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)
Related Posts: Why Covenants?; Justification; Election; Faith and Charity; Faith and Justification
Our relationship to God
There are many ways to picture our relationship to God. He can be seen as our Father in Heaven (Jer. 3:19; Matt. 5:45); as a Judge and Lawgiver (Isa. 33:22), with Christ as our advocate (1 John 1:9). He has been pictured as the husband of a wayward wife (Isa. 54:5; Jer. 3:14), and as a great King or Lord (1 Tim. 6:15). He has been pictured as God the farmer (John 15:1; Jacob 5); God the shepherd (Psalm 23:1; Matt. 25:32); God the potter (Jer. 18:6); God the employer (Alma 3:27; Matt. 20:1); and as a fountain of righteousness giving refreshment to his followers (Ether 8:26). Also, he is often pictured as a master ruling over his servants (slaves): “For it is just like a man going on a journey. He called his own slaves and turned over his possessions to them” (ESV, Matt. 25:14). For this post I will use the master servant relationship to explore the concept of salvation by God’s grace.
Jesus said to his disciples.
Does [the master] thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ (NKJV, Luke 17:9-10; compare Mosiah 2:21)