Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Are they the same?

Is Justification the same as Reconciliation?

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.


J. K. Jones said...


The Atonement is a multi-faceted doctrine that will keep us all in reverent discussion and argument for the rest of our lives.

Justification is what God does to the believer. Propitiation is what the Atonement does to God. Expiation is what the Atonement does to us. Reconciliation is what happens when those three things occur. All of this is decided in eternity past in the mind of God through Election. The Atonement is earned by Christ extra nos. It is applied to us by the Spirit (effectual calling). It is accepted by us because of a change God makes in our hearts (regenration).

J. K.

LPC said...

Thanks for this JK, they are good succinct way of looking at things.

I do note that in the BoC, they place regeneration after faith/justification. The BoC does not have an ordo saludis as such. However, my comment is that if regeneration is placed prior to justification, the faith is the result of sanctification leading to justification. What I mean is that faith is just one of the good things that a changed heart does.

In Calvinistic scheme of ordo saludis regeneration happens before all things, although in the old Calvinistic confessions, they do not have such an elaboration, I can not recall seeing such in the Heidelberg/Belgic confession.

Where are in the BoC, it is implied that conversion is what God does for sure.

We can discuss that later, but I find that if every good things happens after justification, the a good heart which is regeneration happens after that - so BoC seems logical to me.


Doorman-Priest said...

Where'd that old man go?

LPC said...


It got drowned when the man got baptized?


David Cochrane said...

But is a good swimmer I fear.

Anonymous said...

LP Cruz wrote: "Where are in the BoC, it is implied that conversion is what God does for sure."

(4) 3. God the Holy Spirit, however, does not bring about conversion without means. For this purpose He uses the preaching and hearing of God's Word, as it is written in Romans 1:16, the Gospel "is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes." Also Romans 10:17 says, "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ". It is God's will that His Word should be heard and that a person's ears should not be closed (Psalms 95:8). With this Word the Holy Spirit is present and opens hearts, so that people (like Lydia in Acts 16:14) pay attention to it and are converted only through the Holy Spirit's grace and power, who alone does the work of converting a person. (Emphasis mine) -- Formula Epitome II. 4,5

LPC said...

Thanks for the reference.