A Sonship Right
What is Justification? It is a legal term, and is the legal aspect that is related to another sonship right, Righteousness. Righteousness means that we are free from sin. How can we be free from sin? Because we were justified when Christ died for us. Justification is a judicial act of God. We are pardoned for our sins because all the claims of the law have been satisfied. Justification is the act of a Judge, not a King or other Sovereign. It means that the law is declared fulfilled, and we have been released from the penalty of sin.
The book of Romans contains basic Christian doctrine, so it says a lot about justification.
Romans 3: 20 -- Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
This verse is telling us that the Old Testament law does not justify us.
Romans 3: 24 -- Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
This verse relates justification to yet another sonship right, Redemption. Because Christ paid the price with his blood, the claims of the law have been satisfied, and we no longer have to pay the penalty. Note that we have been justified "freely" (a gift, no strings attached) by his grace. Grace is unmerited favor. We may not have deserved to be redeemed and justified, but God did it anyway.
Romans 3: 28 -- Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Again, this is stating that the law cannot justify us, but only by believing God and believing what Christ did for us can we be justified.
Romans 4: 2 – For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
Romans 4: 3 – For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Romans 4: 4 – Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
Romans 4: 5 – But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Here justification is mentioned hand in hand with righteousness. Abraham is the subject, and it was because he believed God, not any works that he did, that he was justified. In verse 4, God tells us that by working you get a paycheck, something that is owed to you. He gave us justification and righteousness by grace, as a gift. You don't work for a gift.
Romans 5: 1 -- Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
One of the benefits of justification is peace with God.
Romans 5: 8, 9 -- But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Here we see that we didn't deserve what God did for us, but he loved us and did it anyway. Now that we are justified by the shedding of Christ's blood, we have another benefit -- we are saved from wrath as described in the book of Revelation.
Romans 5: 16 – And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgement was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
Romans 5: 17 – For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
Romans 5: 18 – Therefore as by the offence of one judgement came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
What do they tell us? By the sin of one man, Adam, judgement and condemnation came on all mankind. By the gift of one, Jesus Christ, who was righteous (without sin), came justification (release from the penalty of sin …......no more condemnation).
Galatians 3: 11 -- But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident; for, The just shall live by faith.
The Galatians were still hung up on the law. They thought they had to perform the Old Testament law in order to stand approved before God. Paul is trying to convince them that the law was behind them now. The just now live by believing God and His promises.
Galatians 3: 24 -- Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Paul tells the Galatians the purpose of the law. It was a 'schoolmaster', something to help keep them in line until Christ arrived. Now that Christ has arrived, we are justified by believing. The law is no longer necessary.
The book of James talks about the importance of acting on your believing. It is not enough just to say, "I believe it", without acting like you believe it. James wants to see some action, some proof, of what we believe.
James 2: 21 -- Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
This may appear to contradict what was said in Romans 4: 2 - 5. But note what 'work' James is referring to -- it was the action that Abraham took that shows he believed God. 'Work' is the Greek word ergon, which means labor. The next verse goes on to say:
James 2: 23 -- And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
Because his actions displayed his beliefs, God knew that Abraham believed what He had said.
James 2: 24, 25 -- Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
Rahab had to act to show her believing. It wouldn't do the messengers any good if she would have said "I believe God", but would not have helped them.
In conclusion, our important Sonship Right of JUSTIFICATION is specifically mentioned in the following verses which are provided for your benefit.
Romans 4: 25 – Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification [or, ‘when we were justified’].
Romans 8: 30 – 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 Corinthians 6: 11 – And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Galatians 2: 16, 17 – Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
Titus 3: 7 – That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
You can see from these records that our justification is a sonship right that was provided by Christ's sacrifice. The law was fulfilled, and we have been released from the penalty of sin. Christ paid the price so we don't have to.