Justification: God Declaring Us Righteous

The “material principle” of the Reformation was justification by faith alone. The material principle is the central doctrine of theology. Martin Luther called justification by faith “the article by with and by which the church stands.” He looked at Romans 1:17 and saw the truth of this teaching in the Word of God: Romans 1:17: For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Luther struggled with how a person could be righteous before God when they are still sinful. He found his answer in this text. The righteousness of God is given to us by faith. Even though we remain sinful, God credits to us Christ’s perfect righteous life, not based on what we do, but based on what we believe. God then sees our sin no more; He only sees Christ’s righteousness in us. When Luther discovered this, it relieved his mind to the utmost because he knew he could never do enough to please God by his own works. Those who think they can add good works, traditions, rites or any other human deed to salvation have corrupted the Gospel.

John Knox the Reformer from Scotland said: “Those churches that deny the chef article of the faith, which is justification by faith alone, are no churches at all but synagogues of Satan.” That is true! Any person, church or movement that denies justification by faith alone denies the biblical doctrine of salvation. Romans 3:28: For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. Galatians 2:16 says the same thing: Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

The doctrine of justification is God’s gracious judicial verdict, declaring guilty sinners, who turn in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, totally forgiven and acquitted of all charges against them. They are declared perfectly righteous before a holy God. This righteousness is alien to the person, but is imputed to them by God from Jesus perfect life. This “legal” justification does not make anyone holy, the doctrine of sanctification does that, rather justification simply declares a person to be holy by God’s grace.

You can see how important this is. There would be no hope if God did not send His Son to live a perfect life for us and die on the cross and be resurrected. We would still be lost in our sin, but now we are seen by God as holy. We are forever grateful for this marvelous grace that we now live in gratitude a life of surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Scripture Reference

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed 1from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”

For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

nevertheless knowing that aa man is not justified by the works of 1the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of 1the Law; since by the works of 1the Law no flesh will be justified.


Studies You May Also Find Interesting: