Saturday, March 17, 2018

Critiquing The Roman Catholic View On Justification

  • Presenting The Roman Catholic View Of Justification:
Click on image to get a better view
          -Roman Catholicism maintains that justification (how one is made right with God) is a complicated, lifelong process maintained through the performance of good deeds. It is believed that original sin is washed away at baptism, and that the Holy Spirit infuses grace into souls to make them righteous. While the initial stage of justification is claimed to be unmerited and achieved through water baptism, the progressive stage is maintained throughout life by means of charitable works, obedience to church laws, and participation in church rituals (CCC # 980, 1459, 1460, 2010, 2068, 2080). The Church of Rome teaches that one must partake in the seven sacraments, obey the Ten Commandments, pray to saints, and obtain indulgences in order to merit eternal salvation in heaven. This is unmistakably a system of works-based righteousness.
  • Consider The Following Quote From The Council Of Trent:
          -"If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema.” (Canon XXIV)
  • Consider This Excerpt From The Apostolic Constitution On Indulgences:
          -“Good works, particularly those which human frailty finds difficult, were also offered to God for the salvation of sinners from the Church's most ancient times.”
  • Consider This Excerpt From The Roman Catholic Catechism:
          -“The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.” (CCC # 1129)
          -"We can divide up this process into a number of stages: first, there is an initial justification which occurs at conversion; second, there is a progressive justification which occurs as a person grows in righteousness; and lastly there is a final justification which occurs on the last day. There is also the possibility of a loss of justification and a subsequent re-justification which occurs when a believer returns to the faith."
  • Consider This Excerpt From The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia Online:
          -"Although the sinner is justified by the justice of Christ, inasmuch as the Redeemer has merited for him the grace of justification (causa meritoria), nevertheless he is formally justified and made holy by his own personal justice and holiness (causa formalis)."
  • Contrasting The Teachings Of The Roman Catholic Church With Scripture:
          -The New Testament contains no examples, descriptions, or even explanations of this twofold process of justification as taught by Roman Catholicism. Grace is never spoken of as a substance that is transferred through physical objects and rituals (i.e. sacraments). In Romans 4, courtroom language is used to describe the instantaneous event of justification. We see words that have strong legal overtones such as impute, reckon, and counted. Romans 8:33-34 uses forensic categories. This means that God declares us to be righteous. God the Judge declares our status with Him, whether we be pronounced justified or condemned in His sight. Old Testament texts such as Deuteronomy 25:21, 1 Kings 8:32, Job 9:20, 13:18, and Proverbs 17:15 use the term "justify" in a legal sense. Paul drew his understanding of that term from the Old Testament. Justification is not a lengthy, ongoing process that is maintained through good works (Luke 18:9-14; Romans 5:1). He is given the title of Judge in Scripture (Genesis 18:25). The Old Testament writers even resort to legal imagery within the context of God pronouncing judgement (Micah 6:1-2; Isaiah 41:21). There is no such thing as being “partially justified.” We are either justified or not at all. Our righteousness is based on the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Philippians 3:8-9). He was punished on our behalf for sin (Isaiah 53; 1 Peter 2:24). Justification is accomplished by the grace of God through our faith in the atonement sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and that alone (John 3:16). Works have absolutely no bearing on our justification before God (Romans 4:2-8; Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5-7). We cannot possibly merit our justification, not even by keeping the Law (Romans 3:20; 27-28). Our own righteousness is imperfect at best (Psalm 130:3-4; Isaiah 64:6; Mark 10:18). So Christ needed to obey the law perfectly in our place so that we could be redeemed (John 4:34; Romans 5:18-19; Galatians 4:4-5; Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 4:15; 1 John 3:5). Justification is strictly a free gift of God offered to us out of His love for us (John 3:16; Romans 3:24-26). It is not something we can earn, even in part. Justification is by faith, apart from the merit of good works (Galatians 2:16). Those who add their works to faith in Christ for salvation are in reality frustrating the grace of God (Galatians 2:21). Scripture equates doing good deeds with the intention of meriting justification with living according to the flesh (Galatians 3:2-4). The Law requires perfect obedience (Galatians 3:10-11). Scripture affirms that everybody has broken God's commandments. Thus, seeking justification through good works has been rendered an impossibility (Galatians 3:22). In fact, those who seek justification by works have severed themselves from God's grace (Galatians 5:4-5). Jesus Christ will be of no benefit to those who add even one work to His work on the cross (Galatians 5:2). A works-based gospel is a complete departure from the sufficiency of Christ, and so is a false gospel which has no power at all to save anyone (Galatians 1:6-12). The gospel is based on the work of Christ and is to be received on the basis of faith alone.
  • The Role Of Good Works In The Christian Life:
          -The process that concerns our spiritual growth is called sanctification, which means to be set apart by God according to His purpose. It is the process of God conforming us to the image of His Son Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-30; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 9:13-14). This begins after conversion. We contribute to this process through good works out of gratitude for what God has done for us. It is not because we earn eternal salvation. While the Roman Catholic Church correctly denies that works save us from eternal condemnation, the hierarchy contradicts itself when it requires that people do things in order to obtain salvation in heaven. Justification is either obtained by God’s grace, or solely by human effort. It cannot be both ways at the same time (Romans 11:6). Grace is unmerited. It is entirely a gift of God. Salvation is not something that we deserve (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Justification is by faith alone, but is never alone. Works will always accompany a genuinely saving faith. They are simply the product of faith. We are saved in order to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). The biblical gospel is a gospel of grace, not law. The biblical gospel is not a works or performance-based gospel. The Bible defines the Gospel as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Never is baptism, sacraments, observance of special days, or any other Roman Catholic concept prescribed in Scripture as criteria for salvation. These things have been "added" by man to the biblical gospel.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Excellent post, and I just LOVE that diagram demonstrating the horrible ideology of works salvation with the RCC

Justin Horn said...

I would be glad to share this information on my blog but one quick question. Could you tell me where this section from the article comes from in scripture? "In the Bible, the courtroom decision analogy is used to describe the instantaneous event of justification."

Jesse Albrecht said...

It is not so much a particular reference to Scripture as the term "courtroom" is an analogy used to describe the role of God as Judge and how He pardons sin. The metaphor best corresponds with the forensic language used in Scripture.