Let me start today’s ‘light’ by referencing some verses from the Bible in the book of Romans in the New Testament as provided by the Apostle Paul. The reason for this is to give definition to the word ‘justification’ as used in Christian teaching:
Romans 3:21-26 ESV
21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
And I personally like this simplified definition: All of the sins of God’s people were laid on Christ (as if he had committed them). … So that when anyone, whoever he is and whatever he has done, turns from his sins and trusts in the shed blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, he is justified (declared to be righteous) in God’s sight.
Okay…that said…now back to Schaeffer….
Even in justification, many Christians who are perfectly orthodox in doctrine look back upon their justification as though it were the end of all, at least until death comes. It is not. Birth is essential to life, but the parent is not glad only for the birth of his child. He is thankful for the living child that grows up. Whoever saw a couple get engaged simply because they wanted to enjoy the marriage ceremony? What they want to do is to live together. So it is with becoming a Christian. In one way you can say that the new birth is everything; in another way you can say that really it is very little. It is everything because it is indispensable to begin with, but it is little in comparison with the living existential relationship. The legal circle of justification does not end statically; it opens to me a living person-to-person communication with the God who exists.
In marriage and in other human relationships the same thing applies — the proper legal relationship must be there, but if it is static it becomes a dusty monument. It is no longer beautiful. It becomes a flower that dies under a glass. It can only be beautiful if inside the proper legal circle we have a personal relationship which speaks of the personal God who is there. This is the Christian calling, not only to exhibit something substantially real to a watching world, but to enjoy it ourselves. I am called to love God with all my heart and soul and mind, and I am called to love my neighbor as myself: each person involved in the proper circle and in the proper relationship.
If we say that personality is not an intrusion in the universe but central, the world has a right to see the Christians both individually and corporately living on a personal level. Men must see that we take personality seriously enough, by the grace of God, to act upon it.
There must be an observable indication of this in the midst of the daily life in this present abnormal world, or we have denied the central Christian presupposition.
Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – The God Who Is There