Justification is the legal act whereby God declares the sinner to be innocent of his or her sins. It is not that the sinner is now sinless, but that he/she is "declared" sinless. This declaration of righteousness means the person is justified before God. This justification is based on the shed blood of Jesus, "...having now been justified by His blood..." (Rom. 5:9) where Jesus was crucified, died, buried, and rose again (1 Cor. 15:1-4). God imputed (reckoned to our account) the righteousness of Christ at the same time our sins were imputed to Christ when He was on the cross. That is why it says in 1 Pet. 2:24, "And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed." Also, 2 Cor. 5:21 says, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." Additionally, we are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1) apart from works of the Law (Rom. 3:28).