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Colossians 2:13-15 – Forensic Justification
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Forensic Justification - what's your view about it? Since this is a Catholic Forum site, please explain why this Protestant view is incorrect.
How about this?
What if the question is not, what is the basis for our salvation, but rather what must we do to receive salvation? On a simplistic understanding of "forensic justification", you would think that the answer would be "Nothing! Christ has done it all". But that is a misunderstanding of forensic justification, and it is not the Lutheran answer. The Lutheran answer is: repentance, baptism, holy communion, striving for obedience, confession and absolution when we fail, hearing the Word of God, following a discipline of prayer; in short, passing the remainder of our lives in peace and repentance. This is to live the life in Christ, which means to receive forgiveness of sins and the divine life through the means which God has appointed: by hearing and taking to heart the Church's kerygma and participating in her covenanted mysteries, or (to use Lutheran language) through Word and Sacrament. To think that being saved by grace alone, through faith alone, means that we need not live the life in Christ, that we can just walk away from the means of grace, is a contradiction.
But here is the key distinction: to live the life in Christ (that is, life in the Church) through Word and Sacrament is how we receive, enter into, and appropriate our salvation, but it is not the basis of our salvation. It is the work of Christ that accomplishes our salvation; our participation adds nothing to His work, but serves only to appropriate what he has has done (all that has come to pass for us). It is to safeguard that understanding of the work of Christ, not to exclude the importance of living the life in Christ, that "forensic justification" is emphasized.
All that is necessary to accomplish our salvation has been done by Christ (and I cannot believe that an Orthodox would dispute that). And I have to ask whether there is a difference between "imputation" of Christ's righteousness to us and our participation, by grace, in the divine nature. For the divine nature, necessarily, includes His righteousness. To the extent that we are deified by grace, we share in His righteousness. So "imputed righteousness" is no more and no less than a particular aspect of our theosis.