Justification in Depth
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.
Define and discuss justification, the battle cry of the Reformation
The religious question asked by all groups who have some concept of deity is, "How does one become right before God?" In Christianity, this condition is called righteousness and the process of obtaining this right standing is called justification.
"How should man be just with God?" (Job 9:2), and "How then can man be justified with God?" (Job 25:4). Justification is the process whereby God makes a sinful person acceptable to Him. It is part of the beginning of the concept we call salvation.
Justification may be defined as the act of God whereby He declares absolutely righteous any and all who accept Jesus Chris solely by faith as their path to salvation. Justification is properly a legal concept. In a sense, the believer is no different immediately after justification than he was before. He has still committed the same sins and has paid no penalty for them. The difference is that God now accepts him because of his faith in Jesus. He sees Christ's righteousness when He looks at the believer. God declares him acceptable and righteous based solely upon his relationship with Jesus.
Godís holiness does not allow Him to deal unjustly with guilty sinners. He must judge and condemn the guilty. How, then, can He offer salvation to mankind since all of mankind are sinners? While this may appear to be an insurmountable problem, God established the method of overcoming this problem via the doctrine of justification.
To draw an analogy from the US criminal justice system, if a criminal is found guilty and convicted of a crime, he forever remains guilty before the court. The offended party may forgive the criminal, but the criminal remains guilty of his offense. He has been forgiven but not justified. God does what man cannot do. God both forgives the criminal and justifies him. If God is the judge, the criminal is one who sins. Since Scripture provides that "all of sinned" (Rom 3:23), all people are criminals when they appear before God. No one has right standing before God without this God-given forgiveness and justification.
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