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Justifying Works

The Greek usage for “justify” has two primary definitions* and in all cases for all words the context determines the usage. I) to render one to be righteous; II) to show or manifest one has been rendered righteous. Since there is only One who is just, it is only He who can render one to be justified (I), and that by imputation only:

“To demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom 3:26 – render, I).

“It is God who justifies” (Rom 8:33 – render, I).

“For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God” (Rom 4:2 – render I).

“You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (Jam 2:24 – show, II).

“Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar” (Jam 2:21 – show II)?

“Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way” (Jam 2:24 – show II)?

Even the forgiveness of sins in the prior dispensation were based on faith in God. Until Christ, there could be no remission of sins but instead it was “forbearance,” passing over or overlooking the judgement and punishment of the believers in God.

“God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed (Rom 3:25); “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Act 17:30). The “setting forth” is in reference to applying the Blood of Christ in His “propitiation” ahead of time to the OT believers, which was “shadowed” (Heb 10:1) in the sin sacrifices of the Law.

* Genesis Chapter 1 (KJV) (using definitions I and II).

- NC