A Word About Justification

Words mean things. Let’s look at one.

Justification: Dictionary.com defines justification as “a reason, fact, circumstance, or explanation that justifies or defends(.)” It is the noun form of the word justify.

Justify is defined as “to declare innocent or guiltless; absolve; acquit(.)”

With that knowledge, let’s apply that to what Paul says.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. How much more then, being now justified by His blood, shall we be saved from wrath through Him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, how much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. Furthermore, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Romans 5:8–11 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

To some, this passage is often muddied with something called original sin. That is a term loaded with much baggage. It helps to not read that baggage into Romans 5 and take it for what it says.

First, while we were in rebellion, Christ died for us. Paul says we are justified by His blood. We are acquitted and guiltless. That applies to everyone, saved or unsaved. Paul declares that as reconciliation. The reconciliation is in His death.

Then there is this huge implied “but.” Though being reconciled by His death, we are not saved by it. We get salvation from His life.

Therefore just as through the trespass of one man came condemnation for all men, so through the righteous act of One came justification of life for all men.

Romans 5:18 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

Paul is clear on the justification. The justification is to life. That is, not guilty of the death which is the penalty for sin. All men that live after they sin demonstrate they have justification of life.

The penalty for sin is the wages of death. All men are free from that. The problem as Jesus said… It is dying in your sins.

Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins. For unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.

John 8:24 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

That is where the canker gnaws. “Unless you believe I am He,” He says. He is the One who justifies us from death and can take your sins away because He lives… You will die in your sins.

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