March 29, 2015

What We Believe about Justification

We believe that justification[i] comes by faith in Christ and His atoning work, and not by works of the law, or merits of the individual.

We believe that a person is brought into a right relationship with God by the mediating work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Jesus restores the relationship between the believing sinner and God (1 Timothy 2:5). God declares the sinner righteous because of the sacrifice of Christ.

The teaching of justification by faith alone, separates biblical Christianity from all other religions. All other religions teach some type of justification before God based on the deeds and merits of the individual.

The Bible presents justification by faith in the person of Christ alone, and in His sacrificial work on the cross. Justification is a legal declaration that though guilty[ii], a person is not held responsible because he has placed his or her faith in the atoning death of Christ, not his or her own righteousness. (Romans 4:5).

Justification is an act of God whereby He makes and declares the sinner righteous based on the shed blood of Christ. Justification occurs simultaneously[iii] with regeneration (the giving of new life) and puts a sinner in right relation to God. The repentant and believing sinner is cleansed from sin, released from its penalty and is viewed as righteous before God. (Philippians 3:9).

This act of Justification is not based on human effort. (Galatians 2:16). It is a free gift and is given by the grace of God in response to the faith of the individual. All of the demands of the law are met in Christ (Romans 5:19).

We believe that Scripture reveals the following essential results which occur at Justification:

“Remission” means that the justified believer is freed from the demands of the law, because those demands have been satisfied in Christ. A person justified by grace is “set free,” or redeemed, by Jesus Christ (Romans 3:24). This is not just a pardon,[iv] but a declaration that the sinner’s guilt is erased by God. The believer is forgiven and set free.

“Restoration” means that a person is now represented by Christ. His righteousness is now yours. Faith in Christ restores a person to perfection in the sight of God. It is as if the person never sinned. (Romans 5:1). God now accepts the justified believer as “righteous.”

“God given righteousness” means believers are made right with God because of Christ’s work and presence in the believer. (I Corinthians 1:30). Righteousness from Christ was “put to our account.” We were in sin and now God considers us righteous because of the sacrificial death of Christ. Because of this righteousness, a justified believer is considered a child of God (John 1:12, Galatians 4:4-5).

This “new relationship” is based on an exchange of position. Christ took the place of the sinner. Judgment was pronounced at the Cross. Christ was crucified on our behalf. When a person believes in Jesus, he or she now stands in the righteousness of Christ, there is an exchange of position (2 Corinthians 5:21). At justification the believer is adopted into God’s family (Romans 8:15). All of the blessings God has for His children culminating[v] in the resurrection of the body, now belong to the believer (Galatians 4:5, Romans 8:23).


[i] Justification – the act of being made acceptable; being freed from blame and guilt.

[ii] Guilty – deserving blame and punishment.

[iii] Simultaneously – happening or existing at the same time.

[iv] Pardon – to cancel punishment; forgiveness.

[v] Culminating – resulting; reaching the highest point.

 

Last updated (July 2013)