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 Post subject: Justification: Works and Faith
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 1:31 pm 
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I would like to have some help understanding the Catholic doctrine of Justification and how works and faith are incorporated into our understanding. I would like to start the discussion by looking at Romans 2:13 and Romans 3:28.

Romans 2:13 "For it is not those who hear the law who are just in the sight of God; rather, those who observe the law will be justified."

Romans 3:28 "For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law."

These two verses seem to go against each other, how do we understand the relationship between these two verses?


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 Post subject: Re: Justification: Works and Faith
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 1:45 pm 
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ExsurgeDomine wrote:
These two verses seem to go against each other, how do we understand the relationship between these two verses?


Well, they aren't very far apart, so I think the stuff in between them is the key to interpreting them.

Let's look at Romans chapters 2 and 3

Chapter 2:

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath , when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”[a] 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.

12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
The Jews and the Law

17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; 18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”[b]

25 Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26 So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the[c] written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.

28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.

Chapter 3

What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2 Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God.

3 What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? 4 Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written:

“So that you may be proved right when you speak
and prevail when you judge.”[a]

5 But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) 6 Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? 7 Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” 8 Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is just!
No One Is Righteous

9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”[b]
13 “Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.”[c]
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”[d]
14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[e]
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.”[f]
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[g]

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
Righteousness Through Faith

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in[h] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[i] through the shedding of his blood —to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished — 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

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 Post subject: Re: Justification: Works and Faith
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 4:34 pm 
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Romans 3:28 is used in context with 'boasting', while Romans 2:13 is used in context with hearing what the law says and obeying it.


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 Post subject: Re: Justification: Works and Faith
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 6:19 pm 
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Have you looked into Trent on them?


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 Post subject: Re: Justification: Works and Faith
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 6:46 pm 
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ExsurgeDomine wrote:
Romans 3:28 is used in context with 'boasting', while Romans 2:13 is used in context with hearing what the law says and obeying it.


In order to properly understand what is happening here, you must read these verses in CONTEXT of what was happening in the Church when St. Paul wrote. The great controversy which dogged the Apostles until the destruction of Jerusalem was the issue of circumcision. We see this crop up very early in the Church in Acts 15. This controversy, i.e., that Gentiles must first be circumcised (become Jews obedient to the Law) or they couldn't be saved was no small issue. At the heart of this was the idea that somehow the Old Covenant would continue. It was a salvation issue.

There are two understandings of the law: the keeping of the moral law of God, which is the basis by which all men will be judged at the Last Judgment, and the keeping of the Hebrew Law unto salvation, or entrance into the covenant family. This second idea, that one must first be circumcised, which in effect was teaching that salvation is dependent upon the keeping of Hebrew Law, was the HEART of St. Paul's response to the Galatians. Over and over, Paul speaks about the futility of depending upon circumcision to achieve righteousness.

Quote:
Gal 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, (i.e. the Hebrew Law of circumcision unto salvation and right standing with God) then Christ is dead in vain.


This is the Law that St. Paul strove against, for it was in essence a denial of Christ's finished salvific work on the Cross. It was also a denial that Jesus was the Savior and the Christ of God.

The moral Law of God, on the other hand, is part of the ethics of the covenant. Jesus reduced the moral law down to two precepts:

Quote:
Mat 22:36 Master, which [is] the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.


This is the summation of the 10 Commandments -- the charity of man to God and his neighbor. And if you then go to Romans 2: 5-10, John 5: 28-29, and Matthew 25: 31-43, you will see that it is precisely by the keeping of the law of love that we obtain eternal life.

So, in summary:

Trying to keep the Law of Moses (Hebrew Law, more explicitly, in circumcision) is what St. Paul is condemning.

Keeping the law of LOVE, which is obedience to the ethical precepts of the covenant of God, is what Paul is commending and what the scriptures state will grant us eternal life.

See the difference? "Works of the Law" as found condemned in Galatians DOES NOT MEAN doing works of charity, which the scriptures commend. It means trying to keep the Law of Moses and it was addressed to the first century problem of the Circumcision Party who badgered and bothered the early Church with this idea. It was the Protestant Reformation which made it mean that our good works are somehow equal to an attempt to keep the circumcision law of the Old Covenant.

Because we are 2,000 years removed from the circumcision controversy, most Evangelicals and others simply don't know that this is what St. Paul was addressing.


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 Post subject: Re: Justification: Works and Faith
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 8:37 pm 
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Light of the East wrote:
ExsurgeDomine wrote:
Romans 3:28 is used in context with 'boasting', while Romans 2:13 is used in context with hearing what the law says and obeying it.


In order to properly understand what is happening here, you must read these verses in CONTEXT of what was happening in the Church when St. Paul wrote. The great controversy which dogged the Apostles until the destruction of Jerusalem was the issue of circumcision. We see this crop up very early in the Church in Acts 15. This controversy, i.e., that Gentiles must first be circumcised (become Jews obedient to the Law) or they couldn't be saved was no small issue. At the heart of this was the idea that somehow the Old Covenant would continue. It was a salvation issue.

There are two understandings of the law: the keeping of the moral law of God, which is the basis by which all men will be judged at the Last Judgment, and the keeping of the Hebrew Law unto salvation, or entrance into the covenant family. This second idea, that one must first be circumcised, which in effect was teaching that salvation is dependent upon the keeping of Hebrew Law, was the HEART of St. Paul's response to the Galatians. Over and over, Paul speaks about the futility of depending upon circumcision to achieve righteousness.

Quote:
Gal 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, (i.e. the Hebrew Law of circumcision unto salvation and right standing with God) then Christ is dead in vain.


This is the Law that St. Paul strove against, for it was in essence a denial of Christ's finished salvific work on the Cross. It was also a denial that Jesus was the Savior and the Christ of God.

The moral Law of God, on the other hand, is part of the ethics of the covenant. Jesus reduced the moral law down to two precepts:

Quote:
Mat 22:36 Master, which [is] the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.


This is the summation of the 10 Commandments -- the charity of man to God and his neighbor. And if you then go to Romans 2: 5-10, John 5: 28-29, and Matthew 25: 31-43, you will see that it is precisely by the keeping of the law of love that we obtain eternal life.

So, in summary:

Trying to keep the Law of Moses (Hebrew Law, more explicitly, in circumcision) is what St. Paul is condemning.

Keeping the law of LOVE, which is obedience to the ethical precepts of the covenant of God, is what Paul is commending and what the scriptures state will grant us eternal life.

See the difference? "Works of the Law" as found condemned in Galatians DOES NOT MEAN doing works of charity, which the scriptures commend. It means trying to keep the Law of Moses and it was addressed to the first century problem of the Circumcision Party who badgered and bothered the early Church with this idea. It was the Protestant Reformation which made it mean that our good works are somehow equal to an attempt to keep the circumcision law of the Old Covenant.

Because we are 2,000 years removed from the circumcision controversy, most Evangelicals and others simply don't know that this is what St. Paul was addressing.


In these two passages, Romans 2:13 and Romans 3:28, when Paul refers to "law" he is referring in the first, a law (of love) which he commends, and in the later, the one that is condemned, is the works of the law (relying on circumcision for salvation).


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 Post subject: Re: Justification: Works and Faith
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 8:36 pm 
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For Ephesians 2: 8-9, the 'works' that are spoken of are in relation to faith how? Works outside of faith aren't saving works, they don't carry any merit. This is the point of this chapter?


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 Post subject: Re: Justification: Works and Faith
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 10:27 pm 
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ExsurgeDomine wrote:
For Ephesians 2: 8-9, the 'works' that are spoken of are in relation to faith how? Works outside of faith aren't saving works, they don't carry any merit. This is the point of this chapter?
As you know, verses cannot be taken in a vacuum, they were written in the context not just of a book, but in the context of the library (the Bible).

Like faith, works are a gift from God (Eph. 2:10) that we walk in. The emphasis of this passage is grace, not works vs. faith.

In On Grace and Free Will St. Augustine of Hippo wrote:
Chapter 17.— The Faith that He Kept Was the Free Gift of God.

His last clause runs thus: "I have kept the faith." But he who says this is the same who declares in another passage, "I have obtained mercy that I might be faithful." 1 Corinthians 7:25 He does not say, "I obtained mercy because I was faithful," but "in order that I might be faithful," thus showing that even faith itself cannot be had without God's mercy, and that it is the gift of God. This he very expressly teaches us when he says, "For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8 They might possibly say, "We received grace because we believed;" as if they would attribute the faith to themselves, and the grace to God. Therefore, the apostle having said, "You are saved through faith," added, And that not of yourselves, but it is the gift of God. And again, lest they should say they deserved so great a gift by their works, he immediately added, "Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:9 Not that he denied good works, or emptied them of their value, when he says that God renders to every man according to his works; Romans 2:6 but because works proceed from faith, and not faith from works. Therefore it is from Him that we have works of righteousness, from whom comes also faith itself, concerning which it is written, "The just shall live by faith." Habakkuk 2:4

Chapter 18.— Faith Without Good Works is Not Sufficient for Salvation.

Unintelligent persons, however, with regard to the apostle's statement: "We conclude that a man is justified by faith without the works of the law," Romans 3:28 have thought him to mean that faith suffices to a man, even if he lead a bad life, and has no good works. Impossible is it that such a character should be deemed "a vessel of election" by the apostle, who, after declaring that "in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision," Galatians 5:6 adds at once, "but faith which works by love." It is such faith which severs God's faithful from unclean demons—for even these "believe and tremble," James 2:19 as the Apostle James says; but they do not do well. Therefore they possess not the faith by which the just man lives—the faith which works by love in such wise, that God recompenses it according to its works with eternal life. But inasmuch as we have even our good works from God, from whom likewise comes our faith and our love, therefore the selfsame great teacher of the Gentiles has designated "eternal life" itself as His gracious "gift."


Note what Augustine points out, God is not saying that works have no salvific merit, but rather that they are a grace that we cooperate with (Eph. 2:10), but that we can't obligate God to save us by our works since our works did not produce (that is not to say that they didn't strengthen, prove or have merit) our faith.

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ἄξιος εἶ, ὁ κύριος καὶ ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν, λαβεῖν τὴν δόξαν καὶ τὴν τιμὴν καὶ τὴν δύναμιν, ὅτι σὺ ἔκτισας τὰ πάντα, καὶ διὰ τὸ θέλημά σου ἦσαν καὶ ἐκτίσθησαν. Ἀποκάλυψις 4:11


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 Post subject: Re: Justification: Works and Faith
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 11:28 pm 
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ExsurgeDomine wrote:
For Ephesians 2: 8-9, the 'works' that are spoken of are in relation to faith how? Works outside of faith aren't saving works, they don't carry any merit. This is the point of this chapter?


To be more direct - although you are correct that works outside of faith don't carry merit - that's a negative statement which is not really the main focus of the passage. The differentiation between saving works and non-saving works is a bit awkward, although you likely just mean meritorious or not meritorious which isn't exactly the same thing. The reason it's awkward is because "saving" carries a one-time, punctiliar connotation in the brand of Protestantism I came from. Salvation is like light - wave and particle, punctiliar and process, and this is true of the temporal aspects of salvation: justification, sanctification and glorification.

As Canon 5 of the Council of Orange states wrote:
If anyone says that not only the increase of faith but also its beginning and the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly and comes to the regeneration of holy baptism -- if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, it is proof that he is opposed to the teaching of the Apostles, for blessed Paul says, "And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). And again, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). For those who state that the faith by which we believe in God is natural make all who are separated from the Church of Christ by definition in some measure believers.


Grace is the point of the passage, and the fact that works are antecedent rather than precedent to faith emphasizes that God's grace comes first, followed by faith, followed by works.

As Paragraph 2008 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church wrote:
The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man's free acting through his collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Man's merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit.


Note that antecedent does not mean there is an exclusion of works, and to clarify that, verse 10 shows that we are to keep walking in good works. The word περιπατέω (peripateo) "we should walk" is in the aorist active subjunctive - which indicates likely, conditional future action.

_________________
Ad Jesu per Mariam,
Vladimir
<(((><

ἄξιος εἶ, ὁ κύριος καὶ ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν, λαβεῖν τὴν δόξαν καὶ τὴν τιμὴν καὶ τὴν δύναμιν, ὅτι σὺ ἔκτισας τὰ πάντα, καὶ διὰ τὸ θέλημά σου ἦσαν καὶ ἐκτίσθησαν. Ἀποκάλυψις 4:11


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