learn as much as he could about the seeds of discouragement.
He asked Satan, “Do they have a limit? Is there a soil in the soul where the seeds won’t germinate?” He pushed and pushed. Worn down, Satan finally reluctantly admitted, “There is one place where I cannot get the seeds of discouragement to thrive.” “Where is it?” the man asked. Satan sadly replied, “In the heart of a grateful person.”
Justification makes you a grateful person. According to Romans 5, justification makes you a joyful, enduring, maturing, hope-filled, unashamed, and deeply loved person. Justification shapes the soil of your soul, gives you an intact identity, and impacts how you feel and act.
What is justification? Justification is a driving, defining, inescapable need in the human soul. The heart’s desire for justification is unconquerable. No one can live without justification; we must have it or we experience an emotional death in the core of our being. Intellectually grasping the definition or doctrine of justification is fairly easy…experiencing its power is harder. According to Romans 4, justification is legally conferring or crediting a new status of righteousness (or acceptability, perfection, or worthiness) upon unrighteous messed-up people. The longest distance on earth for justification to travel is the twelve inches from the head to the heart.
The journey starts with peace with God: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God….” (Rom 5.1)To be justified is to have comprehensive peace, the deep healing of everything broken. To experience peace, it is crucial to grasp that it comes from justification. This means peace with God cannot be achieved; it can only be received. The more you try to achieve peace, the less peace you will experience. The more you receive a peace already achieved by a Jesus-justification, the more peace you will experience.
The journey from the head to the heart continues with warm friendship with God: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith…we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.” (Rom 5.1-2)To be justified is to have warm friendship with God. “Access” means to bring near, close. Forgiveness is you may go, justification is you may come - close. Notice we stand or remain there: access, nearness, closeness, warm friendship with God is permanent or fixed. When your heart breaks, circumstances spin out of control, you feel so alone, or blow it, God is with you because access is based upon grace, not upon your performance.