Justification, or righteousness (they are the same word in Greek), in Jewish thought is a covenant concept. Thus to be righteous means that a person is in a right relationship with God. In the Old Testament, righteousness is much more than an impersonal standard of justice; it is a personal concept: it is essentially the fulfillment of the demands of a relationship between two people.
To be right with God, therefore, is to trust in His gracious promises and to act accordingly. That underlies one of Paul's key phrases in Romans: "the obedience of faith" Romans 1:5. In short, obedience does not lead to a saving relationship with Christ, but it does flow out of it, as Christ lives out His life in us (Galatians 2:20). Justification, for Paul, always leads to ethical living.
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