“And whom He called, them He also justified”.
Justification is a fruit or an effect of true faith. By nature man is included in his first father, in Adam. And so he is accountable for the offence of Adam. Man is also corrupt, for as a righteous God, God has withheld His image from him. Man is incapable of doing any good, and inclined to all evil. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only One Who has righteousness.
When through true faith a man has embraced this righteousness, that is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who is pointed out in the Scriptures as “The LORD our righteousness” (Jer. 23:6), he is in Jesus Christ righteous before God.
The imputation of Adam’s offence entails our condemnation. The imputation of Christ’s righteousness involves our justification.
Justification is not this that a man is made righteous through it. Justification is a deed of God as Judge, through which a sinner is declared righteous. I say again: he is declared righteous and is accepted by God, after he has been made a believer in Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit.
So justification is a judgment or declaration of God. Where should we seek this declaration? In the Lord’s Holy Word. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). So no condemnation for them that believe, for through faith we are in Jesus Christ – through true faith. “For therein (in the Gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith unto faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith’.” (Rom. 1:17).
(From: Meditations, 27 January. Sermon on Romans 8:33, 21 April 1932 in Rotterdam.)