Silver Bullet: Abraham was justified in Gen TWELVE!


#1

You heard me right. The Bible clearly teaches Abraham heard the Gospel, had faith, and was justified as early as Genesis 12. Reading Gn 12 alone is sufficient proof Abraham was a believer in God and obeyed him, though further evidence like Gal 3:8 and Heb 11:8 drive the point home (those verses reference Gen 12).

Given that Protestants believe that Abraham was justified in Gen 15:6 (Rom 4:3), and that they believe justification is by imputation as a one time legal decree means there is a problem here. Abraham cannot have been justified at two different times if the above definition/understanding holds. This is precisely why Protestants say James 2:21 (Gen 22) cannot be using “justification” in the same sense as St Paul in Rom 4:3.

The only way around this “problem” is to realize that the Protestant understanding of justification is incorrect, while the Catholic understanding is orthodox.

I have yet to see a coherent Protestant explanation for this and I believe the Catholic argument here is so strong that it is the decisive “silver bullet” on the issue of Justification by Faith Alone. Faith Alone was the doctrine by which the Reformation stood or fell, if it was wrong the Reformation was wrong.

I invite any questions or comments. PLEASE keep on topic (eg no comments about Mary, Pope, Indulgences, abuses, etc).


#2

While I agree that the Protestant position is tenuous, I cannot see how this defeats the claim that Abraham was justified by faith, not by Grace.

Most discussions concering sola fide that I have had with Protestants focus on their use of Gal 3:8 and Hebrews 11:8 to show that Abraham was saved by faith. An easy refutation of this is James 2:21, in which James claims that Abraham’s justification was the result of his works and his faith.

Gen 12 would have to explicitly say that Abraham’s faith was caused by the Grace of God working through him to be the silver bullet. If anything, this pokes a hole at the “one and done” theory of jsutification/salvation, not sola fide.


#3

2 Cor. 4:16 - though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed “every day.” This not only proves that justification is internal (not legal and external), but that it is also ongoing (it’s not a one-time event of accepting Jesus as personal Lord and Savior). Our inner nature is being renewed every day as we persevere in faith, hope and love.

John 3:16 - justification is ongoing, not a one-time event. God so loved (past) the world, that He gave (past) His only Son, that whoever believes (ongoing) in Him may have eternal life. The word “believes” is “pisteuo” in Greek which necessarily includes obedience throughout one’s life. This is proved by 1 Peter 2:7-8 which also uses “pisteuo” (to obey) and “apitheo” (to disobey). The same word “pisteuo” is used in many other verses about “believing in Christ” such as John 3:36; 5:24; Rom. 4:24; 10:9-10; cf. Rom. 1:5,16; 6:17; 16:26; 1 John 5:13 (often used by Protestants to support their “faith alone” theology). To “believe” means to “obey” throughout one’s life; it is not a one-time acceptance of Jesus as Savior.

Heb. 5:9 – Paul also confirms this by writing that Jesus became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him. Here are some examples of justification as an on-going process, and not a one-time event:

Gen. 12:1-4 – Abram is justified here, as God promises to make his name great and bless the families of the earth through his seed. Abram is justified by his faith in God. Heb. 11:8-10 confirms Abraham’s justification occurred here, before Gen. 15:6 (later) by referring to Gen. 12, not Gen. 15. Abraham’s justification increased over time because justification is not a one-time event, but an ongoing process of growing in holiness.

Gen. 14:19, 22-23 - Abram is also justified here, by being blessed by the priest-king Melchizedek. Melchizedek calls Abram blessed and Abram gives him a tenth of everything.

Gen. 15:6 – Abram is further justified here, as God promises him that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars. Because the Scripture says, “He believed the Lord, and He reckoned it to him as righteousness,” Protestants often say this was Abram’s initial justification, and cite Rom 4:2 to prove Abram was justified by his faith. Yes, it is true Abram was justified by his faith, but he was justified 25 years earlier in Gen. 12:1-4, as Heb. 11:8-10 proves.

Gen. 22:1-18 – Abraham is further justified here, this time by works, when he offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God. James 2:21 proves this as James writes, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar?” James then confirms this by writing, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness” (James 2:23). These verses prove that justification before God is an on-going process, not a one-time event of accepting Jesus as personal Lord and Savior, and is accomplished by faith and works.
scripturecatholic.com/justification.html


#4

Faith alone does not contradict grace. In fact the Reformation was based on five solas. By grace alone, through faith alone, by Christ alone, for God’s glory alone and by Scripture alone.

James 2:21 must be read in such a way that it does not contract Romans 4:1-2 where Paul says that Abraham was not justified by works before God. Scripture cannot contradict Scripture and Paul explicitly tells us the justification he was talking about was in God’s eyes. That makes James clearer. James earlier talks about one who says he has faith without works. James says he will show his faith by his works. What he is talking about is being shown justified before men who cannot see into each other to know who has faith.

It is often said that Paul was talking about not being justified by works of the Jewish law. However this cannot apply to Abraham since the law did not come until much later with Moses.

There is no “silver bullet” or “easy refutation” on the side of Catholics or Protestants. Neither side is stupid, and if there were such a thing it would be recognized.


#5

No Protestant would deny that salvation is an ongoing process, even those who hold once saved always saved. However the terminology is used differently. Most Protestants recognize 4 aspects of salvation. These are regeneration, justification, sanctification and glorification.

Regeneration is when a new spirit is infused into us allowing us to be able to obey God and want to be righteous. Justification is the declaration that we are righteous. Sanctification is when we work to be holy and righteous and glorication is when we are righteous in Heaven.

So Protestants do not deny an infusion. But that does not make us righteous since we still have our old sinful nature fighting within us. Our works during sanctification are necessary but don’t merit anything because we already owe them all to God to start with. Sanctification is completed with glorification in Heaven.


#6

It defeats the Protestant claim precisely because they hold that Justification is a one time event, immediately after an act of faith. They by definition cannot have Abraham being justified two different times, yet they insist he was justified in Gen 15:6.

Im not sure what you mean at the end with “not by grace”.

Most discussions concering sola fide that I have had with Protestants focus on their use of Gal 3:8 and Hebrews 11:8 to show that Abraham was saved by faith. An easy refutation of this is James 2:21, in which James claims that Abraham’s justification was the result of his works and his faith.

I have yet to see Protestants bring up those verses, the only way one would bring them up is if they didnt realize the significance of them to Gen 12.

Gen 12 would have to explicitly say that Abraham’s faith was caused by the Grace of God working through him to be the silver bullet. If anything, this pokes a hole at the “one and done” theory of jsutification/salvation, not sola fide.

That is where Gal 3:8 and Heb 11:8 come in, they show clearly Abraham had such faith in Gen 12.

Care to address Gal 3:8 and Heb 11:8?

It is often said that Paul was talking about not being justified by works of the Jewish law. However this cannot apply to Abraham since the law did not come until much later with Moses.

Correct, in fact the Mosaic Law was never the path for salvation.

There is no “silver bullet” or “easy refutation” on the side of Catholics or Protestants. Neither side is stupid, and if there were such a thing it would be recognized.

I disagree big time. While neither side is stupid, it cant be denied that someone is BADLY misunderstanding Scripture.

I look forward to see how you get around my opening claims.


#7

No Protestant would deny that salvation is an ongoing process, even those who hold once saved always saved.

MOST Protestants believe salvation is a one time event. If I am mistaken, please give the denominations that do not.

However the terminology is used differently. Most Protestants recognize 4 aspects of salvation. These are regeneration, justification, sanctification and glorification.

Most Protestants do not recognize baptism as regenerative, but as an ordinance, and define sanctification differently from the early church.

Regeneration is when a new spirit is infused into us allowing us to be able to obey God and want to be righteous.

Infusion is the same as legal declaration, foriegn to Christianity, but invented by the reformers.

Justification is the declaration that we are righteous.

That is not in the Bible, and was never thought of for 1500 years.

Sanctification is when we work to be holy and righteous and glorication is when we are righteous in Heaven.

We become sanctified by purification, in this life or the next.

So Protestants do not deny an infusion.

That is why they are Protestants.

But that does not make us righteous since we still have our old sinful nature fighting within us.

We are not made righteous, we become righteous.

Our works during sanctification are necessary but don’t merit anything because we already owe them all to God to start with.

Self generated works apart from God’s grace is a waste of time, and was condemned by the Catholic Church at the Council of Orange in the 5th century.

Sanctification is completed with glorification in Heaven.
Amen.


#8

No Protestant would deny that salvation is an ongoing process, even those who hold once saved always saved.

MOST Protestants believe salvation is a one time event. If I am mistaken, please give the short list of denominations that do not.

However the terminology is used differently. Most Protestants recognize 4 aspects of salvation. These are regeneration, justification, sanctification and glorification.

Most Protestants do not recognize baptism as regenerative, but as an ordinance, and define sanctification differently from the early church.

Regeneration is when a new spirit is infused into us allowing us to be able to obey God and want to be righteous.

Regeneration is the restoration of sanctifying grace that was lost by Adam, and we die with Christ and rise up in baptism.

Justification is the declaration that we are righteous.

That is not in the Bible, and was never thought of for 1500 years.

Sanctification is when we work to be holy and righteous and glorication is when we are righteous in Heaven.

We become sanctified by purification, in this life or the next.

So Protestants do not deny an infusion.

That is why they are Protestants.

But that does not make us righteous since we still have our old sinful nature fighting within us.

We are not made righteous, we become righteous.

Our works during sanctification are necessary but don’t merit anything because we already owe them all to God to start with.

Self-generated works apart from God’s grace is a waste of time, and was condemned by the Catholic Church at the Council of Orange in the 5th century. Love naturally seeks to expand itself, and love is an act of the will, a work. So why bring up owing God?

Sanctification is completed with glorification in Heaven.

Amen.


#9

To most Protestants salvation is a four fold process. First there is regeneration by which we are infused with a new spirit so that we are able to please God and seek righteous. Even though we have this new spirit, our old sinful nature still exists within us. Justification is a forensic concept by which we are declared or viewed as righteous. We are not actually made righteous because we still have the old sinful nature within us with which we must fight for the rest of our lives. Sanctification is the process by which we work to become righteous and more like Jesus. It is never finished in this life and we don’t merit salvation because of it. We already owe God all the good works we could possibly do, but doing them is the evidence that we have been regenerated and justified. Finally there is glorification when we finally become fully righteous in Heaven.
A person who believes in “once saved always saved” believes that we cannot lose our justification. Not all Protestants believe this and I personally do not believe it. We must continue to have faith throughout our lives to retain justification.
Even for the “once saved always saved” school Genesis 12 does not present a problem. While justification is a one time final event, once it takes place the justified status remains. At any subsequent time it can be said that we are justified and that our faith continues to be accounted as righteousness. Therefore, while Abraham was justified by faith in Genesis 12, it can still be said that his faith was reckoned to him as justification in Genesis 15. Paul quotes Genesis 15 because this is where the statement is actually made in the Old Testament. The same reasoning applies to Hebrews 11. Abraham had faith and was justified when he left for Canaan and continued to be righteous through faith when the promise was made in Genesis 15.
If you don’t believe in “once saved always saved”, then justification is an ongoing declaration that we are righteous. If you lose your faith you are no longer regarded as righteous. If you regain your faith you are again being justified through your faith. Neither Genesis 12 or Hebrews 11 causes us any problem.


#10

I am afraid you don’t know as much as you think about Protestantism. I don’t have time now to reply in detail.


#11

quite true. (sorry0 this is just a test to see hwtalevel of member I have become- I don’t mean this to be a jerkish thing to do- just wanted to see)


#12

St Paul uses the term “regeneration” once, in Titus 3:5, through Baptism. The context, Titus 3:4-7, shows it is clearly an infusion of grace leading directly to justification (v7).

Justification is a forensic concept by which we are declared or viewed as righteous. We are not actually made righteous because we still have the old sinful nature within us with which we must fight for the rest of our lives.

This is only partly true, though your comments are built on unBiblical concepts. The Bible does not teach God considers something righteous that is not internally, in fact it condemns such a notion (cf Mat 23:25-27). We ARE made righteous through the infusion of grace, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit makes us righteous by DEFINITION. Note how places like 1 Cor 6:11 put “sanctification” BEFORE “justification”.

While you are right we still struggle against sin, that is due to concupiscience which is a effect of the fall. It is not sin itself but rather the “urge” to sin, which is not a sin either. Yes that effect remains but through God infusing grace into our souls, our souls become actually righteous that moment and God recognizes this.

Sanctification is the process by which we work to become righteous and more like Jesus. It is never finished in this life and we don’t merit salvation because of it.

As above, you are partly right, but still miss a key understanding as I noted above.
As for growing in righteousness (sanctification) you are right we are to spend our life growing like this, but that in no way means the sanctifying grace already in our souls doesnt make us righteous, it does.

We already owe God all the good works we could possibly do, but doing them is the evidence that we have been regenerated and justified.

Again, partly correct, partly incorrect. Yes we can only do good works (including have faith) by God’s enabling and sanctifying grace, but these works are not guaranteed. The letters to the Galatians and Corinthians are explicit proof of Christians turning to lives of sin.

Finally there is glorification when we finally become fully righteous in Heaven.

Basically true.

A person who believes in “once saved always saved” believes that we cannot lose our justification. Not all Protestants believe this and I personally do not believe it.

The OSAS concept originated from Calvin, and it was in fact the logical conclusion to a forensic justification through imputed grace (as opposed to infused grace).

We must continue to have faith throughout our lives to retain justification.

Then you cant break justification and sanctification in two parts for clearly if you turn to a life of sin you lose justification and thus it cant be the forensic and imputed concept you propose.
If you are declared righteous though in fact you are not (imputation), then not being righteous in the future has no bearing on your justification either. In a trial you can only be put on trial for a specific crime once, in the classical protestant understanding though you are charged with being unrighteous through imputation you are declared innocent and righteous and cannot ever be charged as being unrighteous again.

Even for the “once saved always saved” school Genesis 12 does not present a problem. While justification is a one time final event, once it takes place the justified status remains. At any subsequent time it can be said that we are justified and that our faith continues to be accounted as righteousness. Therefore, while Abraham was justified by faith in Genesis 12, it can still be said that his faith was reckoned to him as justification in Genesis 15. Paul quotes Genesis 15 because this is where the statement is actually made in the Old Testament. The same reasoning applies to Hebrews 11. Abraham had faith and was justified when he left for Canaan and continued to be righteous through faith when the promise was made in Genesis 15.
If you don’t believe in “once saved always saved”, then justification is an ongoing declaration that we are righteous. If you lose your faith you are no longer regarded as righteous. If you regain your faith you are again being justified through your faith. Neither Genesis 12 or Hebrews 11 causes us any problem.

You dont seem to understand classical Protestant concept of justification. It occurs once, through imputation, after regeneration. To say it occurred later as well in Gen 15 means your definition is incorrect/impossible.


#13

bump


#14

This is only true for Calvinst/Once Saved Always Saved. If you do not accept eternal security as Armineans do not then justification is not a one time event. You must continue to believe into order to continue to be considered righteous. Even if it was a one time event, Abraham can be justified by faith in Genesis 12 and continue to be justified in Genesis 15. If I am justified through faith when I am 21 then I can still say that I am justified by faith when I am 50.

Justified does not mean made righteous. It can only mean declared or shown to be righteous. This is because in a number of passages God is said to be justified. God has always been righteous and cannot be said to be made righteous. However He can be declared or shown to be righteous.


#15

HEY CATHOLIC DUDE!

IT’S ME: KNIGHTWOLF!! :knight1:


#16

I was thinking along the lines of classical Protestantism in which my claims would be correct. You are right there were Protestants that came about later on that were not keeping in line with the original “pillars” like Luther and Calvin.

The problem in the Calvinist/Arminian debate is that they are both wrong overall though each side is focusing onto some truth, thus they continually debate each other with no solution because neither side can fully be consistent…not realizing the third and correct option, Catholicism.

If you believe justification is by imputation then logically justification cannot be lost.

Justified does not mean made righteous. It can only mean declared or shown to be righteous. This is because in a number of passages God is said to be justified. God has always been righteous and cannot be said to be made righteous. However He can be declared or shown to be righteous.

Justification means to consider righteous what is in fact righteous, whether the sinner had to be made righteous is not a problem (Titus 3:4-7, 1 Cor 6:11). What IS a CONTRADICTION however is the Protestant claim that “justification” means God calling something righteous knowing full well it is UNrighteous. That definition has absolutely zero support in the Scriptures.


#17

The matter of imputation is certainly supported by Scripture.

For God indeed was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing to them their sins. And he hath placed in us the word of reconciliation. For Christ therefore we are ambassadors, God as it were exhorting by us, for Christ, we beseech you, be reconciled to God. Him, who knew no sin, he hath made sin for us: that we might be made the justice of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:19-21 DRB)

It does tell us we are made righteous but our sins are not imputed to us. Similarly Christ was not actually made a sinner. He took our sins on Himself. They were imputed to Him. God can just as easily view us as righteous as He could make or regard Christ as sin.

In Romans we are also told that our sin is not imputed to us.

For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God: and it was reputed to him unto justice. Now to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned according to grace but according to debt. But to him that worketh not, yet believeth in him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reputed to justice, according to the purpose of the grace of God. As David also termeth the blessedness of a man to whom God reputeth justice without works: Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven: and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord hath not imputed sin. (Romans 4:3-8 DRB)

Our sins are not imputed to us. And we are reputed as just, not made just. Our sins are covered, they are not taken away.

And again in Galatians.

For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27 DRB)

We have put on Christ. We are not made righteous but when we are looked at Christ’s righteous is seen on us.

Justification by imputation does not logically mean it cannot be lost. If we have faith our sins are not imputed to us and Christ’s righteousness covers us. If we lose our faith we are no longer covered by Christ’s righteousness and our sins are imputed to us.


#18

An error and too late to edit. I meant “It does not tell us we are made righteous”


#19

Abraham was justified on three separate instances in Genesis.

Abraham proves that once saved always saved isn’t correct.

We are gracefully saved by faith continuing through and being completed by God willed works!

The last paragraph is mine but I think it says it all!


#20

I have yet to see solid evidence from other Protestants, but if you have it I would like to see it.

     For God indeed was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, **not imputing to them their sins**. And he hath placed in us the word of reconciliation. For Christ therefore we are ambassadors, God as it were exhorting by us, for Christ, we beseech you, be reconciled to God. **Him, who knew no sin, he hath made sin for us:** that we might be made the justice of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:19-21 DRB)

It does tell us we are made righteous but our sins are not imputed to us. Similarly Christ was not actually made a sinner. He took our sins on Himself. They were imputed to Him. God can just as easily view us as righteous as He could make or regard Christ as sin.

I have dealt with this passage multiple times and have found that Protestants put way way too much emphasis on it for their theology…not to mention it doesnt even say what they think it says. Given that you admit this “it tells us we are made righteous” and “Christ was not actually made a sinner” means this is your interpretation of that figurative language (eg “made sin”) and thus cant be considered strong evidence for imputation.

It is worth noting that “made sin” is Hebrew figurative language for a “sin offering” and that is in fact what the foot note for this passage in the Protestant NIV says. Further some translations like the Protestant NASB cross reference passages like Romans 8:3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,
God the Father did not punish the Son in our place as Protestants have mistakenly come to believe. That very notion is abominable. Rather Jesus offered Himself up as an appeasement sacrifice which turned God’s wrath off of men (but did NOT turn that wrath onto the Son).

In Romans we are also told that our sin is not imputed to us. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God: and it was reputed to him unto justice. Now to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned according to grace but according to debt. But to him that worketh not, yet believeth in him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reputed to justice, according to the purpose of the grace of God. As David also termeth the blessedness of a man to whom God reputeth justice without works: Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven: and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord hath not imputed sin. (Romans 4:3-8 DRB)Our sins are not imputed to us. And we are reputed as just, not made just. Our sins are covered, they are not taken away.

The words in red are an English TRANSLATION of the Greek word “Logizomai”. That word does NOT mean “impute” or to consider something OTHER than what it is. Take these three examples where it is used in Rom:For we maintain logizometha] that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. (Romans 3:28)

Even so consider logizesthe] yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11).

For I consider logizomai] that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18).
In each of those cases it is undeniable that Logizomai means to consider something true that is in fact true. If you apply your imputed definition to the above verses they become contradictory (eg Rom 3:28 you would be saying a man really is justified by works of the law though you will say he is not).
Taking my definition:
-Abraham’s faith was “logizomai” as righteousness because he was in fact righteous.
-God does not “logizomai” someone as a sinner because He has forgiven them. David is the subject of Ps 32 and in 32:5 we see clearly his guilt was removed and he was made righteous again.

If you are ready for your whole outlook on theology to change then I challenge you to read this amazing article:
pugiofidei.com/logizomai.htm

(cont)


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.