Summary: Key Words in the Christian Life - Justification. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:


Reading: Romans chapter 4 verses 1-25


• Did you know that in the Bible book called Job (oldest of all books in the Bible);

• There are more than 300 questions?

• But the most important of all those questions is found in Job chapter 9 verse 2;

• Job asked the question: "How can a mortal be (righteous) before God?"


• Move forward in time to the year 1515.

• An Augustinian monk called Martin Luther is lecturing on the Book of Romans.

• One verse leaps out of the pages of his Bible and comes to him with great power:

• "The (righteous) just shall live by faith" (Chapter 1 verse 17).

• This was the beginning of change in Martin Luther's life;

• And the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.


• Move forward to May 24, 1738 and meet an Anglican missionary called John Wesley ;

• Who was not even sure of his own salvation, but that night he wrote these words in his journal:

"In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street where one was reading Luther's Preface to the Epistle to the Romans.

About a quarter before nine while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ,

I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."

Question: How can a man be right before God?

Answer: Justification.

Question: What is justification?


• By way of an illustration.

• In a court of law there will come a time in the proceedings:

• Especially if it is a serious case and there is a jury involved,

• There comes a point towards the end of the trial,

• When the foreman of the jury is asked a question,

• He or she is asked, "Is the prisoner guilty or not guilty"

• If the foreman of the jury says not guilty:

• What that man or woman is doing is, justifying the person in the dock.

That's precisely what the word 'justify' or 'justified' means:

• It is to tell out, to declare that;

• A person is not guilty, that the person who has been on trial is innocent.

• The foreman of the jury declares we have previously judged them to be wrong, guilty.

• But now we have discovered that they are right, they are innocent.

Now in the Bible, the teaching of justification means just that.

• But it also means a whole lot more.

• The book of Romans and other parts of the Bible teach that:

• Every human being who has ever been born,

• Apart from Jesus Christ was born guilty - guilty of sin.

Quote: Chapter 3 verse 23

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”


• In a court of law.

• A person who is guilty can never be made not guilty!


• Suppose you commit a crime & it goes to court.

• Let’s say you steal something and you were caught red handed,

• But because it’s your first offence,

• Instead of sending you to prison, the court decide to fine you,

Now just suppose you cannot pay the fine, it's to much for you:

• But somebody else (Auntie Mable or ??????) comes along

• And pays the fine for you.

• Now you can leave that court room,

• And you can walk right past the policeman who arrested you,

• And he cannot touch you because the fine has been paid,

• The penalty of the law has been met, and therefore the law has been satisfied.

Now Christians often use that sort of situation as an illustration:

• To describe Jesus has done for us when he died on the cross.

• We say He has died as a substitute for us (He has paid the penalty for our sins).

• Now that is true.

• But it is not the whole truth!

You see if you are fined in a court of law:

• And that fine is paid by yourself or by someone else:

• The law has been satisfied,

• But you are still guilty of the crime!

• The guilt has not been taken away.

And if you commit another crime six months later and are caught again,

• You will probably find at the end of the trial,

• Someone will get up before the sentence is proclaimed, and they will say:

"This person has already committed an offence six months ago,

They were found guilty,

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