Bible Question:

1) What does “I am justified in Christ” mean? How can I look for God's justice in my life? Why should I hunger for it to satisfy my desire? 2) Could you explain what it means to live under the law in contrast to living under God's grace?

Bible Answer:

This brief study answers the question, “What does ‘I am justified in Christ’ mean?” When we are born into this world, we are sinners. Our natural passion or “bent” is to reject a holy God. Not only do we reject God, but we love to sin. Sin is the opposite of God’s character. God is holy (Leviticus 19:2; Leviticus 11:44; Isaiah 6:3-5). Consequently, it should not be a surprise that God considers to us be His enemy (Romans 5:8-10) for sin is rebellion or lawlessness against a holy God (1 John 3:4).

I am justified in Christ

Later in life some of us will desire to know our Creator, but most will not for Jesus warned that the road to heaven is narrow and few find it (Matthew 7:14). By the time we die, we will believe either He exists, that is Jesus is our God who died so that God the Father would forgive our sins and grant us eternal life, or we will reject Jesus Christ and go to eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46). John 3:16-19 states,

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.  John 3:16-19 (NASB)

We Are Justified by Faith

Those who believe Jesus Christ is our God and humbly seek His forgiveness are justified. That is. they are declared to be righteous.

. . . seeking to be justified in Christ . . . Galatians 2:17 (NASB)

The word “justified” comes from a Greek word, dikaioo, which means declared to be not guilty, declared to be just, or declared to be righteous. To be justified in Christ means that God makes a decision to consider believers in Christ to be righteous even though they still sin. It is a legal decision. Here are some key passages.

Romans 5:1 teaches us that believers become righteous by faith,

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Romans 5:1 (NASB)

Galatians 2:16 adds,

Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of 1the Law; since by the works of 1the Law no flesh will be justified. Galatians 2:16 (NASB)

Galatians 3:11 states,

Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” Galatians 3:11 (NASB)

The last passage is back to the book of Romans. Romans 5:9 states,

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. Romans 3:2 (NASB)

We are justified in Christ by faith and faith alone and not by works. He justifies us or legally declares us to be eternally holy, even though we still sin. Our justification is a gift!

Justified As a Gift by His Grace

When God does justify a sinner, it is a gift given to us by His grace.

Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:24 (NASB)

That is, anyone who tries to earn this justification by keeping any set of rules or the commandments given in the Law will be disappointed because he or she will fail and fall short. The Law was given by God not for the purpose of earning our way into heaven, but to show us that we are not perfect and cannot keep any set of rules (Galatians 3:22-24). This reminds me of promises I have made to myself about things I desire to do or not do. Most of them I keep, but I have not kept all of them. If I cannot even keep my own commitments, how can I do all the things that God wants me to do? The Law was designed to show us that we need forgiveness by faith through Jesus Christ. The Law was designed to lead us to Jesus or to show us our inability to keep the law (Galatians 3:24). So God justifies or declares us to to be legally holy when we give up trying to keep a list of rules and simply believe the truth about Jesus that He sacrificed Himself in order to forgive our sins. When a person believes that and sees themselves as a sinner, they will respond in humble submission with sorrow and repentance. Repentance refers to a desire to stop sinning, not just feeling badly about one’s sins. Then God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ declare us to be justified. Because of His grace, we are justified – declared to be holy forever, even though we are not!


What does “I am justified in Christ” mean? Justified is a legal term that refers to God declaring a person not guilty for their sins. Here is a true story that reveals how God’s grace works on some of us before we believe.

The Rueben Donnely Company of Chicago is the nation’s largest printer of magazines. They have a huge machine that sends out notices to people whose subscriptions have expired. One day a small spring in the machine broke, and a rancher in Power Bluff, Colorado, received 9,734 notices that his magazine subscription to National Geographic had expired. As a result, the rancher rode ten miles to the post office, sent his money, and wrote the following note: “Send me the magazine. I give up!”

That is the only way God can bring many of us to Jesus. It is a wonderful reminder of God’s blessings and love toward us. He just keeps loving us until we surrender to Him.

Suggested Links:

How can Christians be declared righteous since they sin?
What is the meaning of James 2:24?