According to fourth century Greek father John Chrysostom, God justifies as a judge who “declares us just.”61 Justification is instantaneous (occurring “straitway”), and it is only after the grace of justification that “a life suited to it” begins. Therefore, justification, itself, is best seen as being objective.62
The righteousness of God in the work of Christ is “reckoned” to believers as righteousness (Rom.4:3–4) as they exercise saving faith. The word “reckon” (logizomai) used in connection with “faith” indicated not only that man’s faith is not meritorious, since faith is only “counted” as righteousness by God,63 but the word “reckon” also is evidence that this righteousness is not infused but rather imputed.64 For this reason Murray defines justification as “a constitutive act whereby the righteousness of Christ is imputed to our account.”65
The terms that are connected with justification, finally, underscore the objectivity of that event. In the Hebrew Bible where the root tsda is used, as Morris says, “there can be no doubt that the meaning is to declare righteous rather than to make righteous.”66 Morris argues this from Isaiah 5:23, where righteousness cannot be a moral quality, and Job 13:18, where Job “can only mean that he will be declared righteous, as by a judge giving sentence in a law suit.”67 Scripture certainly supports the Protestant doctrine that justification is forensic and is acquired only by faith apart from works. That is why Protestants disagree with Roman Catholics about justification."