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Bible verses about Justification as Alignment with God
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Romans 3:31

In his writings, Paul uses these terms—faith, grace, and justification—interchangeably. He uses one word here, another there, depending on which nuance he wants to bring to the fore, so that we get a complete picture of what is happening. Here, he is talking about faith, and within the subject of justification, he says, "No, faith in the blood of Jesus Christ establishes the law!" not "does away with" it. Faith in no way invalidates God's law. None of it!

Notice that your Bible very likely reads "the law." However, it does not say that in the Greek; the definite article does not precede "law" either time it appears in this verse. The Interlinear Bible, which is a literal translation, reads: "Law then do we nullify through faith? Not let it be! But law do we establish." Establish means "cause to stand, confirm."

One might argue, "What difference does the lack of an article make?" In this case, if it read "the law," Paul would have been referring to either the entire Pentateuch or to a specific law. But writing it as he did, he means law in general as a legal argument. Any law! Man's law, God's law, the Ten Commandments, the sacrifices—everything is included under that blanket statement. He says, "Faith establishes law." It remains for other passages to tell us about a specific law or body of laws that might be set aside. So, then, faith—used here in connection with grace and justification—establishes law. It does NOT do away with it; such an interpretation is the exact opposite of what is written!

When a person is justified, it is for the very reason that he is out of alignment with what he is being measured against. So after justification, the standard is not just thrown away! Indeed, the standard becomes more important than ever because we do not want to get out of alignment ever again. We need the law's guidance to help us in what we must do and to warn us when we are veering from the way.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 4)

Romans 4:5-13

Before all else, God requires a person to have faith in order to be justified. Then, he must repent of his sins (Psalm 51; Matthew 3:1-2; Acts 2:37-38; 3:19) and upon baptism, be born from above (or made spiritually alive) by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8). Much more than a simple human decision, justification is God's recognition and acceptance of an individual's repentance and decision to be baptized. At that time, a faithful individual becomes a part of the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13) through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit (Romans 8:10; Galatians 2:20; I John 3:24).

Martin G. Collins
Are You Justified?

Romans 5:1

The death of Christ provided—once and for all—the sacrificial blood needed to atone, reconcile, or justify all repentant sinners to God. However, justification is a process that involves prior, current, and future applications to the sinner (Romans 8:33; 2:13; Galatians 5:4-5) and relates to the beginning of conversion, its continuation, and its culmination. Romans 5:1 uses an aorist passive participle to convey the act of justification, indicating an action being performed upon us by someone else (God). Because man continues to sin after his initial justification, to remain properly aligned or reconciled with God, he must continue to repent and overcome so that he might continue to be justified (Hebrews 2:1-3; 9:28; 10:26-27).

Martin G. Collins
Are You Justified?

Galatians 3:8

The word scripture refers to the Old Testament. Paul writes in a way where the Scripture is personified ("foreseeing"), but the intent is clear that the Scripture is being spoken of in terms of the Author. The One who inspired the Old Testament (Scripture) foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles through faith. This means that the doctrine of justification by faith is contained in the Old Testament (Psalm 130:3, 143:2; Exodus 34:7; Job 4:17, 9:2-3,29, 15:14, 25:4; Ecclesiastes 7:20), and is not something contained just in the New—if not directly, then at least indirectly by showing that we cannot justify ourselves in God's eyes. (God foretells of this Gentile justification in Isaiah 49:6, 22-23, 60.)

The phrase "would justify" is in the present indicative sense, which means that it is now, and at all times, God's one way of justification. Here it would better be translated as "justifies." God justifies through faith—He always has, and as long as the present order of things continues, He always will. There was never a time when a person could have been justified by their works or actions.

Faith in Christ is the means by which God would justify the heathens ("the nations"—the Gentiles), but that justification does not mean they were allowed to remain Gentiles (heathens) in a spiritual sense. Being justified does not mean we are told we have not done anything wrong. Being justified means we are brought into legal alignment with God and His law, so the sin-induced gulf between God and man can be overcome and the relationship can begin. The physical Gentiles are/were given the opportunity to repent (Acts 11:18), which coincides with justification, but even repentance means that a change in behavior (works) must be made. God saves us from our sins, not in our sins.

David C. Grabbe


 




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