Sunday, March 04, 2007

Active and Passive Justification

In the past, Reformed theologians made a distinction between active and passive justification according to McGarth's book,IUSTITIA DEI. McGrath commenting on both: "The distinction refers to the act of God by which the sinner is justified (active justification), and the subjective feelings of grace subsequently evoked in the conscience of the justified sinner(passive). God acts to justify and humanity is passive in receiving this justification. The importance of the distinction lies in the fact that God's act of justification, in which the sinner is declared righteous, is perfect, accomplished once and for all, whereas the realisation by humans of this state of justifcation is imperfect, in so far as it is based upon the feeling of grace evoked in this conscience" (pg. 271)

Therefore, it seems that Reformed theologians believed that regeneration (if I can safely say faith comes from "regeneration") came both prior and posterior to justification with the "divine/objective" justification coming before regeneration. McGrath states: "the Reformed theologians were able to state that faith was posterior to objective, and prior to subjective justification" )pg. 272)

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