alien righteousness

Juán de Valdés (1498-1541) – Justification and eternal life

“Juán de Valdés (1498-1541)


8.3.1 Justification and eternal life

Valdés has a very different understanding of the doctrine of justification in comparison with medieval views, such as Aquinas. Theologians of the middle ages typically construe justification as a life-long process where a person acquires greater quantities of righteousness through the infused habit received in baptism. Baptism, therefore, is the sacrament of justification, but a person’s righteous status is not finalized until the consummation when he is actually declared righteous. Valdés, by contrast, states: “I come to gather, that there being in effect as much faith in a man, as there is knowledge of God in Christ, and that by faith a man gets justification, and by justification he gets glorification and life eternal.” (author’s footnote) Justification, in the moment of reception, immediately secures a person’s eternal life. In this respect, justification has a definitive eschatological cast to it, as it secures the end goal of redemption in the present. The forensic declaration does not await a person’s amassing of righteousness because the verdict is not based upon personal righteousness but the righteousness of Christ. So Valdés doctrine of justification is different from medieval views.”

J.V. Fesko, Beyond Calvin: Union with Christ and Justification in Early Modern Reformed Theology (1517-1700), pg 165. Author’s footnote: Valdés, “Considerations, LXIX (p. 242)

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