What Does The Word “Justify” Mean?

The word “justify” means to make something just or right.

You will probably come across the word in printing or word processing where words or numbers are all aligned or made straight together. To make a page tidy you would justify the writing to the left so that all the lines begin one underneath another. When you write a column of numbers to be added together, they will be justified to the right so that the hundreds, tens and units are in their correct columns. The text in this magazine is justified to both the left and the right; and the headingsare centre-justified so they appear in the middle of the page.

In the Bible, to justify means to be shown or declared righteous.

Job asks: 
“How should man be just with God?”
(Job 9:2)

This is an important question, and he means, how is man made straight or righteous in God’s sight?

God is Almighty and Holy; Job goes on to describe His greatness. God created man good, but man fell. Man is sinful and has broken God’s holy commandments.

Therefore, man is not right with God.

Can man make himself just with God?

Job continues: “If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean; yet shalt Thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me.”

Man can do nothing to make himself just in God’s sight.

Yet a holy God has made a way to make the sinners just in His sight.

God the Son, the Lord Jesus, gave Himself for His sinful people.

He died in their place, and so removed their sin.

He rose again for their justification.

Justification is greater than the removal of sin. It is God giving His righteousness to His people, so that they are made as righteous and as just as God is just.

What a tremendous thing, that a sinner is made “the righteousness of God in Christ”

John Kent says:

In Thy Surety thou art free;
His dear hands were pierced for thee;
With His spotless vesture on,
Holy as the Holy One.

Justification is received by faith, and faith only.

A sinner called by grace and taught by the Holy Spirit to know his lost and ruined state, is given faith to believe God has a righteousness to give, and that He justifies the ungodly.

By faith he believes that God has done the work, and like Abraham who believed God and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, so the sinner receives justification.

The Lord!s people are shown that they are justified by faith, and theyhave peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.May the Lord teach us this truth, and grant that we may be among His called ones, for:

“whom He called, them He also justified.”
(Romans 8:30)

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