What is justification by faith, part 5?

by Rick Brentlinger
(Pace, FL, USA)

Justification by faith <br>involves no human works

Justification by faith
involves no human works

Justification by faith is the marriage of justice and mercy, God giving us the free gift of His perfect righteousness entirely apart from keeping the law, when we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior, Romans 5:17, 6:23, 10:9-10, 13. Justification by faith is possible because God Himself paid for our sins on the cross, that's the justice part. Jesus' payment of our sin debt perfectly satisfied God's justice, 1 John 2:2, 4:10, because propitiation means that God's justice is perfectly satisfied, Romans 3:25.

The mercy part is God not giving us what we deserve (hell) and instead, giving us what we do not deserve, mercy, which guarantees us salvation and a home in heaven. Paul and God are unmistakably clear that our law keeping, our good works, our righteousness is not acceptable to God, Rom 3:1-20. God's justice required a sin payment that satisfied God, Rom 3:25, 1 John 2:2. Jesus paid that sin payment and satisfied the just demands of our holy God when He took our place on the cross.

On the cross, Jesus died because of justice.
At the cross I am saved because of mercy.

Beginning in Romans 3:21ff., Paul explains that God has provided us with a righteousness which completely satisfies God, which we did nothing to earn and which is available to anyone as a free gift from God when we get saved.

God’s righteousness:

  1. Has God as its source, Isaiah 45:8

  2. Satisfies the justice of God because sin’s penalty is paid in full, Romans 3:25

  3. Fulfills the demands of a holy God by the perfect obedience of Christ, 2 Cor 5:21, 1 Pet 2:24, Heb 9:28

  4. Lasts eternally, Psalm 119:142, Isaiah 51:8, Daniel 9:24

  5. Is not linked to us keeping the law, Romans 3:21, 4:15, Galatians 2:16, 3:10-11, 5:1-2, 6, Ephesians 2:8-9, Philippians 3:9, 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5.

    Martin Luther, the great German reformer said we:

    "should distinguish the righteousness of the gospel from the righteousness of the law as carefully as God has separated heaven from earth, light from darkness, and the day from night." - Faith Alone, by Martin Luther, Zondervan, 2005.

  6. Is freely available, Romans 3:24, to all who get "in Christ" because God is no respecter of persons, Acts 17:30-31

  7. Is the result of Christ Himself paying for our sins on Calvary, Romans 3:25

  8. Represents propitiation, a sacrifice which perfectly satisfies God, Romans 3:25

  9. Demonstrates the justice of God, Romans 3:26; God is just (fair) to require payment of the sin debt.

  10. Testifies to the mercy of God who took our place, paid our sin debt by dying as us for us and now freely offers us His mercy.

  11. Is illustrated by God Himself paying for our sins, Romans 3:26; God is the justifier because He paid our sin debt. God can forgive our sins and give us His righteousness because Jesus took the awful punishment for sin that we deserved. Because Jesus was our Substitute, God can forgive us and offer mercy without compromising His justice.

  12. Is only available by faith and is never combined with human works, is never based on being religious, is never based on keeping the law, Romans 3:27, is never based on water baptism, is never based on sacraments or joining the church.

  13. Cancels all human works and all religious works because those can never convey a righteousness which satisfies our holy God, Romans 3:28, Ephesians 2:8-10.

What is the meaning of justified?

In Romans 3:24 the Greek word we translate, being justified, is δικαιόω, dikaioo. It is a legal term used to deliver a verdict. Dikaioo means to declare righteous, to pronounce righteous.

When we say God justifies a sinner, we mean that:
  1. God declares the sinner righteous so that God views the justified sinner as if he had never sinned and never would sin.

  2. God pardons the sinner from all the guilt and all the penalty of all his sins so that before God, the sinner is as perfectly sinless as Jesus Christ Himself.

  3. God imputes (freely gives, applies to the account of) the righteousness of Christ to the sinner so that the justified sinner is as positively perfect, as sinlessly righteous as Jesus Christ Himself.

  4. God’s verdict is always based on Christ’s righteousness, never on any personal good works or any personal righteousness or religious goodness in the justified sinner.

  5. God’s verdict comes in response to faith, believing what God said. Justification by faith is never based on merit or good works or religious works or religious heritage or legalism or law keeping - that is the meaning of “freely by his grace.”

Ten dollar words
you should know

  1. Justified, from the Greek word, δικαιόω dikaioo, means: to declare righteous, to pronounce righteous, to render righteous.

    Dikaioo occurs 48 times in 36 verses in the Greek New Testament. The KJV translates it as some form of justify 37 times, be freed, be righteous and justifier, one time each.

  2. Redemption, from the Greek word, ἀπολύτρωσις apolytrosis, means: to release someone by paying a ransom, redemption, deliverance.

    Apolytrosis occurs 10 times in 10 verses in the Greek New Testament. Apolytrosis reminds us of the Roman slave market where affluent people bought and sold slaves. The word conveys glory, joy, hope, thankfulness when used of God purchasing us in the slave market of sin, paying the price with His own precious blood, 1 Peter 1:18-19.

  3. Propitiation, from the Greek New Testament, ἱλαστήριον hilasterion, meaning: to appease wrath, an acceptable offering which satisfies the offended party, to expiate by making amends, to atone for sin.

    The death of Christ satisfied the offended holiness of God, paid the price which God demanded, satisfying God’s justice and made possible our eternal salvation because our sins are now paid for.

    Hilasterion occurs 2 times in 2 verses in the Greek New Testament.

  4. Righteousness, from the Greek New Testament, δικαιοσύνη dikaiosyne, meaning: a righteousness which is acceptable to God.

    In Romans 3:26, the righteousness of God is declared on Calvary, that instead of sending all of us to hell as we deserved, Jesus took our place as our substitute and paid the full penalty for our sins.

    God is therefore just in requiring payment for sin, the justifier in Himself making the payment and therefore God is just in forgiving our sins and declaring us righteous.

    Righteousness occurs 92 times in 85 verses in the Greek New Testament.

'Tis done, the great transaction's done!
I am my Lord's and He is mine.
He drew me, and I followed on,
Charmed to confess such love divine.
Happy day, happy day,
When Jesus washed my sins away!

Nailed To The Cross

There was One Who was willing to die in my stead,
That a soul so unworthy might live;
And the path to the cross He was willing to tread,
All the sins of my life to forgive.

They are nailed to the cross!
They are nailed to the cross!
Oh, how much He was willing to bear!
With what anguish and loss
Jesus went to the cross,
But He carried my sins with Him there.

He is tender and loving and patient with me,
While He cleanses my heart of the dross;
But there’s no condemnation —I know I am free,
For my sins are all nailed to the cross.

I will cling to my Savior and never depart,
I will joyfully journey each day,
With a song on my lips and a song in my heart,
That my sins have been taken away.

Carrie Elizabeth Ellis Breck, 1855-1934,
wrote 2000 poems, several of which
became famous hymns, including
Face To Face With Christ My Savior
and When Love Shines In.

What is justification by faith, part 1?

What is justification by faith, part 2?

What is justification by faith, part 3?

What is justification by faith, part 4?

What is the gospel?

Is blood atonement
necessary for salvation?

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This page revised April 23, 2014

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