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Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Rome's false teaching on Justification

The Catechism of the Catholic Church was revised and reprinted in March 2000. This gives an up-to-date record of Rome's teaching on various doctrines.

This Catechism of the Catholic Church has much to say about the doctrine of Justification. There are at least 40 references to the term 'Justification' in this Catechism of the Catholic Church. These 40 references demonstrate that Rome's view of 'Justification' is still the same as at the Council of Trent and is still contrary to the teaching of the Bible and the truth held by orthodox Protestantism.
The teachings of Rome are in blue. Particularly important statements are underlined. Comments are in black. 

In Section 654 the Catechism states:
The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life. This new life is above all justification that reinstates us in God's grace, "so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." Justification consists in both victory over the death caused by sin and a new participation in grace.
Rome here teaches that the sinner participates with grace. Grace is not sovereign and salvation is not entirely of God. Like Armininism Rome believes that a sinner participates in salvation.

Section 987 reads:
"In the forgiveness of sins, both priests and sacraments are instruments which our Lord Jesus Christ, the only author and liberal giver of salvation, wills to use in order to efface our sins and give us the grace of justification" (Roman Catechism, I, 11, 6)
The grace of justification comes through the Church, the priests and the sacraments. This denies the truth of salvation in Christ alone. A Roman Catholic needs the priests and the church and the sacraments in order to have their sins effaced and to be justified.

Section 1266 states:
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.
Justifying grace according to Romanism has its roots in baptism. This is baptismal regeneration.

Section 1446, in dealing with The sacrament of forgiveness, states:
Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as "the second plank [of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace."
Baptismal [justifying] grace can be lost according to Romanism. God's act of imputing righteousness and pardoning iniquity can be reversed. The sacrament of Penance supposedly offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification.

Sections 1987 - 1995 in Chapter Three of the Catechism deals with GOD'S SALVATION: LAW AND GRACE 
Article 2 GRACE AND JUSTIFICATION 
I. Justification 

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: 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. 
Baptism is again highlighted as playing a part in justification.

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: (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. 

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." 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". 
There is here, and in this section generally, the confusing of Justification with Sanctification and also with Regeneration and Conversion. Justification is an act that declares the sinner righteous before God. Sanctification is the process of making the sinner holy. This confusion forms the basis of a doctrine of salvation by works.

1990 - Justification detaches man from sin which contradicts the love of God, and purifies his heart of sin. Justification follows upon God's merciful initiative of offering forgiveness. It reconciles man with God. It frees from the enslavement to sin, and it heals. 

1991 - Justification is at the same time the acceptance of God's righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. Righteousness (or "justice") here means the rectitude of divine love. With justification, faith, hope, and charity are poured into our hearts, and obedience to the divine will is granted us. 

1992 - Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men. Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy. Its purpose is the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life: But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus. 

1993 - Justification establishes cooperation between God's grace and man's freedom. On man's part it is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, and in the cooperation of charity with the prompting of the Holy Spirit who precedes and preserves his assent: When God touches man's heart through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself is not inactive while receiving that inspiration, since he could reject it; and yet, without God's grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God's sight. 

1994 - Justification is the most excellent work of God's love made manifest in Christ Jesus and granted by the Holy Spirit. It is the opinion of St. Augustine that "the justification of the wicked is a greater work than the creation of heaven and earth," because "heaven and earth will pass away but the salvation and justification of the elect . . . will not pass away." He holds also that the justification of sinners surpasses the creation of the angels in justice, in that it bears witness to a greater mercy. 

1995 - The Holy Spirit is the master of the interior life. By giving birth to the "inner man," justification entails the sanctification of his whole being: Just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification.... But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life.

Section 2006 in Chapter Three of the Catechism, entitled GOD'S SALVATION: LAW AND GRACE 
Article 2 GRACE AND JUSTIFICATION, commences a section on Merit.

In Section 2010 it states:
Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life. Even temporal goods like health and friendship can be merited in accordance with God's wisdom. These graces and goods are the object of Christian prayer. Prayer attends to the grace we need for meritorious actions.
Salvation is not entirely by grace alone. Rome teaches that no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. However, a sinner may merit for themselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life.

There is a section in the Catechism which covers what has previously been said "In Brief"
Sections 2018- 2020 read:
2018 - Like conversion, justification has two aspects. Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, and so accepts forgiveness and righteousness from on high. 

2019 - Justification includes the remission of sins, sanctification, and the renewal of the inner man

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. It has for its goal the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life. It is the most excellent work of God's mercy.
This brief summary again emphasises the mistake of confusing and mixing Justification with Regeneration, Conversion and Sanctification. The Bible teaches, and true Protestants hold to, the truth that Justification is an external judicial act outside of the sinner before the judgment bar of God in heaven where a sinner is declared righteous. Justification removes the guilt of sin whereas Sanctification removes the pollution of sin.

Rome's view of Justification can be summarised to include:
1. The need of the Church, priests and sacraments as instruments which our Lord Jesus Christ, wills to use in order to efface our sins and give us the grace of justification.

2. Justification is conferred in Baptism, which is called the sacrament of faith.

3. The sinner collaborates with and participates in the grace of justification.

4. Justification is not an external, judicial act before the judgment bar of God, rather it entails the sanctification of his whole being and includes the renewal of the inner man.

5. The sinner can lose baptismal, justifying grace. The sacrament of Penance is required to offer a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification.

6. The sinner can merit for themselves, and for others, the graces needed for their sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life.

7. The whole organism of the Christian's supernatural life has its roots in Baptism.

All of these points true Protestants repudiate and reject because the Bible rejects all of these points. There is no better definition of Biblical Justification than that found in the Shorter Catechism Question 33: Justification is an act of Gods free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.

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