5.3 The justification of the sinner
The term ‘justification’ or the ‘doctrine of justification’ is a basic concept within Christian faith, and describes what is likely the most important, fundamental insight of the Reformation: the justification of the sinner before God cannot occur as a result of any right and proper actions on the part of the human being, but rather only through faith. The doctrine of justification brings to expression how human beings can stand worthy before God and how they can attain salvation. According to the New Testament, the message of God’s unconditional grace and mercy was also the core message of Jesus of Nazareth. Over the following centuries, the doctrine of justification fell into obscurity within the church. It was against this that the Reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546) protested so adamantly. Among other things, he spoke out against the Roman practice of selling indulgences, whereby Christians could pay money to buy their way out of doing penance to gain absolution for their sins.
The doctrine of justification is naturally also one of the foundations of faith in the New Apostolic Church. Justification is a term that did not previously play a role within the New Apostolic faith, but is nevertheless present.