1. The question of justification is a matter of covenant membership. The underlying question in (for instance) Gal. 3 and 4 is: Who are the true children of Abraham? Paul’s answer is that membership belongs to all who believe in the gospel of Jesus, whatever their racial or moral background.
2. The basis of this verdict is the representative death and resurrection of Jesus himself. In view of universal sin, God can only be in covenant with human beings if that sin is dealt with, and this has been achieved by God himself in the death of his Son (Rom. 3:24-26; 5:8-9). Jesus takes on himself the curse which would have prevented God’s promised blessing finding fulfilment (Gal. 3:10-14). The resurrection is God’s declaration that Jesus, and hence his people, are in the right before God (Rom. 4:24-25).
3. The verdict issued in the present on the basis of faith (Rom. 3:21-26) correctly anticipates the verdict to be issued in the final judgment on the basis of the total life (Rom. 2:1-16, on which see Cranfield, Romans, vol. 1, pp. 151-153). This future ‘verdict’ is in fact, seen from another angle, simply resurrection itself (Phil. 3:9-11). The logic of this ‘eschatological’ perspective is explained as follows: