JustificationJustification (a term of jurisprudence) is a form of defense in which a defendant argues that although they broke the law, they should not be held liable for, or found guilty of, a crime, as some special or extenuating circumstance(s) existed such that the illegal action was, for some reason or other, reasonable and acceptable. Possible justifications include: consent, defense of others, defense of property, necessity, resisting unlawful arrest, and self-defense.
In the theology of Christianity, justification is a word used to describe the process through which sinners are made righteous through the grace of God.
Considerable sectarian controversy exists as to its nature and definition. These controversies include:
- Whether justification is an immediate change in the status of the sinner, or whether it is an ongoing process;
- The relationship between justification and religious law; whether justification is "forensic", a legal declaration that a sinner will be considered righteous by God, or whether it must be perfected by obedience;
- The relationship of justification to sanctification, the process whereby sinners become more righteous and are enabled by the Holy Spirit to live lives more pleasing to God; and
- The relationship of justification to atonement, the expiation of sins.