Friday, February 24, 2012

Martin Luther once remarked concerning the doctrine of justification:

a Christian is righteous and holy by an alien and foreign holiness --- this mercy and grace is not something human; it is not some sort of disposition of the heart; but it is a divine blessing, given through the true knowledge of the GOspel, when we know or believe that our sin has been forgiven through the grace and merit of Christ … is not this righteousness an alien righteousness? … Therefore, a Christian is not formally righteous; he is not righteous according to substance or quality.

The Westminster Confession of Faith defines justification:

JUSTIFICATION: the act of God’s free grace where he pardons all our sins and accepts us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us and received by faith alone.

Sadly, however, Roman Catholicism teaches the following concerning justification:

“If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification, and that it is not in any way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will, let him be anathema” (Trent 6, canon 9).

“If anyone says that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and remains in them, or also that the grace by which we are justified is only the good will of God, let him be anathema” (Trent 6, canon 11).

But note how Paul, inspired by God the Holy Spirit, puts it in the Epistle to the Romans:

Romans 3:21-24   21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,  22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;  23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;


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