What is the Doctrine of Justification?
(pronounced jəstəfiˈkā sh ən; juhs-tuh-fi-key-shuhn)
Justification means that God declares us to be not guilty of our sins and to be righteous. As our sins were credited to Christ on the cross and He paid the penalty for those sins, so Christ’s righteousness is credited to us (1 Cor. 1:30; Phil. 3:9). God, then, views our sins and its payment as belonging to Jesus, and the righteousness of Jesus Christ as belonging to us. Talk about a Great Exchange - we are justified by God's grace by means of our faith (Rom. 3:21-22). Grace is “unmerited favor”, meaning we did nothing to deserve it (Eph. 2:8-9). Our faith is nothing to be proud of; it is a gift from God (Rom. 6:23).
Note that justification is a declaration by God about us, not an act of God within us, which is the doctrine of Regeneration (read more about Regeneration here). Justification is a legal declaration by our Judge concerning His view of us, not a change in our internal nature/character.
Questions for Reflection
Romans 8:1: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:33-34: “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”
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