I don’t know if there could be any more amazing phrase in the word of God than these two words – “justified freely.” In the first part of Romans 3 Paul lays out all the reasons why justification must be free. I don’t want to list them all, but some examples:
No one understands
No one seeks after God
All turned aside
No one does good
And then he gets into the heavy stuff (verses 14-18).
With a list like this what hope could a man possibly have? This passage makes man sound like he is really, really bad. Why would it do that? Well, because man is really, really bad.
Man is so bad that no man can DO anything about it. Every deed of man, every religious act, every best effort falls short. As Paul points out a couple of verses earlier only faith in Christ can do what no work can do.
Therefore we come up with the words, “justified freely.” A simple way to put it is that we are brought into line with God’s standards freely. Well, at least freely to us. The cost was great, but it was paid by Christ. Therefore the cost to really, really bad man is nothing – it is free.
Praise God for “justified freely!”