- Is justification an effective word from God? Mark Seifrid in Christ Our Righteousness and, I'm reliably informed, Mike Horton in Covenant and Salvation affirm that while justification is a forensic declaration of 'righteous', this declaration becomes effective in producing what it declares. Just as when God said, 'let there be light' and there was light, when he declares someone 'righteous', then that person actually begins to conform to that imputed righteousness; progressive sanctification carries the person towards experiential conformity to that forensic declaration. This view seems to make sense of many Scriptures. For instance, Paul says, "Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed." (1 Cor. 5:7) Become what you ARE as a result of Christ's work. Darryl Hart makes the point that if Adam's guilt issues in our corruption, then surely the justification offered in Christ issues in our sanctification (see here and here).
- On the other hand, is justification purely forensic, nothing more? Dick Gaffin would answer in the affirmative. He recently criticized Horton's formulation of justification, implying that the idea of an effective word inevitably blurs the essential boundary between justification and sanctification. Gaffin advocates what some call the 'duplex gratia'. He believes that when one is incorporated into Christ, one recieves the double grace of justification and Definitive Sanctification (DS). Neither has a logical priority. Justification is purely forensic and DS is concerned with our being ushered into the life of the Spirit. In a recent interview at the Reformed Forum, Mark Garcia insisted that Gaffin's doctrine of the duplex gratia, in keeping justification as purely forensic best preserves it from error.
Friday, 3 July 2009
I'm still trying to work through what constitutes a sound biblical and Reformed theology of justification. I got questions.