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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

Key Doctrines of the Faith: Justification

by David Chadwick

Bibliology. Theology. Christology. Pneumatology. Anthropology. Hamartiology. Soteriology. Incarnation. If any of these words mean something to you, you’ve probably been journeying with me through some of the key doctrines of the Christian faith. I’d urge you to go back through and learn along with me.

Today we pick up our ninth key: justification – the doctrine of forgiveness.

Galatians 2:16 says, “yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Jesus took our sins upon himself on the cross and, in turn, offered us forgiveness. This forgiveness is given to us by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is a free gift. Not of works, for we could never do enough good works to earn God’s favor in his perfect holiness.

Justification is most easily remembered this way: when Jesus looks at us, it’s “just as if we’ve never sinned.” We are declared “justified.” Our sins are gone forever. Thrown into the deepest heart of the sea. He paid the debtor’s price for our sin. And now, like a slave who had someone pay the ransom price for his captivity, we are free. To live as the Father desires us to live.

Justification is a legal term. An imputed righteousness. A declaration forever that we can now make in the face of the accuser: “Jesus died the death I should have died! In my place! And his resurrection not only proves he is God, but it declares me innocent. God accepted the atonement Jesus gave on my behalf!”

1 John 4:10 says, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” God poured out his wrath for our sins on his Son! Why? For love! Sacrificial, unconditional love.

Justification. What a wonderful word for followers of Jesus!

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