Romans 3:21-28But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
A few observations given by Murray which are helpful:
*Justification is forensic. It has to do with a judgment given, declared, pronounced; it is judicial or juridical or forensic.
*Regeneration is an act of God in us; justification is a judgment of God with respect to us.
*The purity of the gospel is bound up with the recognition of this distinction. If justification is confused with regeneration or sanctification, then the door is opened for the perversion of the gospel at its center. Justification is still the article of the standing of falling church.
*Justification is both a declarative and a constitutive act of God’s free grace. It is constitutive in order that it may be truly declarative. God must constitute the new relationship as well as declare it to be. The constitutive act consists in the imputation to us of the obedience and righteousness of Christ. The obedience of Christ must therefore be regarded as the ground of justification; it is the righteousness which God not only takes into account but reckons to our account when he justifies the ungodly.
*Scripture always speaks of our being justified by faith, or through faith, or upon faith, but never speaks of our being justified on account of faith, or because of faith.
*Justification is an act which proceeds from God’s free grace.
These nots come from Murray's book: "Regeneration Accomplished and Applied."