What is Biblical Justification?
On November 20, 2023 by Jacob Jones
Biblical justification is when God declares an unworthy sinner actually righteous. (Rom 4:6) Even though the sinner is not righteous by his own works, God pronounces that sinner actually righteous based upon the sinner’s faith in the work of Jesus Christ. From God’s perfect perspective, the justified person is declared to be a righteous person, despite all the evidence from the law that declares that person unworthy and condemned. Although still sinful and undeserving, every believer is clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. (Rom 3:20-28, 4:2-6; Phil 3:9)
Justification happens upon salvation and is the legal act of God pardoning the believer’s sin and declaring them righteous based on the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. (Rom 3:20-26, 5:1; Gal 2:16; 2 Cor 5:21)
Justification is not gained by trying to please God with our own feeble works. (Eph 2:8-10) Any attempt to gain God’s approval by our own works is totally insufficient. (Titus 3:5-6) All our efforts to meet God’s standard of righteousness in the power of our own might will always come up very short of His Glory. (Rom 3:23) All of our own works that we might declare, or think are righteous, God declares as being “filthy rags”. (Isa 64:6) God’s way of justification brings all the glory and honor back to Himself and doesn’t give way for mankind to boast in themselves. (Eph 2:9)
Although God’s law shows us our sin and the utter depravity of our sin nature, we cannot be justified by the law. (Rom 3:20-28; Gal 3:11) The law is like a schoolmaster showing us how terribly we fail before God’s standard and then points us to our desperate need of the perfect work of Jesus Christ. The way that God has chosen for any person to be justified is clearly revealed in Scripture apart from the perfection of the law. Although, a person is justified apart from the law, the law bears witness to God’s plan of justification through belief in Christ’s righteousness. (Rom 3:21-23) Christ was revealed as the only way for a believing sinner to be justified in God’s sight. (John 14:6; Gal 3:21-25)
God justifies sinners only as they come to Him in faith. The type of faith the Bible is speaking of is not a mystical, vague faith in spiritual matters, but a faith that is trusting and believing in the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross for your sins. (Rom 5:10) What a wonderful truth that we can have peace with God when we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and that God chooses to declare us righteous based on our faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ. (Rom 5:1) When we are justified and understand the vastness of that reality, it should cause us to live our lives in a way that declares our thankfulness and love for Him. (2 Cor 5:14-15)