Justified by Faith

A study of salvation is enhanced by an understanding of the concept of “justification.” It is a rich term full of brilliant images and warm feelings.
Hebrews 9:27 says, “And it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (NKJV). We see that death and judgment are certain (Revelation 20:11-15). We must always be ready for their arrival. We do not know when our death will arrive. The end could be at any moment (James 4:14).
In Romans 5:1-2, we read, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
We learn at least three valuable points in this passage.
First, we are justified by faith. Justification means “to pronounce one to be just, righteous or such as he ought to be.” /1 The original legal meaning was “to treat someone rightly, to secure justice for someone.” /2 “To be ‘justified’ one must be pronounced (by the Justifier) to be just.” /3 Romans 5:9 says we are justified by the blood of Christ shed on the cross. Christ is our advocate or lawyer who brings us before God and justifies us as righteous (1 John 2:1).
The Israelites in Egypt were saved when the death angel saw the blood on the doorpost. Then, he would pass over their house, thus sparing their firstborn (Exodus 12). We are saved when we have the blood of Christ on us (John 10:7). Christ brings us before the Father and declares us to be righteous because we have the blood of Christ on our souls.
Why do we need justification? Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Isaiah 59:1-2 says we are separated from God because of our sins. Romans 5:8 says we needed Christ to die for our sins.
This active, obedient faith demonstrates that we love the Lord and wish to be his children forever (Romans 1:5; 6:17,18; 16:26,27; James 2:24-26).
Second, we have peace by faith (Romans 5:2). Peace is what everyone desires and it can only be found in Christ (Philippians 4:7). But this does not mean we will be relieved of the pressures of bills, health problems, and stress. Instead, we receive spiritual peace with God. We are no longer his enemy, because we are now righteous (Romans 5:10).
This peace is described as an “interlude in the everlasting state of war.” /4 We are in a constant battle with sin over our very souls (Ephesians 6:10-12; 1 Peter 5:8). When we are at peace with God, these battles are stilled momentarily.
True, soul stirring peace cannot be found outside of Christ. The famed author H.G. Wells said, “I cannot adjust my life to secure any faithful peace…Here I am at sixty-five still seeking peace…that dignified peace is just a hopeless dream.” /5
Third, we have access by faith. Access means “that friendly relation with God whereby we are acceptable to him and have assurance that he is favorably disposed toward us.” /6 Moreover, the word “access” refers to a “bringing to or moving to.” /7 Because we are declared to be justified by the blood of Christ, we are given an audience with God, hand delivered by the Son of God. What a beautiful concept!
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1 / Joseph Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 150.
2 / The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 2:211
3 / Roy Deaver, Romans, p. 148.
4 / TDNT 2:401.
5 / James Burton Coffman, Romans, p. 177.
6 / Thayer, p. 544.
7/ Ibid.

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Richard lives in Florence, Alabama and is married to Deirdre. They have three daughters. He is an avid reader, devoted writer and lover of history and research. He is the author of "The Most Important Question" and is working on more books.

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