Justification is a forensic term, opposed to condemnation. In regard to its nature, it is the judicial act of God, by which He pardons all the sins of those who believe in Christ, and accounts, accepts, and treats them as righteous in the eye of the law, i.e., as conformed to all its demands. In addition to the pardon of sin, justification declares that all the claims of the law are satisfied in respect of the justified. It is the act of a judge and not of a sovereign. The law is not relaxed or set aside, but is declared to be fulfilled in the strictest sense; and so the person justified is declared to be entitled to all the advantages and rewards arising from perfect obedience to the law (Romans 5:1-10).
It proceeds on the imputing or crediting to the believer by God himself of the perfect righteousness, active and passive, of His Representative and Surety, Jesus Christ (Romans 10:3-9). Justification is not the forgiveness of a man without righteousness, but a declaration that he possesses a righteousness that perfectly and forever satisfies the law, namely, Christ's righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 4:6-8).
The sole condition on which this righteousness is imputed or credited to the believer is faith in or on the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith is called a "condition," not because it possesses any merit, but only because it is the instrument, the only instrument by which the soul appropriates or apprehends Christ and His righteousness (Romans 1:17; 3:25, 26; 4:20, 22; Philippians 3:8-11; Galatians 2:16).
The act of faith which thus secures our justification secures also at the same time our sanctification (q.v.); and thus the doctrine of justification by faith does not lead to licentiousness (Romans 6:2-7). Good works, while not the ground, are the certain consequence of justification (Romans 6:14; 7:6).
|2135||zakah||Hebrew||to be clear, clean or pure (1)|
|6663||tsadeq||Hebrew||to be just or righteous (5)|
|1344g||dikaioo||Greek||to show to be righteous, to declare righteous (4)|
|1345g||dikaioma||Greek||an ordinance, a sentence of acquittal (1)|
|1347g||dikaiosis||Greek||the act of pronouncing righteous, acquittal (2)|
|Cannot be done by acts of men||Genesis 44:16, Job 32:2, 40:8, Isaiah 43:9, Luke 10:29, 16:15, Romans 3:20, 4:2, Galatians 2:16, 3:11, 5:4|
|Done by God||1 Kings 8:32, 2 Chronicles 6:23, Isaiah 45:25, Luke 16:15, Romans 2:13, 3:30, 8:33, Galatians 3:8|
|Done for people who trust in God||1 Kings 8:32, 2 Chronicles 6:23|
|Done through God's grace||Romans 3:24, 26, 5:16, Galatians 5:4, Titus 3:7|
|Done through the Holy Spirit||1 Corinthians 6:11|
|Justified through works of faith||James 2:21, 24, 25|
|Justified by our own words||Matthew 12:37, Romans 3:4|
|Justified through faith||Romans 3:26, 28, 4:5, 5:1, Galatians 2:16, 3:8, 3:11, 3:24|
|Justified through humility and repentance||Luke 18:14|
|Predestined by God||Romans 8:30, 33|
|Promised by God's word||Galatians 3:8|
|Results in eternal life||Titus 3:7|
|Through Jesus Christ||Isaiah 53:11, Romans 3:24, 26, 4:25, 5:1, 9, 18, 1 Corinthians 6:11, Galatians 2:16, 17, 3:24, 5:4|
- Salvation in the Bible
- The grace of God
- My Attorney
- Going to Heaven Are We?
- Did Jesus Command Baptism in Order to be Saved?
- Water Baptism... Is it Necessary for Salvation?
- Forgiveness of Sin
- Is Confession Necessary for Forgiveness of Sin for the Christian?
- Eternal Security of the Believer: Once Saved Always Saved?
- Have Christians Already Overcome Satan? - The Importance of the Word of God in the Life of the Believer
- Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Romans 5:1-10)
- For not knowing about God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. But the righteousness based on faith speaks thus, "DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, 'WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?' (that is, to bring Christ down), or 'WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)." But what does it say? "THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART"-- that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; (Romans 10:3-9)
- He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
- Just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: "BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. "BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT." (Romans 4:6-8)
- For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." (Romans 1:17)
- whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:25-26)
- yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God... Therefore also IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Romans 4:20,22)
- More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:8-11)
- nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified. (Galatians 2:16)
- May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection,knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. (Romans 6:2-7)
- For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace... But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. (Romans 6:14; 7:6)
We are what we think.
- 04/14/2015 02:11 AM
What Is Biblical Inerrancy? (Part 1)
Last month, I discussed canonicity and how we got the Protestant Bible (see part 1, part 2, and part 3). This week, RTB editor Maureen Moser rejoins me for a conversation about biblical inerrancyâ€”a topic of much debate and importance … Continue reading
- 04/07/2015 02:12 AM
World Religions: The Buddha and the Christ
Among the worldâ€™s great religious leaders, only two had such a profound impact that contemporaries inquired as to the very nature of their being.1 People wondered whether Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha) and Jesus of Nazareth (the Christ) were more than … Continue reading
- 03/31/2015 05:56 PM
God Incarnate: Jesus Christâ€™s Unique Identity
Thereâ€™s no denying that Jesus Christ ranks high among the most controversial figures in human history. Orthodox Christians believe that Jesus Christ is both true God (the second Person of the Trinity) and true man (the Incarnate Son of God). … Continue reading
- 03/24/2015 02:27 AM
The Resurrection: Christianityâ€™s Most Dangerous Idea
Originally published in Reasons to Believeâ€™s ezine, New Reasons to Believe, vol. 2, no. 3 (2010) â€śWho said anything about safe? â€™Course he isnâ€™t safe. But heâ€™s good. Heâ€™s the King, I tell you.â€ť1 This lineâ€”from my favorite book in … Continue reading
- 03/17/2015 02:55 AM
More Deaths in the Name of Godâ€”or No Gods?
Originally published in Reasons to Believeâ€™s ezine, New Reasons to Believe, vol. 2, no. 1 (2010) Great evil has been done in the name of Christ. This charge, a frequent objection to historic Christianity raised especially by the new atheist … Continue reading
- 03/10/2015 02:02 AM
God as the Source of Knowledge
Originally published in RTBâ€™s ezine, New Reasons to Believe, vol. 1, no. 1 (2009) Does the Bible indicate where knowledge comes from? Since evolutionary processes canâ€™t guarantee true beliefs naturalism as a worldview faces insurmountable problems. For its part, the … Continue reading
- 03/03/2015 02:08 AM
World Religions: The Sage and the Savior
Among the worldâ€™s great religious leaders, two became far-reaching moral instructors of humanity. Confucius (the sage) laid down the ethical foundation for much of Asian civilization. Jesus of Nazareth (the Savior) taught moral lessons that distinctly shaped the ethical nature … Continue reading
- 02/24/2015 02:31 AM
How We Got the Bible, Part 3
This week weâ€™ll be finishing up a series on the biblical canon, a topic that has been a source of discussion, debate, and controversy since the beginning of Christianity. Weâ€™ve covered the doctrine of divine inspiration and standards for recognizing … Continue reading
- 02/18/2015 12:07 PM
How We Got the Bible, Part 2
Last week RTB editor Maureen Moser and I began a discussion of the biblical canon, including the doctrine of inspiration and the criteria for recognizing canon, particularly for the New Testament. But as we noted, the branches of Christendom view … Continue reading
- 02/10/2015 02:22 AM
How We Got the Bible, Part 1
Earlier this year, scholars announced the discovery of what might be the oldest known copy of the Gospel of Mark (see here and here). A fragment of Markâ€™s book was found on ancient papyrus used to create a mummy mask. … Continue reading
Last Updated January 9, 2006