Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we
have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Adam's sin brought condemnation to everyone, but Christ's obedience, His death on the cross, brought reconciliation for those who believe Jesus is the Savior (Rom 5:19). Not everyone will believe, and only those who do will be justified and receive new life. Justification means to be declared righteous by God, just as if you never sinned; bringing you in right relationship with Him.
THE GALATIANS' CONFUSION
The Galatians were struggling with the concept of justification. The Judaizers, those who believed salvation came through Jesus plus obedience to the Jewish customs and practices, were confusing the people by telling them they weren't really saved. Paul was shocked when he heard that the Galatian believers were turning away from the Good News that Paul had brought to them, and they had received (Gal 1:6-7).
Paul reminded them that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the Law (Gal 2:16). He says, "Oh, foolish Galatians, after starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?" (Gal 3:3)
Who would willingly submit themselves to slavery again after having been set free? In the last post, we talked about how everyone is in Adam when they are born. You are spiritually dead, slaves to sin, and objects of God's wrath. When you trust Jesus, you are united with Christ and receive new life (1 Cor 15:22). You are also set free from the law of sin and death (Rom 8:2). Now that you are in Christ (united with), God justifies you; He declares you righteous.
THE EXAMPLE OF ABRAHAM
Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith (Gen 15:6; Rom 4:3; Gal 3:6; Jms 2:23). Abraham believed God when God told him he would be the father of many nations. Later, when God asked him to sacrifice his son, Isaac, Hebrews 11:17-19 tells us, "It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God's promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, 'Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.' Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again."
Abraham was justified because of his faith in the promise that he would be the father of many nations. He didn't know what that would look like; he didn't need to. Abraham's faith had to extend to following through with what God asked him to do when God told him to sacrifice Isaac. I can't imagine being asked to do such a thing, but it would seem that instead of being horrified by what God was asking him to do, he was focused on the promise, and on the God who made the promise; the God who cannot lie, and is always faithful to do what He says He will do.
It is clear from what Paul taught the Galatians, and in the example of Abraham, that justification comes through faith. For Abraham, it was faith in the promise that he would be the father of many nations. For the Galatians, and for us today, it is faith in Jesus Christ and what He did for us on the cross.
ONCE JUSTIFIED, ALWAYS JUSTIFIED
Justification is a point-in-time event. The moment you trust Jesus as Savior, you are justified. It only happens once, but at the same time, it is on-going. At any time, you can know you are righteous in God's sight. If you are in Christ, you have been and are justified.
One morning in my journal, I wrote, "Good morning, Lord! I am thankful for a new day because I messed up yesterday. Today is new, and I am starting again." At no point did God see me as anything but righteous. Do you know why? Because it was God who declared me righteous, and not anything I did or didn't do. Since I am in Christ at all times, God sees me as righteous at all times. What an amazing identity we have as believers!
Source: Jerry Bridges: Who Am I? Identity in Christ