Justification

Fletcher and I have been having an extended conversation about all things Christian, with an emphasis on Catholicism. So here is the main section on justification in the Catholic Catechism. Would like to know what you all think. What are its strengths and weaknesses?

I would also like to hear the opinion of our Muslim readers on this topic. FYI the word we use in Arabic for "justification" is "tabriir" and the verb in its root is "barrar":

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.

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.

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.


From Here. Please continue to read as it introduces baptism, which will be a more divisive point.

Comments

Fletcher said…
The only point I find objectionable is the requirement of baptism. However, in comparing to other readings this does not seem to fully capture the requirements for salvation according to Catholicism. For example, you must be purged in Purgatory before entering heaven, and you must not commit a mortal sin before death (unless you have since gone to Catholic confession, where a priest is permitted to forgive your sins).
Rob said…
-The only point I find objectionable is the requirement of baptism.-

"What are we to do, brothers?"
"You are to reform and be baptized, each one of you"

-Acts 2:37-38

-you must be purged in Purgatory before entering heaven, and you must not commit a mortal sin before death-

How do you know this is Catholic teaching? Who told you?

The Catechism IS Catholic teaching. You can't say it doesn't SEEM like Catholicism. It IS Catholicism.
SocietyVs said…
Justification by faith makes as much sense also though. If all we need to do is believe something and we are 'saved'...this is like saying to someone in jail 'you sorry for what you did?' - 'yes' - 'you're free' because you're 'sorry'. uhm...shouldn't our faith be backed up by 'living'?
Rob said…
societyvs,

Yes, that is a tricky point. I think too often Catholic commentators may have mischaracterized the 'Protestant' view of "saved by Faith' as meaning that you could 'get saved' and then go be immoral with no worries. Yet, I doubt most Reformed Christians really believe that and I am sure they tie some significance to their actions.

Simultaneously, Catholics have been told that they believe in salvation by works, which simply is not and has never been true. We believe faith saves but then you have to live the faith, always failing of course and renewing oneself in repentance. It is a fine line to walk though and it is easy to misconstrue these things.

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