Summary: “The biblical term to justify (diakaioo) means God acquits and accepts the sinner who trusts in Jesus.” Justification is not the forgiveness of a man without righteousness, but a declaration that his righteousness is imputed unto him by Christ.(2 Cor. 5
ARTICLE 5 We believe that justification, regeneration, and the new birth are wrought by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ.
The consummation of the act of repentance is when the sinner acknowledges his sin and asks forgiveness and God gives him a free pardon and restores them to a relationship with Himself. This is justification in the believer’s life. The believer is acquitted of his sinful acts and nature. Many individuals say that justification means just as if you had never sinned; your record has been wiped clean by Christ redemptive work on Calvary. Romans 3:24 “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” “The biblical term to justify (diakaioo) means God acquits and accepts the sinner who trusts in Jesus.” Justification is not the forgiveness of a man without righteousness, but a declaration that his righteousness is imputed unto him by Christ.(2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 4:6-8) As we get started, I want to read to you four verses from Paul’s letter to the Romans.
First we’ll read Romans 3:24, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 4:5 says, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Last of all Romans 8:30 says,
“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
I want to speak to you tonight on this subject of justification. What is it? Why is it important and what does it mean to us? Perhaps of all the great doctrines of our faith, what the Bible teaches about justification must be among the most important. In fact, it has been said that “a right understanding of justification is absolutely crucial to the whole Christian faith…If we are to safeguard the truth of the gospel for future generations, we must understand the truth of justification. Even today, a true view of justification is the dividing line between the biblical gospel of salvation by faith alone and all false gospels of salvation based on good works.”
There are four facts about justification I want to remind you of tonight.
1. Justification Is A Legal Declaration By God
What exactly does it mean to be justified? I think in some ways we have so dumbed down the Bible and biblical terminology that we are frightened by words like this one. Webster’s Dictionary defines justification as being pronounced free from blame or guilt. Vine’s Expository Dictionary says that being justified is the legal and formal acquittal from guilt by God as Judge. In his book Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem defines justification as an instantaneous legal act of God in which he thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us. In this legal act God declares us to be righteous in His sight. The justification Christ offers frees one from the penalty of sin, and will keep one free from that penalty. Someone once said that justification means, “Just as if I’d never sinned.”
You cannot understand justification apart from these facts about man’s sin and guilt before God. Because we are guilty sentence has been passed upon us. All of humanity stands condemned to die. The wages of sin is death. However, in justification God, who sits on the throne as Judge, legally declares that we are not guilty. In fact, He declares us to be righteous. But let us make a distinction here. In justification God does not make us good or righteous. Nor does He change what we are internally. To say that He justifies us is simply to say that He has declared us to be free from the penalty of our sin. God has simply issued a legal declaration about us.
A good example of this is found in Luke 7:29. Luke says that “all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.” You can see here that no one can make God righteous. They were simply declaring that God was righteous.
Now, if in justification God can legally declare us to be not guilty and also to be righteous, then two things take place in justification. The first thing is this: even though we have sinned terribly and stand before Him condemned, God declares that we are not guilty: that we have no penalty to pay for sin, including past, present and even future sins. That is why Paul could later say that there is “no condemnation for them who are in Christ Jesus.” Every sin you have ever committed or ever will commit has been fully forgiven.