Justification - Trying to Clear Up Confusion


#1

Okay - I have been on this forum for a while and I have learned quite a bit from everyone here. I have also been doing quite a bit of study on my own to try to understand the scriptural understanding of Justification. I just want to say one thing and see what comes from this…

The statement that I want to make is this:

When we say that we are Justified by FAITH ALONE…we are referring to inital Justification which, the Bible says, comes by faith aparat from any works done in the flesh (works done outside of faith…works done to find favor with God or to earn the promises of God)…

Romans 3:28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

The Justification of Romans…initial Justification is a setting one right with God and it is not earned…it comes to one who throws themselves ont he Rock of Christ in humble submission and brokenness - realizing ourselves to be spirtually bankrupt and in need of a Savior. This is what we are talking about when we speak of justifcation by faith alone.


#2

Would you care to Define “Faith” as well?

Chuck


#3

One line of problems in this is the multiplicity of definitions that are used for the word “justified”. Based on all I’ve read on these fora, they range from, at the one end, “the gates of heaven were unlocked” to “I have a free pass to heaven” on the other end.


#4

Yes, this might be referred to as making a decision for Christ. Keep in mind though, that the decision is an active one. A person who repents and turns his life over to Christ, does so by an act of the will–the human will. To the extent that it is a human decision, one could call it a “work,” in that it is something that is required of us.

For if no human action was required, neither would there be any need for repentance. The grace given by God requires a human response.


#5

One question to begin: if we are talking about initial justification coming from “new faith” (that is, as soon as one has faith, one is initially justified), then how can you contrast that with works done “to find favor with God or to earn the promises of God”. If one does not have faith, one does not even believe in God, so one certainly won’t be doing works to find favor with God or to earn the promises of God. But if one does gain faith, one is initially justified, so one cannot possibly go back and be initially justified again by doing works to find favor with the God which one has just now come to believe in.

Does that question make sense?


#6

For the sake of clarity, can we establish that we are talking about normal adults here? If so, then to sum it up, it is no longer “justification is by faith alone” but it is “initial justification is by faith alone”. That is what I am hearing in your summary. I dont have a problem with that. The only ambiguity that will arise is exactly what qualifies as faith. For example, Romans has at least two competing version of salvation: Romans 10:9-10 and Romans 10:13.


#7

I would say first of all, it helps that when you see works of the “law”, to use think of the word “Torah”. since that is what Paul is referring to here, so that passage would mean “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Torah.”

“Law” and “Torah” use the same Hebrew word.


#8

I tried to briefly do that - but it is emptying oneself of their own self-righteousness and falling before Christ as Lord and Savior. This is a matter of the heart. This happens when one hears the gospel and humbly realizes their sin for what it is as an affront to the glory of God and turns from that sin in humble repentance to Christ as Lord and depending upon His great sacrifice as the Atonement for their sin…this is shown for us over and over in the book of Acts - i.e. Acts 10…

Acts 10:43-48 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. 44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

This is the Work of God through the Word of God and the Spirit of God.


#9

Lets not forget the REAL issue here, and that is INFUSED grace versus IMPUTED grace.


#10

You are speaking of righteousness and not grace I believe. I guess the issue here is that, when one is born again, they are in Christ. The righteousness of Chirst is theirs and the sin of the sinner is passed to the sacrifice. There is a beatiful picture of this in the Old Testament. The sacrifice would be brought. It had to be without blemish…innocence was what this symbolized…and the person placed their sin on the sacrifice…their sin was imputed to the sacrifice…they they received the righteousness of faith. I hate to say it but this is a courtoom transaction. So you not see the courtroom language all over Romans??

Law…Jurisdiction…

Romans 7:1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the** law **has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives?

Condemnation…Justification…Charge

Romans 8:33-34 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

Remission…

Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

Judge…

Romans 3:6 God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?

And, finally (maybe not exhautively)…imputation…

Romans 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be **imputed **unto them also:

A divine transaction by which the sinner is looked upon as righteous being in Christ while the sin of the sinner is placed on Christ…

1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Romans 4:8 KJV 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

This is a quote from Psalm 32…

The sin is imputed to the sacrifice and the righteousness of the sacrifice is imputed to the believer…This is justification!

1344 δικαιόω [dikaioo /dik·ah·yo·o/] v. From 1342; TDNT 2:211; TDNTA 168; GK 1467; 40 occurrences; AV translates as “justify” 37 times, “be freed” once, “be righteous” once, and “justifier” once. 3 to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be.

So…Paul is always having to defecnd his position just as I usually do…

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?


#11

Acts 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Infused or imputed?


#12

The terms are generally interchangeable.

… … So you not see the courtroom language all over Romans??

No I dont see the “courtroom language”. There is no reference to a “courtroom” when Justification is mentioned like in Rom 4. On the otherhand I see plenty of references to a family reunion.

Law…Jurisdiction…

Romans 7:1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the** law **has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives?

That was an example to those “who know the law” using marriage.

Condemnation…Justification…Charge

Romans 8:33-34 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

That isnt strictly courtroom language. The context (eg 38-39) make it clear the “who will bring” is in reference to all creation and the relationship is not legal in this case but personal.

Remission…

Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

Again, not strictly “courtroom”. In fact the term “forbearance” above totally destroys the legal concept because “forbearance” is grace and mercy and has no place with the law. The NIV translates this pretty nicely “in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished”

Judge…

Romans 3:6 God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?

Not strictly courtroom.

And, finally (maybe not exhautively)…imputation…

Romans 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be **imputed **unto them also:

Rom 4 is clear “it was credited to him as righteousness” is in reference to his faith. His faith was a window to his righteous soul (vv18-22). The context of Rom 4 is Abraham as “the father of them that believe”. This isnt a courtroom but a father-son reunion.

A divine transaction by which the sinner is looked upon as righteous being in Christ while the sin of the sinner is placed on Christ…

Rom 4 says nothing about that.

1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

That is because Christ was a sacrifice for sin, not that he was punished in your place.

Romans 4:8 KJV 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

The term “impute” is an english translation, it doesnt mean imputed righteousness. The greek term which many protestants translate as “impute” is logizomai and here is what a Protestant Lexicon defines it as:This word deals with reality. If I “logizomai” or reckon that my bank book has $25 in it, it has $25 in it. Otherwise I am deceiving myself.
(crosswalk.com - logizomai)
Thus the correct interpretation of 4:8 above is the man is not imputed/considered/logizomai a sinner because he really is no longer guilty of sin. This is the result of infused grace.

This is a quote from Psalm 32…

The sin is imputed to the sacrifice and the righteousness of the sacrifice is imputed to the believer…This is justification!

Such a concept is not taught in the Bible.

1344 δικαιόω [dikaioo /dik·ah·yo·o/] v. From 1342; TDNT 2:211; TDNTA 168; GK 1467; 40 occurrences; AV translates as “justify” 37 times, “be freed” once, “be righteous” once, and “justifier” once. 3 to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be.

Nowhere does that mean someone is declared or considered righteous when they are not in reality in their soul. Rom 4 uses Abraham as an example and is clear Abraham was actually righteous, not declared righteous by God while at the same time God knows Abraham is unrighteous.

So…Paul is always having to defecnd his position just as I usually do…
Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

In the case of “imputed” and “justified” you have the wrong interpretation of them.Rom 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.


#13

Infused. Justification was never about fulfilling the Mosaic law, Abraham was around long before the Mosaic Law. It was always about being restored to God’s friendship as adopted children of God.


#14

Link,

There is a juridical dimension to justification where we are declared to be just. Likewise, there is an infused dimension. It is this dimension that you seem to ignore. The importance of this dimension can be demonstrated by the following scriptures but there are many others as well.

An examination of Isaiah 55:10-11 reveals that God’s grace goes out in power and that it accomplishes his purpose and that it prospers in the thing which he sends it. What is God’s purpose in giving us his grace and the gift of faith? God’s purpose is to reconcile us to himself and to make us a new creation in Christ Jesus for good works.[Eph 21:8-10]

It can further be said that God’s purpose is to make us “…conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren.”[Romans 8:29]

Paul also addresses the issue of what it means to be a new creation in the following:

Romans 6:1-6
WHAT SHALL we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.

Romans 7:4-6
Likewise, my brethren, you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God. While we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, **so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit. **

2 Cor 5:14-17
For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.

Gal 6:15
For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

Gal 5:5-6
For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.

Gal 5:1-26
Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.

John 3:1-2 says:

“SEE WHAT love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now” Just like in Isaiah, God’s word goes out in power. When God declares us children we actually become his children, and his grace will fulfill his purpose and his grace will prosper within us.

Peter says, “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, 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."

All of this sheds light on what it means to be a new creation. Eph 2:8-10 speaks of justification in the juridical sense as well as the transformational sense. We are not simply declared righteous but we are made righteous because God’s word goes out in power and does not return to him empty. We are made a new creation in Christ Jesus for good works. God’s word and grace accomplish that which is his purpose and they prosper within us unto salvation.


#15

Well, for starters your version of sola fide isn’t the classical reformation version, nor the modern day Protestant version. Justification to Protestants is not a process as they accept punctiliar justification only. This is the view to which I once ascribed, but scriptural evidence shows justification as a process and Abraham who Paul and James refer to, also shows a process. The confusion of justification happened during the reformation where Luther and then Calvin attempted to change justification to a one-time act only which goes against what had been passed down through Christ’s Catholic and Apostolic church.
I agree with you that their is an initial aspect of justification, however it starts in faith and baptism, John 3:5, Titus 3:5, 1 Peter 3:19, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38.


#16

This is a great point. That there is a juridical dimension isn’t denied by Catholicism; that it is the only dimension of justification is denied by the church.
Infusion is also a dimension and imputation combined with infusion makes more scriptural sense as to really making the ontological change; that we are new creation 2 Cor 5:17. Imputation doesn’t really change the person ontologically, but simply covers the person without really dealing with nor taking away their sin for it still remains only cloaked under the veil of Christ.
Infusion is more of the water glass view of justification which actually changes the person within and I believe is the more scriptural and pursuasive model of how God justifies us because it shows God as doing what he commands. God said in Gen 1:3, “let their be light” and there WAS light.
How can God so forcefully command us as justified and yet we aren’t really justified, only having the affectations of justifcation.
Infusion doesn’t just show the affectations of justification but does what God commands, it literally changes our soul, our being within so that we ARE a new creation, not just in appearance only.


#17

I made a thread today for Calvinists but got no takers, here it is again:
This thread will be discussing the topic of Justification. To start off I will quote Calvin’s own words:… a man will be justified by faith when, excluded from the righteousness of works, he by faith lays hold of the righteousness of Christ, and clothed in it appears in the sight of God not as a sinner, but as righteous. Thus we simply interpret justification, as the acceptance with which God receives us into his favor as if we were righteous; and we say that this justification consists in the forgiveness of sins and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ
(Institutes 3:11:2)
It is clear from the above that Calvin believed Justification entailed the sinner being considered righteous while at the same time being a sinner. This model has grace being IMPUTED to the individual. Now the question is, can God call/consider someone righteous if in fact they are not? 12For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. -Heb 4
Scripture clearly teaches nothing is hidden from God’s eyes and thus “appearing in His sight…as if we were righteous” cannot be a true model of how God acts.

Catholics on the otherhand believe God’s grace is INFUSED making the individual actually righteous.


#18

Christ is the fulfillment of the law is He not…and when one is in Christ, they are just…Christ is the end of the law for righteousness. So, you are mistaken in your words here. Ignoring the clear language of Romans is also a concern.

Many of you are beginning to add into this discussion the doctrine of Sanctification which also happens at salvation and then continues gradually where righteousness is imparted to us by faith. We receive life through the Word of God…much like Adam did…

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

The second birth…

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God (God-breathed), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
John 3:7-9 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

We are then sustained by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God…continually cleansed and made holy. BUT…this is a continuation from initial Justification where we come out from under law…are married to Christ…and cannot be condemned. Yes, we are made more just from a practical sense and, as we know…

Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

I am speaking solely about initial justification…where one is made right…is **set free from the penalty of sin **and received an imputed righteousness of Christ.

Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.


#19

We are experiencing all the usual difficulties in discussing this topic. One of them is your inconsistency in defining faith. Here is what you described it as initially:

Fair enough. For an adult, I wont grumble with that definition. But then, when asked to clarify what faith is by another poster you added…

If I am being too nitpicky forgive me, but in one definition faith merely amounts to a “turning of the heart” but in your second, it involves, additionally, “(turning) from sin”. Unless I am mistaken, it is the concept of justification as an ongoing process that constitutes the great divide between Catholicism and Protestantism. For us to have meaningful discussion of the issue, you need to iron out precisely what your definition of faith is and what it’s relationship to our Justifaction is, not only during the “initiation” into the life of Christ, but what it’s relationship is also to the abiding life in Christ.
Either way, if we focus on “loving one another” out of love for God then this discussion wont amount to anything terribly significant.


#20

Just a quick note of observation…

Eph 2:8 says we are saved by Grace alone, not Faith alone. Something the Catholic Church has always taught

If you look at the structure… We are saved by Grace, through faith, apart fro works

What does this sentence say saves us? Grace (We are saved by Grace)
Is there anything we can do to earn that grace? No (apart from works)
Do we need to have faith though? Absolutely… (Through faith)

Grace is a free gift of God. We cannot do anything to earn that grace. But Grace alone is a far cry from Faith alone.

Also, Romans 3:
What are the works of the Law? Things like not eating certain meats, what to do when you have an infection, types of celebrations, etc. In other words, Things required by Jews, not required by Christians.
So yes, we are saved by faith, apart from works of the old Jewish law.

This statement however is NOT talking about ALL works.

(this logic also applies to romans 4 when it says the man who has faith but does not works is justified)

Taken one step further. Of course we need to be saved by faith apart from works of the law. If you submit yourself to part of the law, you submit yourself to ALL of the law, and Christ sufferings amount to nothing.

Hope that helps

In Christ


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