Reconciling Protestant and Catholic views of justification

You’re on shaky ground here. The Greek word, dikaióō, means “to acquit,” or “to make absolution.” Those are absolutely legal terms. But I agree with your broader point: to be justified by God one must have a true, persevering (or lasting) faith that produces good works. But the act of justification itself has a purely legal connotation.

So the Greek Orthodox Church doesn’t understand their own language? Show me anyone before the Reformation who says that justification, as used in the writings of Saint Paul, has a purely legal connotation.

John Chrysostom for starters:

"What does the word ‘justified’ mean? That if there could be a trial and an examination of the things He had done for the Jews, and of what had been done on their part toward Him, the victory would be with God, and all the right would be on His side.”

Sounds like a legal term to me. :wink:

Yes no one can snatch a person out of the hand of Christ…

But he can leave…he can turn away from Christ …

That shows it can have a legal connotation. It does not prove it has a purely legal connotation, which is what you claimed.

That Chrysostom does not view justification as a purely legal matter is evident from his commentary on Romans 3:25:

“So also is the declaring of His righteousness not only that He is Himself righteous, but that He does also make them that are filled with the putrefying sores of sin suddenly righteous. And it is to explain this, viz. what is declaring, that he has added, That He might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus”

And again on verse 31:

“What was the object of the Law and what the scope of all its enactments? Why, to make man righteous. But this it had no power to do. For all, it says, have sinned: but faith when it came accomplished it. For when a man is once a believer, he is straightway justified. The intention then of the Law it did establish, and what all its enactments aim after, this has it brought to a consummation. Consequently it has not disannulled, but perfected it. Here then three points he has demonstrated; first, that without the Law it is possible to be justified; next, that this the Law could not effect; and, that faith is not opposed to the Law.”

newadvent.org/fathers/210207.htm

**God bless Bookcat and every readers of the CAF.
**

Bookcat you interpreted John 10:28 “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” as follows:

Yes no one can snatch a person out of the hand of Christ …

But he can leave … he can turn away from Christ

**If your above meaning is: **
He can turn away from Christ in the way he end up in hell, I suggest, you need to correct your post as follows:

Yes no one can snatch a person out of the hand of Christ …

And he can never turn away from Christ in the way he end up in hell.

**Of course if I don’t prove my interpretation/correction, you may say: **
You must be joking, my interpretation of John 10:28 is correct: He can turn away from Christ in the way he end up in hell.

I prove it to you Bookcat with the Scriptures and with Catholic teachings and I’m not joking my interpretation of John 10:28 is correct.

He can never turn away from Christ in the way he end up in hell.

Let’s put John 10:28 into the context of John 10:26-30.

v. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.

v. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

v. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

v. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.

v. 30 I and My Father are one.

Concerning v. 26, we must find out: Who are those sheep who are not Christ’s sheep?

According to John 8:42-47, those who are not Christ’s sheep, they are the sons of the Devil/Satan and they are the sheep of Satan.

Verse 28 “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;” gives us the identity of Christ’s sheep.

The identity of Christ’s sheep: God’s children/elect are Christ’s sheep of John 10:27-29.

The identity of the elect in The Predestination of the Elect are God’s children/elect/Christ’s sheep.

**The Catholic Church affirms predestination as a *DE FIDE *Dogma (the highest level of binding theological certainty).

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA

THE CATHOLIC DOGMA. – The predestination of the elect**

Consequently, the whole future membership of heaven, down to its minutest details, has

been IRREVOCABLY FIXED FROM ALL ETERNITY. Nor could it be otherwise. For if it

were possible that a predestined individual should after all be CAST INTO HELL or that

one not predestined should in the end REACH HEAVEN, then God would have been

MISTAKEN in his foreknowledge of future events; He would NO LONGER be omniscient.

God’s unerring foreknowledge and foreordaining is designated in the Bible by the beautiful

figure of the “Book of Life” (liber vitæ, to biblion tes zoes). This book of life is a list which

contains the names of ALL THE ELECT and admits NEITHER ADDITIONS NO ERASURES.

(2) The second quality of predestination, the DEFINITENESS of the number of the elect,

follows NATURALLY from the first. For if the eternal counsel of God regarding the

predestined is UNCHANGEABLE, then the number of the predestined must likewise be

UNCHANGEABLE and DEFINITE, subject NEITHER to ADDITIONS nor to

CANCELLATIONS. Anything indefinite in the number would eo ipso imply a lack of

certitude in God’s knowledge and would DESTROY His omniscience. End quote. Emphasis added.

Continue

Continuation

BOOK OF LIFE

God has completed the Book of Life before the foundation of the world by taken out the names of the reprobates (children of the Devil/Satan’s sheep) from the Book of Life for their vehement rejection of God and His grace and as the results they all end up in hell.

Practically by their vehement rejection of God and His grace the reprobates (children of the Devil/Satan’s sheep) predestined themselves to hell.

In Catholic Theology only the reprobates (children of the Devil/Satan’s sheep) end up in hell who are predestined to hell before the foundation of the world.

From the completion, the Book of life admits NEITHER ADDITIONS no ERASURES.

Some people can be confused about the Book of Life, because God has completed the Book of Life in His “chronological order” before the foundation of the world, but in the Bible concerning the events in the Book of Life, for our understanding, written in our chronological order, like the cancellations from the Book of Life done at our present time, this is not the case.

This fact can cause confusion, because someone may wrongly conclude; God’s child/elect (sheep given to Christ) can lose salvation, which is a theological impossibility.

As we see above, Concerning the Book of Life there is only two group of people in the world.

God’s children/elect/Christ’s sheep. – All predestined to heaven.

Satan’s children/reprobates/Satan’s sheep. – All predestined to hell.

There is no in between position, **every member of the entire human race is a member one of the above two groups. **

It is common knowledge, some reprobates (we don’t know who they are) attend among different Christian groups.

Some of them even can gain some kind of an “intellectual faith” or an “intellectual like salvation” but their memory and will could never contain the desire to go to heaven, to have everlasting life in heaven with God or to persevere to the end of their life.

As God never predestined them to heaven and as God is not a deceiver, God never put into their memory and will the desire to go to heaven or to persevere to the end of their life.

How God could put into their memory and will the desire to go to heaven, when they are all predestined to hell before the foundation of the world, they are children of the Devil/Satan’s sheep.

I believe the above information more then enough not to mix together Christ’s sheep/elect (John 10:27-29) who cannot lose their salvation, with Satan’s sheep/reprobates (John 8:44-47; John 10:26) who are predestined to hell before the foundation of the world.

If you believe Bookcat, Christ’s sheep of John 10:27-29 cannot end up in hell, please disregard my posts.

God bless Bookcat and every readers of the CAF.

LatinRight

God gives sufficient graces to the reprobate, and the freedom of man’s will, and knows the two state end with various degrees of merit and suffering. So, for example, unbaptized dead infants be wihout merit so do not exist in heaven, may experience a natural peace rather than horrible sufferings in their hell state.

Christ did not die for the predestined only. (de fide) Council of Trent Chap. 2. On the Dispensation and Mystery of the Advent of Christ
"Hence it was that the Heavenly Father sent His Son to men that He might redeem the Jews who were under the Law and that the gentiles who followed not after justice might receive justice and that all might receive the adoption of sons. Him God hath proposed to be a propitiation through faith in his blood for our sins and not alone for ours but for those ofthe whole world.
Canons
Can. 4. If anyone shall say that man’s free will moved and aroused by God does not cooperate by assenting to God who rouses and calls, whereby it disposes and prepares itself to obtain the grace of justification, and that it cannot dissent, if it wishes, but that like something inanimate it does nothing at all and is merely in a passive state: let him be anathema.

Can. 5. If anyone shall say that after the sin of Adam man’s free will was lost and destroyed, or that it is a thing in name only, indeed a title without a reality, a fiction, moreover, brought into the Church by Satan: let him be anathema.

Can. 6. If anyone shall say that it is not in the power of man to make his ways evil, but that God produces the evil as well as the good works, not only by permission, but also properly and of Himself, so that the betrayal of Judas is no less His own proper work than the vocation of Paul: let him be anathema.

Errors of the Jansenists, condemned in a Decr. of the Holy Office 1690, Pope Alexander VII. (Denzinger, Sources of Catholic Dogma)

  1. In the state of fallen nature, for mortal [Viva: formale] sin and for demerit that liberty is sufficient by which the mortal sin or demerit was voluntary and free in its cause, namely, in original sin and in the will of Adam sinning.

  2. Christ gave Himself for us as an oblation to God, not for the elect only, but for all the faithful only.

  3. Pagans, Jews, heretics, and others of this kind do not receive in any way any influence from Jesus Christ, and so you will rightly infer from this that in them there is a bare and weak will without any sufficient grace.

  4. Grace sufficient for our state is not so much useful as pernicious, so that we can justly pray: From sufficient grace deliver us, O Lord.

  5. Every human act is a deliberate choice of God or of the world; if of God, it is love of the Father; if of the world, it is concupiscence of the flesh, that is, it is evil.

God bless Vico and every readers of the CAF.

God desire is that everyone saved. Christ died for** the sins of the whole world.**

God gives everyone free will and sufficient grace to be saved.

The reprobates are Reprobates because of their vehement rejection of God and His grace, they completely reject everything God offer to them.

I believe God offered everlasting life in heaven for the reprobates, but the reprobates vehemently rejected it, so they practically predestined themselves to hell.

For the above reason, God didn’t predestine the reprobates to heaven.

For their rejection they don’t have a desire to go to heaven, don’t have a desire to live forever in heaven with God, they don’t have a desire to persevere to the end of their life.

God bless Vico and every readers of the CAF.

LatinRight

That is not to say that those damned (at the particular judgment) do not accept grace one or more times before their final unrepentence, nor that the saved (at the particular judgement) do not reject grace one or more times before their final repentence. Also there may be a desire to persevere to the end of their life that is lost.

**God bless Vico and every readers of the CAF.

Thank you for your post.
**
I don’t contradict your post Vico, I write this for the benefit of every readers of the CAF.

In the area salvation and spirituality, for our clear understanding, we should never mix together the spiritual actions of the reprobates/Satan’s sheep (even we don’t know who they are) with God’s children/elect/Christ’s sheep.

The teaching of the Catholic Church in the area of God’s special grace The Gift of Final Perseverance** is clear.**

Every elect of God/Christ’s sheep at their baptism is a receiver of God’s gift of Salvation/Everlasting Life and God’s special grace The Gift of Final Perseverance, which is an Eternal Protection of their Salvation/Everlasting Life. – Can never fail, no surprises.

If a “reprobate” would have a desire to persevere, he wouldn’t be a reprobate but an elect of God/Christ’s sheep, no real reprobate/Satan’s sheep ever has a desire to persevere or desire to go to heaven and to live there forever with God.

Reprobates/Satan’s sheep don’t believe heaven or hell or persevere, this is the very reason they are reprobates.

There is a lot of confusion around Christian circles about salvation and spirituality,** if we are not clear, we cause more confusions.**

I believe the teachings of the Catholic Church about Justification/Salvation is the best, we all should know it and present it clearly to others.

God bless Vico and every readers of the CAF.

LatinRight

As I see it, the primary practical difference between the Catholic and Protestant views on justification is as follows: The Protestant world (huge umbrella) absolutely obsesses (almost to incontinence in a few cases) over justification. All the while claiming it is by faith alone - a doctrine so grossly simplified that it cannot be further reduced. OK, so why the endless debates and continuing obsession over justification - especially if one is sure of their theology? Look at the veritable plethora of YouTube videos regarding justification. Shouldn’t it be known and stated once and be over and done with? Unless there is just something about it that seems a little too simple. Like the Epistle of James.

I would venture to guess that the average Catholic almost never thinks about justification. We have Baptism, Confirmation, and for those times when sin separates us from God, the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Sin. Repent. Confess. Be absolved. Simple. No obsession. Pure peace.

I see no easy way of reconciling a constant state of seeming unease - if not actual terror - with Christ’s own Sacramental path to peace.

Excellent research!

I think the problem here is that Protestants don’t understand that righteousness means to be in the state of being willing to obey God. The sin stained state of the soul is not an issue. By the grace of God, the soul can be cleansed here or in Purgatory, given that one possesses the Faith in Christ.

Thus righteousness need not, and in fact, if God can create something something out of nothing, must not, be forensic only.

peace
steve

And important to know that we cannot be certain that we have the gift of final perserverence: Council of Trent, Session VI

CANON XVI.-If any one saith, that he will for certain, of an absolute and infallible certainty, have that great gift of perseverance unto the end,-unless he have learned this by special revelation; let him be anathema.

**God bless Vico and every readers of the CAF.

It is also important to know THE CANONS OF THE COUNCIL OF ORANGE 529 AD and THE WORD and THE TEACHINGS of the Lord Jesus Christ.**

THE CANONS OF THE COUNCIL OF ORANGE 529 AD

CANON 5. “… For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8) …”

CANON 18. “That grace is not preceded by merit. Recompense is due to good works if they are performed; but grace, to which we have no claim, precedes them, to enable them to be done.”

**MERIT
Divine reward for the practice of virtue. **
“The reward given for good works is not won by reason of actions which precede grace, but GRACE, which is unmerited, PRECEDES actions in order that ENABLE them to be done.”
(Council of Orange 529 AD, Denzinger 388).

Rom.11:5-6 In the same way, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if it is by grace then it is no longer by works. Otherwise, grace would no longer be grace.

Rom.5:18; “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment come to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift come to all men, resulting in justification of life.”

Rom.3:24; “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

**THE COUNCIL OF ORANGE (529) **
Canon 13. Concerning the restoration of free will.
The freedom of will that was destroyed in the first man can be restored only by the grace of baptism, for what is lost can be returned only by the one who was able to give it. Hence the Truth itself declares: “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

CCC 2020 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It is granted us through Baptism. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who justifies us. …

THE WORD AND THE TEACHINGS OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

**John 10:26; (NAV) **
But you do not believe because you are not my sheep.

**2 Cor.13:5-6; (NAV) **
Quote: v. 5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith.

Test yourselves.

Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

v. 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. End quote.

**John 10:27-28; (NAV) **
v. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

v. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Ephesians 2:8; (NIV)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.

John 5:24; (NKJ)
“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; (NAV)
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

John 12:48; (AMP)
Whoever rejects Me and refuses to accept My teachings,
has one who judges him; the very word that I spoke will judge and*** condemn him*** on the last day.

A question:
Do you believe Vico, anyone has the authority to override the Word of God, nullify the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and to stop us to obey God’s COMMAND given to us in 2 Cor.13:5-6?

You don’t need to answer the above question, every elect of God, sheep of the Lord Jesus Christ know the answer of the above question.

God bless Vico and every readers of the CAF.

LatinRight

**God bless every readers of the CAF.
**

John 5:24; (NKJ)
“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.”

**An addition to my post # 35.
**
We will all stand before the Judgment seat of God described in 1 Cor.3:12-15, but our salvation as God’s elect is not at stake, only our works is at stake.

God will determine our position and glory in heaven, according to the outcome of the judgment of our works.

God bless every readers of the CAF.

LatinRight

Of course the Church has rejected both Pelagianism and Semi-pelagianism, but also double predestination (predestinarianism) where God is the cause damnation.

Council of Trent, Session VI:
CANON XVII.-If any one saith, that the grace of Justification is only attained to by those who are predestined unto life; but that all others who are called, are called indeed, but receive not grace, as being, by the divine power, predestined unto evil; let him be anathema.

I think you’re misreading Chrysostom here. He is saying that we are made righteous in God’s eyes because of the righteousness of Christ. He is not saying that we immediately become completely righteous. Really the fact that he says “immediately” goes against your thesis. If we were* really* made completely righteous as Christ is righteous, then it would be impossible for us to sin. So he must mean a view of Christ’s righteousness that is imputed to us for justification.

But besides all that, you have to deal with Paul saying that our faith is “counted” as righteousness, as it was to Abraham (Romans 4). The original Greek has the connotation of a one-way transfer. He isn’t saying that justification causes us to become righteous, rather that we are counted as righteous through faith. Yes, the believer becomes righteous through sanctification, which produces good works and obedience through the work of the Holy Spirit, and is just as important as justification (a point Protestants often miss). But in terms of justification in itself, it is a legal term to show how we are acquitted at the last judgment, not how we are made righteous.

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