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Christian Biblical Studies
JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH
Unless otherwise denoted, all Scripture references are to the
New International Version (NIV; British text)
Question: What does it mean to be “justified by faith”?
Answer: Let us consider Romans 5: 1 as our main Scriptural text: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
To be justified by faith means to be made right with God. Two steps are essential to attain this desirable condition:
1. The first is repentance for sins (Acts 26: 20). Prerequisite to this step is a recognition that one is a sinner by heredity due to Father Adam’s act of disobedience in the Garden of Eden. Repentance itself involves the desire to hate and forsake sin, to love and practice righteousness, and so far as possible to make restitution for one’s previous wrongs.
2. The second step is faith in Christ, which implies a belief and acceptance of the provision that God has made for salvation (Acts 13: 39). In a nutshell, this means believing that Jesus was sent into the world to die for Adam and the whole human race, and accepting Him as Saviour and Lord (Romans 3: 21-26).
However, by itself, faith has no merit by which anyone could become justified. Though the act of faith is essential, it is through faith, or by the instrument of faith, that one is justified.
The real foundation for being “justified by faith” consists of two pillars: (1) the grace of God and, (2) the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2: 8; Hebrews 2: 9). Without these two, no amount of faith could have any significance.
First, one is justified by the grace of God, who was under no obligation to recover mankind from the rightful penalty which He had imposed on Adam and the race.
Second, one is justified by the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The death of Jesus paid the penalty for Adam so that ultimately all - the Church in the Gospel Age and the world in the Millennial Age - have the privilege of release from the condemnation of sin and the opportunity to win eternal life.
Those who now receive this justification enjoy numerous blessings, including the forgiveness of sins and the imputation of Christ’s merit, by which means one is treated by God as if sinless. Instead of being at enmity with God, the sinner now has peace with Him, becomes His friend, and enjoys fellowship with Him.
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