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The Doctrine of Justification needs to be understood in a broader Pauline context. The English word “justification” appears 6 times in NRSV (Romans 4.25, 5.16, 5.18, 5.21, 2 Cor. 3.9, and Gal 2.21). Righteousness does not mean morally virtuous or becoming a "good" person. Rather justification means that we (God's people) have been found “not guilty” by the court.

Justification In Youth Ministry Praxis

The Doctrine of Justification needs to be understood in a broader Pauline context.  The English word “justification” appears 6 times in NRSV (Romans 4.25, 5.16, 5.18, 5.21, 2 Cor. 3.9, and Gal 2.21).  Righteousness does not mean morally virtuous or becoming a “good” person.  Rather justification means that we (God’s people) have been found “not guilty” by the court.

If God justifies people ahead of the final judgment – faith must be the proper characteristic of those who are justifies.  Jesus calls for faith, and when God acts through Jesus, he acts through people’s faith.  NT Wright in his book JUSTIFICATION argues that to justify does not denote an action which transforms someone, but rather it is a declaration which grants them status.

The boast of Israel is no longer pertinent.  They have lost their special place or “Superior calling” in God’s plan, which we must recover and reclaim.  Paul’s view of God’s purpose is that God, the creator, called Abraham so that through his family he, God, could rescue the world from its plight.  Call it God’s single plan”.

god's plan
Click here to see God's plan

The doctrine of Justification is not about performance of moral good deeds, but the status you have when the court has found in your favor.  Romans 3 is not about moral righteousness.  Paul’s view of God’s purpose is that God, the creator, called Abraham so that through his family he, God, could rescue the world from its plight.  Call it God’s single plan”.

God’s plan, God’s single plan, always was to put the world to rights, to set it right, to undo Genesis 3 and Genesis 11, sin and the fracturing of human society which results from that sin and shows it up into full colors.  Genesis 3 is the old perspective and Genesis 11 is the new perspective.

Implications for Youth Ministry

1.  Move away from accountability groups and give students more opportunities to put the world back to it’s original intention.  Students need to be heavily involved in participation.  Information is great, but students need experience in order to solidify the information.

2.   Teach on how beautiful it is to be ushering the Kingdom of God here and now on earth.  Our students need to see themselves as missionaries bringing the Kingdom into every facet of their life.  Our students don’t need to be wrapped up in the ludicrous obsession about pretrib-posttrib-premil-midmil charts.  In the end, Jesus is coming back and they need to help bring it.  Every student needs to be on a mission for God.

3.  Teach on God’s plan in light of Pauline theological vision.

4.  Students need to know that they are GOD’s People and they have the status of being NOT GUILTY.


I used a lot of content from NT Wright book:  Justification.


About Jeremy Zach

Orange XP3 Specialist | Youth Worker | MDIV | Hot Sauce Addict | Dr. Dre Beats Lover

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One comment

  1. “EARNED that status of being not guilty”?? Shouldn’t that have been phrased a little differently?

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