I have been trying to conduct conversation at the Wittenberg Trail regarding my question - Should Objective Justification be renamed? By the word "justification" we mean its normal theological meaning -- to be reckoned by God as righteous. However, no go, no can do, cause after a while the reply aspect of the discussion encountered a bug and the discussion had to be closed. Computers are nice when they are working -- but only when they are working -- stress happens when they don't.
So I got out my Peter Stuhlmacher's commentary Paul's Letter to the Romans and I turned to his excursus "Justification and Reconciliation" p.82. Sorry I can not type a lot (no secretary) so here are snippets.
...for Paul justification and reconciliation belong inextricably together...The abandonment of the Son of God to death on the cross, desired by God himself out of his love for his creation and obediently affirmed by Jesus, is the absolute act of atonement which grounds justification (Rom 3:25f; 5:8f; 8:3)...God's atoning act in and through Christ forms the historical and legal ground for justification. In turn "reconciliation" designates the gift of God and the present securing of salvation which are bound together with justification (Rom 5:11; 2 Cor 5:20-6:2)viewed from the personal perspective...God is thus the one who creates atonement, grants justification, and establishes reconciliation, on the basis of his free will and grace..
Since justification is grounded on the atonement, then the two are not - technically and by that formally, the same i.e. the former comes from the latter. If one comes from the other, the two are distinguished though no doubt related.
It seems to me then that by the Atonement, God has been Reconciled to us, but what about us to him? By faith in that Atonement, Justification comes and we are Reconciled to God in our space and time history.
Dr. Ichabod pointed that out in Thy Strong Word Chapter 05. Stuhlmacher seems to agree with him. This is interesting.