Union with Christ allows us to keep both forensic justification and justification by faith alone

Have you ever known any official verdict pronounced by judge and jury that only applied to the person over whom the verdict was announced if he or she received it by faith?

When God condemns the wicked is that verdict received by faith?

The whole idea of receiving a forensic declaration “by faith”–if that is all we know about the situation–destroys the very idea of a forensic justification.

So how can justification be God’s judicial act and yet be received by faith?

Union with Christ is the only thing that keeps these two together.

God doesn’t pronounce an audible sentence every time a person is converted. Rather, he publicly justified Jesus by raising him from the dead. (1 Tim 3.16; Romans 8.1ff; See more here.)

All people who entrust themselves to God through Jesus–who confess that Jesus is Lord and believe God raised him from the dead–belong to Jesus and share in the verdict pronounced over Jesus.

Jesus got the verdict he deserved after suffering a condemnation he did not deserve so that we might receive a vindication we don’t deserve and escape a condemnation we do deserve.

Jesus is the incarnation of God and, by his resurrection, the incarnation of God’s verdict, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

All who are joined to Jesus (which is by faith alone) have his status as pronounced by his resurrection.

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3 thoughts on “Union with Christ allows us to keep both forensic justification and justification by faith alone

  1. pentamom

    Like. This seems to go back to the hyper-Calvinism thing. If faith is really what effects the verdict, which does not occur until faith “happens,” then faith logically must be a work (when “work” is defined the way some folks do, as “anything you actually do.”) The only way around this is to claim that having faith is merely the manifestation of a pre-existing salvation state, rather than something someone actually does.

  2. pentamom

    Of course, I’m not saying that those who claim that the verdict is “received by faith” are all actually hyperCalvinists. I’m just saying it’s a logical connection, and it pushes in that direction.

  3. pentamom

    Let me emphasize that I’m REALLY not accusing anyone of actually believing what I think the logical implication of a flaw in their thinking is. Too many people I respect have been burned by that attitude, coming the other way. It’s one thing to point out what you believe to be the dangerous implications of a wrong belief; it’s quite another to say, “I don’t care what you say you believe, my logic tells me you’re a heretic.”


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