The process of salvation involves a change in us that we call conversion. Conversion is a turning around, leaving the old life for a new one. It may be sudden and dramatic, or gradual and cumulative. But in any case, it's a new beginning. Following Jesus' words to Nicodemus, "You must be born anew" (John 3:7 RSV), we speak of this conversion as rebirth or new life in Christ.
Following Paul and Luther, John Wesley called this process justification. Justification is what happens when Christians abandon all those vain attempts to justify themselves before God, like seeing ourselves as "just" in God's eyes through religious and moral practices. It's a time when God's "justifying grace" is experienced and accepted, a time of pardon and forgiveness, of new peace and joy and love. We are justified by God's grace through faith. Justification is also a time of repentance — turning away from behaviors rooted in sin and toward actions that express God's love.