Justification is an event that happens in the life of those who follow Jesus. It occurs when one gives oneself to God and is adopted into God’s kingdom. Let’s understand the difference between justification as understood in Mormonism versus what the Bible teaches.
[Related: Justification by Faith]
- The idea of justification in Mormonism.
- “Justification: To be pardoned from punishment for sin and declared guiltless. A person is justified by the Savior’s grace through faith in him. This faith is shown by repentance and obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. Jesus Christ’s atonement enables mankind to repent and be justified or pardoned from punishment they otherwise would receive.” (The Guide to the Scriptures at www.lds.org)
- According to this Mormon definition, the Savior’s grace is given by repentance and obedience. It’s not a one-time event, but a process.
- “And we know that all men must repent and believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and worship the Father in his name, and endure in faith on his name to the end, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. And we know that justification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true; And we know also, that sanctification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true, to all those who love and serve God with all their mights, minds, and strength.” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:29-31)
- In this view, justification and sanctification come only after serving God to the end with all one’s might, mind and strength.
- Justification in the Bible. Biblical justification is what separates Christianity from all other religious beliefs. In biblical Christianity, people are saved or justified by grace through faith alone, not by our works or merit. Justification is a one-time event.
- Ephesians 2:4-10 (ESV) But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
- God teaches us in the Bible that justification is being made right with God. It is Jesus Christ’s righteousness applied to those who believe in him. They are declared “not guilty” in the light of God’s law.
- 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
- Justification is having a status of righteousness, not the behavior of righteousness. That is what makes all the difference in eternity.
- How people become justified before God. Justification is an instantaneous event, not a process. It happens when a person admits their sin and need and trusts in Jesus alone.
- John 1:12-13 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
- “Lord, here I am, I am yours. I believe I am a sinner and can never be right with you on my own. Please come into my life and be a part of me. I need you.”
- Once we become justified, we are assured a place in heaven. At that moment our name is written in the Lamb’s book of life. We are right with God and have attained eternal life. There is such an assurance of living with God for all eternity. That’s what it means to be justified or saved.
If you have struggled with trying to figure out how to be good enough to please God, remember that God is merciful. He offers to take care of sin and justification for us. It’s not about us and what we do for God. It’s about God and what he does for us. Don’t wait until this life is over to learn that this is true. Take care of your relationship with God now.
[Related Topic: What Does it Mean to Become Right with God?]
[Related Topic: Justification by Faith]
[Related Topic: The Performance Trap vs. God’s Justification]