Justification – A Right Relationship with GOD
by Craig S. Hawkins
|“For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.“Â -Â
Romans 3:28 NIVÂ Â
The teaching or doctrine of justification has rightly been seen by many theologians (see below)Â as a central, if not the central, doctrine of Christianity. There is much to be said regarding the biblical doctrine of justification–”the justice” or “the righteousness of God” (see e.g., Rom. 1:17: dikaiosyne theou in Greek, iustitia Dei in Latin).
Among the many key words in the Greek New Testament that pertain to our topic, I want to note in particular three key terms: dikaios, dikaiosyne, and dikaioo. In the context of our discussion (among other meanings), dikaios means upright, just, or righteous.(1) Likewise, in the context of our study, dikaiosyne means uprightness or righteousness (e.g., Phil. 3:9).(2) Dikaioo, in context here, means “justify, vindicate, treat as just,” and Paul’s use of it as “be acquitted, be pronounced and treated as righteous…be justified.”(3) For example, in Romans 5:1, 9; and Titus 3:7, dikaioo occurs in the aorist, passive participle form (dikaiothentes), meaning “having been justified.” Thus, it is a past completed action with on-going effects or results that is done to or for the believer by God (i.e., passive voice–which means that the subject is the object of or receives the action–which in this case is that the believer is justified); that is, God justifies the believer in or by or because of the work of Christ. We read in BAG that “Paul … uses the word almost exclusively of God’s judgment…[especially] of men dikaiousthai[:] be acquitted, be pronounced and treated as righteous and thereby become dikaios, receive the divine gift of dikaiosyne….”(4)
Definition of Justification
The believer, the one who trusts in Christ Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior is not only pronounced not guilty, is not only pronounced innocent, but is pronounced righteous (positionally now and eventually practically as well) by God (see e.g., Rom. 1:17; 3:21-24). J.I. Packer states that it (dikaioo) “…is to pronounce, accept, and treat as just, i.e., as, on the one hand, not penally liable, and, on the other, entitled to all the privileges due to those who have kept the law.”(5) In other words, God views the believer as if they had/have completely or perfectly obeyed the law (i.e., the Ten Commandments). Note the following five summations in particular–among the many excellent ones–of the doctrine of justification–specifically what is termed subjective justification (the latter four):
The article of justification, which is our only protection, not only against all the powers and plottings of men but also against the gates of hell, is this: by faith alone (sola fide) in Christ, without works, are we declared just (pronuntiari justos) and saved.(6)
As soon as a contrite sinner believes the divine promises of grace which for Christ’s sake is offered to him in the Gospel, or as soon as he puts his trust in the vicarious satisfaction which Christ has made for the sins of the world by His perfect obedience, he is justified, or declared righteous before God….Subjective justification may therefore be defined as the act of God by which He removes from the believer the sentence of condemnation to which he is subject because of his sin, releases him from his guilt, and ascribes to him the merit of Christ. Baier defines justification as “the act by which the sinner, who is responsible for guilt and liable to punishment…but who believes in Christ, is pronounced just by God, the Judge.”(7)
“Justification is a judicial and at the same time a gracious act by which God, reconciled by the satisfaction of Christ, acquits the sinner who believes in Christ of the offenses with which he is charged and accounts and pronounces him righteous.”(8)
We explain justification simply as the acceptance with which God receives us into his favor as righteous men. And we say that it consists in the remission of sins and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness.(9)
…God forgives sinful individuals, counts them as righteous on the basis of their faith in Christ, and accepts them as his own reconciled children, apart from all human merit and solely because of the superabundant merit of Christ’s work of satisfaction….(10)
The Forensic Nature of Justification
Moreover, the pronouncement of “justification” or of the believer being “justified” by God is forensic.(11) That is, it is declaratory or a legal declaration by the Sovereign Judge–indeed the Supreme Court of the universe–that the believer, on the account of the finished work of Christ, is forgiven of their sins and pronounced “righteous.” J.I.Packer declares: “It [dikaioo] is thus a forensic term, denoting a judicial act of administering the law–in this case, by declaring a verdict of acquittal, and so excluding all possibility of condemnation. Justification thus settles the legal status of the person justified.”(12) However, as the TDNT points out: “Forensically does not mean….moral rectitude is attained. What it does mean is that the man who has dikaiosyne is right before God.”(13) (The Reformers would often say or argue that a person was not made righteous, but declared righteous by God, by the imputed grace of God and not by “infused” grace of God.) That is, positionally speaking, the believer in Christ is declared right or righteous (in a right standing and in a right relationship with God), but this does not entail that in this present life (practically speaking), in their daily living, that they always act righteous–do not commit sins of commission or omission.
Additionally, and related to the previous point, according to the Protestant Reformation (I would argue biblical) view(s) this righteousness is said to be alien or external and objective since it is imputed or given to the believer by God because of the work of Christ. That is, this righteousness is not inherent to or from the individual, but is given to them from God. Thus, it is alien (Luther’s term) or external–it is not or did not come from within the individual, but from God; hence, it is external to the individual. Another way to say it is that this righteousness is not subjective or inherent to the individual, or a result of their working or working with or cooperating with God for salvation. Thus, “[o]ur righteousness is wholly and solely that of Christ, imputed to us; we contribute nothing.”(14)
Justification is Not because of Our Works
Throughout church history there have been discussions, disagreements, and debates about the nature of justification,(15) for example, about the role and relationship of good works to or for salvation. Nonetheless, evangelical and orthodox Christians have been united on the above mentioned points.
Some individuals have tried to argue that good works are necessary for salvation in the sense that one needs to cooperate with God in salvation, and their part is the good works. For instance, some people have taught the idea that James (chapter 2) contradicts the Pauline teaching regarding the role and relationship of justification and faith and works (e.g, Rom. 4 and 5), and that James proves that works are part of salvation in the sense that we must cooperate with God by our good works to be declared righteous by Him. However, the Bible does not teach in James or elsewhere that we must earn or in some other way “cooperate” with God for our salvation (i.e., to be declared righteous by God). These types of claims have been thoroughly answered.(16) Indeed, in summing-up the biblical view of Paul and James on justification and noting the views of Luther, Calvin, and Cranmer, Geoffrey Bromiley remarks: “True faith manifest itself in good works. Absence of the latter denotes absence of the former.”(17) This distinction is between a true or genuine or saving faith and a “false faith,” and not between a genuine saving faith and works (See the previous footnote for more complete argumentation of this point). A true or saving faith always will produce good works, but the works do not save or justify the person. The works are evidence that the person possess saving faith or already is justified.
Given the points mentioned in the previously sections and the ones to follow, we see that the believer is justified because of the finished work of Christ and not because of any good works that they do or have done to earn this standing with God. For example, Paul teaches very clearly that no one is saved or justified by works (see, e.g., Rom. 3:27-28; 4:1-11; 9:30-32; Gal. 2:15-16, 21; 5:4).
Of the many passages cited and many others that could be mentioned, I will just quickly examine Romans 3:28. In Romans 3:28 Paul declares that “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law” (NIV). The phrase “observing the law” is an idiom for the Old Testament law, for instance, the Ten Commandments. The English word “apart” is the Greek preposition choris. In the context of Romans 3:28 (and 4:6) choris means “without or apart from” or “without relation to or connection with someth[ing]…independent of someth[ing].”(18) In this case the something is “without regard to the observance of the law….”(19) Thus, we are declared righteous by God without, or independent of, or separate from our obeying the law, that is, any good works. The biblical teaching here is clear.
Faith and Justification
Another point of misunderstanding that some have is regarding the role and relationship of faith to justification. It is not our faith or the faith of the individual believer that justifies, but God who justifies by grace through faith.(20) That is, faith is what is called the instrumental means or cause of salvation, not what is termed the efficient cause. As J.I. Packer rightly remarks: “Paul says that believers are justified dia pisteos (Rom. 3:25), pistei (Rom. 3:28), and ek pisteos (Rom. 3:30). The dative and the preposition dia represent faith as the instrumental means whereby Christ and his righteousness are appropriated; the preposition ek shows that faith occasions, and logically precedes, our personal justification. That believers are justified dia pistin, on account of faith, Paul never says, and would deny.”(21) Packer also remarks: “faith is…personal trust and confidence in God’s mercy through Christ; that it is not a meritorious work, one facet of human righteousness, but rather an appropriating instrument, an empty hand outstretched to receive the free gift of God’s righteousness in Christ….”(22) B.B. Warfield notes:
It is, accordingly, solely from its object that faith derives its value. This object is uniformly the God of grace….Jesus Christ, God the Redeemer, is accordingly the one object of saving faith….The saving power of faith resides thus not in itself, but in the Almighty Saviour on whom it rests…It is not faith that saves, but faith in Jesus Christ…faith in any other saviour…brings not salvation but a curse. It is not, strictly speaking, even faith in Christ that saves, but Christ that saves through faith. The saving power resides exclusively, not in the act of faith or the attitude of faith or the nature of faith, but in the object of faith….(23)
Alister McGrath states: the reformers’ in “…faith as the sole instrument of justification. In justification, we receive by faith the effects of the work of Christ on our behalf, appropriating it and making it our own.”(24) McGrath also comments: “The objective basis of our justification is the person and work of Jesus Christ, and the means by which we appropriate this justification and make it our own is faith. To repeat: justification by faith does not mean that we are justified on account of our faith, but that we are justified on account of Christ through the grace of God.”(25)
Thus, faith, which is itself a gift from God in the first place, is the instrumental cause; it is not what justifies or saves us, but it is how we appropriate what does justify or save us–God’s grace as expressed through the finished work of Jesus for us (Eph. 2:8-9). The Latin phrase per fidem propter Christum (through [or by] faith on account of Christ) rightly summarizes the biblical teaching on how we are justified and hence saved with our sins being forgiven.
Forgiveness of Our Sins
Another key aspect regarding the nature of justification is that it entails the forgiveness of the believer’s sins and their guilt before God (see e.g., Ps. 32:1; Isa. 1:18; Rom. 4:6-8; Col. 3:13). Our sin and guilt is removed from us as far as the East is from the West. This is a biblical expression used to convey this concept (Ps. 103:12).
Moreover, in the Old Testament and under the old covenant certain animals were sacrificed as offerings to cover the peoples’ sins and guilt (see, e.g., Lev. 5:16-18; 19:22). However, in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36). Jesus, by His propitiatory work on the cross, forgives our sins (John 3:16; 1 Peter 2:24). In essence, by Jesus paying the just penalty for our sins and guilt on the cross, those who trust Him as their Lord and Savior receive His righteousness imputed to them (2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9). Luther called this the “great exchange”: Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and we are credited with His righteousness.
Lastly, regarding the nature of justification I note that it is considered among many theologians (e.g., Luther, Calvin, Turretin, Mueller, Sproul) to be a, if not the, chief, crucial, or foundational doctrine of the church. For instance, J.I Packer remarks: “the doctrine of justification determines the whole character of Christianity as a religion of grace and faith….It is the heart of the gospel. Luther justly termed it articulus stantis vel[sic: et] cadentis ecclesiae: a church that lapses from it can scarcely be called Christian.”(26) This is the great doctrine of justification (hence salvation) by grace alone through faith alone on the account of Christ alone.
Most if not all of our culture completely rejects the above ideas. This can be seen in many areas.
First, for example, many people in our society do not even believe that they are sinners in the first place. Thus, they do not believe that they need to be forgiven in the sense discussed above, let alone justified. These individuals would hold to the worldview perspective that people are basically good. The source(s) of difficulties in life are not from sin and being alienated from and in need of forgiveness by God, but do the failure of government or other social institutions, lack of education, and/or whatever else. Given more time and education, entertainment, government, prosperity, psychology, recreation, science, social programs and/or whatever else, these problems are sure to take care of themselves, or simply will not be seen as a problem at all (e.g., homosexuality).
Second, since many do not believe that God exists, if they believe that they need to be forgiven, then they might talk about just forgiving themselves for past failures (e.g., not realizing one’s potential), or for letting down a friend, family member, or otherwise, or not being very nice or “there for them” in some area of life or another.
Third, given the view that people or certainly most people are basically good and the incredible amount of pop-psychology and aversion of taking responsibility for one’s choice, many today generally want to blame somebody, anybody, else but themselves for the problems in their life. Many in our culture believe that they are a victim, that they are not responsible for the choices they have made. Few want to or will own their mistakes.
Fourth, some in our society who are involved in the New Age Movement, some Eastern religions, other forms of the occult, or whatever else, see any problems that they have as stemming from not realizing their alleged inherent divinity (e.g., Shirley MacLaine, Tom Cruse).
Fifth, if a person has any background in Christianity, or otherwise is willing to admit that they are a sinner, well “they’re not that bad” or “certainty not as bad as so-and-so.”
Thus, God will forgive them, especially if they do some good things to balance out or make up for the bad–have more good deeds than bad ones. Besides, even if they are “that bad,” many in our culture today assume that there are many paths, many ways, many religions whereby one can get right with God.
Sixth, and often in conjunction with the last point, people are sure that “God helps those who help themselves.” These people know that God wants them to cooperate or help-out in getting them saved. Surely, it is said, that there is something for us to do, something that we must contribute. The pride problem here is unfortunately alive and well. Full-fledged Pelagianism or semi-Pelagianism are with us today. In short, many want to out-right earn their salvation by good works or at least contribute to some part of the “process.” This is a part of the “can-do” American spirit that many have: “One can do anything [even make themselves right with God] if they just set their mind to it and work hard enough.”
These items are some of the components of many people’s worldviews in our culture that contradict the biblical teaching on justification.
Unfortunately, instead of teaching the correct biblical view(s), as opposed to all the above mentioned ideas, much of the church (at least the professed church) is often going along with many of these ideas. In other words, much of the church, instead of attempting to correct these false notions, is to a greater or lesser extent simply accommodating some or many of these presuppositions of the non-Christian worldviews of our day.
First, whether this is being done out of sheer ignorance, that is, by people who just do not know the gospel and the great teaching of justification, or people who do know better, but have convinced themselves that you cannot tell people the truth because they will be offended and leave (before or after one tells them the truth?).
Second, for instance, I believe that we see this accommodation–comprise and watering-down of the gospel–in the little or complete lack of teaching in many churches regarding the biblical teaching of justification.
Third, since the church often as well as non-Christians down-plays or soft-sells sin and the effects of the fall and our sins, whether because this is really how these Christians view sin or in order not to offend anyone, their listeners don’t take sin too seriously either. Thus, “what’s the big deal?”
Fourth, intentionally or not, it seems that some churches use the real guilt that people have over their sins, and/or their desire to earn a right standing with God, to get all kinds of things done in the church. Thus, some churches can appeal to all the wrong reasons for people, Christian or not, to get involved, tithe, help out, get to work–you can and should do something–because there is much to do, so get busy, and “God will be pleased with you.” Thus, it seems to me that some parts of the church have fallen into the trap of manipulating people in the area of their guilt, pride (e.g, “You are just indispensable! What would we ever do without you?”), and so forth.
For whatever reasons, many in the church today seem to be greatly influenced by some of the worldview components of the worldly culture at large around us, and have taken a much weaker or no biblical view at all of sin, and the corresponding need to be right with God–justification, and ironically of the great blessings that derive from knowing, teaching, and possessing justification.
Change of Thinking
There are a number of very important ideas and implications from these ideas that impress themselves upon me as I have once again given serious thought to the great biblical truth of justification.
First, it reminds me of the importance of teaching the Bible and the great truths, that is, great doctrines that it reveals. These truths bring light and liberty to life. Thus, given the essential nature of the doctrine of justification relevant to the gospel–salvation, it and its implications reminds me of the freedom it brings or rather that God brings through it. I believe that justification needs to be regularly and thoroughly taught.
The teaching of justification has revolutionized my life and should do the same for everyone else. That is, since I know that through the finished work of Jesus, I am already right with God, this gives me a great desire to serve and worship Him, not out of mere fear, or the desire to get right with God or keep in His good graces, but from the basis of gratitude for who God is and what He has already done for me. It motivates me to serve and worship, and indeed to love God.
For instance, I know that I am not on some type of works righteous tread-mill that I must keep up with or that I will fall off and God will not be pleased with me. He already is pleased with me through Christ. Thus, I am not worrying about not going to heaven because I might not be good enough (in and of myself, I know that I am not good enough!). I know that God has already accepted me, that I am currently in a right relationship with God and hence am not trying to earn or keep my good standing by my works. Jesus has done it for me. I already possess eternal life (see e.g., 1 John 5:13).
If people only knew who God really is (and to be sure the mess that one is in who has not trusted in Christ as their Lord and Savior), and what He has done for us, and will do for us; I believe that this could and would revolutionize their lives and the preaching and teaching of the word of God, and church services. That God will take away our guilt and condemnation, and that one can know God’s verdict of pronouncing them righteous because of Jesus, what better news do we have than this?
In other words, and among many other points that should be made, the “gospel” is not “a take it or leave it,” or you too can begin working for God and hope that He will accept you, or other similar types of propositions. No, the gospel message, and the doctrine of justification clearly brings this out, tells us that while the news is at first hearing worst than we thought (the law, the bad news is that we are really in big trouble that we cannot get ourselves out of), it is also in the end much better than one ever thought. God has done for us what we cannot do for ourselves! Jesus has Himself paid the penalty for our sins. Thus, the news for the Christian and non-Christian is not that God has an instatement payment plan that he has started for you and He has paid in so much and you can pay in so much and you just might make it–pay it off. No! God has paid it in full! In Christ, God has given us everything. Now this is good news! This is what needs to be shared with Christians and non-Christians alike.
The biblical teaching of justification has transformed my life and I believe can and will transform the lives of other Christians and non-Christians as well. Praise be to God!
In light of the teaching of justification, Christians and the church today must reevaluate their thinking. Instead of guilt, God offers forgiveness and peace. Instead of condemnation and always trying to measure up and never being able to, God grants absolution. Instead of a works program, God pronounces “paid in full.” These aspects and more of the teaching of justification can and will transform or revolutionize the life of the believer in particular and the church in general, and the non-Christian that God grants mercy to.
What great news. What marvelous deeds God has done for us! Would to God that everyone would know the freedom that God grants (John 8:36). Would to God that every Christian would be taught in its fullness the great biblical teaching of justification, and understand it, and share it with others. Free indeed, freed and declared justified by the righteousness of God!
1. See Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (hereafter BAG), trans. and ed. William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, 4th rev. and aug. ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), 194-95. Also see Colin Brown, ed., “Righteousness, Justification,” in The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978) (hereafter DNTT), vol. 3, 352-77; and Gottlob Schrenk, “dike, dikaios, dikaiosyne, dikaioo,…”, in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (hereafter TDNT), Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich, eds., Geoffrey W. Bromiley, trans. and ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), vol. 2, 187-91.2. See BAG, 195-96. Also see DNTT, vol. 3, 352, 353-64; and TDNT, vol. 2, 198-210.
3. BAG, 196-97. Also see DNTT, Vol. 3, 352, 363, 370; TDNT, vol. 2, 214-19.
4. BAG, 196.
5. J.I. Packer, “Justification” in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. by Walter Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984), 593.
6. Martin Luther, as quoted in What Luther Says, Ewald M. Plass (St. Louis, Concordia Publishing, 1959), s.v. “2186: What is Justification?,” and “2187: Another Definition.”
7. John Theodore Mueller, Christian Dogmatics (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing, 1934) 367.
8. Hollaz, as quoted in John Theodore Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, 367.
9. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. by John T. McNeill, trans. by Ford Lewis Battles, 2 vols. (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960), vol. 1, 3.11.2.
10. Richard A. Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms (Grand Rapids: Baker), s.v. iustificatio.
11. See, e.g., Millard Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1983, 1984, 1985), 955-59; Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, 3 vols., reprint (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), vol. 3, 118-134; Alister E. McGrath, Justification by Faith: What it Means to Us Today (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988), 55-57; Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, 374-75; Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek, s.v. “actus forensis,” “actus iustificatorius,” “iustificatio“; J.I. Packer, “Justification,” in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Walter A. Elwell, ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker), 593-94; R.C. Sproul, Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995), 95-116; and the TDNT, vol. 2, 204, 215.
12. J.I. Packer, “Justification” in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 593.
13. TDNT, vol. 2, 204. See also 215.
14. Bruce Milne, Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, ), 165.
15. See, e.g, Louis Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines (Edinburgh, England: Banner of Truth Trust, 1937), 203-224; Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Historical Theology: An Introduction (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978), 229-39; J.I. Packer, “Justification in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology; Alister E. McGrath, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification. The Beginnings to the Reformation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986); and Alister E. McGrath, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification. From 1500 to the Present Day (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986).
16. See, e.g, Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines, 203-10; Bromiley, Historical Theology, 230-32, 233, 234-36; Calvin, Institutes, vol. 1, 3.11.13-15, 17-20; Hodge, Systematic Theology, vol. 3, 134-41; McGrath, Justification by Faith, 30-31; James Oliver Buswell, A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion 1 Vol. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1962) 2:191-93; Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, 369-71, 376-78, 379-80; R.C. Sproul, Faith Alone, 155-171; TDNT, vol. 2, 201, 219.
17. Bromiley, Historical Theology, 235-36.
18. BAG, 899.
20. See, e.g., Berkhof, History of Christian Doctrines, 203-10; Bromiley, Historical Theology, 230-37; Calvin, Institutes, vol. 1, 3.11.19; Hodge, Systematic Theology, vol. 3, 165-70; McGrath, Justification by Faith, 66-67; Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, 376; Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek, s.v. “instrumentum iustificationis“; J.I. Packer, “Justification”, in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 596-97; Sproul, Faith Alone, 67-81.
21. J.I. Packer, “Justification” in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 596.
22. J.I.Packer, “Faith” in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 401.
23. B.B. Warfield, “Faith,” in Biblical and Theological Studies, Samuel Craig, ed. (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1968), 423-425.
24. Alister McGrath, Justification by Faith, 67.
26. J.I. Packer, “Justification,” in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Walter Elwell, ed. (Grand Rapids, Baker, 1984), 593.
Arndt, William F., Walter Bauer, and F. Wilbur Gingrich.
Bromiley, Geoffrey W.
Brown, Colin, ed.
Buswell, James Oliver.
Elwell, Walter A., ed.
Ladd, George Eldon.
McGrath, Alister E.
Mueller, John Theodore.
Muller, Richard A.
Plass, Ewald M.
Tappert, Theodore G., trans. and ed.
Revision Date: 10/22/98Â Copyright Â©1999 Craig S. Hawkins. All Rights Reserved.
This paper (1) summarizes the biblical teaching or doctrine of justification (its nature)–of the believer, and some of the problems or concerns relevant to this teaching, (2) discusses how this teaching (justification) is contradicted in the culture at large and even undermined in the church (i.e., how the church has accommodated non-Christian views), then (3) discusses the implications of the teaching of justification for us today–how it should impact believers, and (4) discusses how you and I and the church, in light of the foregoing discussion, can and should adjust our thinking (ideas) in light of this information. Due to space considerations I must limit my discussion to certain key aspects among the many that could and should be discussed in a more lengthy work on this topic.