JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH
To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted to him for righteousness (Romans 4:5)
The question of how to be justified before God is of great importance, yet many are confused and deceived about the purpose, definition, target, and terms of justification.
The purpose of justification is not about making us practically righteous (that is sanctification). Justification is what God does for us (not in us). It is the undoing of Adam, the means by which we are represented by Christ and not him.
The nature of justification is pardon. Most generally and plainly, justification is about the forgiveness of past sin.
The target of justification is sinners. Previous to justification, sinners may do ‘good’ deeds in one sense, but such acts are not truly good deeds until they are done in the love of God on the basis of faith. We must recognize our need (as sinners) in order to be justified.
The term of Justification is faith in Christ. Faith consists of trust in Jesus… trusting that He ‘died for my sins, that he loved me, and gave himself for me.’ It is only after faith that truly good works begin. Faith is the only condition of justification… and the only thing that works (thus removing all basis for pride).