26 October 2009

Justification: An Attempt at Definition

In preparing to teach on justification this week in an M.A. class on NT theology here at Wheaton, I'm trying to assemble a working definition of justification. If anyone has any thoughts on what I'm proposing, I'd be grateful to hear them.

Justification is the single, eschatological, forensic declaration of full acquittal and a 'righteous'/'just' status proleptically brought into the present and freely given to those who place their trust in Christ's redeeming and vicarious work, all of which is ultimately due to God's sovereign grace.

UPDATE: Here's another shot at it after feedback.

Justification is the single, eschatological declaration of forensic acquittal and a 'righteous'/'just' status proleptically brought into the present, grounded in Christ's redeeming work in history, consisting of Christ's own righteousness, freely given to those who are united to Christ through self-divesting faith in him, and due ultimately to God's sovereign grace alone.

UPDATE 2: one last shot.

Justification is the single, eschatological declaration of forensic acquittal and a 'righteous'/'just' status proleptically brought into the present, grounded in Christ's redeeming work in history, consisting of Christ's own righteousness, freely given to moral failures united to Christ through self-divesting faith in him, and due ultimately to God's sovereign grace alone.

6 comments:

Drew Hunter said...

Hey Dane,

when/where are you teaching this? If I'm available, could I drop in?

moroskerux said...

Hopefully it's not inappropriate for me to weigh in on this, since I'm in the class you will be teaching on Wednesday. Is it important in defining justification to include how the judge declaring sinners to be righteous is himself righteous? Or, to say it differently, is it important at this point to specify how God may be at once just and the justifier of those ungodly ones who place their faith in Christ?

Drew Hunter said...

Regarding the definition, I think it is great! I would consider more tightly connecting Christ's redeeming and vicarious work to the declaration itself - maybe including a clear statement of the ground of the declaration. I would also want to include our union with Christ by saying, "freely given to those who are united to Christ through placing their trust in..." Oh, and maybe you can include that word you made up a while back... eschartiology? I dont remember.

Say hi to the family if they're around when you read this.

Dane Ortlund said...

Very helpful guys, thanks. Bringing union into the def is an esp. good point.

Drew, we meet Wed nights 6:30-9:30 in bgc 134.

Ray Ortlund said...

". . . given to those . . . ."

the word "those" seems inadequately defined.

". . . him who justifies the ungodly." Romans 4:5

it's the whole thing about justification that's so surprising and hard to believe and yet so wonderful.

Dane Ortlund said...

Excellent Pop.