Summary: Justification


The result of propitiation is justification.

I. Definition.

A. Secular Definition - justifying an innocent man who was initially thought guilty.

B. Cultural Definition - Greeks used it for a wicked king who justified his outrageous acts. Self-justification by doing something.

C. Biblical Definition - the one who is justified is neither proven innocent or able to excuse himself by his own merit. It is the "act of God by which the sinner, who is guilty and under condemnation is legally declared righteous by the Judge of the universe."

The N.T. Greek verb, "to justify" means "to declare righteous" [not make righteous]. Justification, therefore, is the act of declaring righteous. This meaning is very important because the Roman Catholic theologians, and others, confuse justification with sanctification, and treat it as making righteous, whereas the N.T. meaning is purely judicial, or forensic.

It is true that God is interested in producing a practical righteousness in our lives, but that is not taught in the New Testament doctrine of justification.

We should also notice the distinction between forgiveness and justification. The former is a substraction, the latter is an addition. Forgiveness takes away our sins; justification clothes us with the righteousness of Christ.

II. Declaration.

A. Judicial not experiential.

We are declared righteous not made righteous [that is related to sanctification]. 1 Cor. 6:11

James Kennedy, "Justification does not change our hearts, our souls, our lives one whit! It is something which is external to us. It is declared about us by God. It is God acting, not as a doctor or surgeon coming to change our hearts. Indeed God does change us, but that is regeneration and sanctification. Justification is a declaration about us, the declarative act of a Judge about a sinner." Rom. 4:17-22

B. It is Additonal not just subtraction.

C. It is Scriptural not self-righteousness. Mt.5:20,49/Rom.10:1-4/1 Cor.1:30/2 Cor.5:21

III. Doctrinal framework.

A. God Initiates it.

It is by grace, it is always initiated by God because man cannot earn, deserve, or merit it.

Compare Rom. 3:22-24 with Jn. 15:25 - you could no more find a legitimate cause to hate Christ, then you could find a legitmate cause to justify the sinner. The word "freely" and "without cause" is the same Greek word.

Dr. Gerstner, "Christ has done everything necessary for his [sinners] salvation. Nothing now stands between the sinner and God but the sinners good works. Nothing can keep him from Chrsit but his delusion that he has good works of his own that can satisfy God. If men will only be convinced that they have no righteousness that is not filthy rages; all they need is need! All they must have is nothing. All that is required is an acknowledgment of guilt. But, alas, sinners cannot part with their imaginary virtures. So grace becomes unreal. Fixed on a mirage they will not drink real water. They did of thirst in the midst of an ocean of grace."

B. God supplies the Instruments [means]

1. Blood of Christ - this is how God justly justifies the ungodly (Rom. 3:25-26).

2. Faith - Ac.13:39

a. Faith is not a work - it is trusting in the work of another (Jn.6:28-29)

b. Faith is a gift - Eph.2:8-9/Jn.1:12-13

c. It is only as good as its object - faith does not save as if it was faith in faith! Faith must have an object and the only savable object is Jesus Christ. Heb. 12:2

By virtue of His death and resurrection, Christ secured every needed ground for justification. There was absolutely no need for Him to remain in death (Ac.2:24) so He rose again "on account of our justification" (Rom. 4:25).

Forgiveness was legally possible because He died for our sins but justification is leagally possible because He presented His merit to God for us.

IV. Derived benefits.

A. Serenity (Rom. 5:1)

B. Certainty (Rom. 5:1-2)

C. Security (Rom. 8:1, 31-)

Johnny Palmer Jr

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