Saturday, October 22, 2011

St. Paul didn't say faith ALONE.

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When St. Paul said, “justified by faith apart from works”, Luther interpreted that as faith “alone”: But that s not what St. Paul meant. St. Paul was teaching the justification which occurs in the Sacraments.

Let me explain:

St. Paul taught the Catholic Teaching that only those who do the works of the Law are justified:

Romans 2:13
King James Version (KJV)
13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

In Catholic Teaching, we are justified by faith and works. That is the foundation and root of all justification. Faith is expressed and perfected in works.

However, the Church also teaches that we are justified in the Sacraments where we are washed in sanctifying grace. Especially Baptism. Sacraments are God’s mighty works. We don’t do anything except submit to His works in the proper dispostion, which is that of faith.

This is the Justification by faith apart from works to which St. Paul referred.

The process is evident in every semester of RCIA. By faith, we seek the Lord and study to show ourselves approved. Only those who undergo this process are then JUSTIFIED in Baptism.

Lets take another example.

St. Paul says:
Galatians 2:16

King James Version (KJV)

16Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Notice how he repeatedly says here, "faith OF Christ". Not "by faith IN Christ". He is not speaking about believing in Christ. That is assumed. He is speaking about the observance of the rituals instituted by Christ in His new way. He is speaking of the Sacraments.

And this, is Luther's error. He did not connect the Sacramental teaching of St. Paul. Luther recognized the Sacraments and he recognized the perfection of the sinner in the justification by faith. But denied the merit of that expression of faith in good works without which no one will be saved. And he applied St. Paul's teaching wrongly across the board. He failed to recognize the difference between the justification by faith and works that occurs as a result of the effort of the man of God which is illustrated by St. Peter below:

2 Peter 1:4-10

King James Version (KJV)

4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.

And that justifcation by faith apart from works which occurs by the action of God in the Sacraments:
Titus 3:5
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

What do you think?


De Maria

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