Judges Judges Justifying

May 22, 2013

God sent the judges in Judges to justify Israel.

Hopefully, that is sufficiently pithy to help us get beyond our anachronistic view of justification. When we talk about it, we tend to think exclusively of a modern judge in a courtroom whose sole task is to make pronouncements. But when God sent judges in the flesh, they were not known for courtroom activity so much as deliverance activity.

Justification is vindication, including deliverance against enemies. This is one primary reason why the term justification is associated with salvation in Scripture.

It is necessary to understand that justification is a forensic (legal) term. It is also necessary to understand that the forensic character is not determined by modern settings, but by Scripture.

There is in Scripture a throne of judgment, but vindicating activities surrounding the throne are all equally aspects of God’s legal action. God does what He says.

This is why Peter Leithart speaks of biblical justification as a “deliverdict.”

Contrary to what some imply, justification is not fiction, but re-creation.