“The precise force of the term ‘to justify’ may be ascertained by noting that it is the antithesis of ‘to condemn’.” A.W. Pink.
I have sometimes ago submitted to the fact that to be justified meant it was “as if I’d never sinned”—which is incredible! But, Now I understand that justification is more than that simple fact. A better definition would be defined “as if I’d always obeyed”. Note that, If we’d never sinned, there is still a lack because the law requires full obedience which no man can do with “dynamic and yet carnal” nature, except if carried around, meditated upon always, and subjected to its contents without twisting the meaning. That is why we are credited with always obeying, then the Law is now fulfilled in us.
In Jesus, with reference to Romans 6:23, a transaction has been made. We gave Jesus our sin and the Law’s sentence for sin. And He gave us His perfect record of obeying the Law (righteousness) and the reward —which is eternal life (Study John 3:16; Romans 8:4). Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”. Now, by faith “we are the righteousness of God” (obedient enough), then a change in legal status has been made. In the eyes of the Law, “we are faultless”. This is why Jesus justified us. So there could be no charge from the Law, no condemning effects from sin and most importantly so He could grant us eternal life as the reward for fulfilling the Law. So help us God not to dissapoint You but to attain your righteousness in full, being faultless. Amen! Shalom!