Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. (Romans 5:9)
Whenever we find the word just in the Bible, we can substitute the word righteous. This is true in both Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek. The translators of the King James Version alter-nately translated the same word as either “righteous” or “just.” They tended to use the word just in the context of legal processes and the word righteous in the context of practical living. But it is one and the same word.
The problem comes with the use of the word justified, which is often reserved for a type of legal transaction in the courts of heaven. But this practice means using only half of the signification of the word. To be justified means to be made just, or righteous. The word righteous comes right down to where we live—our homes, work-places, or personal relationships. Just conveys a legal formality trans-acted in a remote courtroom. Scripture says (and this is a perfectly legitimate and correct translation) that we have been made righteous by the blood of Jesus. We cannot consider ourselves justified if we have not been made righteous. Justification is more than a legal cer-emony or a change of labels. It is a change of character and life, and it is produced by the blood of Jesus. We have been made righteous with a righteousness that is not our own—the righteousness of Jesus Christ.