“Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24, NASB
My daughter and I faced each other in my office, a porch filled with light. Discussing a lesson from my Bible study manuscript, we started to talk about justification. She didn’t know its meaning, and in her direct, ‘Chloe’ way, she challenged me, saying, “So what does it mean?”
I had to admit I even struggle to explain justification. I thought about its connection to righteousness but still felt I couldn’t define justification in an understandable way. I informed her of my inadequacy, revealing there are other biblical terms I wrestle to explain in everyday language.
How about you? Does anyone ever ask you about biblical truths, leaving you bewildered? Me too. We want to share accurately and plainly, but we lack the words.
Interestingly, I read Romans 3:24 before my conversation with Chloe. Lo and behold, it concerns … justification. God’s ways make me smile.
So I looked this biblical term up, and The Moody Handbook of Theology defines justification as follows: “Comes from a Greek concept meaning, ‘to declare righteous.’ It is a legal act wherein God pronounces that the believing sinner has been credited with all of the virtues of Jesus Christ.”
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
Because Jesus paid the penalty for our sin when He died on the cross, God can justify us legitimately when we place our faith in Christ. God doesn’t overlook our sin or consider it outweighed by “good” deeds. Jesus paid the price we owed.
Justification means that God gives us Christ’s righteousness when we believe in the Person and work of Jesus.
Have you believed?
We aren’t declared righteous based on our labors to be good or do good. God gives it. By grace. Because Jesus redeemed us—He set us free from sin by dying in our place (The Moody Handbook of Theology, pg. 721). We receive justification by faith: “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).
So here’s a thought for everyday life. You know how we sometimes (or oftentimes) trudge under the weight of past sins? Like a nasty cloak wrapped around our shoulders, former sins burden us. Our joy shrinks as we cling to the shame of ugly “outfits” from the past.
But in Christ, our wardrobe has changed completely. Let’s throw those cloaks off! As women who’ve been saved by grace through faith, we’re clothed in Christ’s righteousness. Our garments are pure white forever and ever. God has justified us.
“I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness.” Isaiah 61:10
When God sees us, He sees Christ’s righteousness. Hallelujah!