I recently learned of a quasi-Calvinist sect that believes it is only correct to say that one was justified at the death of Christ. To refer to being justified by faith at some point in one's lifetime is considered "works salvation" because "believing is something that we do." Thus this group believes they were conceived and born as justified Christians. They have never not been justified, because "God did it all." It's sort of ends up as a round about Pelagianism.
It reduces from the claim that the elect were always justified in God's mind from eternity past and eternity future (whatever those words mean). For this sect, justification is not something received by individuals in space-time history, but is just an eternal matter of fact.
Of course, the problem with this is that God created time and space and called it "good." He also placed humanity in time and sin space-time history. Adam and Eve fell in space-time history. Christ redeemed us in space-time history.
Obviously, Christ died on the cross for our redemption in AD 30 and before that he uttered the words, "It is finished." But there is something that the quasi-Calvinists neglect. In fact, I would say that it is something neglected by most of modern pop-Evangelicalism.
It is this. The eternal decrees are irrevocably harnessed to time and space, because the Second Person of the Trinity assumes human nature in space-time history from the womb of the Virgin and "spends time" on earth and in history. We cannot abstract salvation from history or location. It is not solely an "up there" salvation but also a "down here" salvation.
By defining the "truth Church" as the "invisible Church of the elect in God's mind in eternity," Evangelicals minimize the redemptive historical reality of Christ's incarnatoin. The Church is "the Body of Christ," not "the Soul of Christ." A body is visible. A body is tangible. A body exists in space-time history. The Church therefore cannot be "invisible" any more than could Christ's incarnate body be invisible or ghostly.
While "It is finished" at the cross, the Body of Christ extends out in time and while the redemption is accomplished, it is not yet applied. The application is NOT finished. The Church must grow by evangelization. People must be baptized, believe, repent, grow in sanctity, press on to Christ, finish the good race. Justification occurs in this real chronological, historical chronology of faithful Christian evangelization. The Blood of Christ was shed once. But Christ continues to apply that Precious Blood throughout time. This the function of a High Priest. Of course, this is the way to understand the Eucharist as well, but that's a whole other post.
Let it be said that the temptation to abstract salvation to eternal decrees ultimately ends up being Gnostic. Ultimately it requires that human beings be pre-existent (a heresy of Origen). It also requires that they be "saved always" because it assumes that historical progressions and changes are not real. This can be seen in the quasi-Calvinist sect's claim that the elect are always saved and were never non-justified, or it can be reflected in the claim Christians are "once-saved-always-saved" despite the warnings of real apostasy taught by Christ, St Paul, the author of Hebrews, and St John's Epistles and Revelation.