Legal term meaning “acquittal,” a declaration that someone is in the right.
Sinners are in the wrong before God. They have broken his laws, they deserve punishment, but on the cross Christ took their place. Now, when they put their trust in Christ, they are declared to be in the right, acquitted, justified. The cross shows God to be just, not simply in the fact that he forgives, but in the way he forgives. To pass over sins would show mercy, but it would not show justice. Forgiveness by the way of the cross shows both (Rom. 3:25-26).