Thanks again Mark
It is more than cheeky to copy and paste an entire blog post from someone else's blog, but Mark Horne has such a good post that I would rather breach etiquette than a few less people read it.
Having one's sins forgiven is an awesome blessing, one that is greatly needed by sinful man.
Yet Paul never emphasizes forgiveness as much as justification. While justification includes forgiveness, that fact remains that justification is more frequently emphasized.
Why? What is so central about "justification" as opposed to other words that denote being counted as righteous?
The answer, I think, has to be found in the fact that God is a great King and Jesus is lord. If I sin against you I will ask you for forgiveness, but if I am brought up on charges by a public authority then I will be praying to be vindicated.
God isn't just a personal friend but also the judge of all the earth. I would be inaccurate to reduce his judicial pronouncements to only the same level of one person forgiving another.