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Subject: Christian Religious Studies
Topic: Justification by Faith
Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lesson, learners should be able to:
i. Explain the term justification,
ii. Discuss conditions necessary for justification,
iii. Describe the fruits of justification in relation to life.
Meaning of Justification
To justify means to prove right or to prove innocent. For example, a person accused of a particular offence is justified by law if at the end of investigation, he or she is pronounced innocent. Therefore, justification is a situation whereby someone is declared innocent or set free through the process of law from a charge brought against him or her.
In the context of the scripture, sin is considered an offer against God and it attracts various kinds of punishments which may include death. Due to the love of God for man, He sent His son, Jesus to the world for redemption of man. Therefore, any person who believes and has the faith that Jesus died for his sins is justified by God. Such a person receives God’s grace and salvation and is therefore set free from bondage or punishment or sin. Hence, his sins are forgiven and he is considered righteous. Justification by Faith is righteousness of God acquired through faith in Christ.
Paul’s Message On Justification (Romans 3:21 – 24, Gal 3:19 – 21)
Paul in his message on justification said:
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus”.
By this statement, Paul meant that man cannot attain righteousness of God by his own effort or by keeping the law; it is only by His grace which is the unmerited favour of God. This grace can only be received by having strong faith in Jesus Christ and the redemption he offers to mankind through the blood he shed on the cross. Therefore, if any man accepts Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and saviour, he is justified by faith and once justified, he is equally considered righteous.
The Fruits of Justification (Romans 5:1 – 11, Gal 2:19 – 21, Gal 5:22)
According to Paul, the fruit of justification is to be at peace with God and once a person is at peace with God, he is free from eternal damnation. He would work with the spirit of God which would give him access to God’s glory and grace as a result of the Holy spirit dwelling in the man and the peace that is above human understanding that he is having. He would rejoice even in the midst of suffering. His rejoicing would enable him to endure and his endurance would produce good character. Good character would give him hope that does not disappoint due to God’s love that is in the Holy Spirit which He gives to His people.
Paul further said, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. By this, we are now justified by his blood and we shall be saved by him from the wrath of God. Even when we were sinners (enemies of God), we were reconciled to God by the death of His son. However, now that we are reconciled, we shall further be saved by his life. We should therefore rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ by whom we have now received our reconciliation.
The Significance Of Justification By Faith
Justification by Faith as presented by St. Paul is for Christians to know that they are no longer under the law but under grace. They would only be justified by having strong faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the redemption he offers mankind through his blood. We receive the grace of God by living a life worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ and by being peace with God and mankind.
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Take a quick test for this lesson
i. From Paul’s letter to the Romans, explain the term justification and state the condition for its achievement.
ii. What are the fruits of justification as presented by Paul in his letter to the Romans?
iii. What is the significance of Paul’s teaching on justification to the present day Christian?
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