Justification

a forensic term, opposed to condemnation. As regards its nature,
it is the judicial act of God, by which he pardons all the sins
of those who believe in Christ, and accounts, accepts, and
treats them as righteous in the eye of the law, i.e., as
conformed to all its demands. In addition to the pardon (q.v.)
of sin, justification declares that all the claims of the law
are satisfied in respect of the justified. It is the act of a
judge and not of a sovereign. The law is not relaxed or set
aside, but is declared to be fulfilled in the strictest sense;
and so the person justified is declared to be entitled to all
the advantages and rewards arising from perfect obedience to the
law (Rom. 5:1-10).

It proceeds on the imputing or crediting to the believer by
God himself of the perfect righteousness, active and passive, of
his Representative and Surety, Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:3-9).
Justification is not the forgiveness of a man without
righteousness, but a declaration that he possesses a
righteousness which perfectly and for ever satisfies the law,
namely, Christ's righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 4:6-8).

The sole condition on which this righteousness is imputed or
credited to the believer is faith in or on the Lord Jesus
Christ. Faith is called a "condition," not because it possesses
any merit, but only because it is the instrument, the only
instrument by which the soul appropriates or apprehends Christ
and his righteousness (Rom. 1:17; 3:25, 26; 4:20, 22; Phil.
3:8-11; Gal. 2:16).

The act of faith which thus secures our justification secures
also at the same time our sanctification (q.v.); and thus the
doctrine of justification by faith does not lead to
licentiousness (Rom. 6:2-7). Good works, while not the ground,
are the certain consequence of justification (6:14; 7:6). (See
GALATIANS, EPISTLE TO T0001413.)