“The justification of the ungodly cannot be isolated from the public vindication of the people of God. What drives the biblical concept of vindication (and Pauline notion of justification) is not the problem of how sinners can find a gracious God, rather the controlling question is: who are the people of God and in what economy shall they be vindicated? To use the cosmic terminology of Rom. 8.18-39, justification is about the long awaited revelation of the sons of God and the public vindication of these sons before the entire world. In the final assize, Christians are seen for who they are, not the scum of the earth or refuse of the empire, but God’s own people. The resurrection is the incarnation of the justification of the saints whereby the pagan world learns (perhaps to its disdain) what God thinks of the Messiah-believers through what he grants to them: glory, honour, righteousness, and life. Situated in this light justification demonstrates that the issues of corporate identity and divine justice are intrinsically related.”
Michael Bird, The Saving Righteousness of God, 119.