Justification is the biblical doctrine that explains how an unjust (unrighteousness) sinner is made right (declared righteous) before a Holy and Just God (Rom.3:24).
Why do I need to be Righteous?
Answer: God is Holy, and demands that we be Holy. (Lev.19:2, Hab.1:13). He will not dwell with the wicked (Ps.5:4). Therefore, no sin will be permitted to pass into heaven (1Cor.6:9-11; Gal.5:19-21; Matt.5:20).
What will a Holy and Just God do with the Unrighteous?
Answer: Since God is just, He will judge all (Heb.9:27). Those found guilty of sin will be cast into the lake of fire (Eze.18:4, Rev.20:11-15).
How can an unjust sinner be made right with a Just and Holy God?
No! Even one sin makes us unrighteous (Jas.2:10). God requires perfect righteous: the absence of sin, and in addition, the credit of positive merit. We cannot be justified by works because our righteousness is as “filthy rags” (Isa.64:6). Even those things that “appear” to be good fall short of God’s holy standard. They lack a righteous motive: God’s glory and praise; gratitude towards Him; and faith in Christ. Only Christ can revive this original motive of the heart and mind. Therefore, only after we are “born again” can we learn how to do a “godly” good deed.
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law … for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” (Gal.2:16). If we try to earn our salvation, then we will only accumulate more “moral debt” before God. Our work will not meet God’s quota.
No! Any religion apart from Christ is false. All religion other than the Worship of Jesus Christ is idolatry (Rom.1:23). A Christless religion is a sin worthy of hell. However, neither can Christian “religion” justify me before a Holy God. Christian religion is not how we become right with God; Christian religion is the result of our Faith in Jesus. Practicing Christianity doesn’t justify me. Christ justifies me. This distinction will mean the difference between heaven and hell for many “professing” Christians.
Answer: I am made right with God by “faith in Jesus Christ alone“.
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Rom.3:21-26)
1. Answer: God is Just. And Christ came to take our place in death. He was our substitute (2Cor.5:21), taking the wrath of God against our sin upon Himself (Ps.22:1; Isa.53). Christ satisfied God’s Justice against sin and sinners.
2. Answer: God is Holy. Christ came as a second Adam; a new representative of the human race (Rom.5:12-21). Whereas Adam sinned, Christ never sinned (1Pet.1:22). He was fully pleasing to God (Matt.3:17). He was Holy (Heb.7:26). Thus, Christ is worthy to stand before God.
Answer: Faith is complete trust and confidence in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It involves repentance -which in essence, is giving up; falling on Christ to be made right before God (justified). Through faith, God applies Christ’s atonement to our life (Atonement means to cover up). Christ covers our sin from the sight of God when He applies His work to our life account. God looks upon us as though we are perfectly righteous, even though we are not, all because Christ is.
The Holy Spirit is the agent by which God “actually” applies this Atonement to my account. By the application of Christ’s atonement to my life, I am justified. It is a supernatural act of God. I am perfectly and permanently made right with Him.
Faith alone: I am made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ alone.
“Christ’s death is a victory over the penalty of sin; His resurrection is a victory over the power of Sin.”