Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., Pastor, Grace Bible Church of Costa Mesa, California
Copyright © 1995-2014 Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., All Rights Reserved
Justification occurs for everybeliever at the instant of salvation. Justification is another way of describing our salvation relationship with the integrity of God. It occurs in three logical steps. Once the Gospel is understood and believed through personal faith alone in Christ alone, the justice of God gives or imputes His very own perfect righteousness to us forever. This is for all who believe in Christ - no exceptions. Because we have His own perfect righteousness, God judicially pronounces us justified and officially righteous. God is then free to give each believer eternal life at the same instant that justification was declared.
Until God conveys His perfect righteousness, there can be no justification. We can never be justified until we first receive perfect righteousness. All human categories of righteousness are unacceptable as in Isaiah 64:6. This verse makes it very clear that God doesn't think much of your efforts to do "good" things to earn the right to have an eternal relationship with Him. There is nothing we can do to earn it! Justification cannot occur by being good or obeying the Mosaic law as indicated by Galatians 2:16 and Romans 3:28.
For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified. (Galatians 2:16)
For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. (Romans 3:28)
Justification is based solely on the grace of God as stated in Ephesians 2:8-9. The only thing we can do is have faith alone in Christ alone for salvation. Perfect righteousness is the only thing we have that counts with God. Justification resolves mankinds problem of being able to achieve only a relative righteousness through works which will never result in eternal life with God.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
God is justified in conveying His perfect righteousness to each believer at the point of faith belief in the substitutionary work of Jesus Christ on the cross. The result is that God declares the believer righteous as in Romans 3:26-28.
for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. (Romans 3:26-28)
Justification By Faith Alone
For justification to occur, it requires something from man and something from God. Faith belief is required on the part of each person to be saved which is purely a non-meritorious function. There is no merit or credit for anything on the part of the one believing as in Romans 3:20. They just have to believe. Nothing more! Adding anything to this simple faith belief cancels the faith and salvation will not occur for that person. Justification also involves God the Father judging all of our sins on the cross resulting in the substitutionary spiritual death of Christ on the cross. When we believe, God must also impute or convey His perfect righteousness to each of us, so that by recognizing His perfect righteousness in us, He justifies us.
because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20)
Romans 4:4-5 tells us that the person who works for salvation receives nothing from God because the justice of God is not free to give him anything. Instead their works are credited to them as debt. This is because Gods perfect righteousness cannot ever be imputed to anyone apart of faith alone in Christ alone for salvation. Imputed perfect righteousness comes through grace, not human merit. This principle is also illustrated in Romans 9:30-32, Romans 3:24, and Titus 3:7.
Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, (Romans 4:4-5)
What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, (Romans 9:30-32)
being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; (Romans 3:24)
that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:7)
The Function of the Justice of God in Justification
The function of the justice of God in justification is to prevent any compromise of Gods perfect righteousness. The justice of God does this by judging all sin. God the Father prepared a plan in eternity past to deal with mankinds sins through the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Romans 4:25 and Romans 5:1 tell us that the love of God is never free to bless mankind if there will be any compromise of God's perfect essence. By judging all sins on the Cross (Unlimited Atonement), the justice of God is now free to bless each person at the point of salvation faith belief.
He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. (Romans 4:25)
Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Romans 5:1)
The word "salvation" in the Bible means justification because it reveals the source of the work as well as the mechanics involved. God did all the work through His grace by imputing His perfect righteousness to each of us at salvation. Christ was raised from the dead because of our justification. There was no resurrection of the humanity of Jesus Christ until God had done everything necessary to provide justification.
Romans 5:8-9 states that Jesus Christ died spiritually for each of us. When we die physically, we only die for ourselves. When Jesus Christ died spiritually on the cross, he did so for every member of the human race of His own volition and based on His unconditional love for us. His substitutionary spiritual death is His salvation payment in full by being the object of judgment of God the Father toward all of our sins.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. (Romans 5:8-9)
The word "blood" emphasizes the total work of Christ. Justification is the work of the integrity of God in providing a relationship between man and God. "Blood" refers to redemption, propitiation, and reconciliation as essential parts of our so great salvation. The justice of God is never free to bless unless justice can keep the entire Essence of God from compromise. The justice of God had to judge our sins on the cross before the love of God would be free to bless us with salvation.
God the Father has always loved God the Son. He continues to also love the perfect and sinless humanity of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the unique God-man with His perfect and absolute divine attributes completely separate from His humanity - called the Hypostatic Union of Jesus Christ. Even though God the Fathers love for the Son was absolute and perfect, once the humanity of Jesus Christ agreed to accept the imputation of all of the sins of the human race, God the Father had to judge those sins as in Romans 8:32. This was the perfect payment for all sin for all time. Jesus Christ died spiritually (His humanity was separated from God the Father) when this payment time occurred. He was our substitute. God the Father did the judging. God the Son received the judgment. Now, God the Holy Spirit reveals the judgment to mankind.
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32)
Justification Is Related to Ultimate Sanctification
The justice of God had to first judge all of mans sins "at the proper time" by judging them all on the cross through Christs redemptive work as stated in 1 Timothy 2:5-6. This had to be done before the Love of God would be free to send grace blessing to mankind. Gods work of justification was accomplished through mans faith alone in the work of Christ alone on the cross - either looking to the future for Old Testament believers or looking to the past for Church Age believers. Christ has been resurrected from the dead. This fact now links justification with the strategic victory of Christ.
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
The strategic victory of Jesus Christ on the cross is our Lord's humanity being judged by the justice of God for our sins. During our Lords incarnation here on earth, Satan did everything in his power to destroy the humanity of Christ through temptation, attempted assassination, and to keep Him from reaching the cross. All of Satans attempts failed completely. The work of Christ on the cross destroyed the works of the devil as stated in 1 John 3:8.
the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)
The resurrection of Jesus Christ became the link between the love of God being able to bless us through grace and His strategic victory on the cross as in Romans 4:25. The love or integrity of God saves us and carries us all the way to glory as in Romans 8:29-30. God's perfect righteousness is a down payment on ultimate sanctification. It is God's integrity guaranteeing you a resurrection body.
He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. (Romans 4:25)
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30)
Ultimate sanctification means that God guarantees each believer a resurrection body exactly like His own as in 1 Corinthians 15:51-57, Philippians 3:21, and 1 John 3:1-3. In addition, special blessings will be conveyed to those who reach spiritual maturity and maximum glorification of God. These blessings are above and beyond all that we could ever ask or dream of.
Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. "O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:51-57)
who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:21)
See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1 John 3:1-3)