Starting the week off with a bang 🙂 , I picked the Christian theological issue of “Justification” to discuss.  I couldn’t possibly cover this issue in any detail.  I’ll just go over my general perceptions and thoughts.  Hopefully my Christians friends will clarify any of my mis-conceptions.

Justification is God’s act of declaring, or making, a sinner righteous.

The Christian world became deeply divided over this issue when Martin Luther began his revolution against the Catholic Church, the Protestant Reformation, in 1517.  The Christian world remains divided today, although no longer with the violence that followed the Reformation.

I’ll start with what I see as points of agreement.

All Christians believe that is was Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross that bought the redemption of man.  His righteousness is transferred to believers when they surrendered their will to God.

All Christians believe that it is God’s guidance to help others, and perform “good works”.

All Christians believe they will be judged by God when they die in the world.  That they will be held accountable by God for their sins.

As someone outside the Christian faith the only important thing to me is that believers surrender their will to God.  That they follow God’s guidance to avoid sin, help others, and perform good works.  How God will judge you is up to God.  A Christian should have no expectations of how they will be judged other than that God is just.

Justification By Faith

Romans 4:25 (King James Version)

20He (Abraham) staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

 21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

 22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

 23Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

 24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

 25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Romans 3:20-26 (King James Version)

20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

 21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

 22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

 25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

 26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Jesus died for your sins and was raised to life for your justification. Righteousness comes from God through faith in Jesus.  All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.  God presented Jesus as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.

Justification By Faith Plus Good Works

 James 2:15-26 (King James Version)

15If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

 16And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

 17Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

 18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

 19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

 20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

 22Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

 23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

 24Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

 25Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

 26For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

True faith in God brings a desire to follow his guidance to love one another.  This will result in performing good deeds.  In verse 24 James clearly writes that man is not justified by faith alone.  In verse 26 he states his belief that a body without spirit is dead, and faith without works is also dead.

Conclusion – I think of religious monks, and nuns, who choose to live lives isolated, as much as possible, from the world. They devote their lives in contemplation of God.  I don’t see where they are performing any good deeds such helping others.  My guess is that God would welcome into Heaven, even though they maynot have performed good works.

Advertisements