Living by Grace

Dedicated to providing guidance in daily living through the power of God's grace as experienced in our union with Christ.

Justification Is Not Enough


… having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ … Romans 5:1


There are several terms that describe the believer’s salvation experience. Justification is one of those terms. Justification means that at conversion, God declares the new believer to be righteous. It does not mean that he is righteous. It does mean that God will relate to him as if he is righteous.


Every Christian believes that a person’s greatest need is justification—that is, salvation through receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior.


Some people have said, “The only reason God leaves believers on earth is to lead others to Jesus.” This belief implies that Christians have no responsibility concerning those who already know Jesus.


If coming to Jesus for salvation is all a person needs, then why does the Bible speak of Christian growth? Is there no help for believers who know they are declared righteous but in their hearts know they are not righteous?


Romans 5:1 speaks of justification but Romans 5:19 says “… by one Man's [Jesus’] obedience many will be made righteous.” Justification is a declared righteousness. Romans 5:19 speaks of realized righteousness. Believers who have been declared righteous should be and may be righteous. The church that leads a person to declared righteousness—justification—should also lead that person to be righteous.


Romans 5:17 speaks of “… those who [continue to] receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness …” The new believer is declared righteous. He experiences realized righteousness by receiving grace and righteousness. How does he do this?


The statement in Romans 5:19 is that “… by one Man's [Jesus’] obedience many will be made righteous.” The obedience of Jesus refers to His crucifixion, burial and resurrection as the last Adam—meaning that at conversion a believer is spiritually crucified, buried and resurrected. When he continually experiences his spiritual crucifixion, burial and resurrection, he will continually be receiving righteousness—and he will continually be righteous.


Realized righteousness is never self-produced. It is received. The church must teach the message of realized righteousness.