Romans 3:21-26

21 But now the righteousness of God has been revealed independently and altogether apart from the Law, although actually it is attested by the Law and the Prophets,
22 Namely, the righteousness of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah). [And it is meant] for all who believe. For there is no distinction,
23 Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives.
24[All] are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus,
25 Whom God put forward [before the eyes of all] as a mercy seat and propitiation by His blood [the cleansing and life-giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation, to be received] through faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over and ignored former sins without punishment.
26 It was to demonstrate and prove at the present time ( in the now season) that He Himself is righteous and that He justifies and accepts as righteous him who has [true] faith in Jesus. AMP

C. The Procedure in Justification (Romans 3:21-26)

1. The plan (Romans 3:21). God's plan for providing the needed righteousness centered in Jesus Christ. It was apart from Law. The construction is without an article, indicating it was apart from not only the Mosaic Law, which could not provide that righteousness (Acts 13:39) but also from all legal complications. It was manifested (a perfect passive form) at the Incarnation of Christ, and the effects of that great intervention in history continue. It is constantly witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, who testified of the coming of Messiah (1 Peter 1:11). Thus the plan centers in a person.

Romans 3:21

21 But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. NLT

Acts 13:39

39 And that through Him everyone who believes [who acknowledges Jesus as his Savior and devotes himself to Him] is absolved (cleared and freed) from every charge from which he could not be justified and freed by the Law of Moses and given right standing with God. AMP

1 Peter 1:11

11 They sought [to find out] to whom or when this was to come which the Spirit of Christ working within them was indicating when He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that should follow [them]. AMP

2. The prerequisite (Romans 3:22). Righteousness comes through faith in the now-revealed Jesus Christ. The New Testament never says we are saved because of faith (that would require dia with the accusative). It always makes faith the channel through which we receive salvation (dia with the genitive). But, of course, faith must have the right object to be effective, and the object of saving faith is Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:22

22 We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. NLT

3. The price (Romans 3:24-25). Quite clearly the price paid was the blood of Christ. The cost to Him was the greatest. To us the benefit comes freely (the same word is translated "without a cause" in John 15:25), that is, without any cause in us, and so by His grace.

Romans 3:24-25

24 Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. 25 For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God's anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times. NLT

John 15:25

25 But [this is so] that the word written in their Law might be fulfilled, They hated Me without a cause. [Psalms 35:19; 69:4.] AMP

4. The position. When the individual receives Christ, he is placed in Christ. This is what makes him righteous. We are made the righteousness of God in Him. This righteousness alone overcomes our desperate, sinful condition and measures up to all the demands of God's holiness.
5. The pronouncement (Romans 3:26). Not only does Christ's righteousness, which we have, meet God's demands, but it also demands that God justify us. We are in fact, not fiction, righteous; therefore, the holy God can remain just and justify the one who believes in the Lord Jesus.

Therefore, no one can lay anything to the charge of God's elect, for we are in Christ righteous in God's sight. And this is why God can justify us.

Romans 3:26

26 And he is entirely fair and just in this present time when he declares sinners to be right in his sight because they believe in Jesus. NLT

D. The Proof of Justification

Justification is proved by personal purity. "He who has died is freed [lit., justified] from sin" (Romans 6:7). We stand acquitted from sin so that it no longer has dominion over us. Justification before the bar of God is demonstrated by holiness of life here on earth before the bar of men. This was the perspective of James when he wrote that we are justified by works (James 2:24). Unproductive faith is not genuine faith; therefore, what we are in Christ will be seen in what we are before men. Faith and works are like a two-coupon ticket to heaven. The coupon of works is not good for passage, and the coupon of faith is not valid if detached from works.

One final thought: justification assures us of peace with God (Romans 5:1). Our relationship with Him is right, legal, and eternal. This forms a sure foundation for peace with God.

(from Basic Theology, Copyright 1986, 1999 by Charles C. Ryrie.)

Romans 6:7

7 For when a man dies, he is freed (loosed, delivered) from [the power of] sin [among men]. AMP

James 2:24

24 You see that a man is justified (pronounced righteous before God) through what he does and not alone through faith [through works of obedience as well as by what he believes]. AMP

Romans 5:1

5:1 THEREFORE, SINCE we are justified ( acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). AMP


The process by which sinful human beings are made acceptable to a holy God.

Justification by Grace. Christianity is unique because of its teaching of justification by grace (Romans 3:24). Justification is God's declaration that the demands of His Law have been fulfilled in the righteousness of His Son. The basis for this justification is the death of Christ. Paul tells us that "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them" (2 Corinthians 5:19). This reconciliation covers all sin: "For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified" (Hebrews 10:14). Justification, then, is based on the work of Christ, accomplished through His blood (Romans 5:9) and brought to His people through His resurrection (Romans 4:25).

Romans 3:24

24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. NIV

2 Corinthians 5:19

19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. NIV

Hebrews 10:14

14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. NIV

Romans 5:9

9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! NIV

Romans 4:25

25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. NIV

When God justifies, He charges the sin of man to Christ and credits the righteousness of Christ to the believer (2 Corinthians 5:21). Thus, "through one Man's righteous act, the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life" (Romans 5:18). Because this righteousness is "the righteousness of God" which is "apart from the law" (Romans 3:21), it is thorough; a believer is "justified from all things" (Acts 13:39). God is "just" because His holy standard of perfect righteousness has been fulfilled in Christ, and He is the "justifier," because this righteousness is freely given to the believer (Romans 3:26; 5:16).

2 Corinthians 5:21

21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. NIV

Romans 5:18

18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. NIV

Romans 3:21

21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. NIV

Acts 13:39

39 Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. NIV

Romans 3:26

26 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. NIV

Romans 5:16

16 Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. NIV

Justification by Faith.

Although the Lord Jesus has paid the price for our justification, it is through our faith that He is received and His righteousness is experienced and enjoyed (Romans 3:25-30). Faith is considered righteousness (Romans 4:3,9), not as the work of man (Romans 4:5), but as the gift and work of God (John 6:28-29; Philippians 1:29).