Thursday, May 20, 2010

Terminology - Justification

Well here it is Thursday again and time to look at a new word.  As we saw last week the term (or phrase) being saved carried the presupposition of looming danger, rightly so.  This week I felt we should build upon our understanding of being saved to look at the resultant effect of that salvation by looking at the word Justification. 

Justification (being Justified)

JUSTIFICATION –– quite simply is God's gracious act of forgiving sinners (saving them) and treating them as if they had never sinned (Justifying them).

This little term has had great impact upon the Church and its proper biblical understanding was the foundation of the Protestant Reformation.  During the time of Martin Luther, the church taught, among many things, that in addition to the works of Christ, man was also saved by his own “good” works.  However, Luther became convinced that justification was the result of God’s gift resulting from faith in Christ alone (Eph 2:8-9 cf. Gal 2:16).  He explains his understanding of biblical justification in the Smalcald Articles stating:

The first and chief article is this: Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins and was raised again for our justification (Rom 3:24–25). He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), and God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isa 53:6). All have sinned and are justified freely, without their own works and merits, by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood (Rom 3:23–25). This is necessary to believe. This cannot be otherwise acquired or grasped by any work, law or merit. Therefore, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us ... Nothing of this article can be yielded or surrendered, even though heaven and earth and everything else falls (Mark 13:31).

So you see Luther was steadfastly convinced that it is our faith which justifies us allowing us to live at peace with God (Rom 5:1).

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