justification


justification
/jus'teuh fi kay"sheuhn/, n.
1. a reason, fact, circumstance, or explanation that justifies or defends: His insulting you was ample justification for you to leave the party.
2. an act of justifying: The painter's justification of his failure to finish on time didn't impress me.
3. the state of being justified.
4. Also called justification by faith. Theol. the act of God whereby humankind is made or accounted just, or free from guilt or penalty of sin.
5. Print. the spacing of words and letters within a line of type so that all full lines in a column have even margins both on the left and on the right.
[1350-1400; ME < LL justification- (s. of justificatio), equiv. to justificat(us) ptp. of justificare to JUSTIFY (see JUSTIFICATORY) + -ion- -ION-]

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In Christian theology, the passage of an individual from sin to a state of grace.

Some theologians use the term to refer to the act of God in extending grace to the sinner, while others use it to define the change in the condition of a sinner who has received grace. St. Paul used the term to explain how people moved from sin to grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus and not through any human effort. St. Augustine saw it as an act of God that makes sinners righteous, while Martin Luther stressed justification through faith alone.

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      in Christian theology, either (1) the act by which God moves a willing person from the state of sin (injustice) to the state of grace (justice); (2) the change in a person's condition moving from a state of sin to a state of righteousness; or (3) especially in Protestantism, the act of acquittal whereby God gives contrite sinners the status of the righteous.

      The term is a translation of the Greek dikaiōsis (Latin justificatio), originally a technical legal term derived from the verb “to make [someone] righteous.” Justification has had importance in the history of the church and of theology since the time of St. Paul (Paul, the Apostle, Saint). In his letters to the Galatians and to the Romans, he asks, against the background of the Pharisees' legalistic piety, how one becomes just before God. He answers that it is not by works, nor even by obeying the commandments (the law of God, which in itself is good). A person stands before God not as righteous but as a sinner, entirely dependent on God's grace. It is God who calls the sinner righteous. In human law courts, only the innocent person is justified; but in the tribunal of God, before whom all are sinners, it is precisely the unjust who are declared just by God's merciful verdict. This is no arbitrary pronouncement but is made with reference to Jesus Christ, “who was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). In this way, the sinner is acquitted from law, sin, and death; is reconciled with God; and has peace and life in Christ through the Holy Spirit—is not merely declared just but is truly made just.

      In response, one should accept God's merciful judgment in Christ and place complete trust in the Lord; in short, have faith. The person who has been justified is tempted as before and therefore remains dependent on the grace of God. Faith must not be inactive, but a “faith working through love” (Gal. 5:6); i.e., one must authenticate religious faith by deeds of love.

      The Greek Fathers of the church did not emphasize the teaching of justification, but it became an important theological concept in the thought of Augustine (Augustine, Saint) during his controversy with the Pelagians, a heretical group who were teaching an ethical self-sanctification by works. Augustine maintained that humans are completely unable to contribute to justification, a notion that was modified by most medieval theologians, who held that God and the individual work together in the process. The Protestant reformers (Reformation), led by Martin Luther (Luther, Martin), echoed Augustine in their insistence that justification is by grace alone, which is appropriated by faith. The Council of Trent (Trent, Council of) (1545–63) defined the Roman Catholic position in terms that echoed the medieval understanding. The council's decision also reflected an anti-Protestant bias and for the next several centuries drew the lines for opposition between Roman Catholics and Protestants in their understanding of the doctrine.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • JUSTIFICATION — La doctrine chrétienne de la justification de l’homme par Dieu exprime à la fois l’exigence radicale que Dieu a envers l’homme et le salut radical que Dieu donne à cet homme qui ne répond pas à cette exigence. La justification maintient ainsi la… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Justification — • A biblio ecclesiastical term; which denotes the transforming of the sinner from the state of unrighteousness to the state of holiness and sonship of God Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Justification     Justification …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • justification — jus·ti·fi·ca·tion /ˌjəs tə fə kā shən/ n 1: the act or an instance of justifying 2: something that justifies; specif: a legally sufficient reason or cause (as self defense) for an act that would otherwise be criminal or tortious 3: the… …   Law dictionary

  • Justification — Jus ti*fi*ca tion, n. [L. justificatio: cf. F. justification. See {Justify}.] [1913 Webster] 1. The act of justifying or the state of being justified; a showing or proving to be just or conformable to law, justice, right, or duty; defense;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Justification — can mean:*Justification (epistemology) *Justification (jurisprudence) *Justification (theology) ** Bibliography for theological justification *Justification (typesetting) *Rationalization (psychology)ee also*Justify *cognitive dissonance …   Wikipedia

  • justification — Justification. s. f. Action, procedé par lequel on se justifie. Il sera receu à sa justification. je veux travailler à ma justification. Il signifie aussi, En termes d Escriture sainte, L Action & l effet de la grace. La justification des… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • justification — [jus΄tə fi kā′shən] n. [ME justificacioun < OFr justification < LL justificatio < justificare: see JUSTIFY] 1. a justifying or being justified 2. a fact that justifies or vindicates 3. Christian Theol. the state or condition, necessary… …   English World dictionary

  • Justification — (v. lat.), 1) Rechtfertigung einer Sache u. bei Rechnungen die nochmalige Durchsicht u. Feststellung ihrer Richtigkeit; 2) bei Appellationen u. anderen Rechtsmitteln die Ausführung der Gründe der Einwendung des Rechtsmittels …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Justification — Justification, latein. deutsch, Rechtfertigung; bei Appellationen die Angabe der Gründe warum das Rechtsmittel ergriffen wurde; bei Rechnungen die Prüfung derselben; Justificatur, Genehmigung, Bekräftigung; justificiren, rechtfertigen; hinrichten …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Justification —   [engl.], Blocksatz …   Universal-Lexikon

  • justification — (n.) late 14c., administration of justice, from L.L. iustificationem (nom. iustificatio), noun of action from pp. stem of iustificare (see JUSTIFY (Cf. justify)). Meaning action of justifying is from late 15c. Theological sense is from 1520s …   Etymology dictionary


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