Would you agree the Bible has some pretty big words? Not only are there words that are big to spell and pronounce, but if we’ll look deeper, they are BIG in context too.
One such word is justification.
If you look this word up in the dictionary, you will find three basic definitions. One is simply the act of justifying; meaning an explanation which defends you or a circumstance. A second definition is found in the world of printing which describes the spacing of words and letters with even margins on both sides. And thirdly, you will find justification by faith.
The dictionary reads: The act of God whereby humankind is made or accounted as just, or free from guilt or penalty of sin.
But this only scratches the surface. The Bible actually says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Justification describes the grace of God which has been made available to everyone through faith. Here’s a short story that will help make this point:
A man was at his local barber shop getting a haircut when the conversation turned to God and His existence. The barber said, “I don’t believe there is a God. If there was, why is there so much evil in the world.” The man, wanting to get a good haircut, decided not to argue with the barber although he was a believer. And he himself had wondered about the evil in the world but at that moment, had no explanation.
After he paid and opened the door to leave, he saw a dirty, unshaven, homeless man across the street pushing a shopping cart full of his life’s belongings. The man paused in the doorway and turned to the barber and said, “You know, I don’t believe in barbers.” Everyone in the barber shop turned and looked at him as the barber laughed out loud and said, “Well you just came to one!”
The man pointed to the homeless man across the street and said, “Look at him. His hair is overgrown and a mess. No, I don’t believe in barbers.” The barber, now irritated, said, “Well, that’s not my fault. He just doesn’t come to me.”
The man looked the barber square in the eye before he left, and said, “Maybe that’s God’s problem too.”
Grace is defined as divine, unmerited favor, available to the sinner for salvation and the redeemed for victorious living. The first thing we have to understand is that grace (and therefore justification) has been made available to everyone. “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
One scripture says, “And we can all be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we’ve done” (Romans 3:22b, NLT). In other words, God poured out His grace on purpose–to save and rescue any who would believe. In fact, the Bible says, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).
The most important thing we need to know about justification is that it has its roots in grace. This means there’s nothing you and I could do to earn the pardon we have received from God for our sins. We’ve been justified and it’s by grace, and grace alone.