“being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:24-26).
Before God could offer salvation from sin’s guilt in the gospel, certain essentials had to be.
Grace—the cause of and reason for justification—was essential. To offer salvation as a free gift, God had to graciously be willing to give His Lamb whose atoning blood is more precious than silver and gold. This essential He willingly supplied because of the riches of His grace.
Redemption—the means of justification—was essential. To offer freedom from sin and its guilt, God had to rescue sin’s slaves from their vicious master. Justification by redemption requires a Redeemer.
Propitiation—the basis of justification—was essential. Because sin is a capital offense, there had to be a legal, just, and satisfactory appeasement of God’s righteous wrath. As an asbestos cover shields something flammable from fire, so Christ’s atonement at Calvary stands between the guilty sinner and God’s fiery indignation.
Faith—the message of justification—was essential. Through “the faith” (i.e., the gospel), the good news of salvation in Christ is heralded. Through the Holy Spirit’s revelation and inspiration, the faith has been once-for-all-time delivered to the saints (Jude 3).
With these in place, there remains one essential: Your faith in the faith. With this final ingredient justification is realized.
Grace. Redemption. Propitiation. Faith. Every component is essential. God has done all He needed to do to be just and all He can do to justify you in Christ. Whether your response is obedience to the faith (Romans 1:5, 16:26) decides the matter. It is the final essential of justification.