By Patrick Hawthorne


One of the greatest failures of the Church, in my humble opinion, is the notion that we feel we must use big churchy words in order to sound, well…more churchy.  And then, to sound less churchy, or to hide the fact that we really have no clue what the word means ourselves, we give a quick throw down definition that just seems to make the churchy word even more confusing.  Justification is one of those words.

“You Sir or Madame have been justified by faith through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Notice the air of churchy-ness?

“Why sir, whatever do you mean?  What is this justification from whence thou speakest?”

Ok, now is the part where we insert the quick definition to make the word sound less churchy and us more intelligent. “My dear, dear child,” (insert the obligatory sigh), “Justification simply means ‘Just-if-I-had-never-sinned.’  Get it?  Justification…just if I had never sinned. “

“Ummmm…no.  I don’t get it, because I have sinned.”

The Church has got to get out of the eighteenth century when it comes to communicating the Gospel.  Uhhh ohhh…I can hear the heresy wolves circling the camp ready to pounce.  Back you wolves!

I’m not suggesting we dumb down the Gospel.  What I am suggesting is that we quit throwing out fifty dollar words that no one understands anymore.  Let’s face it, if I have to bring out the dictionary just to understand half of what you are saying, our conversation will be very short.

“Alright, Mr. Smarty Trousers…er’…pants.  Define justification.”

Justification is a legal term that simply means you have received a full pardon from the judge, who is our Heavenly Father.  Because Jesus paid your debt in full, through His shed blood, your sins have been forgiven past, present, and future.  But wait!  There’s more.

With this pardon (justification) the requirements of the law have been fulfilled in the strictest sense.  This means that you are now entitled to all the advantages and rewards of God’s Kingdom, just as if you had perfect obedience to the law.

See…That wasn’t so hard, now was it?  Be blessed.


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Posted in Christian, teaching, writing
14 comments on “Justified…Just-a-What?
  1. dawnlizjones says:

    However….I know as a nurse, when I came into the profession, I had to learn certain terminology. I think, to a certain degree, it’s an important discipline in learning and understanding the importance of doctrine. Not to sound “churchy”, (or “nursey”) but to accurately communicate. Which, I realize, is what you’re saying also….I think?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great observation, Patrick! We don’t need to water down the Gospel, as too many churches do today, but we need to strive to make understanding it paramount. (Oops! Did I use to big of a word?)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wally Fry says:

    This was great Patrick. Doctrine matters, Correctness matters, Yep. But, sometimes, I think people are trying to impress rather than teach. KISS is a good principle for a good reason.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Israel Ashworth says:

    I agree don’t dumb down the word just speak so all will know what we say. Because it can hold a person back from being a awesome messenger of God if they think they have to have that perfect word for the moment. Great post.


  5. SLIMJIM says:

    A precious word! Defined simply and clearly makes it even more a blessing!


  6. Thank you for the chuckle and the truth in this. We think the bigger the words, the more important it sounds 🙂


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