Imagine being in debt for $10 million, with no conceivable way to pay that debt. Then a stranger comes to you and says, "I love you so much that I am going to pay off your debt." So he pays off your debt of $10 million. But not only that, he deposits $20 million into your account. That is generosity far greater than we can imagine.
Our salvation is more than that, and our justification is more than that. Not only did God forgive us of what we have done, but He has put into our account the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Justification can be translated, "to put to one's account." Justification not only speaks of what God has taken away, but it also speaks of what He has put in its place. And when the Lord takes something out of your life, you can be confident that He will always put something far better in its place. When God justifies a person, He places to their credit all the righteousness of Jesus Christ. And that balances the moral and spiritual budget for us.
This is not something that happens over a period of time. Rather, it is something that is instantaneously given to everyone who has put their faith in Christ. It is immediate. If justification, simply stated, is that we have been forgiven of our sinful past, then that would be more than enough. But God has given us so much more and He helps us discover the more
each day as we walk with Him.