“The essential feature of the Reformation doctrines of justification is that a deliberate and systematic distinction is made between justification and regeneration. Although it must be emphasised that this distinction is purely notional, in that it is impossible to separate the two within the context of the ordo salutis [‘order of salvation’], the essential point is that a notional distinction is made where none had been acknowledge before in the history of christian doctrine. …The Reformation of the nature of justification – as opposed to its mode – must therefore be regarded as a genuine theological novum [‘new thing’]. (A. McGrath, Iustitia Dei, 186-87).
I’ve quoted from Alister McGrath’s book on the Christian doctrine of justification as I’ve reflected upon my reference to Martin Luther in the previous post.
I am conscious that I’ve been pretty loose in my comments and summary of these complex Reformation debates. McGrath’s book is a place to go for a thorough analysis of what transpired. This quote comes from his concluding chapter. (In passing, I note too the distinction that McGrath observes between the concept of justification and the doctrine of justification. See page 2.)