What does this mean?
Justification is primarily judicial, but it bears on our relationship with God.
Justification comes by faith for the forgiveness of our sins
“All the prophets testify about him (Christ) that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:42).
“Therefore, brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything which you could not be justified through the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38-39).
Therefore justification is the result of saving faith, which is trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation and eternal life. It means that God forgives our sins, in the sense of discharging us from their penalty. It means that God refuses to exact any punishment for them in the final judgment, just as if he had forgotten them entirely.
Justification is the gift of the standing of righteousness before God. This means that God treats us as if we were perfectly innocent of sin and entirely holy before him.
“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness comes through faith to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished — he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:21-26).
Justification comes by the grace of God.
” . . . having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7).
The basis of justification is the death of Christ.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (II Corinthians 5:21).
What does this mean to me?
In our relationship with God, justification means:
Peace with God, in the standing of grace! The access to all the blessings of salvation which come by grace!
“Therefore,since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (Romans 5:1-2).
We come to God in his grace and not in his judgment. This means that our relational forgiveness comes, based upon our judicial forgiveness. This means that we have access to God in prayer!
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
All scripture references taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, copyright 1973, 1978 by the International Bible Society and used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.