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“THE GRACE OF GOD”


“…by grace are ye saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. ”
-Ephesians 2:8

CONSIDER AFRESH the often asked question on the above text: “What is referred to by the last phrase, “it is the gift of God?” Does the apostle teach that grace is the gift of God, or does he say it is salvation, or perhaps that faith is the gift of God?

Look first at the word ‘grace.’ Aside from the Apostle James’ reference to a flower’s vanished glory, both ‘grace’ and ‘favor’ in the New Testament King James Version are always a translation of the same Greek word, charis (khar’ece, Strong #5485). Its first definition in Strong’s Greek Lexicon is “graciousness,…of manner or act.” And it is of interest to note that Webster’s Ninth Collegiate Dictionary puts as its first definition of grace, “unmerited divine assistance given man for his regeneration or sanctification.” So grace is favor, “unmerited favor.”

Salvation by Grace

Grace is, therefore, God’s unmerited favor – His goodness toward those who have no claim on, nor reason to expect, divine favor. The principal manifestation of God’s grace has heen in the form of a gift. We think the apostle meant that salvation is “the gift of God,” or, as emphatically put in the Greek, “of God is it the gift.” Salvation is not our achievement, but it is a gift from God. That truth is made stronger by contrast. It is ‘not of ourselves’ and “not of works.” Salvation is indeed the most extraordinary expression of God’s grace.

Salvation is of divine origin. But it is not anything that God was bound to arrange by the necessity of His nature. It is the result of His gracious will. Had it not been for His good pleasure, salvation would never have come. “By grace are ye saved.” The Greek grammar denotes not the act of being saved, but the fact of having been saved. God’s grace rather than human merit is the source of the whole arrangement. We are saved gratuitously. Salvation is a gift; it is not earned.

Faith

But what about faith? We inquire into this because, other than the clearly stated gift of miraculously-conferred faith (1 Cor. 12:9), some suggest that it is faith which “is the gift of God.” Certainly faith is a received quality. It is among blessings which answer to Paul’s rhetorical question, “what has thou that thou didst not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7) But the elements of character which please God, among which is faith, as well as the temporal possessions and necessities held by Jesus’ disciples, are generally attained through conscious effort. They are ‘received’ through our cooperation amidst God’s overruling providences.

Faith, wherever present, exists in the mind, and it is generated by the holy spirit’s influence of light and peace. Faith, in common with every other Christian virtue, exists in the heart that has responded to spiritual influences. Paul wrote that “all [men] have not faith.” (2 Thes. 3:2) That does not suggest, however, that those who have faith received it as “the gift of God” as though an answer to our question. It is one’s own mind and being that believes. It is not possible for God to believe for man, and convey that belief as a gift. The apostle wrote, rather, that “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. “-Rom. 10:17

Paul understood that faith is built and constructed; it grows and enlarges. He encouraged believers to increase in faith: “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth.” (2 Thes. 1:3) ‘Soundness of faith’ comes through hearing, thinking, learning and trusting, and sometimes by victory following rebuke.-Titus 1:13

Salvation through Faith

Salvation is not of ourselves (as seen foregoing). We are saved by grace. The salvation comes through faith in God’s revealed purpose in His Son who died for all. Nothing aside from faith would enable our receiving of the gift of salvation. We of the human family were justly condemned to death for sin and disobedience. Those who break God’s righteous law have no standing before Him in their own righteousness. Inasmuch as “there is none righteous, no, not one,” all need God’s grace and favor.

None in the human family has a vantage point or place of approach from which to require or demand God’s blessing. God Himself needed to make the first move in the rescue of man. And He did. After the first human pair entered the broad road leading into death, the LORD God made a promise intimating the eventual recovery of mankind from Satan’s influence. And God is specially pleased with those who believe, even though few respond to His promises. Those who do respond to God’s revealed will are greatly blessed. One of those was Noah. The word ‘grace’ is first used in Scripture in regard to him. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Gen. 6:8) The faith of Noah in God’s promises saved him and his family from death in the flood.

But now that Jesus has laid down his human life in sacrifice as an atonement for sin, those who follow on in faith in the steps of their heaven-sent Redeemer receive eternal-life salvation. Such faith makes all things new: those far off are brought nigh, they pass from death to life, from disobedience to sonship, from evil conduct to good works, from fleshly desires to spiritual fellowship, from children of wrath to sitting in the heavenlies. Those improved relationships are described by the Apostle Paul:

‘And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince ofthe power of the air, ofthe spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches in His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh,…were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers in the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. “-Eph. 2:1-13 NASB

The Way of Salvation

Sin, death, and accompanying sorrows have through the ages, as today, prompted many to inquire into God’s saving grace. Our recognition of God’s blessing leads to confession of sins and shortcomings, and true heart belief. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. ” (Acts 16:31) That answer of Paul to the fearful prison keeper is still true. None need fear to put trust in Jesus. He purchased all mankind with His own precious blood. He has received all power in heaven and in earth. Salvation is free to all who trust in Him and continue following on in faith. All devoted believers have authority to speak on behalf of Christ. We say in Christ’s stead to the sincere and honest hearted, “be ye reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:20) Our commission is to direct the sin-weary and heavy-laden to the Savior of all men!

Jesus clearly taught that salvation comes through faith. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life.” (John 5:24 NASB) Faith is taking God at His word, as Paul wrote: “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. “-Rom. 10:17 NASB

This is truth beyond doubting! We are saved by grace, through faith, through believing the Word of truth. The gospel promises salvation, full and free. God’s loving mercy is the “good news” message to the sin-sick and weary-salvation offered freely to all, without money and without price.-Isa. 55:1-3

A living and active love for God expands with one’s enlarging appreciation of His unmerited favor in the great salvation. “We love Him, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) And when we come to love God and our Lord Jesus, we come to love those who are of the same mind. We grow in loving sympathy for our brethren in their fight of faith. And we come to love all mankind, so loved by God as to send His only begotten Son to suffer cruel death, the price of human redemption.

Gifts from God

Jesus was sent to “save his people from their sins. ” (Mat. 1:21) He came to save from death, which is caused by sin. The saved thus have eternal life. “And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life and this life is in his Son. He that hath [belief in] the Son hath life; and he that hath not [belief in] the Son of God hath not life.” (1 John 5:11,12) By God’s grace, salvation life is free as a gift through faith.

Again and again Gods gift was affirmed. By Jesus to Nicodemus: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3 16

Again by Jesus to the woman: “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” – John 4:14

By Paul to the Corinthians: “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable [indescribable NASB] gift.” – 2 Cor 9:15

Again by Paul to the Romans: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Rom.6.23

“The Grace of God”

What a nice expression – “the grace of God.” It prompts pleasant and peaceful thoughts about our Father, the great Creator But Paul’s use of “the grace of God” phrase in Titus 2:11 appears to be with a specific purpose There the expression refers to the Savior of mankind. That four word phrase “the grace of God is a synonym for Jesus: “For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men.” (RSV) How beautiful! The sequence of phrases puts in good perspective the reality of His manifestation. He is the gift of God’s grace by which all men may be saved. How wonderful to know it! “The grace of God has appeared!”

Paul wrote a similarly-identifying phrase. Its words are specific too – “the goodness and loving kindness of God.” The context shows that those words refer to Jesus. “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared [“God our Savior” – a reference to the Father, of which more to be said later], he [God] saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the holy spirit which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savio.” (Titus 3:4-6 RSV) “The goodness and loving kindness of God” another synonym for Jesus, a companion phrase to that in Titus 2:11 – “the grace of God.”

The Apostle in Hebrews 2:9 attributes salvation from death to God’s grace: “…we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death… that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” The thought is that Jesus experienced death so that every man who dies need not stay dead for ever. Indeed what grace…from “the God of all grace.” -1 Pet. 5:10

Paul also shows that “the grace of that one man Jesus Christ” in conjunction with or united with “the grace of God” provided the free gift. This in Rom. 5:15,16 (RSV): “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the effect of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification.” The twin thoughts which attach to the words “the free gift” relate as cause and effect. The first thought is of Jesus – given in death as man’s ransom. The second thought is the benefit of that ransom conferred upon all who really believe on Jesus – justification with its accompanying salvation.

“God Our Savior”

It is generally acknowledged by commentators that the words “God our Savior” noted above in “the kindness of God our Savior” refer to God himself, not to His Son Jesus. The same three-word phrase was spoken in prayer by Mary of the almighty God and heavenly Father (Luke 1:46-48), and written by Jude in verse 25 of his epistle, and three times by Paul (Titus 2:10, 3:4, 1 Tim: 1:1, 2:3). Aware that God is the architect and all-wise planner of salvation and its process, they all acknowledge the Father as “God our Savior.” He is the one God Who has been from everlasting and Who shall be unto everlasting, and Who enlisted the faithful service of His beloved Son.

Grace for Grace

Jesus’ disciples perceived that He who walked among them was indeed “full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) He always reflected God’s favor. Fellowship with His Father was never interrupted. Being now perfected in the heavenlies, completed by the things which he suffered, having demonstrated faultless obedience despite temptation and accusations of blasphemy, Jesus sends forth of His fulness as His blessing upon believers.

The Apostle John affirmed himself as one of those so greatly blessed.

“For of His fulness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” – John 1:16,17, NASB

“Grace for grace”(KJV)…just what does that mean? Surely not that the grace of the old covenant is replaced by that of the new administration. Grace interchanging with grace is meant; grace replaced by fuller grace; greater depths to our spiritual relationship and fellowship; greater measures of spiritual understanding, sustenance and strength; continual impressions of received favor, new grace coming upon and superseding that formerly received. This becomes true in our individual experience. Grace is enjoyed in proportion to our growth in appreciation for God’s favor channeled through our Redeemer. And that all comes because of and out of His fulness.

“For out of His fulness (abundance) we all received – all had a share and we were all supplied with – one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped! upon gift. For while the Law was given through Moses, grace – unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual bless- ing – and truth came through Jesus Christ. ” – John 1:16,17, Amplified Version

God’s Riches

It is God’s richness in grace which provided the plan for deliverance from disobedience, sin and death. Paul gave that truth prominent place in Ephesians for our close consideration.

‘He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His [God’s] grace. ” – Eph. 1:5-7 NASB

Without God’s grace, death would mean extinction for all members of the condemned intelligent creation. God has freely wrought His grace to our forgiveness and to our inheritance of eternal life. It was all in view from early time. God predestined sonship for all repentant trespassers who will avail themselves of His gracious provision of salvation.

Paul emphasized again to the Ephesians God’s promised riches of grace to the redeemed. “In order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches ofHis grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” – Eph. 2:7 NASB

Paul also used the delightful phrase, “the grace of God” early in Colossians. And again it seems to be another direct reference to Jesus. “You previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel, which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth.” – Col. 1:5,6 NASB

There was a time with each of us, as with the Colossians, when we did not know “the grace of God in truth.” They, perhaps as we, may have only heard of Jesus, knowing little about Him, His origin, His purpose, and the hope of the life that centers in Him. But a time came when we did know about God’s great grace. Such was the happy experience of those Colossians. Paul took their minds back to the time – when they heard, knew, and believed as truth the words about “the grace of God.” “In the word of truth, the gospel” … “since the day ye heard, and knew the grace of God in truth.” He mixed, merged and repeated words that pertain to salvation…truth, gospel, the grace of God, hearing. Again Paul intentionally put in focus the important aspects of salvation which are supplied through God’s riches by Christ Jesus our Lord, the living example of divine grace.

Quotations from King James Version except as indicated
RSV – Revised Standard Version
NASB-New American Standard Bible

http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/fbf/grace.html

 

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1. So “what is justification?”

First we must define salvation. I believe that salvation is best defined as a rescue operation. Salvation: Strong’s G4991 sōtēria Feminine of a derivative of G4990 as (properly abstract) noun; rescue or safety (physically or morally): – deliver, health, salvation, save, saving.

 
Job 25:4 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?

 
Job 9:20 If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.

 
Let us notice that Job equates being justified with God as being perfect and clean (just, holy, righteous) and proposes a rhetorical question; “how can he be clean that is born of a woman?”. This shows that he IS NOT clean and CANNOT be cleaned or cleansed by his own self effort. “Born of a woman” here indicates both our sinful (fallen) nature which produces personal sin and the imputation of Adam’s sin to us. Rom 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

 
Mankind’s basic problem that must be solved if we are to have eternal life with God is that God is just, holy and righteous (PS 97:2, PS 119:142, Math. 5:48) and we are unjust, unholy and unrighteous. (Isa 53:6, Jere. 13:23, 17:9, Rom 3:10-18, 3:23, 1Cor. 2:13, Gal.3:22, Eph 2:1-3, James 1:5) Our sin and God’s holiness separates us from God. But scripture says that God is just and the justifier of those who believe in Jesus. (Rom 3:26)

 
Justify ,justifier, justified and justification come from the root word just; which in its most common use means holy, righteous or innocent. Strong’s dictionary gives the following definitions for the following NT words.

 
JUST G1342 dikaios From G1349; equitable (in character or act); by implication innocent, holy (absolutely or relatively): – just, meet, right (-eous).

 
JUSTIFY, JUSTIFIED, JUSTIFIER G1344 dikaioo From G1342; to render (that is, show or regard as) just or innocent: – free, justify (-ier), be righteous.

 
JUSTIFICATION G1345 dikaio From G1344; an equitable deed; by implication a statute or decision: – judgment, justification, ordinance, righteousness. G1347 dikaio From G1344; acquittal (for Christ’s sake): – justification.

 
We can see from these definitions that to be just is to be holy righteous and innocent; and to be justified is to be rendered (shown, regarded) and declared to be just (holy, righteous and innocent). We also can see that justification is a decision that results in acquittal. Therefore Wayne Grudem in his book [Systematic Theology; an introduction to biblical doctrine], is correct in saying that “justification is an instantaneous legal act of God in which He (1) thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us, and (2) declares us to be righteous in his sight. (pg722)”

 

is a right legal standing before God concerning our relationship to God‘s laws, stating that we are completely forgiven and no longer liable to punishment (wages of sin=spiritual death). Mr. Grudem notes, “A right understanding of justification is absolutely crucial to the whole of the Christian faith. Once Martin Luther realized the truth of justification by faith alone, he became a Christian and overflowed with the new found joy of the Gospel. The primary issue in the protestant reformation was a dispute with the Roman Catholic Church over justification. If we are to safeguard the truth of the gospel for future generations, we must understand the truth of justification. Even today, a true view of justification is the dividing line between the biblical gospel of salvation by faith alone and all false gospels of salvation based on good works (pg 723).”

 
Martin Luther declared, “The doctrine of justification is the article by which the church stands or falls.”

 
“[Justification is] the chief doctrine of Christianity and the chief point of difference separating Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.” [Jaroslav Pelikan, in “The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine.” Vol4 Pg 139]

 
The (free=without cost) Theology Program from Bible.org at http://www.thetheologyprogram.com gives the following definitions of the Roman Catholic and Protestant views of justification.

 

ROMAN CATHOLIC VIEW: “Justification is a process through which the limitless merits of Christ are appropriated by the church through people responding to God through faith and works.”

 
The Council of Trent (1545-1563) declared “this disposition or preparation [of faith] is followed by justification itself, which is not only a remission of sins but also the sanctification and renewal on the inward man through the voluntary reception of the grace and gifts whereby an unjust man becomes just and from being an enemy becomes a friend, that he may be the heir to the hope of eternal life.”

The Roman Catholic view of Justification was summed up by the Roman Catholic Church with the Latin term; “ex opere operato” = “By the work performed”. The authors of the theology program further define this term as “the belief accepted by Roman Catholics and rejected by Protestants that the sacraments administer grace to the recipient by virtue of the act itself through the power given to the church, regardless of the faith of the individual”

 
PROTESTANT VIEW: “Justification is a forensic declaration in which a sinner is declared righteous while still in a sinning state. It is a justification in standing, not in nature that occurs in an instantaneous event.”

 
Martin Luther said of Jesus, “He has made His righteousness my righteousness, and my sin His sin. If he has made my sin to be his sin, then I do not have it and am free. If he has made his righteousness my righteousness, then I am righteous now with the same righteousness as He. My sin cannot devour Him, but it is engulfed in the unfathomable depths of his righteousness for he himself is God, who is blessed forever.” (“Lectures on Romans” in Luther’s works; Hilton C. Oswald p.188) 

The reformers (Protestant) view of justification was summed up with the Latin term; “simul iustus et peccator” = “same time just and sinner”. The authors of the theology program define this term as “Luther’s paradoxical dictum explaining that a Christian has a legal or forensic righteous standing before God according to the work of Christ, while at the same time lives as a sinner according to his own merits. This was adhered to by the reformers in rejection to the Roman Catholic concept of infused righteousness.”

 
The main difference between the Roman Catholic view of justification and the protestant view of justification is wrapped up in 2 terms. 1. “Infused righteousness” (a process of God and man by which man must become actually righteous before he is said to be justified) 2. “Imputed righteousness” (a one time event in which God justifies sinners by reckoning Christ’s righteousness to their account through a legal declaration). The biggest difference between the Roman Catholic view of justification and the Protestant view of justification is that one is by faith and works together and the other is by faith alone. The Catholics view justification as a work of both God and man together while Protestants view justification as a work of God alone. Wayne Grudem says of the Protestant Reformation “When the good news of the gospel truly became the good news of totally free salvation in Jesus Christ, then it spread like wildfire throughout the civilized world. It was simply a recovery of the original gospel which declares, “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23) and insist that “there is therefore no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. (Rom 8:1)” Pg. 729.

 
Does the bible say that justification is a process or an event? According to the bible, who does the justifying, God or man? Is justification by faith and works or by faith alone?

 
Rom 3:19-28 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

 
Rom 4:1-5 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

 
Rom 5:1 Therefore being justified (past tense) by faith, we have (present tense) peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

 
Gal 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

 
Gal 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

 
Paul says that God “justifies him who has faith in Jesus“(Rom 3:26) and that “a man is justified by faith apart from works of law” (Rom 3; 28) The word of God which was delivered to Paul by Jesus himself (1Cor 1:23, 15:3) says that “since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom5:1) Because “a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ” (Gal2:16)

 
Justification is solely a work of God that we must receive. We must answer God’s call.

 
Rom 8:30-34 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

 
Act 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

 
Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

 
Rom 5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

 
ATONEMENT/RECONCILIATION: G2643 katallage From G2644; exchange (figuratively adjustment), that is, restoration to (the divine) favor: – atonement, reconciliation (-ing).

 
In the Old Testament, we can see that the institution of the Passover points to atonement through a vicarious substitution. The sacrificial system (esp. the day of atonement) pointed to the perfect sacrifice that Christ would give on behalf of our sins (Lev, 16:9-10, 16, 29) Christ is later called the lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world. (John 1:29, Rev. 5:7) In addition, Isaiah 53 vividly describes atonement through a vicarious substitution.

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2. So “Is justification salvation“? 

I believe so. Obviously, there are many other biblical terms to describe salvation such as election, calling, regeneration (spiritual rebirth), conversion (moral revolution through faith and repentance), sanctification (growth in likeness of Christ), glorification (receiving a resurrected body), and others. But Justification embodies other biblical terms for salvation such as atonement (restoration to divine favor), reconciliation (restoration to divine favor), redemption (to purchase), propitiation (the act by where which God‘s righteous wrath is satisfied by the atonement of Christ) and deliverance (ransom) . The preceding definitions come from Strong’s dictionary, Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem or The Theology Program.

 
Justification is the result of God applying the work of Christ to the believer though faith (trust) in Jesus Christ’s death in our place on the cross; resulting in the forgiveness of our sins and the imputation of Christ perfect righteousness to our account. Justification is the result of atonement, reconciliation, redemption, deliverance and propitiation rendered through Christ perfect life and substitutionary death. In my opinion, regeneration (being born again) is the only other biblical term for salvation that could possibly rival justification as an accurate synonym for salvation but regeneration is still not as fully a descriptive term for salvation. Regeneration causes conversion through faith and repentance. The result of justification is that we go from an unjust state to a totally justified position while still not being totally just in actual practice. (John 9:41, 1John 1:8)

Justification and salvation are terms that are used interchangeably in God’s word. We are “saved through faith“(Eph 2; 8), and “justified by faith” (Rom 5:1, Gal 2:16). We are saved not according to our works (2Tim1:9) and we are not justified by our works (Gal 2:16). We are saved by God’s grace. (Acts15:11, Eph2:8) We are justified by God’s grace. (Titus 3:7, Rom 3:24)

 
As noted above, if we are to have eternal life with God, mankind’s most basic problem that must be solved is that God is just, holy and righteous (PS 97:2, PS 119:142) and mankind is unjust, unholy and unrighteous. (Isa 53:6, Rom 3:10-18, 3:23, Gal 3:22, Eph 2:1, James 1:5) God is intrinsically by His nature just and he cannot even look upon sin (iniquity) Holiness is an immutable attribute of God’s character. Hab 1:13a Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity. Therefore, God must punish our sin. Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Eze 18:20a The soul that sinneth, it shall die. Spiritual death (separation from God) has always been the wages of sin. (Gen2:17, 3:6,23,24, Eze 28:15,16) The solution to mans problem is the Lord Jesus Christ. Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 
I believe that salvation and justification are synonymous because the promise of eternal life is achieved by the shed blood of Jesus Christ resulting in our redemption and reconciliation to God through Christ’s atonement. That atonement needs to be applied to us, through faith in Jesus as our Savior, because of our sins and separation from God. But Jesus bridges the gap between God and us. He provides the way that we may be restored to right relationship with God both at the moment of faith and even more so in the moment of death. Salvation and justification is achieved for us, by Jesus Christ, by our sins being imputed to Him on the cross (thus making a propitiation towards God), and Jesus’s perfect righteousness being imputed to our account for us. (Gen 15:6, Rom 4:3-5, 8-11, 22-24, 5:13, Gal 3:6, James 2:23) Christ perfect sacrifice expiates our sin through propitiation (the act by where which God‘s righteous wrath is satisfied by the atonement of Christ) i.e. [Rom 3:25, 1John 2:2, 1John 4:10]` And the work of Jesus Christ results in our justification and salvation. God is just and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus. (Rom 3:26) Therefore, I would say, yes, “Justification is Salvation…Would you say that a person who God has justified is not saved?

 
Perhaps you have heard the popular and clever play on words for “justified” that says “just-as-if -I-had-never-sinned” or “just-as-if-I-had-lived-a-life-of-perfect-righteousness”. These sayings contain a portion of the truth about justification but not the whole of the truth of justification. Obviously we have not “lived lives of perfect righteousness” nor have we “never sinned” and we are in fact deserving of death as the wages of sin, because we are in reality sinners who have transgressed God‘s laws . Gal 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, ‘Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. Deu 27:26 Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen. Jam 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. But JESUS LAYED DOWN HIS LIFE so,

 
Joh 3:15-18 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

 
Joh 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

 
Joh 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ,

 
It was Jesus, 1Ti 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. It was Jesus Gal 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: It was Jesus Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

 

not only saves us from the penalty of sin (spiritual death), but also from the power of sin so that sin should not have dominion over us. (Rom. 6:6,11) Because, Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

It was because of justification by faith alone that Paul could say Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. John the Baptist said of Jesus Christ “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)

 
Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

 
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 
Rom 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

 
Rom 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

 
Rom 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

 
Rom 5:15-19 But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

 
Act 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

 
2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

 
Heb 7:26-27 For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

 
Heb 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

 
Heb 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

 
Heb 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

 
Eph 1:5-7 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

 
Eph 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

 
Eph 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor.

 
Gal 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

 
1Pe 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

 

2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

 
Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

 
Gal 1:3-5 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver (RESCUE) us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

 
There are only two ways to be saved. 1. Actually be totally and perfectly just, holy righteous and as innocent as God is. 2. Be justified by God as a free gift. When you stand before God on judgment day will you say I am just and deserve eternal life; or will you fall on your face and say “Lord have mercy on me a sinner“?

 
If you have been working for your salvation or justification, or if you have never known Jesus, will you receive God’s free gracious gift of salvation by faith (trust) alone in Jesus Christ as your savior at this moment?

 
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