Look around and you will see systems and processes of justification everywhere in our society. From marital arguments, to public debates, we continue to make excuses as our own moral law dictates, as well as many of the more core beliefs about the self, all involve the process of explaining why certain claims, thoughts, or actions are acceptable. In virtually every form of social exchange, from twitting, to warfare, politics, even in our homes when family struggles arise, man constantly justifies their behaviors to themselves and others. Moreover, justification processes are a unique human wonder. Other animals communicate, struggle for dominance, and form alliances. However, they do not justify why they do what they do. We are the only justifying species of the bunch.
Merriam-Webster explains “self-justification” simply as “the act of making excuses for one’s self.” When we hear the phrase “self-justification,” it is usually in the context of someone trying to get out of something. A person may claim his or her innocence to avoid a penalty. People often justify themselves simply to avoid embarrassment.
From the beginning of time until now, men have always tried to hide their sins and failings from God, other men and even from themselves. “The hardest thing for human beings to do is to admit they are wrong.” We will often go to great lengths concocting a myriad of lies to justify our thoughts, feelings and actions. Genesis 3:10-13; 4:9; and Acts 5:1-11. We will blame weather and even wild beasts in the streets for not performing our responsibilities! Solomon warns that this can destroy us. Proverbs 20:4; 22:13 and Ecclesiastes 5:6; 7:16; 8:11.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and it first fools self so we can become totally self-deceived, so we must look honestly into the mirror of the law of liberty, God’s Word, and not forget to remove the “sin” we see in ourselves. We must look at the inevitable deterrent to overcoming, which occurs as we begin to strip away our self-deception. We do not like what we see when we compare ourselves with the Word of God, and we begin to justify ourselves in what we do. Self-justification leads us to make excuses either for our behavior or for our unwillingness to overcome it.
We are never justified in and of ourselves. True justification begins with us recognizing our need for it. We need the help of Jesus Christ and the help of God’s Holy Spirit to come to the point of seeing ourselves as we really are, and being willing to admit our mistakes and sins. Justification involves the acceptance of Christ’s blood; it involves having a commitment to living God’s way of life. This commitment is demonstrated through faith, repentance and baptism.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5:8-9). Justification comes from the blood of Christ!
At the end of the day, we all find Self-Justification is futile! “It is God who justifies” (Romans 8:33).