Catholic view of Justification, the Biblical support for this view, and associated theological terminology.

Catholic view of Justification, the Biblical support for this view, and associated theological terminology.

I was on another thread here at CAF ("What does “Sola Fide” mean? - here)

The thread concerned “what Sola Fide means for Sola Fide Christians”.

Naturally many related topics follow a question like this.

We discussed the justification issue, Scriptural apologetics, terminology, etc.

So I thought I would dedicate a thread to the issue so we could discuss Catholic aspects more than feeling like I should focus on what sola fide means to “sola fide Christians”.

By the way, Christians who consider themselves “sola fide Christians” in any sense of the phrase are more than welcome to debate the issues etc. too here.

Anyone else too (i.e. if a non-Christian wants to get involved that would be fine too).

I thought many posts needed to be addressed concerning that thread without hijacking the person’s thread.

So I am starting this thread as in invite to discuss the Catholic view of Justification, the Biblical support for this view, and associated theological terminology.

I’ll begin with a quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and we will see what develops.

CCC 1266 The Most Holy Trinity gives the baptized sanctifying grace, the grace of justification:

  • enabling them to believe in God, to hope in him, and to love him through the theological virtues;
  • giving them the power to live and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit;
  • allowing them to grow in goodness through the moral virtues.
    Thus the whole organism of the Christian’s supernatural life has its roots in Baptism.

God bless.


In the last thread “The Elect” came up frequently.

Since it will almost certainly come up here, I have included some more information on the subject in case someone may not know about “the elect”.

"The Elect" and "the Reprobate"

At the end of time God gathers all his angels and people.

The people are judged and all becomes known to all. There are no secrets.

There at the end of time there will be only two possible outcomes concerning final judgment. Heaven (the Beatific Vision) or Hell (a self-chosen exclusion from the Beatific Vision).

By definition, “the Elect” will all be in Heaven, and “the Reprobate” will all be in Hell.

*]Heaven – The Elect

*]Hell – The Reprobate

ROMAN CATECHISM - On the other hand, nothing will have greater effect in subduing the passions and withdrawing souls from sin, than frequently to remind the sinner of the miseries and torments with which the reprobate will be visited, who on the last day will come forth unto the resurrection of judgment.

Since God is outside of time, omniscient, etc., God already knows all of this. In that sense, The people who are numbered among the elect and the reprobate is fixed.

We humans do NOT know such things as if we are of the elect or reprobate so we are directed to make our calling and election sure (“sure” to ourselves. Not “sure” to God since God already knows) by continually striving for holiness. Supplementing our faith with “virtue”.

2nd PETER 1:3-10, 2:20-21 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature. 5 For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall; 11 so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. . . . 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.

(Notice you can “Escape the defilements of the world” by knowing “our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” and still be “overpowered”. And if this is the case you are worse off than if you NEVER knew Jesus as “Lord and Savior” – To whom much is given, much is required–Luke 12:48)

If this being “overpowered” occurs, this is by our own free will.

And notice it would be better to NOT know “the way” then to “know” “the way” and abandon or “turn back” from Him.

How free will works into the formula of God’s Divine election/predestination is a very “secret mystery” and if attempted to come up with a natural formula that totally explains this . . . will fall into error.

The Secret Mystery of Divine Predestination



That a rash presumptuousness in the matter of Predestination is to be avoided.
No one, moreover, so long as he is in this mortal life, ought so far to presume as regards the secret mystery of divine predestination, as to determine for certain that he is assuredly in the number of the predestinate; as if it were true, that he that is justified, either cannot sin any more, or, if he do sin, that he ought to promise himself an assured repentance; for except by special revelation, it cannot be known whom God hath chosen unto Himself.

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS . . . . because providence, of which predestination is a part, does not do away with secondary causes but so provides effects, that the order of secondary causes falls also under providence.

So, as natural effects are provided by God in such a way that natural causes are directed to bring about those natural effects, without which those effects would not happen; so the salvation of a person is predestined by God in such a way, that whatever helps that person towards salvation falls under the order of predestination; whether it be one’s own prayers or those of another; or other good works, and such like, without which one would not attain to salvation.

Whence, the predestined must strive after good works and prayer; because through these means predestination is most certainly fulfilled.

For this reason it is said: “Labor more that by good works you may make sure your calling and election” (2 Peter 1:10).

We don’t know if we are among “the elect” with a metaphysical certainty. Why?

St. Thomas says . . . . “it is not fitting that it should be revealed to everyone; because, if so, those who were not predestined would despair; and security would beget negligence in the predestined.”

**God bless Cathoholic,

Fhil.2:12-13 is THE most misunderstand Bible verses in Christian circles.

Some theologically uneducated Christian believes Phil.2:12-13 means:

They must work for their salvation, in order to merit eternal life in heaven because Christ’s

merit on the cross wasn’t enough for their salvation.

Some Christian believes if they work enough for their salvation between baptism until they

die will merit eternal life and they use Phil.2:12-13 to attempt to prove it.

They believe as they progress with their works for their salvation, in the same way they

progress with their eligibility to merit eternal life.

They doesn’t know as God’s children/His elect in their first stage of their salvation at their

baptism they have received 100 % Legal Right/Eligibility to enter heaven as God’s free gift.

Christ merited for them paid in full on the cross.

Proof: If they would die even one second after their baptism they would instantly enter

heaven in heavenly glory. – RCC teaching.

Between our baptism and we die with our works we can contribute nothing to our salvation.

Between our baptism and we die it is a time for us to do good works/supernatural works

for the Glory of God. – If we do this works because we believe if we don’t we will end up in

hell, than our good works change into wood, hay and straw.

If we work for our own interest to merit everlasting life, when we will stand before the

judgment seat of God all our works will be REJECTED BY GOD.

God bless


Well researched. I must say that this is strictly a matter for the Church and we must not bend too far in the direction of error - rather calling those in error to correction. However, with charity and humility. For all of protestantism’s hyperbolic claims and self-assuredness, it seems that many, if not most are terrified at the subject of justification. To me, it speaks of underlying insecurity.

Why? Jesus spelled it out very simply. Obey His commands. He instituted the Sacraments. Fear and loathing have come upon those who have rejected the Sacraments. For those who are “certain” that they are saved, they “certainly” waste much of their lives obsessing over something that Catholics have no such fear of.

I agree with this. People know intuitively that what we do counts, even if they don’t acknowledge that consciously or theologically. The “faith alone” doctrine lays the groundwork for separating morality from justice, separating justice from justice IOW, to the extent that we no longer need to be authentically righteous in order to satisfy God’s requirements for justification/salvation; we only need to believe instead. But faith is not intended to replace justice in man, to leave us with a merely *imputed or declared *justice but rather to be the “root and foundation” of justice, the pathway to righteousness since its the pathway to communion with God.

**God bless Po18guy,

Before I become a Catholic I was an Evangelical Christian.

Believe me, I know in general the situation there. I was among them.

They have no fear at all. They know exactly who they are. Most of the Evangelical

Christians have the personal encounter with Christ. – The Charismatic Catholics call

it “Baptism of the Holy Spirit.”

They have a Great Zeal to do their Great Commission to convert the unsaved.

I have experienced among Catholics the fear and insecurity because most of the

Catholics I know, they doesn’t know they spend eternity in heaven or in the torments of

hell and that fear paralyze them.

CAF has an excellent article Why Catholics Don’t Evangelize

The magazine had a sad joke on the cover which said,

Q: “What do you get if you cross a Catholic with a Jehovah’s Witness?”

A: “Someone who knocks on your door and says nothing.”

Why Catholics Don’t Evangelize

How to move the stumbling blocks of FEAR and IGNORANCE

By: Hector Molina

Quote: It’s no secret that Catholics aren’t renowned for their evangelistic prowess or

missionary zeal. This is despite the fact that the last several pontiffs, including Pope

Francis, have written and spoken extensively on the subject, which has become a

renewed priority for the Church.

In Matthew 28:19, our Lord enjoined the apostles, “[G]o therefore and make disciples of all

nations.” In Mark 16:15, Jesus commands them, “[G]o into all the world and preach the

gospel to the whole creation.” This is what is referred to as the Great Commission. Sadly,

for many Catholics, the Great Commission has become the Great Omission.

Why is this so? Why don’t Catholics as a whole evangelize?


If you were to survey a group of Catholics about what holds them back from sharing the

Faith, the No. 1 response you would get is “Fear.” FEAR PARALYZES many

believers from living out their faith and sharing it with others.

There is a fundamental principle at work here, one summarized by the old Latin axiom

Nemo dat quod non habet (“No one gives WHAT HE DOES NOT HAVE”). One cannot

share Christ if one has not first ENCOUNTERED CHRIST, or effectively share the gospel

without experiencing its power in his own life. End quote. Emphasis added.

God bless.


The reality that seems to always be missing in these conversations is that of relationship. Justification and salvation are not quantities to be obtained and hoarded and kept for one’s own self. Everything about salvation points to relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Without that element posters will talk past one another for a long time.

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:34

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.35
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:36

[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.37
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."38 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.

Ultimately, our justification and salvation are about who, not what and when. God is being itself, not an easily explainable tool for our own election, justification, salvation.

Actually I find Protestants to be very hit and miss on evangelization, even within Pentecostalism-and the same for Catholic Charismatics as well. Not many going door to door, and street corner evangelists may do more harm than good in general. Usually people speak from their hearts; the more they know God, the greater their zeal and the more they want to share it, whether by words or actions. But discernment is always in order here and we’re all called to do it in different manners, according to our gifts. Anyway, opportunities to share or witness to ones faith come in a variety of ways. We just need to be open to them as they come.

God bless Fhansen,

I agree one way or another we should do our great commission.

But those people who are not free to know who they are they not going to do their great commission.

Of course I understand that.

How could anyone be an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ if he believes, the knowledge that he know he is an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ is a Cardinal sin/the Gravest mortal sin + Anathema.

I wondering what is the real reason that a Catholic is not free to believe he is an elect/ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ?

In order to work out the answer to the question, I trying to find answers for two question.

a. What a reprobate would lose if he would believe he is an elect?

My answer is: He would lose nothing.

b. What an elect would lose if he would believe he is an elect?

My answer is: He would lose his constant fear and paralyzed condition and would be set free to do the great commission out of love for the Glory of God.

The above two theological facts raises a third question.

**Who is behind **that for a Catholic it is a Mortal sin + Anathema even to consider that he is an elect/Christ’s ambassador?

Of course I don’t ask the answer from you Fhansen, even I believe (certain :slight_smile: ) you know the answer of the above question.

God bless.


There’s nothing to keep a Catholic from knowing he’s an ambassador of Christ because there’s no anathema against it. As far as knowing if one is among the elect, the question isn’t even particularly relevant. We simply love God, and seek to serve Him as He desires. The more we know Him, the more we love Him, and the more we desire to serve. Beyond that, we simply trust that He can always be counted on to do the right thing, whatever that means for us personally.

God bless Cathoholic,

Yes, it is a sad situation that reprobates came into the different groups of the elect, they have even a kind of faith, learn the way of righteousness and they turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.

Of course God knows who they are and He has completed the Book of life accordingly.

God has given enough grace to the reprobates that they could stay in the groups of the elect but they chosen to reject God and His grace and they leave.

They were among the elect, but they were newer part of the elect. – 1 John 2:19; Rom.11:29; Predestination of the elect. (DE FIDE) etc.

They were never in the state of grace, they were never part of the Bride of Christ, God never baptized them in the heavenly places into the Body of Christ, God never made them sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

If a reprobate would die in the state of Grace God would instantly lose His omniscience.

The Joint Declaration also declares: Baptism without faith is invalid.

The reprobates not only don’t have faith but for their vehement rejection of God and His grace their names taken out from the Book of Life from all eternity.

God has given us a COMMAND TO TEST OURSELVES. – This is not a suggestion of God, THIS IS A COMMAND and we MUST obey it!!!


1 Cor.11:27-29; The Eucharist is only for God’s children/elect.

No one free to partake in the Eucharist without self examination/self test.

If someone doesn’t believe he is an elect, not free to partake in the Eucharist because he

is partake in it without faith/unworthy manner and eating and drinking judgment upon himself.


THE TEST RESULT (it is God’s COMMAND), meaning:

We are God’s elect and we are free to partake in the Eucharist by faith as we KNOW who

we are/elect or we are not free to participate in the Eucharist because we have failed the test.

It would be foolish to believe; God has given us a COMMAND TO DO THE TEST and He has failed to give us the ability to DO the test and to KNOW the test result.

In 2 Cor.13:5-6 God has given us a COMMAND and we MUST obey it!

2 Cor.13:5-6; (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible)

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. TEST YOURSELVES.

Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

I hope YOU WILL FIND OUT that we have not failed.

When God has given the command to his children to do the test, God has also

given his children the ability to do the test and TO KNOW THE TEST RESULT.

For example of a test: – Test can be done many different ways.


John 5:24; (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible)

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, HAS

EVERLASTING LIFE; he does NOT come into judgment, but has passed FROM DEATH to LIFE.”

1 John 5:13; (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible)

“I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may KNOW that

you have ETERNAL LIFE.”

Without being God’s elect we could NOT believe the above word of God. – We would have


IF we believe the above word of God we are God’s children/His elect.

We have not failed the test. – We are free to partake in the Eucharist.

IF we don’t believe the above word of God, (we have NO FAITH in the word of God, the line of

communication between God and us is still broken) we have failed the test.**

I have chosen to obey God. I did the test and I know the test result. I’m not failed the test.

Did you do the test Cathoholic? - Did you pas the test?

Do you partake in the Eucharist with confidence?

God bless.


Since pasting catechism paragraphs almost invariably stalls the conversation, time for the big gun of dogmatic theology: Fr. John Hardon, S. J.† From his excellent Modern Catholic Dictionary:

JUSTIFICATION, THEOLOGY OF. The process of a sinner becoming justified or made right with God. As defined by the Council of Trent. “Justification is the change from the condition in which a person is born as a child of the first Adam into a state of grace and adoption among the children of God through the Second Adam, Jesus Christ our Savior” (Denzinger 1524). On the negative side, justification is a true removal of sin, and not merely having one’s sins ignored or no longer held against the sinner by God. On the positive side it is the supernatural sanctification and renewal of a person who thus becomes holy and pleasing to God and an heir of heaven.

The Catholic Church identifies five elements of justification, which collectively define its full meaning. The primary purpose of justification is the honor of God and of Christ; its secondary purpose is the eternal life of mankind. The main efficient cause or agent is the mercy of God; the main instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism, which is called the “sacrament of faith” to spell out the necessity of faith for salvation. And that which constitutes justification or its essence is the justice of God, “not by which He is just Himself, but by which He makes us just,” namely sanctifying grace.

Depending on the sins from which a person is to be delivered, there are different kinds of justification. An infant is justified by baptism and the faith of the one who requests or confers the sacrament. Adults are justified for the first time either by personal faith, sorrow for sin and baptism, or by the perfect love of God, which is at least an implicit baptism of desire. Adults who have sinned gravely after being justified can receive justification by sacramental absolution or perfect contrition for their sins. (Etym. Latin justus, just + facere, to make, do: justificatio.)

Of course there are millions of poorly catechized Catholics. But, they do not create web pages or YouTube videos either proclaiming, stressing over, arguing in favor of, or obsessing with the subject of justification. A contrite heart combined with a firm intention of amendment, and the Sacraments. Period. One need not be a theologian to enter the Kingdom of God - often quite the opposite is truer.

It’s hard not to note the irony…

How else do we find the what and why of the foundational theme of justification?

Refer to the sure norm of the Catholic faith?

Pope Benedict XVI on the subjects of Faith and Works in St. Paul (scroll down)

Plus earlier one:


You stated:

The Joint Declaration also declares: Baptism without faith is invalid.

WHO here is arguing against this? Is ANYONE here denying this?

What is your point in bringing this up even:shrug:?

Your purpose in this exercise is apologetics with non-Catholics, correct?

God bless Cathoholic,

I feel first I have to apologize for I didn’t explain the reason of my concern.

I was concerned about the pattern of salvation.

I tried to prove reprobates (their names taken out from the Book of life for their vehement rejection of God and His grace from all eternity) can never be saved.

That would mess-up the whole pattern of salvation of the Scripture.

Furthermore theologically it is impossible that God save reprobates while they are on their way to hell.

It would take only one reprobate to die in the state of grace which would result; God would lose his omniscience.

Fhansen also stated in his post addressed to me:

Ooct 23, ’16 am # 38
Re: Can we correctly interpret the Scriotures?

Quote: Ok, I see what you’re asking,. ‘Can God save those who He foreknew would end up in hell?’ And the question is the same as, ‘Can God save those who are in hell now?’

And the answer is no, because He deemed it right and good that man should be left in the hands of his own counsel. God will not override man’s will. End quote.

I agree with Fhansen’s above statement.

God “deemed it right and good that man should be left in the hands of his own counsel.”

God does not overpower the decision of the rejection of the reprobates.

So God never saves any reprobates, God respects their decision of rejection.

The questions I have asked in my previous post I didn’t expect any answer.

Those questions meant to be, you ask them from yourself and you answer those questions for yourself.

But for our future study of God’s salvation I like to know:

Do you believe Cathoholic; God respects the rejection of the reprobates and God never saves any reprobates?

I have to admit, I never read any of your post that you suggested God saves reprobates.

But for the sake of our future discussion on salvation I like to know your view on this issue.


Do you believe Cathoholic, God respects the vehement rejection of the reprobates and as the results, God never saves Reprobates?

Thank you in advance.

God bless.


God loves our freedom, and while He can offer us innumerable opportunities for our repentance, He leaves the final decision up to us - just as He did with the angels. It all flows from love, which must be a freely made, conscious and affirmative decision. No freedom, no love.

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