Mike Leake on the Subtle Difference Between Vindication and Justification, and Why It Matters

If you are a follower of Jesus it is relatively safe to assume that you know what to do with your guilt. We know that when we blow it, that we are to go to Christ in repentance for the forgiveness of sin. What we need in this moment is atonement and then justification. In other words, we need our guilt to be paid for and then for our record to be declared clean.

But what do you do whenever you’ve been wronged? Where do you go when you’re being slandered? What do you do when you need God to “justify you” not in the forensic sense but by way of vindication?

I’m convinced that it is the second question which is fixed on the mind of the apostle Peter and his hearers when he delivers the message of 1 Peter to them. Vindication. That’s the thrust of his encouragement to these elect exiles who are experiencing shame instead of honor. He is encouraging them to press on by showing that they’ll ultimately receive honor instead of shame. In other words, they’ll be vindicated.

But something interesting happened to me in my attempts to do a deep dive on this concept of vindication. I kept running into a road block. Most of my searches hit a dead end:

See Justification.

If I were creating one of those nerdy Venn diagrams there would be significant crossover between justification and vindication. They have similar roots, they’re both grounded in the work of Christ, they both have to do with us being declared innocent. But there is a subtle difference. And I think this difference is important.

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Source: Church Leaders