Saturday, October 20, 2007


Engraved from the original oil painting in the University Library of Geneva, this is considered the best likeness of John Calvin.In Christian theology, justification is God's act making a sinner righteous before Him by His grace, received through the faith given to the person by God, for Christ's sake, because of his life, death, and resurrection. Because the meaning of the term is subject to dispute among Christians, simple definitions should be taken with a grain of salt.

"Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement that 'the just shall live by his faith.' Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise. " -Martin Luther
Considerable sectarian controversy exists as to its nature and definition. These controversies include:

  • Whether justification is an ongoing process in addition to an immediate change in the person or if it is a change in a person's state before God followed by Sanctification;

  • The relationship between justification and religious law; whether justification is merely "forensic", a legal declaration that a sinner is now righteous before God for Christ's sake, or more;

  • The relationship of justification to sanctification, the process whereby sinners become more righteous and are enabled by the Holy Spirit to live lives more pleasing to God; and

  • The relationship of justification to atonement, the expiation of sins.


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