A Short Biblical Definition of Justification

 

Nearly every Christian and student of theology will readily accept that the doctrine of justification is one of the most important doctrines in Scripture. Yet nearly 2,000 years after the death and resurrection of Christ, the doctrine of justification continues to be controversial and unsettled. This is despite the fact that a proper understanding of this doctrine is essential to the Christian faith. The first step in getting to a proper understanding is to settle on a definition. Therefore, in the interest of framing future discussions and studies related to the topic of justification, here its biblical definition per the book of Romans:

 

 

Further characteristics of this definition include:

  1. Justification is gained via faith in person and work of Christ. (Romans 4:9-12; Galatians 2:15-16)
  2. Justification is both moral (actual Daniel 6:23; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5-7; Romans 6:1-11) and forensic (declared Exodus 23:7; Isaiah 5:23; Proverbs 17:15; Luke 7:9, 16:15; Matthew 11:19; Job 32:2; Psalm 51:4; Romans 3:4; Acts 19:40).
  3. Justification is conditional. (1 Corinthians 3:10-15 with 2 Corinthians 6:1-2, 14-18; Matthew 18:21-35; 2 John 1:8; 2 Peter 2:20-22, 3:16-17; Hebrews 6:1-8; Galatians 3:1-4 with Galatians 5:1-15; Hebrews 6:9-12; Philippians 3:8-16; Romans 2:13)
  4. Justification is gained via faith, but maintained via faithfulness. (Deuteronomy 29:9-20; Matthew 18:17-20; Hebrews 10:24-29; also, see marriage analogy: Genesis 2:23-24; Jeremiah 2:2, 32; 3:1, 20; Hosea 2; Ezekiel 16:1-32; Revelation 19:7; 21:2-9)