The process by which sinful human beings are made acceptable to a holy God is called Justification.
Justification by Grace. Christianity is unique because of its teaching of justification by grace (Rom 3:24). Justification is God’s declaration that the demands of His Law have been fulfilled in the righteousness of His Son. The basis for this justification is the death of Christ. Paul tells us that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them” (2 Cor 5:19). This reconciliation covers all sin: “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Heb 10:14). Justification, then, is based on the work of Christ, accomplished through His blood (Rom 5:9) and brought to His people through His resurrection (Rom 4:25).
When God justifies, He charges the sin of man to Christ and credits the righteousness of Christ to the believer (2 Cor 5:21). Thus, “through one Man’s righteous act, the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life” (Rom 5:18). Because this righteousness is “the righteousness of God” which is “apart from the law” (Rom 3:21), it is thorough; a believer is “justified from all things” (Acts 13:39). God is “just” because His holy standard of perfect righteousness has been fulfilled in Christ, and He is the “justifier,” because this righteousness is freely given to the believer (Rom 3:26; 5:16).
Justification by Faith. Although the Lord Jesus has paid the price for our justification, it is through our faith that He is received and His righteousness is experienced and enjoyed (Rom 3:25-30). Faith is considered righteousness (Rom 4:3,9), not as the work of man (Rom 4:5), but as the gift and work of God (John 6:28-29; Phil 1:29).
The New Testament sometimes seems to speak of justification by works. For example, Jesus spoke of justification (and condemnation) “by your words” (Matt 12:37). Paul said, “the doers of the law will be justified” (Rom 2:13). And James concluded that “a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:24).
These statements seem to conflict with Paul’s many warnings that “by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight” (Rom 3:20), and that the attempt to be justified through law is equivalent to being “estranged from Christ” and “fallen from grace” (Gal 5:4).
The solution to this problem lies in the distinction between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:16-25). Not only is Christ’s righteousness legally accounted to the believer, but Christ also dwells in the believer through the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:10), creating works of faith (Eph 2:10). Certainly God’s works may be declared righteous (Isa 26:12). If this is true, then the order of events in justification is grace, faith, and works; or, in other words, by grace, through faith, resulting in works (Eph 2:8-10).
The Results of Justification. The negative result of justification is what we are saved from: “Having now been justified…we shall be saved from wrath” (Rom 5:9). The positive result is what we are saved to: “Whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Rom 8:30).
Paul also notes “peace with God” (Rom 5:1) and access to God’s grace (Rom 5:2) as positive benefits. The believer in Christ may look forward to the redemption of his body (Rom 8:23) and an eternal inheritance (Rom 8:17; 1 Peter 1:4).
(from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)_


Welcome to Bible Study! We continue our teaching this month on Salvation by discussing this week conversion, repentance, and faith.
Please review the attached handout from the book New Member Training by Rev. Charles Powell for more background on Conversion. Some of our questions will come from this handout from the book by Rev. Powell.
Here we go!
1. Salvation starts with Conversion. What does Conversion mean?
2. How would you describe the experience of Conversion to a first time church visitor?
3. On page 34 of the handout, Rev. Powell describes Conversion as the process of turning away from what and turning to what?
Mark 1:14-15
14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom* of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” NKJV
4. What do you think the term “kingdom of God” means in Mark 1:14?
5. Based on what you read on page 34, what do you think Jesus means in Verse 15 above when he says Repent, and believe in the Gospel?
Matthew 16:24-26
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? NKJV
6. Conversion also includes a new kind of faith. In Matthew 16:24-26 what kind of faith did Jesus say his converted disciples must have?
Romans 5:1-2
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. NIV
7. In Romans 5:1 what do you think the Apostle Paul means by the phrase “justified through faith”? King James says “justified by faith.” Since Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture look at Romans 4:25 for help with this answer.
Romans 5:3-5
3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. NIV
8. In Romans 5:3-5 Paul gives a beautiful description of what comes out of our sufferings because of our faith after Conversion. Which four things does Paul write about in these verses that come from our sufferings after we have faith?
Romans 5:6-8
6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. KJV
9. Since we were not living when Christ was crucified, what do you think Paul means in Romans 5:8 when he says “in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”? Scripture speaks to this in Romans 5:12-17.
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
10. 2 Corinthians 5:17 is saying when we are converted, we become a new creation. What do you think the Apostle Paul means when he writes “the old has gone, the new has come!”?
Next week we continue our study of Salvation by looking at Justification. We will discuss Justification by Grace and Justification by Faith. And we will finally answer what is meant in the Book of James when it seems to say we can be justified by works when James writes in James 2:26 “faith without works is dead.” See you next week!
Conversion Handout