The word justified means “to regard as righteous.” This word appears 39 times in the New Testament, 27 of these in the writings of Paul. As used in the NT, justification shows the transaction by which a man is regarded in a right standing with God. Through justification, God releases a person who has been guilty of sin and regards him as righteous (1 John 2:2). In other words, it means the annulment of accusations against the believer in the courts of heaven (Hebrews 9:23).
How does a person get justified before God?
The apostle John wrote, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Jesus was “the Lamb that was slain” (Revelation 5:12; John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:18, 19). He was the ransom, or price, that was paid for man’s redemption from sin (1 Timothy 2:6). Jesus Himself declared that “the Son of man came … to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
Therefore, Christians are “bought” (2 Peter 2:1) “with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20). For “Christ hath redeemed everyone from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). Thus, justification is not free, for a very great price has been paid for it by life and death of Christ. But it is free to us, since its cost is not paid by us, but has been paid by God’s Son (Romans 8:32).
The role of faith
Therefore, when a person accepts Jesus as His personal Savior, sinful as he may have been, God considers that person righteous for Jesus sake. God justifies the believer through his faith in Christ (Romans 3:26). However, righteousness is not earned as a payment for our faith in Jesus. But rather faith is the way of assuming righteousness.
Faith is resembled to the hand that the sinner puts forth to obtain the “free gift” of God’s mercy (Romans 5:15). God is eager and willing to bestow this gift upon us, not as a payment for anything we may do, but because of His unlimited love (Ephesians 2:8).
Justification and sanctification
When the believer in Christ surrenders without holding back to the will of God, the righteousness of justification is accredited to him (Romans 1:17). And as he grows daily in this process of surrender, and fellowship, his faith rises, helping him to obtain more of the righteousness of sanctification (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Thus, through justification, God’s Son saves us instantaneously from the penalty of sin (Romans 5:1). And through sanctification, He saves us daily from the bondage of sin by giving us victory over it (2 Corinthians 2:14). And finally, at Christ’s second coming and the resurrection, He will save us eternally from the existence of sin (Revelation 21:4).
In His service,