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Again; in Luke 7:29 we read, “And all the people that heard Him, and the publicans, justified God”: how impossible it is to make the words “justified God” signify any moral transformation in His character; but understand those words to mean that they declaredHim to be righteous, and all ambiguity is removed. Once more, in 1 Timothy 3:16 we are told that the incarnate Son was “justified in (or “by”) the Spirit”: that is to say, He was publicly vindicated at His resurrection, exonerated from the blasphemous charges which the Jews had laid against Him.
Justification has to do solely with the legal side of salvation. It is a judicial term, a word of the law courts. It is the sentence of a judge upon a person who has been brought before him for judgment. It is that gracious act of God as Judge, in the high court of Heaven, by which He pronounces an elect and believing sinner to be freed from the penalty of the law, and fully restored unto the Divine favour. It is the declaration of God that the party arraigned is fully conformed to the law; justice exonerates him because justice has been satisfied. Thus, justification is that change of status whereby one, who being guilty before God, and therefore under the condemning sentence of His Law, and deserving of nought but an eternal banishment from His presence, is received into His favour and given a right unto all the blessings which Christ has, by His perfect satisfaction, purchased for His people.