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Justification by Faith


Justification by faith is a principle of Christianity where a believer is declared guiltless by God based on the righteousness and obedience of Christ. The death of Christ was a sacrifice and reconciliatory act to save all of mankind. All sinners were declared innocent and heirs of the kingdom of God, in case they believed in Jesus.

This research paper will analyze the concept of justification by faith. The presentation will be divided into sections detailing the definition, basis, means, time factor, results, and assurance of justification by faith principle. Finally, a conclusion derived from the work presented in this paper will be made.

The research on the topic of justification by faith is crucial in determining the salvation of Christians and their eternal destiny.


Justification is equivalent to vindication. In theology to justify, is to absolve, to declare person's innocence, or to declare that an individual is guiltless. Simply put, justification is the act of declaring a Christian righteous, to make the person to be in right terms with God. Justification can also be viewed as the act of God declaring the people who accept Jesus Christ to be righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21). According to Christian belief, the righteous will inherit the kingdom of God. Therefore, righteousness is a paramount quality for all Christians who desire to go to heaven.

The principle of justification by faith is a paramount doctrine in Christianity. Objective justification is God`s action of declaring amnesty to all sinners based solely on the vicarious obedience of Jesus Christ. The righteousness of Christ secured justification for all mankind. God accepted the obedience of Christ and death on the cross as a reconciliation of the mankind. All believers are justified by the death of Jesus and shedding of his blood. In Roman 4:25, Jesus was delivered of Christian sins and resurrected for the justification of the believers. Personal justification is where God grants salvation to believe by grace and by the mercy of His Son, Jesus. All believers are vindicated and dressed in the righteousness of Christ by their faith.

Justification is a principle that is core in the entire Bible. However, the main Bible verse that describes the principle of justification to Christian is Romans 3:21-26. In his address to the Romans, Saint Paul regularly brings out the quality of justification by faith. Paul says that the righteousness of contemporary society exists in a different way other than the law to which the prophets testify. He adds that this righteousness is present in the form of faith in Jesus, the son of God. The justification by faith, however, is only available to those who believe. According to Paul, all human beings have fallen short of righteous because they have sinned against their Creator. By default, all Christians are sinners, and they can only be redeemed through God’s grace and mercy. Consequently, God gave up his only son to die for the sins of all believers. Those who believe in Christ will be justified from their original sins. Justification is only achieved by faith.


Justification is based on the position of a Christian being innocent by God’s grace. Justification is different from forgiveness. A person who has been justified by God has been declared innocent. Justification is equivalent to the act of finding a suspect not guilty. The implication is that the person has been screened of their sins and found not guilty. The person is vindicated by God. In contrast, being forgiven implies that the person has been screened and found guilty, but God does not count their sins.

A person is not made just by the verdict of justification; rather justification is based on the Christian being just. In Luke 7:29, the people justified God in response to the teachings of Christ. By this, the people did not make God be just; rather they confirmed God’s nature of being innocent. They declared Him to be just.

God presents Jesus Christ as atonement for the sins of all human beings. He gave up his only son to die for the sake of mankind. By his death and shedding blood, Jesus cleaned Christians of their original sins that were committed by Adam and Eve. The act of sacrificing his son is a demonstration of God mercy and justice to believe. The only condition attached to the attainment of this grace and redemption is that one must believe in Jesus, the death of Jesus, and the blood that was shed.

Christian are justified and declared righteous and innocent at the moment of salvation. However, justification in itself does not make Christians noble and guiltless; rather it pronounces them to be innocent and righteous. Righteousness is based on the Christians faith on all the work done by Christ here on earth. Christians must believe in the miracles performed by Jesus as well as believe in his teachings. They must obey the instructions and live according to his will. Only then will justification be recognized. By his death, Christ covered all the sins of Christian believers. Through his sacrifice, God can see Christians as blemish, innocent, and guiltless, despite many sins they commit in their daily life. Because Christians believe in Christ, when God looks at a believer, He can see Christ’s righteousness. Therefore, because Jesus was perfect and righteous, God views believers as perfect and blemish. The act of being regarded as perfect in God's eyes is termed as justification. The justification is attained by faith and believing in Jesus.

In the book of Romans 5, Paul says that the consequence of a single sin by Adam and Eve was condemnation for all mankind. Similarly, the result of a single act of righteousness in the form of Christ sacrifice for mankind was justification for all believers. Just as a sin by one man was considered a sin by all men, so was the obedience of one man a justification for all human beings. Justification brings God`s peace to rule over all Christians. It is through the justification that the sanctification of God to men is attained. Therefore, God makes Christians sanctified in reality for those who believe in His son. In Romans 5:1, the Bible states that all Christians are justified through faith and attain their peace with their Creator through Christ.

In proverb 17:15, the Bible says that it is an abomination for a Christian to justify the non-believers. However, in Romans 4:5, Paul states that God himself has the right to justify the non-believers who trust in God’s grace. The reason for this is that Jesus shed his blood for the sake of justification of everyone; he shed his blood to cancel the sins and crimes of all humankind. Furthermore, the guilt attached to Christians from their sins and those of Adam and Eve is removed. Therefore, justification by faith applies only to the guilt and does not wholly declare a person righteous. In justification, there must be more than just the cancellation of the sins.


Justification is a good redemption for the currently fallen humanity. A majority of people live in rebellion to the laws of Moses and the will of God. Nevertheless, God has brought salvation to mankind. Through salvation, Christians get justification that makes them righteous in the eyes of God.

According to 2 Corinthians 9, salvation is a noble gift for mankind. The concept is emphasized in Romans 6:23 that states that God punishes sinners by death, but the same God also provides salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ. Therefore, justification is obtained by faith and not by our actions. Salvation is given to Christians by the Grace of God.

By definition, gifts are not earned. Gifts are given in addition to what a person deserves or has worked. As a result, the gift of salvation and justification given to us by God is not earned. It is given free of charge. In life, a gift ceases to be a gift when the recipient has to pay or work for it. Therefore, God gives justification to mankind out of mercy and justice and not because the Christians deserve it.

In Romans 5:17-18, Paul says that Adam’s sins and offences reigned for all. Similarly, the sacrifice of Jesus will guarantee justification for all of mankind as well. Therefore, as the crime of a single man caused condemnation to the entire human race, so was the death of Jesus Christ that brought salvation to the whole mankind. Thus, Christians are not justified by the action that results from their faith in Christ but rather they are justified by the faith.

The principle of justification and how Christians earn it is emphasized in the Gospel. For instance in Luke 23, two thieves were hanged alongside Jesus in Golgotha. One of the thieves rebuked and mocked Jesus telling Christ to save them all from their tribulations. The thieves challenged Jesus to redeem himself from the cross if he was the son of God. However, the other thief acknowledged the position of Jesus, confessed his sins, and asked Jesus to remember him when he goes to heaven. The resentful thief was justified, but his colleague was not. Although the two thieves were guilty of the same offence, one was saved while the other was not. The case is a clear indication that Christians cannot be justified based on their right actions, but rather on their faith and subject to God’s grace. None of the two thieves could save him from the cross, but Christ could save the one that believed in God.

The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9 is another example of how Christians earn salvation and justification. In this parable, two men went to pray in the temple. The Pharisee praised himself before God and looked down upon his colleague. He went ahead to tell God that he deserved salvation more than his colleague because he fasted more, tithed more, and that he did not commit grave sins. However, the tax collector humbled himself before God and accepted that he was a sinner. He asked for forgiveness from God because he was guilty of the sins he had committed. Jesus said that the tax collector who accepted his sins and asked for forgiveness was justified while the self-confessed good man was not justified. The Pharisees believed that salvation was earned by their right actions, but Jesus taught them otherwise. Although, the Pharisee probably lived a religious life, obeyed the laws of God, tithed and fasted often, he was not justified. The tax collector who did not live a Christian life but accepted his sins and asked for forgiveness obtained salvation.

The Bible story of Peter and Simon is yet another reflection of salvation. Simon was a wealthy man who offered to buy the apostle’s power to perform miracles. Peter rebuked him and told him that he will perish with his money. The implication of this is that salvation and justification can be purchased with money. Justification can only be earned through believing in Christ. Ephesians 2:8 adds that Christians are saved by grace and faith alone. Jesus paid the cost for the justification of Christians because individual believers cannot afford to pay the price of salvation. It is given to them by Gods mercy, grace, and subject to their faith.


Justification is different from sanctification. The process of a person transforming and becoming morally upright upon receiving salvation is called sanctification. It is a moral transformation to become real and usually occurs over a long period of time. On the other hand, justification is not a process. Justification is the act of declaring that a person is guiltless and it happens in a short period of time. Justification is a verdict that happens once in a believer’s lifetime.


According to Paul, in Romans 5, there are three fruits of justification by faith. The first and the immediate fruit is attaining peace with God. The Second, which is a continuing fruit, is having access to the grace of God for Christian, and the last one is arriving at the glory of God. The last fruit is an ultimate result. The fruits are supposed to occur in order starting from the first to the third through the second fruit.


It is controversial whether the guarantee for justification exists or not. Martin Luther and the contestants believe that justification is given to Christian in the present life, before the death. The Lutheran claims that salvation is given to all who believe in Christ and that a person can know whether they are saved or not. On the other hand, orthodox Christians and the Roman Catholics say that Luther opinion of assurance of justification is presumptuous. According to the Catholics, faith without action is dead. They believe that actions of love must accompany the faith of a Christian. The Catholics add that a person can not determine the extent of good works that are sufficient to earn justification. Consequently, justification is wholly dependent on God’s judgment after the death of this person. Thus, to the Catholics, it is only after the death that a Christian can know their destiny. Justification is not assured here on earth.

However, the Protestants are highly critical of the belief of the Catholics concerning the lack of an assurance for justification. The difference emanating from the controversial principle of confidence to justification might have led to the Reformation in Christian religion. Furthermore, the majority of the differences between the two opposing sides are irreconcilable. Theologians have resulted in supporting either of the sides.

Nevertheless, biblical support of assurance to salvation is found in Romans 3:21. Paul says that God’s righteousness has been found upon which the prophets and the law testify. Faith gives the fore-mentioned righteousness to all believers. Clearly, the verse implies that God has already judged the believers here on earth and declared them righteous. Therefore, justification and salvation are based on the active and passive righteousness. Inactive righteousness implies that Christians observe the commandments of God while the passive righteousness indicates that Jesus suffers for believer’s sins. Justification is, thus, not vested in person`s right acts, or acts of love as claimed by the Catholics. Works of love are fruits of the justification of faith in Christ. Works of love do not influence a Christian’s justification. Simply put, justification is given to believers only by the grace of Jesus. 1st John 4:19 says that believers love because Jesus loved them first.

In Romans 15:13 Paul expresses the assurance of justification for believers. He states that the God will give hope to the believers so they can ride in the hope because of their justification. In spite of the fact that majority of believers fall short of the grace of God because they are sinners by nature does not diminish the hope that God promises to believers. Jesus sacrificed his life so that the believers may be justified. Therefore, he would be happy to give an assurance to the said believers that they are assured of eternal life if they live a righteous life. However, the believers will still have to face judgment when Christ returns to earth.

Paul says in Romans 8 that God is justifying and that nothing can separate the believers from the love of God, which is Christ. Death, Angels, powers, life, and other things cannot separate the justified from God.

Christians should, therefore, be assured of their justification and salvation. The assurance is based on a concrete foundation of faith in God. Justification by faith is given by the grace of God, who is faithful to the believers. Christians should believe that God has started good work in them and will continue performing the good work until Christ returns. The believer should not accept anything less than that assurance in their justification.


The principle of justification is a core doctrine in Christianity. Protestants and the Roman Catholics hold differing opinions concerning the principles of justification and its assurance. The belief is supported by scripture mainly from the letter of Saint Paul to the Roman. Justification is based on the fact that God declared mankind guiltless based on the righteousness of Christ. Jesus obeyed his Father and accepted to be sacrificed for the sake of humanity. By his death on the cross and the shedding of his blood all sinful human beings were declared innocent by God. Consequently, the sinners became heirs of the kingdom of heaven. The condition for being justified by faith is that a person must believe in Jesus Christ and his teachings. Unlike sanctification, justification is a moment event. It occurs at a single step while sanctification is considered a process since it occurs over a long period of time.
Christians are assured of justification by faith. They should not settle for less.


Balogun, Grace Dola. Justification By Faith Alone In Christ Alone. [S.l.]: Grace Religious Books Pub, 2012.

Bayer, Oswald. Living By Faith. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2003.

Boice, James Montgomery. Romans. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2005.

Lane, A. N. S. Justification By Faith In Catholic-Protestant Dialogue. London: T & T Clark, 2006.

MacArthur, John, and Don Kistler. Justification By Faith Alone. Morgan, Pa.: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 2003.

Nwachukwu, Mary Sylvia Chinyere. Creation-Covenant Scheme And Justification By Faith. Roma: Editrice Pontificia Università Gregoriana, 2002.

Pemble, William, and Don Kistler. The Justification Of A Sinner. Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 2002.

Sands, Paul Francis. The Justification Of Religious Faith In Søren Kierkegaard, John Henry Newman, And William James. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2004.

Sproul, R. C. Justified By Faith Alone. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2010.

Zachman, Randall C. The Assurance Of Faith. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005.

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