by Jonathan McLeod

This content is part of a series.

Justification (2 of 3)
Series: Faith and Works
Jonathan McLeod
Romans 4:1-5

And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness (Rom. 4:5).


In this series, we're comparing what the apostles Paul and James wrote concerning justification. Many people think that what they wrote is contradictory, but my view is that they are actually complementary.

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law (Rom. 3:28).
You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone (James 2:24).

Why is this issue important? First, if there are contradictions in the Bible, our trust in what it says will be lowered. Second, there is nothing more important for us to understand than how to be justified. (Are we justified by faith alone or by faith plus works?)

One similarity between what Paul and James write concerning justification is that they both use the life of Abraham to support their arguments.

[Read Romans 4:1-5.]


On Friday, Justin Bourque, who shot and killed three RCMP officers, was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 75 years. It is the longest sentence in Canadian history, and the harshest since the death penalty was abolished.

The writer of Hebrews states, ''It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment'' (Heb. 9:27). That's a sobering thought. One day I will die, and then I will stand before God. And without God's provision of justification there wouldn't be hope for any of us.


The most common meaning of the word ''justify'' is ''to prove or show (something) to be just, right, or reasonable'' (e.g., justify a purchase). What does it mean to be justified by God? It means to be righteous in God's sight (i.e., innocent of wrongdoing).

When God justifies a person he declares that person to be INNOCENT of wrongdoing.

But how is ...

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