Doctrine of Justification


Justification speaks to the issue of God’s justice.  How can God, a holy and righteous judge, accept sinners into His presence?

How can He clear the guilty forgiving their sins and still remain just?

How can God as judge impose the penalty that the offense requires and at the same time let the guilty one go free?

These issues are all dealt with by the BD of Justification.

1. Source of Justification: God the Father.

Rom 8:33 “God is the one who justifies...”

What does this word justify mean?

Justify and righteous are directly linked.

Could translate justify as “to declare righteous” and be right on track, perfectly accurate.

Justification deals with our positional standing before God.  (still have an sin nature and will sin, sanctification deals with our conduct before God in time after salvation.)

2. The Grounds of Justification: Blood of Christ

On what grounds or what is the basis for God being able to declare the sinner righteous?

Rom 3:24  being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood...”

* It is on the basis of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, His cross death while bearing our sins, that God the Father finds the grounds for justifying the sinner.

* Christ’s death meets the demands of god’s righteousness and thus frees God to justify those who believe in Him.

* It is the accomplishments of the death of Christ that forms the sole grounds on which God can extend forgiveness and salvation to any person.

3. The Instrument of Justification: Faith

Rom 3:28 indicates this fact, “a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.”   (dative of pistij)

- Faith refers to our attitude toward the cross work of Jesus Christ.

When we believe, it says we view the cross as God the Father views the cross.

- He views it as a complete and adequate solution to the problem of man’s sin and we need to view  it likewise.

- When we do then we also view the death of Christ as adequate to solve the sin problem and we rest  in that for our personal salvation.

- This is in harmony with the fact that Salvation is by Grace.

- Rom 3:26 also focuses on faith as the instrument, “...that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

- Also Rom 5:1  Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

4. Principle of Justification: Grace

Again from Rom 3:24 it says we are “...justified as a gift (dwrean) by His grace...”

- the word “gift” helps us to understand “by His grace.”

The word (dwrean) emphasizes that it is freely, without payment.

- We do not merit justification, and we cannot merit justification, it is a gift, given freely, it is by grace.

- This is God’s principle of dealing with man.

5. The Agent of Justification; Holy Spirit  1 Cor 6:11

- here Paul reminds the Corinthians that they, “...were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in (by) the Spirit of our God.” 

- To summarize:

It is the Father who initiates justification;

It is the Son who executes justification;

And the Holy Spirit who applies justification.

6. The Position of Justification: Union with Christ Paul in speaking of justification, 2 Cor 5:21 says,

He (God/F) made Him (God/S) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf (BD substitution), that we might become the righteousness of God, (BD of justification) in Him.”

* The last two words, “IN HIM” show the position we gain in justification.

Due to our union with Christ, His righteousness is imputed to us, credited to us.