TOPIC:“This Interesting Word - Justification”
by Rev. Dr. Reg Dunlap
“Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1)
So far in our study of the most precious words in the Bible, we have looked at some of the great theological events which take place in our lives when we receive Christ as our SAVIOR. Today I want us to look at this interesting word called “justification.” The words “justify” or “justification” occur over 60 times in the New Testament. It is the key word of the book of Romans.
Let us come to grips with what it means, what it involves and what it does.
Consider, to begin with, the EXPLANATION of justification. We read in verse 1 these words: “Therefore, being justified by faith…”
The word “justify” is borrowed from a court of law. It refers to the charge that is brought against one who is accused of some wrong. A trial is held and the accused one is found either guilty or innocent. If found innocent, the accused is declared justified. He is right before the law and the law has no claim of punishment on him. Justification involves two things:
It involves a PRONOUNCEMENT. The Greek word for justification means “to declare a person to be just or righteous.” Special emphasis must be given to the word “declare.” Justification makes no man righteous. It is a divine declaration by God in which man is pronounced righteous in the sight of the law, much like the minister who conducts the marriage ceremony of a young couple. He does not join them together, he only declares them jointed together.
This is what God does in justification. Man is liable to judgment and condemnation because he has transgressed God's law. Through the sacrifice of Christ man has been given a new standing before God. He is now declared or pronounced legally righteous. That is why justification is often defined in these words: “Justification is the divine pronouncement of God that being in Christ Jesus we are declared righteous, free of guilt, and without condemnation, thereby acceptable to Him.”
It involves a POSITION. Since God is a holy and righteous Judge, His judgment must always be in accordance with truth and holiness. His verdict of guilty or innocent must be made in keeping with the facts in the case. Here enters the problem. How can God be just and at the same time justify the sinner? The answer . . .