The Bible says, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we will be saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5:9). Justification is one of those very important doctrines found in the Scriptures. Certainly, all Bible doctrine is important, but Martin Luther is purported to have said, “justification is the article by which the church stands and falls.” We often use the word justify in the context of pronouncing a person’s or even a country’s actions the right thing to do. For example, many thought the U.S. was “justified” earlier this year when it bombed Syria for using weaponized gas on its own people including children.
The Bible doctrine of justification is similar in that God pronounces or declares people who believe in Jesus to be right or righteous in His sight. As Romans 5:9 indicates, believers in Jesus have been justified by Christ’s death on the cross. In order for God to declare us righteous, two things must take place. Our sins must be forgiven, and we must possess righteousness. Christ died for our sins and when we believe in Him we are forgiven of those sins. Also, at the moment we trusted Jesus as our Savior, we were given the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17). We need both in order to be saved – the forgiveness of sins and the gift of righteousness. Paul sums it up in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (The New Living Translation).