Justification - A most precious doctrine

Justification - Defined
Justification is the doctrine that God pardons, accepts, and declares a sinner to be "just" on the basis of Christ's righteousness (Rom 3:24-26; 4:25; 5:15-21) which results in God's peace (Rom 5:1), His Spirit (Rom 8:4), and salvation. Justification is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ apart from all works and merit of the sinner (cf. Rom 1:18-3:28).

Double imputation
Double Imputation is a doctrine related to Justification, which views the concept of imputation as applying both to Christ and believers. On the one hand, our sins are imputed to Christ who bore them on the cross. On the other hand, Christ's righteousness is imputed to believers whereby they are seen by God as cloaked in the righteousness of Christ. Justification, in this view, is based on Christ's propitiatory sacrifice as well as his personal righteousness imputed to believers, not any righteousness inherent or infused in man.



Propitiation means the turning away of wrath by an offering. In relation to soteriology, propitiation means placating or satisfying the wrath of God by the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

In Rom. 3:25 and Heb. 9:5 the Greek word hilasterion (KJV, "mercy-seat") is used. It is the word employed by the Septuagint (LXX). translators in Ex. 25:17 and elsewhere as the equivalent for the Hebrew kapporeth, which means "covering," and is used of the lid of the ark of the covenant (Ex. 25:21; 30:6). Hilasterion came to denote not only the mercy-seat or lid of the ark, but also propitiation or reconciliation by blood. On the great day of atonement the high priest carried the blood of the sacrifice he offered for all the people within the veil and sprinkled with it the "mercy-seat," and so made propitiation.

In 1 John 2:2; 4:10, Christ is called the "propitiation for our sins." Here a different Greek word is used, hilasmos. Christ is "the propitiation," because by his becoming our substitute and assuming our obligations he expiated our guilt, covering it by the vicarious punishment which he endured. (Compare Heb. 2:17, where the expression "make reconciliation" of the KJV is more correctly in the ASV "make propitiation")
Key Verses (also in the definitions above)

Romans 3:21-26

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 4:20-25 :

[Abraham] did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”  23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

Romans 5:15-21
But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. 17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Comment: Several key points.

  • Abraham did not inherit justification. He was born a sinner like all mankind. 
  • As an adult he had to by faith trust the promises of God
  • The Law nor good works saved Abraham
  • Men are called upon to admit our sinfulness, helplessness and lostness AND\
  • Call upon the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation
  • That faith act results in justification. 

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