Biblical evidence for Catholic justification | Catholic National Register


Catholics believe in Jesus Christ and his all-sufficient saving work on the cross (ours to be received by grace alone), just as Protestants do. We only deny an extreme position of Faith Alone.

Saint Paul contrasts grace and / or faith with the works of Scripture, only in one particular sense: the “works” of Jewish ritualism by which the Jews acquired their unique identity (eg, circumcision).

The apostle Paul does not oppose grace, faith, and works, and in fact constantly puts them together in harmony. Here are two typical examples:

1 Corinthians 15:10 (KJV, as everywhere) But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, although it was not me, but the grace of God that is with me.

2 Corinthians 6: 1 As we work with him, therefore, we beg you not to accept God’s grace in vain.

Grace and works are for Paul, quite hand in hand, just as faith and works are. We Catholics only oppose grace to works to the extent that we deny (along with Protestants) that man can save himself. Trent is very clear on this. We vigorously Deny hi-works. Writing does not teach faith alone; neither did the fathers of the Church. In fact, the only time the phrase appears in the Bible is expressly refuse:

James 2:24 You see a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

Saint Paul declares:

Romans 3:28 For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. (cf. 3, 20; 3, 24: “justified by his grace as a gift”)

But “justified by faith” is different from “justified by faith alone”. The “works of the law” he speaks of here are not all works, but things like circumcision. In other words, we are saved outside of the Jewish rituals required by Mosaic law. Paul makes it clear that this is what he has in mind, referring to circumcision in 3: 1, rhetorically asking, “Are we Jews better off?” No, not at all ”(3: 9), multiple references to“ the law ”(3: 19-21, 28, 31), and the following statement:

Romans 3: 29-30 Or is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, Gentiles too, [30] since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised by their faith, and the uncircumcised by their faith.

Paul is not against all “works” in itself; he related them directly to salvation, after all, in the previous chapter:

Romans 2: 6-8 For he will render to each according to his works: [7] to those who by the patience to do well seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; [8] but for those who are factious and do obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be anger and fury. (cf. 2:13: “the doers of the law who shall be justified”)

Paul uses the example of Abraham in Romans 4, with an emphasis on faith, in relation to Jewish works of circumcision as a supposed means of faith and justification (therefore, he mentions circumcision in 4: 9- 12, and the salvation of the Gentiles as well as the Jews in 4: 13-18).

Abraham’s justification is also discussed in James 2, and there it is explicitly linked to the works, thus providing a perfect complementary (very “Catholic”) balance with Romans 4:

James 2: 20-26 Do you want us to show, superficial man, that faith apart from works is sterile? [21] Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? [22] You see that faith was active with his works, and faith was fulfilled by works, [23] and the scripture is fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness”; and they called him the friend of God. [24] You see a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. [25] And in the same way, was not the harlot Rahab also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them in another way? [26] For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.

This is a wonderful cross-reference to Romans 4 in another regard: both cite the same passage from the Old Testament (Gen 15: 6: seen in Rom 4: 3 and James 2:23; also Gal 3: 6) . James, however, gives a explicit interpretation of the Old Testament passage, stating: “And the Scripture was completed who says, . . . “(2:23). The previous three verses were all about justification, faith, and works, all tied together, and this This is what James says “realized” Genesis 15: 6. The next verse then condemns the notion of “faith alone” in the clearest way imaginable.

Scripture should be interpreted as a harmonious whole. We Catholics can easily do this with these two passages. Romain 4 shows that the specific works of the Law by which the Jews lived were not absolutely necessary for salvation, and that Abraham’s faith was the key. James 2 discusses the organic connection between faith and works in a general sense – using the willingness to sacrifice Isaac as an example – thus showing how “faith alone” is a meaningless and unscriptural concept. Faith can never be totally separated from works, except in the initial justification, since (in Catholic as well as Protestant teaching) no work that we do can lead us initially to justification: it is all the grace of God.

James 2 is generally applied by Protestants to sanctification, but that is not what the passage asserts. He mentions “justified” (dikaioo) thrice (2:21, 24-25): the same Greek word used in Romans 4: 2, as well as 2:13; 3:20, 24, 28; 5: 1, 9; 8:30 am; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Galatians 2: 16-17; 3:11, 24; 5: 4; and Titus 3: 7. If James really meant sanctification, on the other hand, he could have used one of the two Greek words ( hagiazo / hagiasmos) which appear (together) 38 times in the New Testament (the majority of times by Paul himself).


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