Excuses vs Justification

To excuse is to pardon; to free from the imputation of fault or blame; to acquit of guilt. An excuse is a plea offered in extenuation of a fault or irregular deportment; apology. Every man has an excuse to offer for his neglect of duty. An excuse is that which extenuates or justifies a fault.Webster’s American Dictionary
  To justify is to prove or show to be just, or conformable to law, right, justice, propriety or duty; to defend or maintain; to vindicate as right. We cannot justify disobedience or ingratitude to our Maker. We cannot justify insult or incivility to our fellow men.Webster’s American Dictionary
  In theology, to justify is to declare or make righteous in the sight of God.Oxford English Dictionary

The first excuses on record: And [God] said…Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.—Genesis 3:11-13

God explains justification to Cain: If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.—Genesis 4:7
   Sin is the he in this passage: the author of sin, Nehushtan the Serpent desires man, but man is to rule over that talking snake! Nehushtan was also the name of the brazen serpent Moses raised on a pole to heal the Israelites of the venom of the fiery serpents that attacked them. Samael, whose name means Venom of God, is the Destroying Angel of the Passover.
   To close the circle on justification, Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.—Luke 10:19
   God always justifies you when you are upright and obedient to law under the Light. Soul stands on principle and awaits God’s justification; self impatiently and defensively excuses, explains and justifies itself. Thus, justification is an initiation, a law of doing, and can be a taint.

Edna Lister on Justification

You always fall into a battle royal to justify your self to the other fellow. This never pays you dividends, because the ideal state of sincerity is to never excuse, explain or try to justify the self. Declare, Everything that comes to me is good. If you follow the law of Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil (Matthew 5:11), nay advice, justification comes, and beautifully.—Edna Lister, The Sermon on the Mount, January 31, 1933.

If I must justify myself to the world, then I am still of the world. When I no longer want to justify myself, I am then being used by all the Power, which is always its own justification.—Edna Lister, in a letter to her sister, 1934.

Justification, which comes under the law of justice, is something you can use or abuse: You may use justification to clear someone’s name with truth, or you may abuse justification to tear down another’s reputation or personality. You may use justification to destroy or to build.—Edna Lister, Be-Attitudes, September 12, 1935.

God justifies you when you stand in love.—Edna Lister, December 26, 1938.

God has excused you; can you not excuse one another for personal imperfections?—Edna Lister, October 21, 1941.

Love never seeks to justify itself, or explain.—Edna Lister, May 19, 1943.

Once you allow yourself any kind of self-made excuses for not becoming the Laws you art conscious of knowing, even God cannot save you from the debt you create.—Edna Lister, July 2, 1945.

When you make unjustified excuses for another, you take on the debt. Pay your debts and remember you are paying fancy prices.—Edna Lister, July 4, 1945.

Do not blame anyone for anything, even for a second. No question, no talk, no suggestion will make you do a thing you have not chosen to do yourself. Anything else is an excuse to do as you please.
  When you seize upon someone’s chance remark as applying to you, it means that it already exists as an excuse in your subconscious mind, like a cripple’s crutch, that you cannot “take it.” When you can look yourself in the face and no person, remark or blame can deter you, then you are not seeking props or outer excuses.—Edna Lister, July 9, 1945.

The subconscious mind can always find a plausible excuse to justify self! No excuse, justification or explanation of what self has done is ever legal. It is disgraceful to excuse or justify your words or actions.—Edna Lister, July 11, 1945.

If a pinpoint’s worth of a taint of self-pity or of using an excuse remains in the the impulsive-appetitive soul, what you do cannot be perfect.—Edna Lister, July 13, 1945.

As a candidate for high initiation, you may not offer any excuses at any time!—Edna Lister, July 16, 1945.

When people say things they don’t mean, they excuse it by saying, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to.” Really they just forgot to close the door of the impulsive appetitive soul and it leaked out. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord.—Psalm 19:14 “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”—Matthew 12:34—Edna Lister, July 21, 1945.

When someone says, "I can’t do this. I’ve tried everything. I just can’t see how it can be done," he is justifying self for not fulfilling his mission, or for being lukewarm.—Edna Lister, September 29, 1945.

The one who fails is the one who lives with explanations, excuses for their own indifference, laziness, lukewarmness and total lack of desire to become anything.—Edna Lister, October 14, 1945.

Do not excuse yourself as a habit! To reach high places, you must move beyond making excuses, explainations or justifications above or below. Your response must be “I accept.” Let the other fellow excuse, explain and justify.—Edna Lister, June 8, 1947 .

There is no excuse for dropping down into the body again.—Edna Lister, June 17, 1947.

The traps in initiation will be deep, broad and slick on the sides. They will come until nothing is left to excuse, explain, modify, justify or think of self. Excuses are self-exaltation and self-gratification.—Edna Lister, June 21, 1947.

It is disgraceful for you to need to excuse or justify your words or actions.—Edna Lister, July 5, 1947.

Some must justify self to live with self.—Edna Lister, September 30, 1947.

“Self is never justifiable.” – Edna Lister

Instant acceptance permits no excuse, no explanation, and no justification.—Edna Lister, November 13, 1947.

You would get into very little trouble if you offered no excuses for what you do or don't do, or for what you say.—Edna Lister, December 6, 1947.

To hide from or excuse real self-motives is rolling in a sink of iniquity.—Edna Lister, December 13, 1947.

Love fulfills the law, and time justifies or proves it.—Edna Lister, August 10, 1949.

You are justified by the Light moving through your works, not by self-justification.—Edna Lister, The Glory of Agreeing, June 10, 1951.

God justifies and glorifies one who steps up to become Godlike.—Edna Lister, The Glory of Agreeing, June 10, 1951.

Do not ask for personal justification.—Edna Lister, June 25, 1951.

Psychiatry excuses rebellion in most 15-year-olds as adolescence, but most of these souls have lived 200,000 earth lives and are considered “of knowledge” about rebellion at age 13! The world has limped along indulging all kinds of permissiveness.—Edna Lister, July 19, 1951.

You fool only yourself unless you live as Light on the highest level with no excuses, modifications, justifications or explanations, all of which adulterate truth.—Edna Lister, Now Is the High Time, December 6, 1953.

When you go down the pole in pity for your poor little self, you begin making excuses: “I have not done it well because…” Give up the “because.”—Edna Lister, March 29, 1954.

If you are self righteous, justifying self, exalting self, you are living by the self, not by soul.—Edna Lister, Jesus, the Lawyer, November 28, 1954.

People refer to three events in Jesus’ life to justify their behavior: Sadness at Christmas, his weeping at Gethsemane, and when he whipped the money changers from the Temple in Jerusalem. They say, "He had righteous indignation. Why can’t I?"—Edna Lister, December 20, 1954.

You may not make excuses or run away from the disagreeable.
  One disobedience of law does not excuse another.—Edna Lister, July 20, 1956.

To justify yourself means "to defend" yourself. Truth needs no defense, nor does the law; it stands. You stand on truth.—Edna Lister, October 9, 1958.

Blame is the source of conflict, which is nothing more than justification of self. Never justify yourself before the world. If you are innocent, God will justify you, eventually.—Edna Lister, Constancy in Obedience, October 26, 1958.

Faith is unconquerable, which means you cannot stop it. If blocked, unconquerable faith will bypass the obstacle until faith is completely justified. Faith is its own justification.—Edna Lister, I Am the Truth, October 11, 1959.

You may never let the self get away with anything, make any demands or offer excuses or justification.—Edna Lister, The 33 Degrees of Soul Conquering, October 27, 1959.

To finally bridge the abyss from fate to your path of destiny, you may not look back, falter, or make self-excuses or justification.—Edna Lister, January 3, 1961.

Law never permits you to justify self. Clamp your teeth on your tongue against such an urge. Self-justification closes the way to Light.—Edna Lister, July 19, 1961.

The justification of the Spirit is having Christ confess your name before the Father.—Edna Lister, October 24, 1961.

The Way of Christ is the thirteenth Path of Glorified Justification. As we walk the Via Christa, the Way of the Christ, the justification of the law comes because you are now the servant of Shekinah glory.—Edna Lister, Heaven, a Place to Fill, April 10, 1962.

If you stand steadfastly, the Father justifies and glorifies Himself through you.—Edna Lister, Loyalty, Your Chief Officer, April 15, 1962.

Silence means no self-justification or excuses when being blamed.—Edna Lister, April 17, 1962.

Light will uncover the truth for those to be justified, and the lies for those who must be brought to justice for illegal practices and darkness.—Edna Lister, June 24, 1962.

Reason deals with the relative, the changeable, and man’s laws apply here. The faculty of reason sometimes refuses to be guided by the foundation principle. Ordinarily, people use specious reasoning to justify the self, to excuse the self or to convince others their way is right.—Edna Lister, November 5, 1963.

Man is educated by facts, enabled by wisdom, saved and justified by religious faith.—Edna Lister, Omnipresence as Time-Space Relationships, October 17, 1967.

If you wait upon Him and declare all good, God justifies you.—Edna Lister, What Reward for Sacrifice? November 3, 1968.

God must have time to work all things together for good. You must wait upon Lord to be justified.—Edna Lister, The Golden Chalice of Life, June 21, 1970.

Self is never justifiable.—Edna Lister Undated Papers, 1924-1933.

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Stories That Illustrate Justification

The Lawyer Who Justified Self: Behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.—Luke 10:25-37.

The Self-Justifying Pharisees: Jesus said, He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. —Luke 16:10-15.

Righteous Justification: [Jesus] spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.—Luke 18:9-14.

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New Testament on Justification

[God] maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.—Matthew 5:45.

It becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.—Matthew 3:15.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.—Matthew 5:6.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven—Matthew 5:10.

Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.—Matthew 5:20.

He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.—Matthew 10:41.

Wisdom is justified of her children.—Matthew 11:19, Luke 7:35.

By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.—Matthew 12:37.

Hypocrites tithe ... and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.—Luke 11:42.

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?—Luke 16:10-11.

If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.—John 15:22.

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.—Acts 10:34-35.

By [Christ] all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.—Acts 13:39.

For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.—Romans 2:13-15.

[Obedience to the law justifies you, no matter your belief.]

A man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.—Romans 3:28-30. [God will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.]

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.—Romans 8:29-30.

It is God that justifieth.—Romans 8:33.

Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.—Romans 10:4.

The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.—Romans 14:17.

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.—2 Corinthians 6:14-16.

Walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth); proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.—Ephesians 5:8-10.

Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.—Philippians 4:8.

By works a man is justified, and not by faith only.—James 2:24.

If ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.—James 3:14-16.

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.—1 Peter 2:21-23.

Even him [the lawless one], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.—2 Thessalonians 2:9-12.

If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.—1 John 2:29.

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He that justifies the wicked, and he that condemns the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.—Proverbs 17:15.

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Justification in Other Sacred Writings

A furious man cannot be justified, for the sway of his fury shall be his destruction.—Wisdom of Ben Sirach 1:22.

Let nothing hinder thee to pay your vow in due time, and defer not until death to be justified.—Wisdom of Ben Sirach 18:22.

There is an exquisite subtlety, and the same is unjust; and there is one who turns aside to make judgment appear; and there is a wise man who justifies in judgment.—Wisdom of Ben Sirach 19:25.

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of excuse: Latin excusare, excuse, apologize, make an excuse for, plead as an excuse; release from a charge.

Etymology of justify: Latin justificare, act justly toward, make just, from justus just + facere, to do.

Justification is a law of doing.

Justification is an target="_blank">initiation.

Self-justification is a soul taint.


Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Nag Hammadi Library. James M. Robinson, ed. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988.

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Webster, Noah. Webster’s American Dictionary. New York: S. Converse, 1828.