Justification by Faith

Questions to Consider about Justification by Faith

  1. What is justification by faith?
  2. How can an unjust person be justified?
  3. How do we count what Jesus did for us on the cross, as ours?
  4. Why is it important to understand that it is by faith alone (the root of justification) and not by works (the fruit of justification)?

Videos About Justification by Faith

Key Points on Justification by Faith

  • Justification is a legal term where a judge renders a "Not Guilty" verdict in a court of law. To be justified then is to be declared not guilty.
  • Justification is the legal act of God whereby He declares the believing sinner "just" or "righteous" through Jesus Christ. That is we no longer have a penalty to pay for our sins.
  • Jesus has not only paid the penalty for our sins, but He has also given something to us: His righteousness. This was a gift of God, not earned, but received by faith.
  • Justification is a one time act, that is both an instantaneous and an immediate transaction with God, whereby the sinner is forgiven their sins and declared righteous based on the work that Jesus did on the cross. This is not of ourselves (as there is nothing we could have done to make things right), it is a gift from God.
  • God justifies the ungodly, which means there is nothing we can do to earn it.
  • Sin is not simply the actions we do or wrong belief. There's no amount of our own effort that can make up for the poison that have we ingested, that tells us we are all self-sufficient, without the need for God or for a Savior.
  • Sin is both the moral failings of the past and how they define and impact us in the present and future. Our past sins cause all sorts of implications that affect our walk with God (or lack of), and how we see and relate to each other. We don't just need forgiveness as fallen humans, we need a brand new identity.
  • Forgiveness, by itself, is basically a negative. It means you are now free from the liability to punishment ("You may go, I am not going to punish you"). But justification is a positive. It is the bestowal of a status with all the rights and priviledges and benefits pertaining there unto ("You may come; You are welcome into all my love and your presence").
  • On the cross Jesus took on our sins and once and for all put to death the entire sin record of our lives. But that in itself make us innocent but not just. There's actually a double transfer that happens: Not only is the sin of man imputed or transferred to Christ but the righteousness of Christ is transferred to us. So now in God's sight, God can declare us just, even though we are not really just (we still have lots to change, lots of sin to conquer). God really laid my sins upon Christ, and He really gave me His righteousness so I can stand before a righteous God and be declared righteous.
  • On the cross Jesus is treated as if He had done every thing we had done, so that when we believe we are treated as if we've done everything He has done.
  • Through Jesus' death and resurrection He wipes our sin slate clean and offers us a brand new identity in Him as we are united with Him in newness of life.
  • The justification that we seek is by trusting in the work of Christ. We are justified by faith, not from within us or by our own effort but by trusting in the work of God Himself through His Son Jesus Christ.
  • Even when we see sin in our lives we have loyalty and trust that what Christ has done for us counts as ours.
  • The only instrument by which I am made clean and a participant in Christ's righteousness, is God acting through my faith, not through anything else I can do on my own.
  • Justification is not only that we have our sins forgiven, but that in God’s eyes we are given Jesus’ perfect record. We are treated as if we had lived the perfect life that Jesus lived. We are given the love that Jesus deserved. We have the same access to the Father that Jesus did. The best news is that all of this comes not from us doing anything at all, but simply by faith. - Timothy Keller
  • Once we have been justified with God, we now have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • We can't make any progress in holiness (the fruit of justification) if we don't have a profound, deep, powerful assurance that we are accepted by God by faith alone (the root of justification).
  • Stop looking at your own sins. Look instead at what your are boasting in - look at your justification. What are you boasting about? The truth is we tend to justify ourselves based on our performance and achievements but what truly makes you a Christian is repenting of your own justification (your false righteousness).

Key Bible Verses on Justification & Justification by Faith

"I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die." (Galatians 2:21)

"Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law." (Romans 3:27-28)

"Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory." (Romans 5:1-2)

"...but also for our sake, to whom it will be credited, those who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was given over because of our transgressions and was raised for the sake of our justification." (Romans 4:24-25)

"For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." (Ephesians 2:8-10)

"...the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction." (Romans 3:22)

"Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous [justified], and he shall bear their iniquities." (Isaiah 53:11-12)

"Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified." (Galatians 2:16)

"For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified." Romans 8:29-30)

"But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:4-7)

"Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." (Romans 5:9-11)

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies." (Romans 8:31-34)

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith." (Philippians 3:8-9)

"For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:17)

"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Implications of Justification by Faith for Christian Living

  • Peace - We can find personal peace as we break with the past, find security in the present, and hope for the future.
  • Love and Mercy - When we have a full grasp of justification by faith we are set free to love others, no matter how different, broken, or sinful they are. This is because we know these two things: 1) We understand that sin is the root of the problem with humanity and 2) that the only solution is justification by faith, which comes as a free gift by God.