Justification. The verb “to justify” means: to declare a person righteous. A nice example of this is in Num. 23:21, where God declares that He has not seen any iniquity in His erring people. Likewise, the Christian has been justified, in that he has not lived righteously, but God reckons him perfectly righteous! The subject of justification is fully treated of in the book of Romans, primarily in the first eight chapters. Romans answers the question asked by Job many years ago: “How shall a man be just with God?”
In Romans we get primarily justification, where in Hebrews we get primarily sanctification. But then, there are many aspects of justification. Justification in Romans is how we are justified before God; justification in James is how we are justified before others. Justification is more than just being cleared of all charges (Rom. 3). We have been brought into a new position before God “in Christ” (Rom. 4) and given a righteous life (Rom. 5)! Several aspects of justification:
- Justified by his grace – grace is the source (Rom. 3:24)
- Justified by faith – means of its appropriation (Rom. 5:1) — more accurately, “through faith”
- Justified by his blood – the foundation price (Rom. 5:9)
- Justification of life – given a righteous life (Rom. 5:18)
- Justified from sin – no duty to old master (Rom. 6:7)
- Justified by God – the one who reckons (Rom. 8:33)
- Justified in Christ – our righteous standing (Gal. 2:17)
- Justified by Works – manifest in our life (James 2:24)
Justification and Reconciliation:
- Justification has to do with a change of thinking in God’s mind. God reckons the believer as righteous.
- Reconciliation has to do with a change of thinking in the believer’s mind. The sinner’s thoughts of enmity toward God are replaced with a believer’s rejoicing in God.
Justification and Sanctification. Justification had to do with being declared righteous, and sanctification has to do with being declared or made holy! Therefore justification is closely connected with the subject of righteousness, and sanctification with the subject of holiness.