In Romans chapters one to three, the Apostle Paul details the depth of man’s total depravity. He concludes his treatise with this definitive statement, “No one is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10).
The natural question following this indictment is, “How can a person be justified before God the Righteous Judge?”
Romans 3:20-24 provides the answer. Justification is by grace (alone), through faith (alone), in Jesus Christ (alone). “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight.” “[t]he righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.” “[a]nd are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 4:1-5 provides the example—Abraham. “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.”
Grace is a free gift of God without any human contribution, specifically works. Human effort in conjunction with faith in Jesus Christ as Savior cannot obtain a righteous standing before God. Human works after faith in Jesus as Savior cannot maintain or secure a righteous standing before God.
In Summary, justification is an instantaneous and permanent work of God’s grace in which a sinner is “on good terms with God the righteous Judge.”
Faith is belief, trust, assurance, confidence, conviction, reliance. Faith is the mental assent and response to a proposition. When Abraham believed God, he trusted the message God revealed to him.
Other Scripture passages also reaffirm the fact that faith is the only condition for justification. These would include but are not limited to John 3:16, Acts 16:31, and Ephesians 2:8, 9.
The object of faith for justification can only be Jesus Christ. To trust in anyone or anything other than Jesus, or to add anything to Jesus cannot justify a sinner.
Justification is a clear and simple message. A sinner is justified by grace, through faith, in Jesus Christ. To God be the glory!
Pastor Brian Demers Scripture quotations are from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.