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    Christian Theology - Thread: Justification

    1. #1
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      Justification

      Most of the bible was written either in Hebrew or Greek. Some parts are in Aramaic and maybe a little Latin is present in this or that part of the four canonical gospels and there may be a phrase here and there of Persian or Babylonian or even Egyptian origin. But for the most part a scholar who knows ancient Hebrew and Koine Greek will be equipped to read the scriptures in their allegedly original languages - I say allegedly original because it is possible that some parts of the first books of the old testament may have been written in languages other than Hebrew but translated into Hebrew at some time in the remote past.

      In theology some words take on very specific meanings that are sharply defined in each Christian tradition. One such word is Justification. Saint Paul uses the Greek word "δικαίωσις" for "justification" numerous times in his letters but it is less frequently used in the other new testament books and, or course, in the Hebrew language a different word "צָדַק" is used and translated as "justification" or "justify" or "justified". But for some theologians the main focus for their tightly defined meaning for "justification" is found in saint Paul's letters.

      In Protestant traditions the word "Justification" is sometimes taken to mean "Just as if I'd never sinned" with very strong emphasis on courtroom and legal explanations of the word which amount to something like "just as if I'd never sinned". In Catholic tradition that is not so.

      Catholic teaching places more emphasis in Justification meaning "made righteous" or "made just" and the idea is that not only is there a legal idea in the word "justification" but there is also a real change in the people who are said to be "justified" and that real change is that they become - progressively - more and more just and righteous when they make good use of the graces that God gives to them in their lives. And because Catholic tradition keeps both the idea of legal and of actual change of status in its use of "justification" it follows that Catholic theology also places emphasis on real change in one's way of life and attitudes and words and doings as the actual meaning of "justification".

      It may be interesting to have a calm and well reasoned discussion about these ideas and their sources in holy scripture as well as in the development of theology in Christian thought. If you're interested in such a discussion come on board and start. I will post some material from Catholic sources as the discussion goes along. I think I may be the only actively posting Catholic on CH so do not expect me to deal with everything that my Protestant (and other) brethren have to say about their own views nor to answer every objection that some Protestant traditions have raised against Catholic views (or alleged Catholic views).

      If you want a polemic discussion about Justification and why this or that view is all wrong and evil then please don't raise polemics in this thread - start a different thread for that if you want to but leave this one for civil and respectful discussion.

      God be with you all. And may we have a fruitful discussion.
      Saint Jude, author of the new testament letter.

      He is the patron of impossible causes because the scriptural Letter of St. Jude, which he authored, urges Christians to persevere in difficult times.

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    3. #2
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      The Main Issue of the Reformation:


      Justification (narrow) was the KEY ISSUE. It was the one issue over which the church of the day used to excommunicate Luther, split the denomination and drive the Reformation. There were several other issues, but this was the “deal breaker.” And this issue is at the very heart, the very center of Christianity…. It is the “keystone” by which Christianity stands or falls.


      We must begin with a definition: By “salvation” we mean justification in the narrow sense. It’s our changed relationship with God, our spiritual coming to life. It is not at all to be mixed or confused with sanctification (discipleship, Christian living) which is what results and follows from justification – what we are to do as Christians (those justified). Here, when we say “salvation” we mean it in this sense of narrow justification. It is extremely important that we understand what is meant here, how the term is defined in this theological context.



      + Christ IS the Savior!


      Protestants believe that Jesus is the Savior. Jesus (alone) IS (actually) THE (one and only and all-sufficient) SAVIOR. So, if it has anything to do with Salvation (the narrow sense of justification) then it's WHOLLY and ENTIRELY the work, blessing and issue of Jesus. Not self. Not our denomination. We are justified by works, just not our own. We are justisfied by righteouommsness and love, just not our own. Protestants direct people to the Cross (not the mirror) and this resulted in Protestants being excommunicated from the RC denomination.

      It all hinges on one pretty simple but very critical question (all eternity hinges on it): WHO is the Savior?



      IF you answer "Jesus" then Jesus is the Savior. Not you - not a bit, not at all, not now, not ever, not in any way or shape or form or manner. Salvation is entirely, wholly, completely wrapped up in Jesus. Alone. Salvation is the work of Jesus, the accomplishment of Jesus, something Jesus does. It's entirely HIS work. HIS heart. HIS love. HIS mercy. HIS gift. HIS blessing. His life, His death, His resurrection. His Cross, His blood, His sacrifice. His righteousness, His obedience, His holiness. Not you. Not yours. Not in whole. Not in part. Not now. Not ever. You may have some other role in some other matter (Christian living, for example), but not this. The "job" of Savior belongs to Jesus. Not you.

      IF you answer "me!" then you are the Savior. Not Jesus - not a bit, not at all. Not now, not ever. Not in any way, shape or form or manner. Salvation is all wrapped up in YOU. In YOUR works. YOUR will. YOUR love. YOUR efforts. YOUR merits. YOUR obedience. YOUR righteousness. YOUR decisions. Your surrendering. YOUR holiness. YOUR sacrifice. Not Jesus. Not Jesus'. Jesus may have some other role in some other matter, just not this one. The Savior is you.


      Here’s the problem…..

      While the church was ONCE crystal clear that Jesus is the exclusive SAVIOR, all this had gotten seriously gummed up. For centuries before Luther, the “answer” was pretty much: ME. The typical view in Luther’s time was Jesus actually had two very different roles:

      1. Possibility-Maker. The “spin” was that Jesus did all that is necessary to make salvation possible. By His life, death and resurrection, He opened the gate to heaven, and made it POSSIBLE to us to be saved. Of course, that’s true – but its lightyears away from saying He’s the Savior! People were told THEY had to get THEMSELVES through those gates – thus the actual “job” of salvation is our own. People were told that Jesus is not the Savior (you have that job) rather He is the possibility-maker. Some stressed that we save ourselves by our works or our faith, others had other ideas in how we save ourselves but they are all embracing that while Jesus makes salvation possible – we actually save ourselves by what WE do, something(s) we can point to that WE did.

      2. Helper. But we can’t do it by our own innate strength and ability – we need HELP. The medieval church of the west defined the word “grace” (in justification) as “help.” Or as it is sometimes put today, “Grace is the divine ‘gas’ God puts in your ‘tank’ so that YOU ultimately can get YOURSELF where you need to be.” This “help” became the focus of the concept of salvation – the HELP we need (and get) so that we can save ourselves. HELP from the Roman Catholic Church…. HELP from the official current “Saints” declared by the Catholic Church, HELP from the “Treasury of Merits” of the Catholic Church, HELP from the Virgin Mary, etc. Jesus too began to be proclaimed as our HELPER. If YOU adequately tap this “help” you can save yourself. But that’s lightyears away from proclaiming that Jesus saves!


      There are really just two places to look: To the mirror OR to the Cross. There are really only two religions in the world: Trusting in Christ or trusting in self. When we stop looking to the perfect, divine CHRIST and instead look in the mirror to the sinful, flawed, limited SELF – either uncertainty and fear result (as we realize how lacking we are) OR pride/boasting results if we conclude the guy in the mirror in one awesome dude. Most lacked the ego for the second – so fear, insecurity reigned as people HOPED someday to save themselves but….



      + Monergism vs. Synergism – The DEBATE


      These are the theological terms used for the “two sides” in this critical debate (that ultimately split the Roman Catholic Church in 1521).

      1. Monergism (One-side) is the conviction that salvation is God’s gracious gift. Jesus is THE one, exclusive, all-sufficient Savior. This conviction is the basis for the “rally cries” of the Reformation: Sola Gratia – Solus Christus – Sola Fide. Soli Deo Gloria! The “sola, solus, soli” are all Latin for exclusively, solely, alone, only. The Reformation is a solid, bold, confident proclamation that salvation is all about Jesus!

      SOLA Gratia – Grace Alone: it’s all about God’s heart! It all begins with and happens because of God’s heart, His unconditional and unearned love, favor, mercy and gifts. “For God so loved the world…..”
      SOLUS Christus – Christ Alone: It’s all the result of what Jesus did/does; Christ is the Savior! “… that He gave His only begotten son”
      SOLA Fide – Faith Alone: Which faith trusts/embraces/apprehends; faith as God’s work, too. “whosoever believes in Him”
      SOLI Deo Gloria – God ALONE has all the glory, gets all the “credit.” ALL the above is God’s doing. The arrow comes down….. a blessing….. a gift….. an inheritance….

      2. Synergism (Two-sides, Cooperation). This became the Catholic position against Luther. Our salvation, the Catholic Church of the day insisted, is a cooperative venture: Jesus does his part (opening those gates) and we do ours (walking through them). Luther, it insisted, was a heretic for holding to the view of monergism, for holding that Jesus is the all-sufficient Savior. The Catholic Church insisted Jesus has to do His part good enough (and He did), now we gotta do our part good enough (ultimately its WE who do that part that actually results in our entering heaven).

      Luther stressed it’s all a GIFT from God! God’s doing! Luther stressed God’s mercy, favor, and unconditional love. The church then stressed it’s instead a cooperative venture – Jesus opening the “gates” and insuring we are offered sufficient help – we needing to “tap” that sufficiently, do all the “stuff” we need to do, and (ultimately) get ourselves saved.

      Largely – it came down to these two basic, mutually exclusive views. Luther would not recant and so was excommunicated (by the way, Luther desired to submit BOTH views to a true ecumenical council and submit to its ruling, but that never happened).



      + Lutheran Theology’s Favorite Word


      How does all this “crank out” in real life? How – exactly – does God DO all this in people’s lives? Why do some people believe and some don’t? Does God force his will on people? Yesiree, there’s a bunch of practical questions (a few of which are valid). How do Lutherans answer all these endless questions of HOW? Typically, we don’t. The favorite word in Lutheran theology is “mystery.”

      We use it when there’s a valid question…. but there is no clear, sound, biblical “answer.” We don’t ASSUME that Lutherans (and especially ONLY Lutherans) perfectly know how all this works…. how it “cranks out,” how God applies the work of Jesus to us…. how God gives us the gift of salvation through faith….. why God loves us so much….. why the life, death, resurrection of Christ saves…. People can theorize (if they really insist, if they can’t resist that temptation) but we can’t be dogmatic about such things when God is not. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know.” In fact, it’s often a really wise thing to say.

      People (with our puny, limited, sinful brains…. Luther didn’t think much of them) are apt to conclude that because some aren’t saved, therefore it must be because WE didn’t do our part (maybe forgot to jump through some hoop). Perhaps that makes sense to some, but it’s not biblical. Some may conclude it’s because some aren’t good enough or repentant enough or don’t belong to the right denomination or didn’t (fill in the blank) but they all are making a wrong assumption: that the Savior is self. They are looking in the mirror.

      Lutherans accept that we can’t “answer” all the practical issues here – and (to be frank) we’re totally okay with that. But THIS we will shout from the rooftops: JESUS is THE Savior! If it has to do with salvation, Jesus handles it. It’s grace! It’s mercy! It’s an inheritance! It’s a blessing! It’s a free gift! And it’s all about Jesus! Lift high the Cross (and please hide my mirror)!



      .
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

    4. #3
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      The Gospel of Justification:


      Lutherans teach that justification (narrow) is Sola Gratia - Solus Christus - Sola Fide as ONE inseparable doctrine.




      Sola Gratia (Grace Alone). “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8, see also Romans 6:23, Titus 3:5, etc.). This places emphasis that our salvation flows from God’s heart – not ours. Grace in justification is God’s unmerited, unconditional love/favor/gift. Grace means “getting what we don’t deserve.” It is “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense”


      Solus Christus (Christ Alone). “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). “There is no other name under heaven by which we may be saved” (Acts 4:12). “No one comes to the Father except by Me” (John 14:6). Christ IS our Savior and our salvation. It’s CHRIST’s perfect live, CHRIST’s perfect sacrifice, CHRIST’s triumphant resurrection! Christ is the object of our faith. In justification, it is not how much we believe or how good we believe but in Whom we believe; our focus is on the quality of Christ’s work rather than on the quality of our faith; HE is our certainty. We look to the Cross ( not in the mirror) to see the Savior.


      Sola Fide (Faith Alone). “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved!” (Acts 16:30-31. Also see John 3:16, Acts 10:43, etc.). This proclaims that His grace and salvation are embraced by God’s gift of faith. Faith means to trust or rely upon. It means to have active confidence or reliance especially upon something “unseen” or “unproven.” It too is the gift of God.



      For God so loved the world (Sola Gratia) that He gave His only begotten Son (Solus Christus) that whosoever believes in Him (Sola Fide) will not perish but has everlasting life!



      “God is love!” (1 John 1:8),
      “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but has everlasting life!” (John 3:16),
      “God shows His love for us in that while we were enemies, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
      “God saved us not because of deeds done by us but in virtue of His own mercy, that we might be saved by His grace” (Titus 3:5),
      “For our sake God made Jesus to be sin who knew no sin so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
      “The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:23).
      “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your doing but it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
      “Everyone that believes in Christ receives forgiveness of sins through His name” (Acts 10:43)
      “Sirs, what must we do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” Acts 16:30-31

      Our justification (narrow) is the result of GOD’S heart, will and work – not our own. Nor is this a mixture of our works and His works so that Jesus is PARTLY the Savior and we are PARTLY the Savior (synergistic Pelagianism), no, Jesus IS the SAVIOR. If it has to do with salvation (justification, narrow) then it's Jesus' doing and gift. We are to keep our hearts and faith focused squarely and only on Jesus who ALONE is THE Savior.



      A word about faith…


      “For by grace you have been saved through faith in Christ, and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” Ephesians 2:8
      “We are justified by faith” Romans 5:1
      “God justifies he who has faith in Jesus Christ. Romans 3:26


      The word “faith” means to rely, to trust. In its use here, it means to rely on Christ for Salvation (and beyond). It is the means by which we embrace the promise and the work of Christ.

      Faith is not just (or even primarily) a cognitive or mental thing, it means to place our trust, our life in another – to rely. When we ride in an airplane, we may not understand exactly how the plane flies – but we can board the plane and literally entrust our very lives to it. We may submit to surgery and to a surgeon whom we don’t even know (and who doesn’t know us) and have no idea what will happen – literally entrusting our very life to him/her. Trust is a key factor in lives (to not trust is to be paranoid). For a Christian, we trust our soul and much of our life to God. In salvation, we trust in His works rather than in our own, we look to HIS perfect life rather than our sinful one, to His death rather than the one we deserve. We are placing our lives in His loving hands.

      Faith is not our doing, it is the ‘gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8)




      A word about our works…

      Salvation is not the result of OUR works but rather JESUS’ works. He is the Savior; we are not. Because JESUS is the Savior, it is His works that bring about our salvation – not ours (or else, we’d be the Savior!).

      On the other hand, Scripture is clear that faith is never alone (James 2:17, Galatians 5:25, John 13:34, Philippians 2:13, Philippians 3:12-14). OUR works do not save us, but they result from our being saved – they are the result of our justification and not the cause of it. We love not so that God will love us, rather we love because God first loved us (Galatians 5:25, John 13:34, Hebrews 11:6). OUR works are not the cause of salvation but the result of salvation, and as such, are to accompany our lives as Christians. CHRISTIANS are called to great things! To absolute divine holiness... to love even as Christ first loved us... to service/ministry.... and much, much more! These are not optional! But these are what the justified are called to do, not what makes one the justified. The unregenerate are dead and can't do anything spiritual (cuz they are dead), but once GIVEN life ("I have come that they may have life....") then (and only then) can they begin to live and grow and mature. It's not the growing that makes one alive, but being alive means we can grow.

      Messing this up undermines everything! When Jesus is no longer the Savior, we’ve stepped outside of Christianity. When we are made our own Savior (in whole or in part), the result is not only a conflict with Scripture and the central affirmation of Christianity, but it results in one of two things: A “terror of the conscience” (as we realize we’re not the “savior” of self we need to be) or we become little self-righteous, condemning souls (because we think we are what we need to be). It results in the beauty and comfort of the Gospel being lost and our relationship to God undermined.

      In some circles, OUR works are added to the requirements of John 3:16 so that it reads, “For God so loved the world so that those who do “X, Y and Z” will not perish but have everlasting life.” The key factor then is not Christ but our performance of “X, Y and Z” – not His work but our work, WE become the Savior, not Christ. And we must worry if we’ve done “X, Y and Z” well enough (remember His call to perfection?), if we’ve done enough, if we’ve done well enough, if we’ve been sufficient. IF we answer “NO” the result is a “terror of the conscience” so that we never know if we are forgiven or saved or heaven-bound or not. IF we answer “YES” the result is often a prideful, self-righteous, condemning modern-day Pharisee. We must not mix our works with Christ’s works, the cause of salvation with the fruit of salvation. The result is the “peace that passes all understanding” and love that isn’t selfish and self-serving but truly of God.

      Jesus is the Savior! We are saved by His grace and mercy, by His life and death and resurrection! Our faith, our rest, our certainty are in Christ! Our peace, our confidence, our certainty are in Christ!




      SEE ALSO POST # 8




      - Josiah



      .
      Last edited by Josiah; 03-29-2018 at 04:20 PM. Reason: Spelling/Grammar
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

    5. #4
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      Some of it may be semantics as people trip over different terms for the same thing, or the same term to describe different things.

      Where I grew up, SALVATION is the whole big process from start to finish and is usually described in three parts:
      JUSTIFICATION is where God takes a no good, low down sinner, cleans up your heart, places His mark of ownership on you and places you at the starting line of Paul's metaphorical 'race'.
      SANCTIFICATION is where you walk in the good works which God prepared beforehand [Ephesians 2:10] and run with endurance the race that is set before us [Hebrews 12:1] ... commonly called 'life'.
      GLORIFICATION is when we cross that 'finish line' and the last of the crud from the old man falls away. We enter Heaven perfected.

      So I have to wonder if Catholic 'Justification' included my back home 'Justification' and 'Sanctification' ... making the issue at least partly SEMANTICS.

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      Quote Originally Posted by atpollard View Post
      So I have to wonder if Catholic 'Justification' included my back home 'Justification' and 'Sanctification' ... making the issue at least partly SEMANTICS.


      Catholics on Justification....



      @atpollard,


      ...as a former Catholic (with most of my family being Catholic) I have spent an ENORMOUS amount of time and energy TRYING to "get" the Catholic position on this - which I think we'd agree is, BY FAR, the most important doctrine there is, the Chief Article of the Christian faith, THE one doctrine in which a denomination should be clearest on.


      SOME things seem relevant....


      1. Luther taught Sola Gratia - Solus Christus - Sola Fide. See posts # 2 and 3 above. John 3:16. And he was excommunicated specifically and solely for THAT teaching; the RCC declaring THAT to be apostasy and heresy. You will find Catholics (even high standing apologists and theologians) who will TRY to sound very Lutheran... even argue that actually the Lutheran and Catholic positions are similar and (as you put it) mostly semantics. The Joint Declaration on Justification tried to support that post-Vatican II Catholic spin. Here's why I find that laughable: The RCC officially condemned it as heretical and apostate and SO horrible that it chose THAT teaching to split itself over. For Catholics to say, "Actually, it's mostly just semantics" is to declare every Catholic prior to Vatican II and to declare the Council of Trent to be stupid, ignorant and lying. No.... I think those Catholics DID understand Luther and DID understand Catholicism.... and found the Protestant view of Sola Gratia - Solus Christus - Sola Fide to be the antithesis of Catholicism; and since the RCC itself INSISTS its position on this hasn't changed since 33 AD, it must still be apostate heresy. Desires of SOME Catholics to sound like Mr. Roger's aside.


      2. I DO agree with you on one critical point: Semantics and definitions are issues here. Protestants TEND to use the terms "salvation" and "justification" interchangeably. IMO, a case CAN be made that a lot of these terms can mean a lot of things (indeed, they are nearly interchangeable). For Catholcism, all this is one, enormous, mixed-up, blended MESS (IMO, this is the cause of the enormous confusion Catholics tend to have). Luther and Calvin (following Augustine and others) see this as TWO DIFFERENT but inseparable issues: Justification and Sanctification (I'll post more on that in a minute, in a separate post). This helps ENORMOUSLY: permitting all the Scriptures to be literally and fully true - just applying to different issues. This is what Lutheran and Reformed Protestants mean by "in the narrow sense" (realizing Scripture itself does - at times - use these terms in broader senses). But in Catholicism, it's all one HUGE entangled MESS that leads to infinite confusion and IMO to even, at times, the denial of the Christian Gospel (In all fairness, this can happen in some forms of Protestantism, too: I started a whole thread on that very point some time ago here at CH noting the need for the Reformation to continue - ironically in Protestantism). You are right, Arthur. It's PARTLY a matter of semantics and definitions (what exactly we're talking about) - but only partly.


      3. Here is exactly what I (and all my Catholic friends and family) where taught in the Catholic Church by our Catholic teachers: "God helps those who help themselves." "Jesus opened the gate to heaven but you gotta get yourself through it by what you do." While the word "Savior" was used constantly, WE were never taught that Jesus is the Savior; indeed Jesus fully/actually/literally saves no one. What we were taught is that Jesus is 1) The Possibility-Maker. He makes salvation possible (without His death and resurrection, NO ONE could be saved) and 2) He is the Helper (although this role got very little emphasis.... instead our teachers gave more emphasis to the current official list of Saints of the RCC, the exactly 7 Sacraments of the RCC, the Treasury of Merits of the RCC, and the Virgin Mary; but Jesus sometimes got mentioned too as a Helper). Interestingly, we were told "we are justified by grace" but then we were informed, "grace is help or empowering; it's like the gas you put in the tank of your car... God gives you some gallons of grace but it's up to you to put that grace to good use to do what you need to do for yourself to get yourself where you need to get." Of course, the word CAN mean something like that - but in Sanctification. In Justification, it means God's unconditional, unmerited, undeserved (and even unrequested) favor, gift and blessing. MY opinion: Popular Catholicism is one of two things: 1) Either Justification ENTIRELY is evaded and forgotten.... the ONLY thing contemporary Catholicism knows is sanctification, or 2) Everything has been made into such a MESS, such a confused intertwining of different things that we have semi-Pelagianism and certainly synergism. IMO, #2 is very likely the case.


      4. OFFICIALLY, I think you can find EVERYTHING in Catholicism on this topic . The DENOMINATION is all over the map on this. I've had Catholic apologists quote me things from official RCC documents that are identical to what Luther said on the topic (and was excommunicated for), and I'd had them quote the exact opposite. It's a mess. On the one topic where Christians should be most clear. I have spent HOURS with family.... and IF you can help them untangle the mess (and it IS possible!), they come out down-right Lutheran (you know, holding to that apostate heresy for which Luther was excommunicated). I so recall a Catholic funeral mass I attended maybe 4-5 years ago. The priest delivered a unusually long homily and it was one of THE most Lutheran sermons I've ever heard, FILLED with the exact Lutheran position on justification (the though occurred to me he got it from some book of Lutheran sermons but nonetheless.....) That DOES happen. Catholics DO read the Bible.... Scripture is all over the liturgy.... they sing LOTS of Protestant hymns... and there IS the Gospel mixed into stuff..... I think the Holy Spirit DOES do His miracle. PERHAPS in spite of the denomination but that's no problem for the Holy Spirit. I believe that Catholics ARE (generally) justified and ARE my full and unseparted and equally blessed Christian brothers and sisters in Christ. But most are exactly as I was (and exactly as virtually all my Catholic family still is): totally CONFUSED (on the one topic they should be most clear).



      A blessed Holy Week to all...


      - Josiah




      .
      Last edited by Josiah; 03-27-2018 at 01:42 PM.
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

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      Quote Originally Posted by atpollard View Post
      Some of it may be semantics as people trip over different terms for the same thing, or the same term to describe different things.

      Where I grew up, SALVATION is the whole big process from start to finish and is usually described in three parts:
      JUSTIFICATION is where God takes a no good, low down sinner, cleans up your heart, places His mark of ownership on you and places you at the starting line of Paul's metaphorical 'race'.
      SANCTIFICATION is where you walk in the good works which God prepared beforehand [Ephesians 2:10] and run with endurance the race that is set before us [Hebrews 12:1] ... commonly called 'life'.
      GLORIFICATION is when we cross that 'finish line' and the last of the crud from the old man falls away. We enter Heaven perfected.

      So I have to wonder if Catholic 'Justification' included my back home 'Justification' and 'Sanctification' ... making the issue at least partly SEMANTICS.
      In retrospect it may look as if the issues were largely a matter of semantics and some who were living at the time saw the issues as "disputing over trifles" with the core truth being that there is "but one Christ in whom Christians all believe". Nevertheless people fought in wars and engaged in persecutions against others and received persecution from others over these trifles. And brother Josiah's posts remind us of just how current and apparently important these "trifles" can be to people today.

      A Catholic definition of Justification is:
      JUSTIFICATION: The gracious action of God which frees us from sin and communicates “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ” ( Rom 3:22). Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man (1987-1989).
      The numbers 1987-1989 refer to these paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
      I. Justification
      1987 The grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us, that is, to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us "the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ" and through Baptism: (⇒ Rom 3:22; cf. ⇒ Rom 6:3-4.)
      But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves as dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.(⇒ Rom 6:8-11.)
      1988 Through the power of the Holy Spirit we take part in Christ's Passion by dying to sin, and in his Resurrection by being born to a new life; we are members of his Body which is the Church, branches grafted onto the vine which is himself: (Cf. ⇒ 1 Cor 12; ⇒ Jn 15:1 4.)
      (God) gave himself to us through his Spirit. By the participation of the Spirit, we become communicants in the divine nature.... For this reason, those in whom the Spirit dwells are divinized.(St. Athanasius, Ep. Serap. 1, 24: PG 26, 585 and 588.)
      1989 The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit is conversion, effecting justification in accordance with Jesus' proclamation at the beginning of the Gospel: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."(⇒ Mt 4:17.) Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high. "Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man.(Council of Trent (1547): DS 1528.)
      Saint Jude, author of the new testament letter.

      He is the patron of impossible causes because the scriptural Letter of St. Jude, which he authored, urges Christians to persevere in difficult times.

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      In Post #2 I convey the Lutheran/Reformed position.
      It's often taught as "Sola Gratia - Solus Christus - Sola Fide" (John 3:16)
      The RCC condemned it at Trent as apostasy and heresy.
      The RCC excommunicated Luther for it and split itself over it.
      So there MUST be a huge difference between the positions.
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

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      To expand on posts 2 and 3...


      Justification.... Sanctification....

      There are TWO DIFFERENT issue here: Justification and Sanctification (narrow sense, both).


      Let me use this analogy:


      FIRST: On January 23, 1988, I was born. I was GIVEN life - the miracle, the wonderful, mysterious GIFT of life (we might agree that actually happened about 9 months earlier, but let's proceed). At that point, I became alive. I became a human being - with all that means, biologically and spiritually, all that means in terms of God and me. GIFT. G.I.F.T. This purely, solely, only, exclusively by mercy since prior to that, I did NOTHING. I thought nothing. I willed nothing. I sought nothing. I desired nothing. NO good works. NO merits. GIFT. G.I.F.T. Mercy. M.E.R.C.Y. On January 23, 1988 - I was removed from my mother (C-Section) - unbreathing, unconscience - I had NOTHING to do with it. NOTHING. N.O.T.H.I.N.G. Gift. Mercy. No merits. No works. No will. Nothing in or from me. GIFT. MERCY. Someone ELSE is to be credited. Entirely. Wholly. Completely. MONERGISTIC. Life is mine - by grace, by mercy, from God, as a GIFT. I am a human being, with all that means - by grace, by mercy, from God, as a GIFT.

      In the same way, God saved me (what Protestants mean here is justification - narrow sense). God GAVE me spiritual life, God caused me to be born AGAIN, God regenerated me, God performed a miracle - the miracle of life - now not only with physical life but with spiritual life, now I am not only the child of my parents but a child of God. This CHANGES my relationship to God, as a result solely, only, exclusively because of God's mercy, grace, favor; solely, only, exclusively because of what CHRIST has done as THE Savior; solely, only, exclusively because God GAVE me the GIFT of faith in Christ as my Savior: Sola Gratia - Solus Christus - Sola Fide. You know, the worst heresy ever, what Luther was excommunicated for, the view the RCC decided to split Christianity over. We believe this is MONERGISTIC, because CHRIST is the Savior - not me, not you, not the Pope, not Mary, not the RC Denomination. I'm NOT the Savior - in whole or in part - because the job is taken. What makes me a CHRISTIAN is that God's merciful, gracious GIFT of faith means I'm looking to CHRIST as THE Savior, I'm looking to the Cross and not in the mirror .

      Consider DEAD Lazarus. DEAD. Deader than a doorknob. Jesus GAVE him life... then he could live (and respond to the Call of Jesus to come out). The Bible says were were DEAD. Dead people can't merit anything, can't deserve anything, can't desire anything because, well, they are DEAD. Unregenerate people are DEAD. If they are to have spiritual life.... if they are to come alive... if they are to have life... God must GIVE it to them. The miracle of justification. Wholly God's doing. MONERGISM.

      This is Justification (narrow sense) and is the Lutheran position which the RCC condemned as apostate heresy, excommunicated Luther over, split itself over.




      SECOND: Almost immediately after being born (well, maybe some months later, lol), my parents, my society and yes God called me to GROW. To mature. To become more loving, more caring, more righteous, more ethical. THIS is a process (unlike my conception). THIS is synergistic (unlike conception). GROWING to be more God like. GROWING in the directions that my parents, my society, my God call me: "Thou shalt be HOLY just as the Lord God is holy." "Thou shalt be PERFECT just as your Father in Heaven is perfect." "LOVE in exactly the same way as Christ loved us on the Cross." High callings! I'm not "there" yet. I'm still GROWING (well, I'd LIKE to say always growing..... sometimes I'm not, sometimes I even retreat). And I do so in large part because of God's EMPOWERING, not due to some innate homo sapiens ability. Yes..... in a few cases, the Bible also calls this "grace" but the CONTEXT tells us this is different, here it means "strength" or "empowering". It is still ours by mercy (we don't DESIRE anything from Him), but here it means strength. This growing up, this discipleship, this CHRISTIAN-walk is something a CHRISTIAN does, not something that makes one a Christian; it is the RESULT of justification not the cause. My being nice to my neighbor is not what causes me to have physical life, having physical life enables me to be nice to my neighbor. What I do as a growing, maturing, developing man is not what makes me a homo sapiens nor worthy of being given life.

      This growing... maturing.... following.... becoming more Christ-like.... is sanctification (narrow sense). Inseparable from justification but not at all the same thing.



      JUSTIFICATION and SANCTIFICATION are both fully true and inseparable from each other - but not to be confused/blended/mixed up/equated. Jesus is the Savior: Justification. We are called to be Christ like: Sanctification. ALL Scriptures are fully and literally true but we do need to note whether they apply to one or the other.



      As I noted to you before, it is MY OPINION that IN SPITE OF the mess the RCC so often teaches, the Gospel has not been killed. Because of the reading of Scripture..... because of the gospel proclaimed in the liturgy and often in hymns, because the ancient festivals continue..... Catholics STILL have some concept (however buried) of Christ as SAVIOR. IF..... oh what a big and difficult word that is...... IF you can help the Catholic untangle the MESS they've been taught, you can find they are actually Christians after all. I believe this to be the case; I believe Catholics generally ARE heaven-bound in spite of their denomination. The Holy Spirit has the "means" with which He performs His miracles. But I find it sad. Because the one issue a church should be MOST clear on, the MOST distinctively CHRISTian - that's the very doctrine Catholicism seems weakest on, so blurry, so confused.


      A blessed Holy Week to all....


      - Josiah



      .
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

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      @MoreCoffee
      Trifles are still trifles even if people choose to behave badly because of them (like burning each other at the stake).
      I think that there is an unspoken underlying assumption that separates Catholic thinking from Protestant.
      Actually, probably more than one ... but one directly related to Justification/Sanctification that should be mentioned:

      Please correct me if I am wrong, but in Catholic Theology, the Justification (sanctification) is immediate and complete, but not permanent. I believe that is where the Sacrament of Confession comes in to renew the 'completeness' of the covering.

      In Protestant Theology (as I have experienced it), the initial Justification is immediate, but sanctification is a life-long, ongoing process that is never finished until we reach heaven. However it is a permanent, ongoing process that, once started, will not stop until it reaches completion. Hence no Sacrament of confession.

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      Quote Originally Posted by atpollard View Post
      @MoreCoffee
      Trifles are still trifles even if people choose to behave badly because of them (like burning each other at the stake).
      I think that there is an unspoken underlying assumption that separates Catholic thinking from Protestant.
      Actually, probably more than one ... but one directly related to Justification/Sanctification that should be mentioned:

      Please correct me if I am wrong, but in Catholic Theology, the Justification (sanctification) is immediate and complete, but not permanent. I believe that is where the Sacrament of Confession comes in to renew the 'completeness' of the covering.

      In Protestant Theology (as I have experienced it), the initial Justification is immediate, but sanctification is a life-long, ongoing process that is never finished until we reach heaven. However it is a permanent, ongoing process that, once started, will not stop until it reaches completion. Hence no Sacrament of confession.
      No, Catholic teaching does not present justification as complete yet not permanent. Catholic teaching is that Justification is a life long process that may be taken up and followed for life ending in eternal life or taken up and then abandoned in apostasy or in dissolute wilful sin leading to separation from God.

      The following paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1990 to ....) offer some insights into Catholic teaching
      1990 Justification detaches man from sin which contradicts the love of God, and purifies his heart of sin. Justification follows upon God's merciful initiative of offering forgiveness. It reconciles man with God. It frees from the enslavement to sin, and it heals.
      1991 Justification is at the same time the acceptance of God's righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. Righteousness (or "justice") here means the rectitude of divine love. With justification, faith, hope, and charity are poured into our hearts, and obedience to the divine will is granted us.
      1992 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men. Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy. Its purpose is the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life: (Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1529.)
      But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.(⇒ Rom 3:21-26.)
      1993 Justification establishes cooperation between God's grace and man's freedom. On man's part it is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, and in the cooperation of charity with the prompting of the Holy Spirit who precedes and preserves his assent:
      When God touches man's heart through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself is not inactive while receiving that inspiration, since he could reject it; and yet, without God's grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God's sight.(Council of Trent (1547): DS 1525.)
      1994 Justification is the most excellent work of God's love made manifest in Christ Jesus and granted by the Holy Spirit. It is the opinion of St. Augustine that "the justification of the wicked is a greater work than the creation of heaven and earth," because "heaven and earth will pass away but the salvation and justification of the elect . . . will not pass away."(St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 72, 3: PL 35, 1823.) He holds also that the justification of sinners surpasses the creation of the angels in justice, in that it bears witness to a greater mercy.
      1995 The Holy Spirit is the master of the interior life. By giving birth to the "inner man,"(Cf. ⇒ Rom 7:22; ⇒ Eph 3:16.) justification entails the sanctification of his whole being:
      Just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification.... But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life.(⇒ Rom 6:19, 22.)
      Last edited by MoreCoffee; 03-27-2018 at 03:56 PM.
      Saint Jude, author of the new testament letter.

      He is the patron of impossible causes because the scriptural Letter of St. Jude, which he authored, urges Christians to persevere in difficult times.

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