There are an unlimited number of ways that the biblical and Prayer Book teachings on Justification can be distorted or denied. However, they all share one factor, sin.
God’s righteousness, Luther thought, was the righteousness that condemned the unrighteousness. Luther knew himself to be a sinner and thus God’s righteousness was a permanent condition of condemnation. It was only after the Gospel news broke through, that Christ’s righteousness was disclosed in making us righteous through His birth, life, teaching, suffering, death and resurrection for us sinners. God’s justice (same Greek word as righteous) is precisely for the saving of sinners, including Martin Luther.
This understanding was the real spring board for the Reformation: not condemnation but rather justification for sinners.
We can, however, hold this experience out before us as a mere idea, without participating in it with personal shame, guilt, hope, despair, and pride. But repent we must. There is a symbiotic relationship between repentance and justification. The wonderful freeing confident experience of justification is not accessible without repentance, and true repentance cannot be accomplished without the experience of justification.
I am not unaware that I am treading on slippery ground but we have been given an exhilarating recovery of true