Here is what I just now wrote in another thread; it is my plan actually to write such an explanation of Romans, but it is too far out for you to wait. This will be an indicator of what should be there in much greater detail.
The other thread is here; forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=1017944
We are justified by faith alone, and not by works (alone).
The trouble is not the word “alone” but the trouble is the correct understanding of “justification” and “works”.
We all here know that we will not inherit eternal life without doing the works of love (agape, charity), loving God from our whole heart in all our soul and in all our strength and in all our mind and loving our neighbor as ourselves as Jesus told the Lawyer in Luke 10, “Do this and you will live”. And we will not have an inheritance in the Kingdom of our Lord if we do the works of vice listed by Paul in several places like Ephesians 5.
So, we are justified by faith alone, and we receive our inheritance in our operating according to Virtue, and Virtue is infused in us with Grace, by the presence of the Holy Spirit filling us like the light infuses the atmosphere, so that we can see what is true and good and love it, and therefore do it. We must do it as the true manifestation of what we are in our union with God in Christ,
Justifying oneself by works means accumulating a list of what you yourself consider “enough” and using that as an argument with God to “let you in”, “You have to let me in because I did this, this, and that, and because I have possession of other things like my circumcision, genealogy, documentation.” It is the argument of someone who does not want to operate, but instead wants to do nothing but take it easy, because he should already have the price of admission…
Abraham operated when he believed God - he set out for Hebron, doing the works that obtain the inheritance of the promise. So his “justification” was not an argument with God to let him have a new name and the birth of Isaac where he was in Haran. And he did not argue with God in Hebron, that now he should pay him what was owed for moving. What did Abraham do? He asked God, “Where is your promise? Where is the inheritance? I can’t see it.” Then the Lord asked him to do some more work, to bring a sacrifice for a covenant operation. Abraham did not say, “I am already justified by coming here, so I do not need to do this sacrifice.” No, Abraham was justified, so he operated as the Lord’s friend and brought the animals and offered them as asked, because the Lord was working to bring him into his inheritance.
Justification means being made just, being a just person whose doings are just, being a good person whose doings are good, being a righteous person whose doings are righteous.
Doing things that are good do not make a person into a good person, therefore we are not made a good person by having a cache of works, we are not justified by works.
However, Faith (as a virtue, not the actions of Faith, but Faith itself) is something put into us when we were baptized, intensified when we were confirmed and when we receive absolution - it is that light shining in our souls like the sunlight infuses the air outside, so that we can see what is from God, so that we recognize it is Good, and so that we Love it and therefore make it real in the world. This is the Faith, the Virtue, that makes us Good People, the People of God, the People in the world but not of the world. This is the Faith, the infused Virtue, the Light shining in our souls, that justifies us, that makes us good and makes our works good, which God put in us when we were baptized, by himself breathing himself into us.
And with this light shining in us, we recognize and know that we are children of God, Sons of the Most High. We recognize that we are justified in claiming “we are this Holy People”, and we know that it is this light (Faith) illuminating our souls that enabled us to see we are his and he is ours. And so we take on the journey to Hebron, no, to the new inheritance of the Kingdom of Christ that awaits us: loving God and our neighbor is the path that gets us there. Jesus was totally serious when he said, “Do this and you will live”; no other path.