Justified By Faith
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1
Welcome, Young Believer! The process of Justification has been a debate since the Reformation. I've just finished taking a couple of lectures from Hillsdale College on both Luther's view of Justification and the Catholic view of Justification as defined by the Council of Trent. What I find most interesting is that these ideas have continued to develop at least on the Protestant side of things since Luther's teachings and I find myself needing to contemplate this doctrine more fully. However, being a Protestant I do agree with Luther's main premise that we are justified by faith alone and not by works.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
I believe this is very clear in Scripture that we cannot work our way into being justified or righteous in the eyes of God. Therefore, we need the righteousness of Christ in exchange for our broken sinfulness to be our justify us in the eyes of our Holy God. We receive this justification by faith, just as faith was accounted as righteousness to Abraham.
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Romans 4:1-8
By faith Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, and others spoken of in the long history of Scripture are all commended as righteous not because of their works, though their faith is often exhibited in the actions it prompted.
Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. Galatians 2:16
I know we will be diving further into the process of Justification later and the different theologies surrounding it, but I wanted to make sure that as a final piece of this series on the basics of Christianity that we made it clear the foundation we are starting that exploration from. In the interest of a firm foundation, I've also decided that our next study will be on the Gospel of Matthew. We may follow that with studies on the other gospels or we may mix in something else but I think it's important that you have the resources of at least a study of one of the gospels before we get deeper into the weeds of apologetics, theology, and how the Christian world view should shape how we respond to culture and politics.
If you have more questions about justification please place those in the comments. I also highly recommend, as always, that you find a mentor in the faith that will help to walk you through these issues as you grow in your faith. This one journey you were never meant to take alone!