“The doctrine of justification, which now follows, is one of the chief articles of our faith, not only because it treats of those things which are fundamental, but also because it is most frequently called in question by heretics. The controversies between the church and heretics have respect principally to two points: the one is concerning God, and the other concerning the justification of man in the sight of God.” Ursinus
Just to prove the point, check out the latest from the Presbyterian Church (USA) in this report originally from the Associated Press.
Righteousness is conformity with the law, that by which we are justified before God. Justification is the application of this righteousness – the imputation and application of that righteousness which Christ wrought out for us by his death upon the cross and by his resurrection from the dead. It is not a transfusion of righteousness, or of the qualities thereof; but it is the acquitting or the declaring us free from sin in the judgment of God, on the ground of the righteousness of another.
There are two ways in which thesatisfaction of Christ is made over unto us:
1. God Himself applies it unto us, that is, he makes the righteousness of Christ over unto us, and accepts of us as righteous on account of it, as if it were ours.
2. We apply it also unto ourselves when we receive the righteousness of Christ through faith, that is, we rest assured that God will grant it unto us, that he will regard us as righteous on account of it and
that he will free us from all guilt.
[Justification is] not …to make one that is unjust, just, by infusing in him thequalities of righteousness; but [it] …is to regard one thatis unrighteous as righteous, and to absolve him from guilt,and not to punish him, all of which is done on account of thesatisfaction of another imputed unto him.
We are justified by the mercyor grace of God, as the chief moving cause, by which Godwas led to justify and save us. We are justified by themerits of Christ, partly as by the formal cause of ourjustification, inasmuch as God accepts of us in view of the obedience of Christ applied unto us, …and partly as themoving and meritorious cause, inasmuch as God on account of this, acquits and frees us from the condemnation of the law. We are justified by faith, as by an instrumental cause, by which we apprehend the righteousness of Christ imputed unto us.
We are justified by faith and through faith but never on account of faith.
(All previous from Ursinus)
Who are the people?
Federal Vision; Auburn Avenue Theology:
N. T. Wright; Norman Shepherd; Douglas Wilson; Steve Wilkins; Steve Schlissel
New Perspective on Paul; Neo-Legalism:
N. T. Wright; E. P. Sanders; James G. Dunn
Further links to checkout:
Summary Statement of Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church’s Position
See especially #’s 4, 7-10, 12, 13