Justification by Faith and Ethical Formation
This chapter presents an overview of the question of ethical formation in relation to the Christian teaching of justification by faith alone. Lutherans in particular are seen as struggling with this relation and are often viewed as struggling to present a developed moral theology. The distinction between law and gospel opens up language of “two kinds of righteousness,” which risks separating justification from good works. Both “justification” and ethics are related to righteousness. Their contradistinction has served systematic theology well in emphasizing the graciousness of justification. In moral theology, however, this contradistinction may lead to disjunction, when, in fact, Christian ethics cannot be understood theologically without vigorous roots in justification. Rather than setting justification and ethics separately or at odds, one could investigate how both the activity of God to reconcile humanity to himself, and also the active human response to this reconciliation, give full expression to “righteousness,” theologically understood.
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