Are we condemned or justified?
Justification is the act of God, as the infinite Judge, pronouncing the penitent believing soul free from the condemnation of His righteous law. It is preceded by forgiveness and followed by regeneration.
Forgiveness removes the guilt of sin; justification lifts the condemnation caused by those sins from the soul. God convicts, the devil condemns. It is crucial we know the difference. The just God makes the soul just and upholds His just laws. His law is righteous, and the trusting soul being made just is also made righteous by the same act. Both are one.
How are justification and righteousness similar?
Justification and righteousness come from the same word in the original scriptures. The “righteousness of the law is fulfilled in them who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Justification opens the way for the heart’s regeneration. A simple meaning of righteousness is “right standing” with God. Or another way of looking at it is, “just-as-if-I’d” never sinned!
The penitent believer is rightly related to law and justified by it through faith. The law endorses him because he is in Christ. Forgiveness, justification, and regeneration are not identical, but they all take place at the same time. The three are simultaneously received by the same act of faith.
How can I be justified?
We are justified by faith in the blood of Jesus only. We believe in the efficacy and sufficiency of the shed blood of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins committed in the past: for the regeneration, or new birth from above, of penitent sinners, and for salvation or deliverance from sin and sinning.
Scriptural references can be found as follows:
- Matthew 26:28
- Luke 22:20
- Acts 20:28
- Romans 5:9; 6:22; 7:24, 25; 8:1-4
- Ephesians 1:7; 2:13
- Colossians 1:14, 20
- 1 Peter 1:18, 19
- 1 John 1:7; 2:1; 3:5-10; 5:18
- Revelation 1:5; 5:9