We hear the term “justification” talked about from the pulpit, and we hear about it from other Christians. But, what exactly does this term mean? If you are like me, I like to keep things simple. Without minimizing the significance and the profoundness of the term by putting it in layman’s terms, I find the answer to be quite simple.
Let’s say that we committed every crime that is known to man, were arrested and imprisoned while awaiting the trial. Then, after the trial we were found guilty of all crimes and sentenced to death. However, someone in the courtroom “willingly” steps forward and says: “Judge, I will pay the penalty on his behalf. The Judge accepts the offer, slams the gavel down, decrees that we are acquitted, and are now free to go home. Wouldn’t that just shock you? Bear in mind that we committed every crime known to man, and because of double jeopardy, we can never be charged for any of these crimes again. Furthermore, because we were acquitted, these crimes will never appear on our record. That is what it means to “be justified in Christ”. Notice that the term is past tense which means that Christ already paid the penalty so that you could never be charged, thrown into prison, or sentenced to death again.
Let’s take a look at the original Greek definitions of the words just, justified and justification.
The Greek translation for the word “just” is dikaios, (present tense) which means “innocent of any charge”.
The Greek translation for the word “justified” (past tense) is dikaioo, which means “freed from guilt or any charges caminandocondios.net.
And finally, the Greek translation for the word” justification” are twofold; the one in Romans 5:16 is dikaioma, which means “a judicial decree by God”, and the other two in Romans 4:25 and 5:18 are dikaiosis, which means “acquittal”, and both are done by God through the death of Christ.
Like me, you may wonder why “justification” is only mentioned three times in the entire Bible. The answer is because the “judicial decree” of having been acquitted by the act of Christ having paid the penalty for us, has already been done. Many Christians still operate under the idea that when God accepted Christ’s offering on our behalf, it wasn’t good enough and we still need to pay for the crimes that we were acquitted for. If this were true, then the free gift that Christ gave us that day in court would be sending the message that he died for nothing, the Judge’s decree was a farce, and double jeopardy applies.
However, Paul tells us that this is not true; the results of this act are explained in Romans 5:1 which basically says that “having been” justified by “FAITH” we now have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Notice that this is by “faith” alone. Therefore, Faith is the means by which one arrives at the acceptance of justification which was already done by Christ at the time of His death. Thus, whether one believes or not does not believe, does not change the immutable reality of the deed by God through the death of Christ.
So what good is all of this information? Information is only made powerful “if” it brings about revelation, and having the revelation that by Christ’s willingness to step forward and intercede for us, we have been acquitted and set free. Paul explains this position in 2 Cor 5:17 by saying: “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. The old things are not daily habits or failures, but rather “a position.” Justification therefore is when the criminal (sinner) has right standing in God’s (Judge) sight when he is in Christ. By faith he is justified by Christ’s death without any human effort or cause.