Continuing the topic of illegitimate totality transfer (ITT) it struck me on the way back from the school run that MOST instances of justification do not mean forgiveness plus being declared righteous, but simply being declared righteous.
In Luke’s Gospel the people justified God, meaning that they judged Him to be righteous. No mention or implication of forgiving God there, in the nature of the case. God justified the Lord Jesus by raising him from the dead, and again there is no suggestion of forgiveness. The man who perseveres in well-doing wil be justified by his works according to Paul.
So then, justification is usually used to describe righteous persons and Persons, not forgiven sinners.
Having said that, far be it from me to downplay our justification by faith alone. My purpose is to show that it is illegitimate to assume that forgiveness is always part of the meaning of justification.
The ONLY time that forgiveness is included in the semantic range of justification is when a sinner is justified. The Christian is not called a sinner in scripture, because it is assumed that he is righteous.
James’s man is justified by works and not by faith alone because he is no longer a sinner. God is justified by his works in the eyes of Israel. Jesus is justified by God by being raised to life again.
In other words there is a strong case to argue that MOST uses of the justification word group do not include forgiveness, but only being judged righteous.
Finally, it is thus right and proper to speak of a justifiaction by works while continuing a Reformation believer.