Explore, Experiment, Discover

Beyond Forensic Righteousness

The courtroom view of righteousness and justification is good and biblical and has served the Church well over the years. However, it is important to remember that the idea of a cosmic courtroom is an analogy, and, like all analogies, is not exhaustive or ultimate.

"...the fact remains that the biblical notion or righteousness does not make sense as a forensic term in the abstract. The universe is not ultimately impersonal. Nor are there impersonal principles or 'laws' which govern the world or man. The notion of law in the Bible, and therefore, also, the idea of righteousness, is inescapably a matter of interpersonal relationships, which is why it is possible for Jesus to summarize the law in terms of love. Also, if righteousness is to have any meaning in the interpersonal relationships of the persons of the Trinity, it cannot be limited to forensic ideas or to the notion of obedience to commandments. Rather than strictly legal notions, the following sort of interpersonal ideas must be prominent: faithfulness to the covenant, an inflexible commitment to bless the beloved, the integrity that is associated with covenant loyalty."
-from Paradox and Truth: Rethinking Van Til on the Trinity by Ralph Smith