What Is Justification in Christianity?

Justification Definition
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Definition of Justification

Justification means to set something right, or to declare righteous. In the original language, justification was a forensic term meaning "acquit," or the opposite of "condemnation."

In Christianity, Jesus Christ, the sinless, perfect sacrifice, died in our place, taking the punishment we deserve for our sins. In turn, sinners who believe in Christ as their Savior are justified by God the Father.

Justifying is the act of a judge. This legal act means Christ's righteousness is imputed, or credited to believers. One way to understand justification is the judicial act of God in which he declares a person to be in right relationship to himself. Sinners enter into a new covenant relationship with God through the forgiveness of sins.

God's plan of salvation includes forgiveness, which means taking a believer's sins away. Justification means adding Christ's perfect righteousness to believers.

Easton’s Bible Dictionary further explains: "In addition to the pardon of sin, justification declares that all the claims of the law are satisfied in respect of the justified. It is the act of a judge and not of a sovereign. The law is not relaxed or set aside, but is declared to be fulfilled in the strictest sense; and so the person justified is declared to be entitled to all the advantages and rewards arising from perfect obedience to the law."

The Apostle Paul states repeatedly that man is not justified by keeping the law (works), but rather by faith in Jesus Christ. His teaching on justification by faith in Christ became the theological basis for the Protestant Reformation led by men like Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Calvin.

Bible Verses About Justification

Acts 13:39
Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.


Romans 4:23-25
And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God. (NLT)

Romans 5:9
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! (NIV)

Romans 5:18
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. (ESV)

1 Corinthians 6:11
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (NIV)

Galatians 3:24
So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. (NIV)

Pronunciation: just i fi KAY shun


I can claim justification with God only through faith in Jesus, not in good works that I do.

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Zavada, Jack. "Justification." ThoughtCo, Apr. 13, 2016, thoughtco.com/what-is-justification-in-christianity-700688. Zavada, Jack. (2016, April 13). Justification. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-justification-in-christianity-700688 Zavada, Jack. "Justification." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-justification-in-christianity-700688 (accessed April 22, 2018).