Declared Righteous, But In What Way?

Two ways to understand justification and why it’s important

Two books, one written by Paul to the Romans and one written by James, are found in the Bible. Both books speak of an important doctrine called justification. Justification means “to be declared righteous.” But when reading each book, the question becomes: “Who does the book say is declaring me righteous?” and “What does it mean for me?”

Romans explains justification from a legal perspective. In other words, Romans expresses how God is able to declare sinners who place their faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection as “cleansed from all unrighteousness,” even though in this life, we are far from perfect.

James, on the other hand, writes about a practical justification. James speaks of how a believer can be “declared righteous” by the surrounding world, which is observing our lives to see if they match what our mouths say.

In both cases, the writers use the same word, but what they mean for the believer is quite different. You don’t want to confuse the two.

The chart below, from No Ordinary Verdict, gives a brief comparison of the uses in each book:

No Ordinary Verdict

This 48-page booklet takes a deeper look at the essential doctrine of justification. Building upon key concepts learned through reading the No Ordinary Story series, the reader will gain a great appreciation for what it means to be “declared righteous” by God and how that impacts the believer’s daily living. This book can be used all on its own as a resource for learning the concept of justification.