I invite our readers to compare the following definitions of "forensic" or "judicial" justification. One is by Martin Chemnitz. The other is by WELS District President Jon Buchholz, as quoted in a comment on the previous post.
Notice when this courtroom or judicial verdict is said to occur in each definition. According to Chemnitz, the verdict is rendered when the sinner flees in faith to the throne of grace (i.e., Christ). According to Buchholz, the verdict was already rendered for all people at Calvary, i.e., 2,000 years ago.
Some will claim that Chemnitz is describing what they call "subjective justification," while Buchholz is describing "objective justification," like "two sides of the same coin." I find this explanation to be completely inadequate and arbitrary. Chemnitz does not claim to be describing one side of some fictional "justification coin." He is describing how sinners are justified, period. Chemnitz's definition has the support of dozens of Scripture passages. Buchholz's position has the support of (dare I say) none. On the contrary, his position is directly contradicted by several passages of Scripture (John 3:16-18, John 20:23, John 5:22-24, Luke 18:14, John 3:5-8, John 3:36, Rom. 9:30-33, Rom. 10:10, 2 Cor. 6:14, Gal. 2:16-17, Gal. 5:4-5, Eph. 2:1-3, 1 John 5:11-12, etc.).
To assert that God did or declared something is a big deal, and one had better be able to support such a claim with clear passages of Scripture. There are many passages that describe Christ's finished work at the cross, but "justification" is not one of them. On the contrary, unbelievers throughout Scripture are said to be condemned, not "justified, whether they believe it or not."