In an episode of The White Horse Inn titled “Did Jesus Teach Justification by Faith Alone?” the discussion turned towards ways Jesus’ life illustrated justification, and this memorable image caught my attention:
In His ministry, there were certain times that Jesus did things that looked like justification—or, at least, the logic. For example, eating with sinners. If you have an understanding of how significant it is to actually eat with someone else in a Mediterranean, ancient Near Eastern type of setting, to eat with someone is to actually treat them as if they are a peer or an equal. So for Jesus to eat with sinners, you actually have a picture of double imputation, where you actually have Jesus, because He ate with sinners, people thought He was a drunkard and a glutton, and He was treated as if He was a sinner. But because He also, as a rabbi, ate with sinners, He was treating them like they actually belonged there. So you actually have, in that picture of the significance of eating with sinners, an illustration of what justification actually looks like—the treating as if they are righteous, and Him being treated as if He was a sinner.
I am continually amazed by the artistry God used to reveal Himself. He didn’t just give us a list of propositions about theology; He painted pictures for us all throughout history so that we could better see the depth of His beauty (see my posts “God Is an Artist” and “What Was the Purpose of the Command against Mixed Threads?” for more on this). And Jesus, of course, is the ultimate revelation of God, “the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature.”
You can listen to the White Horse Inn’s entire four-part series on justification here. (Listening to older episodes, such as those four, requires a membership, but you can listen to the last three months of episodes for free on any podcast app, including two classic episodes featuring Greg Koukl that posted on February 20 and 27.)