justification

The establishment by God of a new relationship with mankind. The Protestant Reformation put this term at the heart of theological dispute centred on the epistles of Paul to the Galatians and to the Romans. When God ‘justified’ people, did he make them righteous (the natural meaning of the Greek verb), as Catholics maintained, or did he declare them to be righteous, i.e. impute righteousness to them, by an act of fiction? However, it has now been established that the verb ‘to justify’ is concerned with the restoration of a relationship rather than making, or pretending to make, a new character. It is not so far from an act of forgiveness (Rom. 4:6–8), and it derives from God's righteousness expressed above all in Christ. Paul's earliest exposition of justification is in Gal. where he was anxious to preserve the unity in the community of both Jewish Christians and gentile [[➝ Gentiles]] Christians; he was repudiating the view being foisted on some of his converts that Gentiles should keep the Jewish Law. In other words, that they should first be circumcised [[➝ circumcision]] before they could be baptized [[➝ baptism]]—otherwise the Jewish Christians would not share a common meal with Gentiles. For Paul, however, there could be no way to Christ except by faith. It is irrelevant whether or not the convert has been circumcised (Gal. 6:15). Every single person has sinned and falls short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23) and as such both Jews and Gentiles are under the condemnation of God (Rom. 1:18) and so they would remain unless God had taken action by the sending of Christ.
The importance for the individual is that he is accepted by God by receiving righteousness as a gift [[➝ gifts]], not by earning it by good works. It is a matter of either/or, in the sense that to accept the latter is to reject the former.
The meaning of justification for the individual is the theme of the epistle to the Romans (1:16 to 3:20). If salvation was by means of the Law, there would have been no need for Christ to come; but he did come, and die, and rise, and that proves that the universal day of the Law is over. By faith, it is possible to ‘escape from the old creation by sharing Christ's death’; being justified by faith means becoming one with Christ, a member of his body, being taken out of a group without a future into one which will be saved. The consequence of this change is the fruit of the Spirit [[➝ spirit]]—just as fruit is normally produced from a sound tree, so good deeds proceed naturally from becoming one person in Christ.

Dictionary of the Bible.

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  • JUSTIFICATION — La doctrine chrétienne de la justification de l’homme par Dieu exprime à la fois l’exigence radicale que Dieu a envers l’homme et le salut radical que Dieu donne à cet homme qui ne répond pas à cette exigence. La justification maintient ainsi la… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Justification — • A biblio ecclesiastical term; which denotes the transforming of the sinner from the state of unrighteousness to the state of holiness and sonship of God Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Justification     Justification …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • justification — jus·ti·fi·ca·tion /ˌjəs tə fə kā shən/ n 1: the act or an instance of justifying 2: something that justifies; specif: a legally sufficient reason or cause (as self defense) for an act that would otherwise be criminal or tortious 3: the… …   Law dictionary

  • Justification — Jus ti*fi*ca tion, n. [L. justificatio: cf. F. justification. See {Justify}.] [1913 Webster] 1. The act of justifying or the state of being justified; a showing or proving to be just or conformable to law, justice, right, or duty; defense;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Justification — can mean:*Justification (epistemology) *Justification (jurisprudence) *Justification (theology) ** Bibliography for theological justification *Justification (typesetting) *Rationalization (psychology)ee also*Justify *cognitive dissonance …   Wikipedia

  • justification — Justification. s. f. Action, procedé par lequel on se justifie. Il sera receu à sa justification. je veux travailler à ma justification. Il signifie aussi, En termes d Escriture sainte, L Action & l effet de la grace. La justification des… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • justification — [jus΄tə fi kā′shən] n. [ME justificacioun < OFr justification < LL justificatio < justificare: see JUSTIFY] 1. a justifying or being justified 2. a fact that justifies or vindicates 3. Christian Theol. the state or condition, necessary… …   English World dictionary

  • Justification — (v. lat.), 1) Rechtfertigung einer Sache u. bei Rechnungen die nochmalige Durchsicht u. Feststellung ihrer Richtigkeit; 2) bei Appellationen u. anderen Rechtsmitteln die Ausführung der Gründe der Einwendung des Rechtsmittels …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Justification — Justification, latein. deutsch, Rechtfertigung; bei Appellationen die Angabe der Gründe warum das Rechtsmittel ergriffen wurde; bei Rechnungen die Prüfung derselben; Justificatur, Genehmigung, Bekräftigung; justificiren, rechtfertigen; hinrichten …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Justification —   [engl.], Blocksatz …   Universal-Lexikon

  • justification — (n.) late 14c., administration of justice, from L.L. iustificationem (nom. iustificatio), noun of action from pp. stem of iustificare (see JUSTIFY (Cf. justify)). Meaning action of justifying is from late 15c. Theological sense is from 1520s …   Etymology dictionary

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