Related Posts: Why Covenants?; Justification; Grace; Election; Faith and Charity
To many of our Protestant brethren the subject of justification is very important. And I confess it is not as central in Mormon beliefs as it is in many Protestant denominations.
Protestants generally view justification as “a legal act, wherein God deems the sinner righteous on the basis of Christ’s righteousness” (Justification, theopedia.com). This understanding of justification is part of their view of salvation by grace and the belief that good works have noting to do with salvation.
In the Mormon view good works cannot be ignored and are seen as essential to how we “put on Christ.” I always felt the Mormon repose to the Protestant belief about justification was lacking. So I thought I would weight in on the subject. As such this post includes a lot of my own interpretation.
Related Posts: Why Covenants?; Grace; Election; Faith and Charity; Faith and Justification
The word justify can mean (1) innocence before the law, (2) reconciliation with God, and (3) to be shown to be correct (vindication). Unless otherwise stated the word justification is used in the sense of (1), innocence before the law.
The term justification generally can be thought of as the language of the courts. For example, if the outcome of a trial is decided in your favor you have been justified. This is the context which Isaiah uses:
All the nations have gathered together so that the peoples may be assembled. Who among them can declare this and proclaim to us the former things? Let them present their witnesses that they may be justified, Or let them hear and say, “It is true.” (NASB, Isa. 43:9)
The opposite of justification is condemnation: “by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37; See also Alma 41:15).
In the Mormon view works alone cannot justify us. The reason is partly due to our unsteadiness.
AND thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea…how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men,…how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths! (Hel. 12:1-5)