Question: What does it mean to be “justified by faith”?
Answer: Let us consider Romans 5: 1 as our main Scriptural text:
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Two Steps Required
To be justified by faith means to be made right with God through faith. Two steps are required in order to attain this desirable condition:
(1.) Repentance for sins (Acts 26: 20). Prerequisite to this step is to recognize that one is a sinner by heredity due to Father Adam’s act of disobedience in the Garden of Eden. The act of repentance itself involves the desire to hate and forsake sin, to love and practice righteousness, and so far as possible to make restitution for one’s wrongs.
(2.) The second step is faith in Christ, which implies a belief and acceptance of the provision that God has made for one’s salvation (Acts 13: 39). In a nutshell, that means believing that Jesus was sent into the world to die for Father Adam and the whole human race, and accepting Him as one’s Savior (Romans 3: 26).
Faith itself, however, has no merit by which anyone could become justified or made right with God. Though faith is essential, it is through faith, or by the instrument of faith, in which one can become justified.
Two Foundational Pillars
The real foundation for being “justified by faith” consists of two pillars: the grace of God and the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2: 9). Without these two, no amount of faith could have any significance. Let us consider these foundational pillars:
(1.) One is justified by the grace of God. God was under no obligation to recover mankind from the just penalty which He had placed upon Father Adam and his race. It is by His grace that, foreseeing Adam’s fall into sin, He had compassion, and developed His Plan, whereby He provided for redemption by the ransom sacrifice of Jesus.
(2.) One is justified by the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The death of Jesus paid the penalty for Father Adam, so that ultimately all the Church in the Gospel Age and the world in the Millennial Age have the privilege of being released from the condemnation of sin and being given the opportunity to gain eternal life.
The Blessings of Justification by Faith
Those who attain the condition of being “justified by faith” receive numerous blessings, including the forgiveness of sins and the imputation of Christ’s merit. Instead of being at enmity with God, he has peace with Him, becomes His friend, and enjoys fellowship with Him.
If one continues to maintain his justification by faith, God provides all the help necessary in order to grow in the knowledge and appreciation of righteousness. This includes being cleansed from the filthiness of the flesh and spirit by the Word of God.
It is important to recognize that justification by faith only makes one reckonedly perfect. In other words, though one actually remains in an imperfect condition, being “justified by faith” enables God to view one as if he was actually perfect. The process of becoming actually justified, or actually perfect, will for the world of mankind take place during the Millennial Age.
Note: Please find a more thorough examination of this subject in our article, Justification by Faith.