Here’s an excerpt on Romans and justification straight from the well-loved NKJV Vines Expository Bible. Dr. Jerry Vines is the former Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) president and pastor of 28,000-member First Baptist Church of Jacksonville.

Justification: To Declare Righteous

Romans 3:24 says, “being justified freely by His grace.” The word justified means “to declare righteous.” In other words, here is a person who is guilty and yet declared not guilty. The word is taken right out of the legal world. We stand before God absolutely guilty and helpless to do anything about our guilt. Yet in one great legal act, God acquits us of our sin and makes us acceptable in God’s presence.

Justification is better than forgiveness.

Forgiveness is wonderful, but justification goes even deeper. You may have done something you shouldn’t have done, and you can be forgiven for it. But justification removes the guilt. You are acquitted of your guilt as a sinner and made acceptable to God through faith in Jesus Christ. That’s justification.

Free Justification

Also, we are justified “freely.” The word freely here means “without cause.” When Jesus was betrayed, Jesus said, “They hated Me without a cause” (John 15:25)—same word. Jesus had nothing in Him to cause people to hate Him. Yet, they did. When the Bible says we are justified freely, it means without a cause. We had nothing in us to cause God to declare us righteous; yet, God has done it by His grace without a cause, freely. That’s good news today. We don’t have to pay for it.

An Example of Justification

I heard about a poor woman who had a desperately ill daughter. Nearby was a vineyard of the king. The king had wonderful grapes, and the mother thought some of those grapes might help her daughter get well. So, she came to the entrance of the vineyard where sat the princes of the king. She said: “I would like to buy some of the king’s grapes to feed to my sick daughter.”

The princes replied, “We’re sorry, but you can’t buy them. The king is too rich to sell. You are too poor to buy. The grapes are not for sale. You can’t buy them, but you can have them free of charge.”

Living the Message

That’s the way salvation is. We are too poor to buy. He’s too rich to sell. But the King has said we can have it freely by His grace. That’s the way we get it—by grace.
Grace is such a great word! “Justified freely by His grace.” Grace is God’s unmerited favor. Grace is receiving something we do not deserve but desperately need. Not because of any good in us but because of grace in Him can we be declared righteous in His presence just as if we had never sinned.

COMMENT BELOW: How does your understanding of justification change the way you view yourself and others?

Learn More About the Vines Expository Bible

NKJV Vines Expository Bible

This resource is entirely based on lessons and sermons from Jerry’s life and ministry. It will provide you with a unique, passage-by-passage guide through every single book of the Bible, making it applicable to your daily life.

Watch a video and learn more about this resource by visiting our website.


  1. Good day Team,
    I recently started a blog ( by the grace of God, and the app has been so helpful considering I write on the go.

    God bless

  2. I needed to read this because I was beginning to believe that even though we are forgiven a certain individual in my life has the right and obligation to punish me. Now I feel that I refuse to accept her punishment of me. She is not more righteous than the Lord.

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