Eberhard Jüngel: we are righteous extra nos
Before I quote Jüngel, a few preliminary points. First, the extra nos character of Jüngel's theology is closely connected to, even dependent upon, his anthropology of the human person as a unity of the inner and outer person. Jüngel appropriates Luther's inner-outer distinction and makes it the center of his soteriology-anthropology. This is something Lutherans like Oswald Bayer and Tuomo Mannermaa wish to discard entirely. Jüngel, on the other hand, allows this to condition how he understands the "extra nos": the inner person is taken extra se, while the outer person remains active in the world. By making this distinction he is able to advocate what would otherwise be an absurdity: that our whole bodies are somehow taken away like some alien abduction. No, he rather makes this distinction so that our inner person (spirit) is re-created ex nihilo by God—brought into correspondence with God—after which act the outer person (flesh) is brought into active or moral correspondence with the inner person, and thus with God. So there are three levels of activity and a clear direction: God acts creatively on the passive inner person (taking it outside itself) by bestowing personhood, then the inner person (through the power of the Spirit) brings the outer person into moral correspondence with this interior personhood granted by God. To summarize the concept: our identity is not in ourselves but in God; we do not possess God but rather God possesses us; modern persons want to realize themselves through works and thus come to themselves, but the gospel tells us that we can only come to ourselves by forsaking ourselves and cleaving only to God. Here is Jüngel:
The intention of the forensic view of justification is to highlight the justification of sinners as an event by which they are accepted by God as righteous purely on the basis of God's righteousness - a righteousness completely extraneous to them - as it has been shown in the person of Jesus Christ Thus believers are described as those who 'are made acceptable to God because of [the] imputation [of God's righteousness].' This ensures that sinners can do nothing towards their own justification and, what is no less important, that they can never internalize the righteousness that is foreign to them or make it their own so that it passes into their possession. I am always accepted by someone else. I always have to gain my acceptance before a group. So recognition can never be 'had' as a possession by the one who is accepted or recognized. Those who are justified must resort to a tribunal outside themselves (extra se). There is nothing about them or in them - not even justifying grace poured into them - which can make sinners righteous. In the reality of the state of the justified there are no concessions to be made. They are righteous purely and simply because they are pronounced righteous. And they are only pronounced righteous because God's righteousness, which is extraneous to them, is attributed, imputed to them. So in the strictest sense, God's righteousness comes to them from outside, it is outward. Sinners are righteous externally to themselves: extrinsece Iustificantur semper. Sinners are righteous externally to themselves in the same sense that the Word is an external One, coming from the outside into our innermost being and responding and relating to what has happened outside us (extra nos) in Christ. So it is the Word alone that can come from outside into our innermost being in such a way as to move us to the place where we should be, where we have the right to be together with God. The doctrine of justification by the Word alone (solo verbo) is aimed at emphasizing this external relationship of justified sinners. ...
... If any discussion of the gracious renewal of the inner person (renovatio interioris hominis) is to be acceptable to Protestant theology, it must never be seen as complementary, as an alternative or as completing the extrinsetist view of justification. It can only be seen as a refinement of the definition of the external reference of justified sinners.
This occurs when we take the justifying Word of God seriously as one that speaks to us creatively. Such a Word can never remain 'external' to those addressed. Together with the righteousness of God that brings it to us, it touches us so greatly that it touches us more closely than we can touch ourselves. It becomes to us something more inward than our inmost being: interior intimo meo. [In a footnote here, Jüngel writes, "This is the element of truth in T. Mannermaa's interpretation of Luther."]
However, now we need to emphasize again that the justifying Word that so addresses and touches sinners does not let us remain in ourselves; it calls and places our inner being outside ourselves. If our inner being were to stay put, it would not be justified. This is what creatively defines those who are in concord with God: they come out of themselves in order to come to themselves - outside themselves, among other persons, and above all with the person of the wholly other God. And this is our human sin: that we want to come to ourselves by ourselves - instead of outside ourselves. So, leaving the relational riches of our being, we press forward into relationlessness. The Word of justifying grace essentially interrupts sinners in this urge towards relationlessness as it speaks creatively to us. It calls us out of ourselves as it comes so close to us, as it speaks and relates to what is outside ourselves, to what has been definitively moved by God's righteousness. It speaks and relates to the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ as they are outside us. The justifying Word from the cross addresses our inner being in this exterior aspect of our existence so that there we may come to ourselves and thus really, effectively be renewed. 'Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation' (2 Cor 5:17). In the next section we shall see how this comes about through faith. [These passages come from the section on solo verbo, "by the word alone."] For the moment we need to highlight the creative, renewing strength of the justifying Word by which alone God in his grace reaches our inner being and effectively makes us righteous.
So the justifying Word remakes our human existence anew, by relating us to Jesus Christ and there bringing us to ourselves, outside ourselves (extra se/extra nos). Thus this external reference is not something inferior and superficial, but a relationship which defines us in our inmost being. We are simply not ourselves when we are only by ourselves. We cannot find ourselves by 'going into ourselves'. We must come out of ourselves in order to come to ourselves. In a very clear sense we are called out of ourselves by the Word of justification: 'By faith he rises above himself unto God'. By faith we are able to 'rise above ourselves' because the Word of justification addresses us in such a way that we know we are related to the person of Jesus Christ and of God who acts in him. This is why we can speak of justification as a renewal of our inner persons who are also placed outside ourselves. It is impossible to imagine a more thorough-going renewal. So righteousness imputed to sinners is also righteousness which is imparted to them and renews them - by the Word alone.
[E. Jüngel, Justification: The Heart of the Christian Faith, 205-206, 212-214.]