By What Is Man Justified?
The Bible has much to say about the concept of justification. The religious world says much about this topic as well. Sadly, what so often is said in the denominational world simply goes against the grain of the inspired Word of God.
The word "justify" comes from the Greek word δικαιόω (de-ki-o-o) which simply means: "To render (i.e. show or regard as) just or innocent." (Strong's) It is the idea of an individual who is separated from God as a result of sin (Is. 59:1,2) being declared innocent or just.
God is the one who justifies. Notice: "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth" (Ro. 8:33).
The Bible clearly sets forth that which man is not justified by and that which man is justified. Consider this: Man is not justified by the Law of Moses (Ac. 13:39; Gal. 2:16,3:11). In fact Paul penned in Galatians 5:4 - "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." Yet, man is justified by:
To those at Rome, Paul penned: "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Ro. 3:28). Again, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (5:1). Writing to the churches of Galatia, Paul at least two times pointed out to them that justification is by faith. Listen: " Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Ga. 3:24). See also Galatians 2:16. Without the Gospel we cannot be saved (Ro. 1:16; 1 Cor. 15:1,2) and without an obedient faith we cannot be saved (Heb. 5:8-9,11:6).
Old Testament Jews offered animal sacrifices. Yet, the blood of those animals could not take away sin (Heb. 10:3,4). Jesus shed his blood for the remission of sins (Mt. 26:28). It is through His blood that man can be justified. "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." When we are baptized the blood of Jesus washes away our sins (Ac. 22:16; Ro. 6:1-6; Rev. 1:5). It is then and only then, that God declares a man just or innocent.
Many times Christians are accused of not believing in the grace of God. We are saved by grace (Eph. 2:8; Ti. 2:11). It is the grace of God which made our salvation possible. This grace is demonstrated through the giving of God's Son, Jesus Christ. Notice: "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (Jo. 1:17). To the point: "That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Ti. 3:7).
Are you aware that man is justified by works? Not our own works (2 Ti. 1:8,9), nor by works whereby we could boast (Eph. 2:9). Rather by doing the works which God has commanded. Listen: "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the alter?" (Ja. 2:21) And, "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" (2:24).
When is man justified? Man is not justified when he merely believes the truth but rather when that which he believes is expressed in obedience. Man is justified when he obeys the Gospel of Christ. After stating the unrighteous will not enter into the kingdom of heaven and then listing specific things, Paul stated to the Corinthians: "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6:11). "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Cor. 5:17).
- Donnie Oliver