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Doctrine of Justification. The doctrine of justification is the act of God whereby our legal standing in heaven is changed and we are declared righteous.
Romans 5:1: Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
When a sinner is saved by God's grace through faith, God imputes the righteousness of Christ to the believing sinner, whereby, the sinner becomes a child of God by virtue of the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Justification is thus that legal act whereby man's status before and with God is changed from damnation and separation to transformation (2 Corinthians. 5:17).
Note: Some have imagined a contradiction between Paul (Romans 4:4,5) and James (James 2:24) concerning the justification of man. There is no contradiction!
What does it mean to be justified by God? Here is the short example: When James IV of Scotland was a boy, he stood in arms against his father. All his manhood was one long, bitter penance for that sin. In memory of it, he wore under his robes an iron belt. To that belt, he added every year a new link, that his repentance might be heavier every year of his life. Obviously, there is no justification to be realized by the vain efforts of James IV to punish himself.
Justification is that act whereby God declares a believing sinner righteous solely on the basis of Christ crucified. Why? Sinners and Christians have no ability to atone for their sin. This requires a perfect sacrifice by someone who is perfect, namely, Jesus Christ. God is holy, thus, requiring judgment for sin. Christ Jesus became our substitute. He bore God's judgment that was due us.
Justification of a sinner is based squarely on Christ crucified, thus, God is satisfied in declaring the believing sinner righteous. Salvation cannot be achieved, only received. Simply Put; Salvation Is: Christ crucified - God satisfied - The Believer justified (period).
In summary. Justification is by faith... not faithfulness.
Sincerely, Dr. Arthur Belanger