The Evangelical Universalist Forum

What is justification and why is it necessary?


Thanks for that clarity, Bob. (Clarity is not an easy thing to achieve, especially on a Forum, it seems. I know I struggle with it).

And I agree fully with you.


Justification can also mean the act of showing what is right and reasonable. In this sense, yes, we need justification in order to prove that the words that are spoken are true.For example, I listen to Dave Ramsey because I believe in his message. Why should I live within my means? I look around and see those who drive nicer cars, live in bigger houses, wear better clothes, eat out constantly, are up to date in the technological world, etc. etc. all on credit. Sometimes, I feel like I am on the losing end of the deal. However, I continue to persevere in my belief that it is proper and right to live within one’s means. As another example, take the South Beach diet plan versus the Atkinson’s diet plan. Both propose that if you follow them, you will lose weight. If you do not lose weight, the plan is not justified( shown to be right). I know that this may not be the best example,but hopefully you get my drift. Why should we follow Jesus? Is this the way to life and are the words that He spoke actually true? Do we receive the blessings of life if we follow Him, and if not, do our lives end in destruction? Look around and see the evidence and the testimony for yourself.


You said

and I’ll concur it did. Thanks for the clarification and I think I know where you are coming from :slight_smile:

You said:

Could be, and thanks for putting me in such grand company but they might not be so thrilled to be lumped with the likes of me. :laughing:

Some times I view some of these back and forth episodes as splitting hairs, or concentrating on certain individual tree’s and not the forest. But this being a forum, I assume I have that privilege.

Finally you said:

Respectfully, it is not *‘just responding’ *that in my view it’s a mistake to take these texts as ‘written to us.’ I am well aware that you take these texts very seriously, and you have some very good and compelling exegesis on these verses. But I would say that it is my opinion that Paul never was talking more than to the people of that time. He was not addressing us some 2000 years later in my opinion. :astonished:

You yourself Bob have written position papers that address issues that you would consider, I assume, to be relevant to any that would hear them, whether tomorrow or in 100 years. You wrote them in such a way as it would be obvious. I would say that this is not the case with Paul’s letters, or much of the NT in my opinion. And Yes I realize I am going against tradition and orthodoxy. :wink: The dynamic of Paul is a Pharisee who was getting after it and had His ‘road to Damascus’ revelation and subsequent conversion were taken to his kinsmen first and then when that didn’t pan out he went to the gentiles, and thus the great book of Romans. I have no argument that we can learn from Paul’s teachings, just that they were not meant for us here in 2018. :smiley:


Chad - I"m very interested to hear your reasoning on that. Certainly Paul was writing, for instance, to the Christians in Rome when he wrote Romans.
But I think the Damascus Road and the 2 years ‘in the desert’ gave Paul true insights in what God was and is ‘up to’ - His eternal plan.

But that is for me to defend - first I’d like to know your reasoning otherwise. I know it’s a big subject and your answers might be a real help.


There’s a very interesting Quora discussion thread

Who is the intended audience of the Bible?

Oh, yes. What about Chad’s theory? Let’s ask Charlie Chan. :laughing:


Ahhh, yes, that is the rub. Was God’s, as we say ‘eternal plan’ meant for the Israelites there at that time? Or for the whole of humanity for generations to come… And no offence to those who look at the NT as CS Lewis has… :open_mouth: That somehow Jesus and most of the writers of the NT got the second coming wrong???

Yes Paul’s time with God meant something, both to the folks there at that time and to us. But differently… In my very humble opinion.

The understanding that the whole of humanity ‘was included’ in the happenings of the first century was totally prophesied through the OT Prophets.

There was every understanding that Christ was coming soon. I don’t want to get into a peeing match about that. If you want look at the James Stuart Russell book about the scriptural impending coming of Christ, it is a good read. And free. :smiley:

So if we look that Jesus did take care of the sin between man and God, that all of the stuff between ‘ADAM’ and ‘GOD’ has been reconciled by and through Christ, Much of our 'evangelical exegesis may well be for not. :open_mouth:

Just a thought. :laughing:



Randy says my theory is the most stupid he (or Jackie Chan) has ever heard.

I’m getting used to these assaults. The whole Idea of this and other forums is to exchange ideas.

Good luck Randy.



Thanks Chad, that helps me understand you better. NOw if only you would point to the evangelical exegesis that your stance would question, I’d be even happier, which I know is what all of you wish for) :laughing: :laughing:

Just a couple of examples would be nice.
Thanks. I"m not ppppppppppppppppppping either :smiley:


Don’t blame me. Blame Charlie Chan. Since when do you take, someone following the Holy Fools tradition - seriously. :laughing:

Or to put it another way. If William Shakespeare injects some comic elements - into one of his tragedies. Do you take it seriously?

But when I talk about the tribulation and the Zombie Apocalypse. That’s a different matter entirely. :wink:


Hi Dave, I have no stance nor want to. Just like I told you when I said I don’t care what you believe. I’m not an evangelical.

We should leave it at this. :laughing:

If the thread goes on to how people are justified or who are justified or by what means ANYONE is justified, than have at it.

My contention is that Christ Justified ALL.

Fairly straight forward I would say.

On another note, Guitars, what is your business plan? If I can ask?


Just a footnote - to the question. A business plan and a marketing plan…is something that and the - can help with for free. And usually quite well - I might add.


MM, I always appreciate your humbly gracious and respectful interaction (and many times resonate with where you come out).

Still, this thread asked how we should understand the use of the term, “justification.” And you are quite right to affirm that I assume Paul’s exposition Is “relevant” to discussions of that. Thus I appreciate you plain response: “I’d say that this is not the case with Paul’s letters, or much of the NT in my opinion.” Thus I also admire and agree with your clear recognition, “Yes, I realize I am going against tradition and orthodoxy.”

While every Christian theolog who has impressed me recognizes that N.T. writers were addressing their immediate generation, I am ignorant of the approach that you appear to favor that this leaves such texts as not ‘relevant’ to the Christian tradition’s formulation of our own beliefs. Of course, HOW it applies in our later setting is complex and much debated. But you rightly affirm that the Christian tradition assumes that such Biblical writings should be central in our wresting with such topics. Thus when you appear to dismiss interpretations offered of such texts, as if we’re citing sources that are not even “relevant,” I’m too ignorant to know upon what basis we are to form and evaluate our theology, such as how to think about ‘justification.’ (As Dave suggests, examples of how you process such questions or texts might make your approach clearer for us)

Grace be with you,


Bob said:

When we look at scripture, both OT and NT in a different light, that is what I am talking about when I reference the historical context. I do not dismiss interpretations, I question the relevance of the language to us here at the present time.

As to the understanding of justification, the thread shows that there is plenty of evidence that the Christ has done what the Father sent him to do.

If we start to tear apart Paul’s or for that matter Christ’s own words about the evangelical idea of ‘SALVATION’ we will end up in a quagmire of works and who is/are willing or predestined bla bla bla. :laughing:



Chad, You say you don’t dismiss interpretation’s importance, then seem to only address my effort to offer one as “tearing apart Paul’s words on justification” and just being “bla bla bla.” So when you then state that it’s disastrous to question your own interpretation which you put in CAPS, it strikes me as bare assertion, and it’s unclear to me upon what common ground anyone including me could interact with or evaluate your own assertion’s interpretation.


Chad - I’m going through the sites Randy suggested, and a plan is forming. I will keep you apprised and I’m open to any suggestions as well.


Actually, that is a realistic view. My caps are my view. Your or anyone’s view is valid to you. And I appreciate and accept your view.

I will ask, as I have already positioned myself as unorthodox, why are you having a problem with my position?

I am stating said position for others to hear. Your idea of common ground will be predicated on your ability to listen and hear other ideas. :open_mouth:

I’m not sure where ‘disastrous’ comes from… Did I say that?


Now having said

But… It is important that we should maybe realize that He still loves us and the sacrifice is still valid… Still valid…Is done.


Possibly you didn’t fully understand their point. I would put it this way: “Justification” is the process of being made righteous. If there is no evidence (through change of behaviour in a person) of that process even having had a beginning in that person, then that would be a pretty clear indication that the process of being made righteous hadn’t,in fact begun. No “justification” process had even started.

When the NT writers referred to a person’s WHOLE LIFE, they used a continuous tense such as the present indicative—indicating continuity, the PROCESS of being made righteous. When they referred to a SPECIFIC RIGHTEOUS ACT of a person, they used a tense such as the aorist to indicate that that specific act justified the person, that is, showed him to be righteous in that specific act. For example these three sentences from James:

Jas 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified (“shown to be righteous” aorist passive indicative) by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?
Jas 2:24 You see that a person is justified (“being made righteous” present active indicative) by works and not by faith alone.
Jas 2:25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified (“shown to be righteous” aorist active indicative) by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?


Dave B, just a few comments about the verses about justification to which you referred. I think you quoted the ESV, and so I will do the same and then mention the tense, voice, and mode of the verb and provide my translation of the verse.

Yes, to show Christ’s righteousness at the present time, so that He might be righteous and rendering righteous (present active participle) the one who has faith in Jesus. The present tense indicates continuous action—an ongoing process. The process of “justification”—being rendered righteous throughout our lives as we receive the enabling grace of God through faith in Jesus.

(“justified”—present passive infinitive). “We count a person to be rendered righteous in faith apart from works of the law.” The present tense indicates continuous action—an ongoing process.

Making this justification a single act is an incorrect translation. It is an aorist passive participle. The participle indicates ongoing action. “Being rendered righteous out of faith, we have well-being toward God through our anointed Lord Jesus.” We are being rendered righteous out of faith—an ongoing process.

Ro 5:9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
"Another aorist passive participle. “Being rendered righteous now in His blood, therefore much more shall we be saved through Him from wrath.”
We are BEING rendered righteous right now. We are going through the process of being rendered righteous.

Consider other translations that also indicate the ongoing process. (By the way in the Greek “now” comes AFTER “justified.”) For Romans 5:9 we have:

“Being now justified by his blood.” If we are now being justified, is not that a process?

Yes, these could be INTERPRETED as if we had now been justified by His blood as a completed act. But the verb being a participle indicates that we are now BEING justified—that is, that we are in the process now of being justified (rendered righteous).


:open_mouth: Let me see if I can… “engage such relevant texts” and answer to… “the 8 Pauline texts I cited suggest” — well, from my perspective at least.

1 Cor. 6:9 — It first needs to be clarified as to what Paul meant by… “inherit the kingdom of God”. The typically evangelical understanding equates this to mean ‘getting to heaven postmortem’. I would suggest Paul’s meaning is closer to… entering in on the reign of God in life — something the pagan practices of Corinth to some was posing a hindrance (1Cor 6:11; 12:2). Paul elsewhere in Rom 5:17 makes mention of this very “reign”.

1 Cor. 7:19 — Two things need bearing in mind here:

[list]1) What Paul says he says to the covenanted people. This was NOT a global statement or principle as applicable to all, and thereby IF not followed unleashed some particular calamity… be that ante or post-mortem.

2) Again, Paul is stressing the relevance of keeping the spirit ofthe commandments of God” — something that had always been the true essence of what God was after from His covenanted people (Deut 10:16).

Rom. 3:31 — Again, it is in the fullness of faith where this true essence of the law was to be found, which was… having others best interests at heart, as per the likes of Rom 13:10 etc.

Rom. 2:13, 26 — This is a simple case of ‘actions speak louder than words’ i.e., something other than mere vacuous lip service where such righteous actions actually held stock with God… Acts 10:35.

Rom. 8:4 — That Jesus condemned sin (8:3) i.e., put it away (Heb 9:26; 1Jn 3:5) releasing “the righteous requirements of the law” to find its true fullness or essence, as pointed to above.

Gal. 6:7f — A true enough statement reflecting the basic truth that… ‘actions have consequences’.

2 Cor. 5:10 — There are two things to be noted here:

1) The context makes it clear Paul is talking ‘in-house’ — now that doesn’t preclude others beyond, but all too often it is easy to read presuppositions into the text and thereby drawing conclusions which may be beyond the point being stated.

2) At the said… “judgment seat of Christ” there is NO condemnation or the like mentioned — THIS is all about the believers receiving rewards according to their works.
Rom. 2:6f — So, in accord with the above, vs. 6 shows that rewards are based on works — this is NOT recognition or reward based on one’s confession of Christ, but rather assumes such as is then demonstrated by one’s ensuing “works” by which judgment would be passed with its resultant reception OR loss of rewards (1Cor 3:13-15). Again, this was pertinent to ‘believers’.[/list:u]

Absolutely agree and I’m not making a case for the opposite.

The question naturally arises… by whose standard or measure is an “acceptable faith” determined? One’s works IF they be acceptable to God would by the nature of things be self-demonstrable.

Well one thing IS for sure… according to 2Cor 5:19 reconciliation “imputed” forgiveness which IS the net effect and established reality where sins/trespasses are no longer held to one’s account or charge, i.e., the guilt of the sin reflected in the wrongdoing committed remains NO MORE. I might add… that doesn’t negate the potential for temporal consequences of wrongdoings to be experienced, but that’s a secondary issue (as important nonetheless as that is).

Thus humanity placed in Christ by God HAS BEEN put to the right with God, i.e., justified. It is our privilege as we grasp the faith or faithfulness of Christ to then live out the fullness of that reality — and THAT is the reality of the true biblical message, i.e., the gospel.