Question: How many kinds of justification are there, and how can we differentiate between them?
Answer: Although the Bible describes, and the Truth writings speak of tentative, vitalized, reckoned and actual justification, there are three and not four different kinds of justification. This will become clear later.
Tentative justification is an act of God by which one who repents of his sins and believes on Jesus, is treated by God as if as if the merit of Christ had been imputed on his behalf, and as if the Adamic sentence against him had been cancelled, while in reality, neither of these things has been done for him. Vitalized justification, on the other hand, is an act of God whereby, after the merit of Christ is imputed to a person who, in addition to exercising repentance toward God and faith in Jesus, has consecrated himself, God actually and forever cancels the Adamic sentence against him, and actually and forever forgives his Adamic sins.
Contrast Between Actual and Reckoned Justification
Actual and reckoned justifications are used in contrast with one another in two distinct ways:
(1.) The first way is in contrasting tentative and vitalized justification. Tentative justification is only a reckoned cancellation of the Adamic penalty, and a reckoned forgiveness of Adamic sins by God; hence God has not really forgiven the person in question, nor has really cancelled the Adamic sentence, and hence really still holds that person under that sentence as unforgiven; while vitalized justification is a real and eternal cancellation of the Adamic penalty, and a real and eternal forgiveness of Adamic sins bestowed by God by virtue of the person in question becoming a beneficiary of the imputed merit of Christ. Please note that reckoned and actual or real justification, in the first sense of these terms, refer to acts of God alone, and have no reference to the perfection or imperfection of the individuals in question. They should be viewed entirely from the standpoint of their relation to the Adamic sentence and to God as the Judge deciding their relation to that sentence. In this sense of these terms, God alone justifies, and that as a Judge (Romans 8: 33).
(2.) The second way is in contrasting the physical, mental, moral, and religious condition of the persons in question. In this sense of the terms, one is reckonedly justified who, while really imperfect in his physical, mental, moral, and religious condition, is accounted by God as perfect in his physical, mental, moral, and religious condition. God can reckon such as perfect in his physical, mental, moral, and religious faculties by virtue of his faith in Christ; while one is actually justified whose physical, mental, moral, and religious faculties are really perfect, and not simply considered perfect while really imperfect.
In summary, there are three kinds of justification: tentative, vitalized, and actual justification. Reckoned justification is not a different kind of justification, but a term used to help us understand the difference between tentative and vitalized justification and between tentative and