Ritschl regarded justification as primarily an endowment of the church, in which the individual participated only so far as he belonged to the church. See Pfleiderer, Die Ritschl?sche Theologie, 70. Here Ritschl committed an error like that of the Romanist ? the church is the door to Christ instead of Christ being the door to the church. Justification belongs primarily to Christ and then to those who join themselves to Christ by faith and the church is the natural and voluntary aggregation of those who in Christ are thus justified. Hence, the necessity for the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus. ?For as the ministry of Enoch was sealed by his reception into heaven and as the ministry of Elijah was also abundantly proved by his translation, so also the righteousness and innocence of Christ. But it was necessary that the ascension of Christ should be more fully attested, because upon his righteousness, so fully proved by his ascension, we must depend for all our righteousness. For if God had not approved him after his resurrection and he had not taken his seat at his right hand, we could by no means be accepted of God? (Cartwright).
A.J. Gordon, Ministry of the Spirit, 46, 193, 195, 206 ? ?Christ must be justified in the spirit and received up into glory, before he can be made righteousness to us and we can become the righteousness of God in him. Christ?s coronation is the indispensable condition of our justification. Christ, the High Priest has entered the Holy of Holies in heaven for us. Until he comes forth at the Second Advent, how can we be assured that his sacrifice for us is accepted? We reply that it is by the gift of the Holy Spirit. The presence of the Spirit in the church is the proof of the presence of Christ before the throne. The Holy Spirit convinces of righteousness, ?because I go unto the Father, and ye see me no more? ( <431610>John 16:10). We can only know that ?we have a Paraclete with the Father, even Jesus Christ the Righteous? ( <620201>1 John 2:1), by that ?other Paraclete? sent forth from the Father, even the Holy Spirit ( <431425>John 14:25, 26; 15:26). The church, having the Spirit, reflects Christ to the world. As Christ manifests the Father, so the church through the Spirit manifests Christ. So Christ gives to us his name, ?Christians.? as the husband gives his name to the wife.?
As Adam?s sin is imputed to us, not because Adam is in us, but because we were in Adam so Christ?s righteousness is imputed to us, not because Christ is in us but because we are in Christ. We are joined by faith to one whose righteousness and life are infinitely greater than our power to appropriate or contain. In this sense, we may say that we are justified through a Christ outside of us as we are sanctified through a Christ within us. Edwards: ?The justification of the believer is no other than his being
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