Active/Passive Justification and Union


Puritan Board Freshman
So today I listened to episode 49 of the Glory-Cloud Podcast on Justification and Union with Christ and was introduced to the concepts of active and passive, or objective and subjective justification. Active justification logically precedes regeneration whereas passive justification logically follows faith (See Berkhof). Prior to this I was convinced that we are vitally/mystically/existentially united to Christ by faith and it is from that union that all the benefits of redemption flow, which of course includes justification. However, the introduction of Active and Passive justification has challenged my formulation in that it allows for a justification grounded in our federal union with Christ through the pactum salutis prior to regeneration and thus prior to faith and any vital union with Christ while simultaneously preserving justification by faith alone. In summary, the renovative is grounded in the forensic. In the past I would've said you can't ground the renovative in the forensic because it mingles categories. Having both justification and sanctification flowing from our vital union with Christ alleviates the issue of intermingling the forensic and renovative but I'm no longer sure if it's even an issue. Rather, now I'm unsure how one would receive the gift of the Spirit if not previously declared righteous through imputation.

What do you all think? All insight is appreciated.

Berkhof, Section E