Justification has a horizontal dimension.

Michael Bird has posted a great summary of the “new perspective on Paul” over at Euangelion (see part 1 and part 2), but the new perspective I personally find most significant is this:

Justification has a horizontal dimension. Justification is clearly vertical and declares one’s right status/standing before God (e.g., Rom 5:1, 8:1), but also declares that a person is a member of the messianic community, the Israel of God. Note that the first thing imputed to Gentile believers in Romans is “circumcision,” i.e. covenant membership (Rom 3:26). Jesus was cursed on the cross so that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles (Gal 3:14). The first implication that Paul draws after Eph 2:8-10 is not sanctification, but the unity of Gentiles with Jews in the commonwealth of Israel defined by the Messiah (Eph 2.11ff).

What say you?

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