Apologetics may be simply defined as the defense of the Christian faith. The word "apologetics" derives from the Greek word apologia, which was originally used as a speech of defense.

Purgatory

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  • Purgatory

    Purgatory

    I think the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory is much misunderstood. So let’s start with what the Catholic Church actually teaches about this.

    1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

    1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:
    (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

    There are three points to note from this:
    1. Those being purified are assured of heaven. This is not another chance to be saved.

    2. Purgatory is about purification not punishment (from the Latin purgatorium – purging, cleansing)

    3. Purgatory is a process not a place.

    4. The purpose is to “achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.”


    The basic argument for Purgatory is as follows:
    1. God is holy and perfect, and He tells us to be holy and perfect as he is holy and perfect.
    “…but as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." (1Pet 1:15-16)
    “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5:48)

    2. Unless we are clean (holy and perfect) we will not enter heaven for a life of communion with God.
    “But nothing unclean will enter it” [The new Jerusalem – Heaven] (Rev 21:27)

    3. Unless we are holy we will not see God.
    “Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12;14)

    4. When we are initially justified (I believe by baptism) God makes us holy and perfect.
    “When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.” (Ti 3:4-7)

    5. But during our life we sin which disfigures and soils our souls and from which we need cleansing to restore us the holiness and perfection necessary to enter heaven. This is an ongoing process of sin, repentance, and cleansing.
    “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, and make holiness perfect in the fear of God.” (2Cor 7:1)

    6. If we are not wholly clean, holy and perfect there must be some process whereby we can be cleansed and made holy and perfect. Scripture tells us there is:
    But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect” (Heb 12:22-23)
    This shows that there is a way, a process, whereby the spirits of just men are made perfect.


    Catholics call this process Purgatory.

    Purgatory is God’s mercy, because without it we could not attain the holiness necessary to enter heaven - "the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” - at least most of us couldn’t

    Many Protestants call this Glorification.
    “Glorification is the Protestant alternative to Purgatory, as it is "the means by which the elect receive perfection before entering into the kingdom of Heaven." According to the theologies of most major Protestant groups” (Wikipedia)

    Note: At Stratcat's request I've kept this as short as I can but there are more points and scripture I can post. But I will keep those for later
    Last edited by Bede; 04-16-2015, 02:42 AM.

  • #2
    Thanks for your help in understanding the Catholic belief. I grew up around many Catholics, and I doubt most if not all of them even understand it the way you describe it here (I am not doubting you). The fact you had to correct the misunderstandings of purgatory shows that many have it wrong, including some Catholics. As I see it, we are purified by the Holy Spirit and the blood of Jesus Christ by believing in Him as our Savior, while we yet live on earth. When we die, the judgement, which I guess could be called a form of purgatory in that there are tears and sorrows for our sins that Jesus judges us on, then wipes away all tears and sorrows. In that sense, I could say this has a cleansing effect on the spirits of believers, but that is as far a the Bible goes, unless there is Scripture you have to add to this process that I am not aware of.
    Comment>

    • #3
      Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
      Thanks for your help in understanding the Catholic belief. I grew up around many Catholics, and I doubt most if not all of them even understand it the way you describe it here (I am not doubting you). The fact you had to correct the misunderstandings of purgatory shows that many have it wrong, including some Catholics. As I see it, we are purified by the Holy Spirit and the blood of Jesus Christ by believing in Him as our Savior, while we yet live on earth. When we die, the judgement, which I guess could be called a form of purgatory in that there are tears and sorrows for our sins that Jesus judges us on, then wipes away all tears and sorrows. In that sense, I could say this has a cleansing effect on the spirits of believers, but that is as far a the Bible goes, unless there is Scripture you have to add to this process that I am not aware of.
      Hi Stratcat,

      Thanks for responding.

      You say “we are purified by the Holy Spirit and the blood of Jesus Christ by believing in Him as our Savior, while we yet live on earth”.
      But what happens when we sin after that (and repeatedly)?

      You say “When we die, the judgement, which I guess could be called a form of purgatory in that there are tears and sorrows for our sins that Jesus judges us on, then wipes away all tears and sorrows. In that sense, I could say this has a cleansing effect on the spirits of believers,”
      That sounds rather speculative to me.

      Let me add some more thoughts the need for purification.

      Sin has three effects:

      1. Sin damages (or completely breaks) our relationship with God
      2. Sin (normally) has some bad effect on other people
      3. Sin spiritually weakens and damages the sinner.

      When we repent and seek forgiveness from God and are forgiven, this addresses point 1. Our relationship is restored. This is what Jesus did for us.

      But points 2 & 3 remain. We need to make restitution (if possible) and – with God’s grace – address the disorder in ourselves.

      Here is a simple example
      If my neighbour parks badly outside my house, and blocks me from getting my car onto my drive, I may lose my temper, smash his car window in my frustration.

      I’ve committed a sin.

      I repent and ask God to forgive me. He does - but:

      My neighbour still has a damaged car.

      I’ve given in to my bad temper yet again!

      If I don’t recompense my neighbour am I fit for heaven?

      If I don’t do something about curbing my temper am I fit for heaven?

      It’s this last one that is the most important (of these two). We must be pure and holy to be fit for heaven.

      Purgatory is seen as a purification process where the disorders in us caused by sin are healed, where the lingering attachments to sin, such as pride, anger lust etc., and “bad attitudes” are cleared out, so that we can be pure and holy and fit to be in the presence of God. It is God’s mercy to allow us to be purified before we enter his presence, as we could not bear to be in his presence unless we are pure and holy.

      The Catechism teaches this in another section:
      " …..every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures [it means created things not our pet cat :)], which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the "temporal punishment" of sin." (CCC 1472) - just so you know it's actually Catholic teaching.

      Or as Paul put it: "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, with all malice," (Eph 4:31).




      Comment>

      • #4
        A comment on my point above about attachments to things in creation.

        Mt 19:16-23 has the story of the rich young man who approaches Jesus and asks what he must do to attain eternal life. Jesus answers that he must keep the commandments.

        Now the rich man says he has done all that from his youth. So he is a good man who keeps all the commandments and is therefore destined for heaven. But Jesus tells him that there is one thing he must do to be perfect. He must give up his attachment to wealth and give his money away.

        He cannot to this and walks away. He turns away from God (Jesus) towards his money.

        Luke tells a similar story (Luke 18:9-14) and then a few verses later gives us a contrast with the story of Zachaeus in (Luke 19:1-10). Here is another rich man, a senior tax collector. When Jesus calls him, he welcomes Jesus joyfully. When people grumble he says to Jesus he will give away half of his wealth to the poor and recompense any one he has cheated fourfold. Zachaeus demonstrates he is not attached to his wealth and Jesus says "Today salvation has to to this house".
        Comment>

        • #5
          As quoted from the Bible, "to every man is appointed once to die and then the judgment." We are made incorruptible when we go into the next life at the rapture 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 KJV. Among the saved in the afterlife, there is no sin on our part. I don't know the eschatology in the RCC, and there are different beliefs even in Protestantism, but in heaven, we are there only until God creates a new heaven and new earth, and lowers the New Jerusalem from Heaven to earth (Revelation 22). As Psalm 23 says, we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. This implies we will no longer sin as well. It would appear that we will live on earth as was originally started out with Adam and Eve, only without sin or sin nature. We are new creatures. All sin is forgiven, past, present, and future. God is all-knowing, so He is not going to save us then whoops! we sinned, forget it. You didn't do penance or repent so it's off to hell or to do purgatory! Not in the Bible. God saves us knowing we are yet sinners. God's mercy endureth forever. There is a psalm, I forget which one, where that phrase is repeated over and over."His mercy endureth forever." Add that to us being made incorruptible in incorruptible bodies and we have no sin. God's place must be holy, so he will not allow sin to take hold in the first place. Still waking up or I'd cite the verses. Maybe you know them.

          What is a venial sin? What is a mortal sin? In either case, Jesus died for all our sins. Please remember that, for it too is in the Bible, both testaments.
          Comment>

          • #6
            Originally posted by Bede View Post
            4. When we are initially justified (I believe by baptism) God makes us holy and perfect.
            “When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.” (Ti 3:4-7)
            Just to note Strat,

            Remember all those objections you had pertaining to infant baptism? This is where they are due.

            Initially justified:

            This is termed initial justification or "being cleansed of sin", the entrance into the Christian life. Catholics use Mark 16:16, John 3:5, and Acts 2:38 to support this view in justification by baptism. As the individual then progresses in his Christian life, he continues to receive God's grace both directly through the Holy Spirit as well as through the sacraments. This has the effect of combating sin in the individual's life, causing him to become more righteous both in heart and in action. If one falls into mortal sin they lose justification and it can be gained back through the sacrament of confession. Catholicism teaches that justification is an ongoing process that depends on the degree of real, personal righteousness we achieve. According to Rome, Christ’s merit imputed to us is not sufficient to save; we must earn more merit of our own through the sacraments and other good works. Righteousness is infused into us (rather than being imputed to us). But it is obvious that we are not perfectly righteous by any practical measure. So the righteousness we obtain by grace must be perfected by our own efforts. This actually reverses the biblical order, suggesting that we must first be perfected, and only then is our justification complete. In other words, in Roman Catholic doctrine, God does not justify the ungodly. They deny that we are justified by faith alone, and they must devise an explanation of how we can make the transition from our imperfect state in this life to the perfect state of heaven.

            The Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory was devised to accommodate Catholicism’s denial of justification by faith alone. God does not first make us perfect, then accept us on that basis. He first legally justifies us by imputing to us an alien righteousness, then perfects us by conforming us to the image of Christ. He “justifies the ungodly” (Romans 4:5). Paul wrote, “Therefore, since we have been justified [past tense] by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). And, “There is therefore now [present tense] no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Those verses describe our justification as something already accomplished. It is a completed reality, not something we are striving for. Jesus Himself described justification as an immediate event when He told how the repentant publican was saved after begging God for mercy: “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified”—past tense (Luke 18:14).

            Scripture clearly and consistently deals with justification as a settled fact for every believer; it is not an ongoing process. We stand before God in faith right now, fully acceptable to Him because of Christ’s righteousness—not because of any doings of our own.

            Bede says,

            Now the rich man says he has done all that from his youth. So he is a good man who keeps all the commandments and is therefore destined for heaven. But Jesus tells him that there is one thing he must do to be perfect. He must give up his attachment to wealth and give his money away.
            Here you go Bede: Blasphemy of the Rich Young Ruler

            God bless,
            William
            Comment>

            • #7
              Stratcat asked this in the other Purgatory thread but I have brought here to answer it.

              Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
              Respectfully, Bede, where in the Bible does it say we are purified after death? I can only find where it says when we believe, we are saved by the Holy Spirit and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb in this life. We enter the afterlife already purified. In other words, we are hearing 2 different Gospels, and there is only one correct one, so we better have it right. I am not trying to bash RC's, just to understand your belief. The Bible must be the first, last, and final word on doctrine, as I think you know. God's plan does not change, as whatever He planned from before the world, shall be. There is no "plan B" with God.
              When are initially justified we are fully cleansed. But we do not stay “clean” because we sin and defile our souls.

              We fall into patterns of sin that need to be rectified before we are fit for heaven.

              The Bible says “But nothing unclean will enter it” [The new Jerusalem – Heaven] (Rev 21:27)

              Paul, writing to believers states:
              “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, and make holiness perfect in the fear of God.” (2Cor 7:1)

              We need to be fully holy to see God:
              “Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12;14)

              In the New Testament Paul prays for the soul of his dead friend Onesiphorus “may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day” 2(Tim 1:18).

              In Mt 12:32 Jesus says “but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” Which implies that some sins can be forgiven after death.

              Then Luke records Jesus saying: “And the Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed in coming,' and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master's will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating. But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating.” (Lk 12:42-48)

              Where will some be beaten heavily and some lightly when Jesus returns? Not heaven because we aren’t beaten there. Not hell because the Master won’t be in hell.

              Take Jesus’ parable of the man who owed a huge debt (Mt 18:23-34). At the end he says: “And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt

              There is an implication that when the debt was paid he would be released. Now where was the man until he paid the debt? Not in Hell because you cannot get out of there. Not in heaven because there are no torturers in heaven. This is taken as a parable about forgiveness, but also about Purgatory.

              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
                As quoted from the Bible, "to every man is appointed once to die and then the judgment." We are made incorruptible when we go into the next life at the rapture 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 KJV. Among the saved in the afterlife, there is no sin on our part. I don't know the eschatology in the RCC, and there are different beliefs even in Protestantism, but in heaven, we are there only until God creates a new heaven and new earth, and lowers the New Jerusalem from Heaven to earth (Revelation 22). As Psalm 23 says, we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. This implies we will no longer sin as well. It would appear that we will live on earth as was originally started out with Adam and Eve, only without sin or sin nature. We are new creatures. All sin is forgiven, past, present, and future. God is all-knowing, so He is not going to save us then whoops! we sinned, forget it. You didn't do penance or repent so it's off to hell or to do purgatory! Not in the Bible. God saves us knowing we are yet sinners. God's mercy endureth forever. There is a psalm, I forget which one, where that phrase is repeated over and over."His mercy endureth forever." Add that to us being made incorruptible in incorruptible bodies and we have no sin. God's place must be holy, so he will not allow sin to take hold in the first place. Still waking up or I'd cite the verses. Maybe you know them.

                What is a venial sin? What is a mortal sin? In either case, Jesus died for all our sins. Please remember that, for it too is in the Bible, both testaments.
                "If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal." (1Jn 5:16-17)

                There is sin that is mortal (deadly) and sin that is not mortal (we call that venial sin)

                Mortal sin is a sin that destroys the grace in our souls and kills our relationship with God

                Venial sin causes a loss of grace and damages our relationship with God. It leaves it (and us) weakened.

                God does not forgive sins unless we repent and ask for forgiveness. We do not have a licence to sin just as we like. When we die it is likely there will be some sins we have not repented of, but not so serious that we are damned.
                Comment>

                • #9
                  Originally posted by William View Post

                  Just to note Strat,

                  Remember all those objections you had pertaining to infant baptism? This is where they are due.

                  Initially justified:

                  This is termed initial justification or "being cleansed of sin", the entrance into the Christian life. Catholics use Mark 16:16, John 3:5, and Acts 2:38 to support this view in justification by baptism. As the individual then progresses in his Christian life, he continues to receive God's grace both directly through the Holy Spirit as well as through the sacraments. This has the effect of combating sin in the individual's life, causing him to become more righteous both in heart and in action. If one falls into mortal sin they lose justification and it can be gained back through the sacrament of confession. Catholicism teaches that justification is an ongoing process ...
                  Good so far. It’s a pity you go and spoil it. :)

                  Originally posted by William View Post
                  According to Rome, Christ’s merit imputed to us is not sufficient to save; we must earn more merit of our own through the sacraments and other good works. Righteousness is infused into us (rather than being imputed to us). But it is obvious that we are not perfectly righteous by any practical measure. So the righteousness we obtain by grace must be perfected by our own efforts. This actually reverses the biblical order, suggesting that we must first be perfected, and only then is our justification complete. In other words, in Roman Catholic doctrine, God does not justify the ungodly. They deny that we are justified by faith alone, and they must devise an explanation of how we can make the transition from our imperfect state in this life to the perfect state of heaven.
                  Christ does not impute merit to us.

                  We do not earn anything from a gracious God. It is all grace.

                  Of course God justifies the ungodly.

                  Nowhere in the Bible does it say we are justified by faith alone.


                  Originally posted by William View Post
                  The Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory was devised to accommodate Catholicism’s denial of justification by faith alone
                  Utter nonsense. The doctrine of justification by faith alone was invented by Martin Luther in the 16c. The doctrine of purgatory was formulated long before that.

                  Abercius
                  "The citizen of a prominent city, I erected this while I lived, that I might have a resting place for my body. Abercius is my name, a disciple of the chaste shepherd who feeds his sheep on the mountains and in the fields, who has great eyes surveying everywhere, who taught me the faithful writings of life. Standing by, I, Abercius, ordered this to be inscribed; truly I was in my seventy-second year. May everyone who is in accord with this and who understands it pray for Abercius" (Epitaph of Abercius [A.D. 180]).

                  Tertullian
                  "We offer sacrifices for the dead on their birthday anniversaries" (The Crown 3:3 [A.D. 211]).

                  Tertullian
                  "A woman, after the death of her husband...prays for his soul and asks that he may, while waiting, find rest; and that he may share in the first resurrection. And each year, on the anniversary of his death, she offers the sacrifice" (Monogamy 10:1-2 [post A.D. 213]).
                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bede View Post
                    Utter nonsense. The doctrine of justification by faith alone was invented by Martin Luther in the 16c. The doctrine of purgatory was formulated long before that.
                    You made a refutation with "utter nonsense" :) The Five Solas were developed in response to specific perversions of the truth that were taught by the corrupt Roman Catholic Church. To simply say there is no Scriptural basis for Sola Fide does not surprise me. The hermeneutic lens from which Scripture is aligned according to Rome is through power, authority, and money. Surely, no CBN or TBN televangelist compares to Rome with the revenue brought forth from the Prosperity doctrine. Roman Catholicism is the pinnacle, the peak, tip of the iceberg, and THE height of Arminianism. A "Pernicious Hypocrisy"is what John Calvin called Rome's "Justification by Faith and Works"

                    I said this to you once, and it is an observational statement and not a threat, as long as you reject a biblical definition for a Roman Catholic tradition, Bede, then we will be butting heads. Having already rejected Sola Scriptura while clearly attempting to establish the authority of the Papistry makes me wonder and ask, what is your ultimate aim or goal while Evangelizing? Scripture is God’s chosen method for building and sustaining His people. When Scripture is replaced with human thoughts and will, it will inevitably ensure the eternal futility of such work. May that not be said of your life and evangelism.

                    Originally posted by Bede View Post
                    Nowhere in the Bible does it say we are justified by faith alone.
                    There are no clearer sentences apart from manipulating a person's perception than Paul's writings:

                    To the Romans,

                    For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. - Rom 3:28
                    To the Galatians,

                    Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. - Gal 2:16
                    To the Ephesians,

                    For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
                    Clearly, Roman Catholicism has rejected Pauline teaching that justification is an act of God’s free grace alone by which the moment a penitent sinner places his faith in Christ. God forgives him of all of his sins forever and imputes to him and hence also to his weak and imperfect good works the perfection of the obedience of his Son Jesus Christ - Acts 13:38-39; Galatians 2:16; Romans 1:16-17; 3:21-22, 28; 4:4-15; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:8-10), thereby constituting and declaring him righteous in his sight. Roman Catholicism minimizes or denies altogether the imputation of Christ’s active obedience to the believer, and teaches that justification is not a purely forensic declaration but a transforming activity in which the believer’s obedience also plays a significant role in his justification. This corrupted doctrine of justification includes within it the lie of Satan that Christ’s righteousness is not enough in itself to justify and that obedience on the part of the believer is also necessary for his full and final justification before God.

                    Originally posted by Bede View Post
                    Christ does not impute merit to us.

                    We do not earn anything from a gracious God. It is all grace.

                    Of course God justifies the ungodly.
                    Evidently, Roman Catholics split the definition and meaning of Justification. It is redefined to the term "Initial" and then they further blur the lines between Justification and Sanctification.

                    God bless,
                    William
                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Originally posted by William View Post

                      You made a refutation with "utter nonsense" :) The Five Solas were developed in response to specific perversions of the truth that were taught by the corrupt Roman Catholic Church.
                      The Catholic Church was never corrupt in doctrines.

                      Originally posted by William View Post
                      To simply say there is no Scriptural basis for Sola Fide does not surprise me.
                      I did not say that there was no Scriptural basis for Sola Fide.

                      I said “Nowhere in the Bible does it say we are justified by faith alone.”

                      I challenge you to give me one single quote that says we are justified by faith alone. You cannot because there is not one.

                      According to one Catholic apologist who has counted them, Paul used the word faith over 200 times in the NT. He never coupled it with alone or only.

                      Only James does that when he says we are NOT justified by faith alone (Jas 2:24)
                      “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

                      Originally posted by William View Post
                      The hermeneutic lens from which Scripture is aligned according to Rome is through power, authority, and money. Surely, no CBN or TBN televangelist compares to Rome with the revenue brought forth from the Prosperity doctrine. Roman Catholicism is the pinnacle, the peak, tip of the iceberg, and THE height of Arminianism. A "Pernicious Hypocrisy"is what John Calvin called Rome's "Justification by Faith and Works"
                      Snotty comments add nothing to proper discussion. If you want this forum to be just a group of like minded Reformed Theology adherents then that’s your choice. But if you want a broader range of beliefs then you need to be able to tolerate them with out the constant drip feed of nasty little comments that have nothing to do with the topic.


                      Originally posted by William View Post
                      I said this to you once, and it is an observational statement and not a threat, as long as you reject a biblical definition for a Roman Catholic tradition, Bede, then we will be butting heads. Having already rejected Sola Scriptura while clearly attempting to establish the authority of the Papistry makes me wonder and ask, what is your ultimate aim or goal while Evangelizing? Scripture is God’s chosen method for building and sustaining His people. When Scripture is replaced with human thoughts and will, it will inevitably ensure the eternal futility of such work. May that not be said of your life and evangelism.
                      If you do not want me here then I will leave. Just let me know.

                      Originally posted by William View Post
                      There are no clearer sentences apart from manipulating a person's perception than Paul's writings:

                      To the Romans,
                      For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. - Rom 3:28
                      Justified apart from works of the Law does not say faith apart from any works. There are works that are not works of the law.

                      Originally posted by William View Post
                      To the Galatians,
                      Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. - Gal 2:16
                      As above.
                      It does not say that no works are involved in justification. It says that works of the Law are not involved in justification

                      Originally posted by William View Post
                      To the Ephesians,
                      For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
                      This one doesn’t even say we are saved by faith. It says we are saved by grace.

                      Here is another scripture to contemplate
                      For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love. (Gal 5:6)

                      Faith is not alone. Paul says it has to work through love.

                      St. Paul writes:
                      Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. (Col 3:12-14)

                      Love never ends says St. Paul (1 Cor 13:8). In heaven what else will there be? “So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.. (1 Cor 13:13).

                      In heaven there will be no need of faith for we will be in the presence of God; there will be no need for hope because we will have attained all that we hoped for.

                      All that we will need is perfect love, and indeed nothing else; indeed love is “the bond of perfection”. All else besides love; that which detracts from love; that is less than love must be left behind. There can be no anger, hate, lust, greed, jealousy, pride, covetousness, or any such thing. It is not enough to “cover up” such things, they must be expunged, burnt out by the refiners fire (Mal 3:2).


                      Originally posted by William View Post
                      Clearly, Roman Catholicism has rejected Pauline teaching that justification is an act of God’s free grace alone by which the moment a penitent sinner places his faith in Christ. God forgives him of all of his sins forever and imputes to him and hence also to his weak and imperfect good works the perfection of the obedience of his Son Jesus Christ - Acts 13:38-39; Galatians 2:16; Romans 1:16-17; 3:21-22, 28; 4:4-15; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:8-10), thereby constituting and declaring him righteous in his sight. Roman Catholicism minimizes or denies altogether the imputation of Christ’s active obedience to the believer, and teaches that justification is not a purely forensic declaration but a transforming activity in which the believer’s obedience also plays a significant role in his justification. This corrupted doctrine of justification includes within it the lie of Satan that Christ’s righteousness is not enough in itself to justify and that obedience on the part of the believer is also necessary for his full and final justification before God.
                      Well, I disagree with your analysis but this thread is not really about Soteriology. Personally I think the Protestant theory of imputation of everything is an insult to God. It claims that God plays a game of pretence and it denies the power of God to actually transform us into the image of his Son and bring us to perfection.


                      In scripture we are constantly exhorted to be perfect.

                      “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom 12:2)

                      “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, and make holiness perfect in the fear of God.” (2Cor 7:1)

                      “And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (Jas 1:4)

                      “…but as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." (1Pet 1:15-16)

                      “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5:48)


                      “But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.” (2Pet 3:13-14)

                      This is not some pretend holiness, perfection, purity. Do you think God is incapable of making us pure, perfect, holy?

                      Originally posted by William View Post
                      Evidently, Roman Catholics split the definition and meaning of Justification. It is redefined to the term "Initial" and then they further blur the lines between Justification and Sanctification.

                      God bless,
                      William
                      No, it’s just that Catholics and Protestant use several words differently.
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Bede, post #10 clearly shows the Bible stating that we are justified by faith alone. In fact, before we become believers, our works are as filthy rags Isaiah 64:6 KJV (or whatever version you like). William's references are accurate on the point that we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ alone, alone in Jesus Christ. Read the entire chapter of Hebrews 11, which is the very definition of faith and examples thereof. This should surely define Biblically what faith is. Then perhaps you will see how we are justified by faith alone, and anyone saying otherwise is lying: Acts 15:9, Galatians 3:7-9, Titus 1:1-2, Revelation 17:14, to add a few more. This is part of the Gospel, so to deny faith alone to justify us is preaching another Gospel, which according to Galatians 1:8-9 means that man will be accursed. Please take your time studying these. Churches don't save: Faith alone in Jesus Christ alone saves us. By our faith, good works are produced as a manifestation of our faith and salvation.
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
                          Bede, post #10 clearly shows the Bible stating that we are justified by faith alone. In fact, before we become believers, our works are as filthy rags Isaiah 64:6 KJV (or whatever version you like). William's references are accurate on the point that we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ alone, alone in Jesus Christ. Read the entire chapter of Hebrews 11, which is the very definition of faith and examples thereof. This should surely define Biblically what faith is. Then perhaps you will see how we are justified by faith alone, and anyone saying otherwise is lying: Acts 15:9, Galatians 3:7-9, Titus 1:1-2, Revelation 17:14, to add a few more. This is part of the Gospel, so to deny faith alone to justify us is preaching another Gospel, which according to Galatians 1:8-9 means that man will be accursed. Please take your time studying these. Churches don't save: Faith alone in Jesus Christ alone saves us. By our faith, good works are produced as a manifestation of our faith and salvation.
                          Stratcat,

                          As I wrote to William
                          Nowhere in the Bible does it say we are justified by faith alone.

                          I challenge you to give me one single quote that says we are justified by faith alone. You cannot because there is not one.

                          According to one Catholic apologist who has counted them, Paul used the word faith over 200 times in the NT. He never coupled it with alone or only.

                          Only James does that when he says we are NOT justified by faith alone (Jas 2:24)
                          “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
                          It is well known that Martin Luther introduced the word alone into his translation into German when it wasn't in the original - something he had no right to do.

                          This ‘filthy rags’ bit is poor understanding of the context

                          Is 64:5-7
                          "Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name." (KJV)

                          Isaiah is referring to two kinds of people:
                          1. Those that remember God in his ways and worketh righteousness. These people’s works are not filthy rags but righteous works.

                          2. Those that remember God in his ways but have sinned They are unclean. Their iniquities have taken them away (from God). It is their deeds that are as filthy rags.

                          Ezekial 18:20 says: “the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” These are the ones whose deeds are righteous as in Isaih’s first group opf people

                          In verse 24 it says: "But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity…… All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die."

                          It is such as these whose deeds are like filthy rags as in Isaiah’s second group of people.

                          You say that anyone who does not believe we are justified by faith alone is lying. Are you then accusing James of lying when he says: “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”? (Jas 2:24)
                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bede View Post
                            “Nowhere in the Bible does it say we are justified by faith alone.”

                            I challenge you to give me one single quote that says we are justified by faith alone. You cannot because there is not one.

                            According to one Catholic apologist who has counted them, Paul used the word faith over 200 times in the NT. He never coupled it with alone or only.

                            Only James does that when he says we are NOT justified by faith alone (Jas 2:24)
                            “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”
                            James 2:14-26:
                            14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[a] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
                            18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

                            The motif of the future judgment is very important in understanding the highly contested section in James 2:14-26 on the relationship of faith, good works, and justification. One key for understanding the passage is noticing how 2:14-26 relates to its surrounding context. James 1:10, 11 makes an apparent reference to the last judgment, while James 2:9-13 focuses on being a "transgressor of the law" for which final judgement will come. The next verse then asks whether a person with faith but no works can be saved from this final judgment (2:14). After the contested text is another reference to future judgment: those "who teach will be judged with greater strictness" (3:1). The reference in 3:6 to the tongue ... set on fire by hell" likely also refers to this judgment. The theme of judgment is continued later in the epistle: God "is able to save and destroy" (4:12), and 5:1-9 warns those who oppress others that "the coming of the Lord is at hand" (v.8) and "the Judge is standing at the door" (v.9), a reference respectively to the imminent expectation of the end and the judgment to come at the end; 5:12 also warns people not to "fall under condemnation."

                            In light of the surrounding context and its emphasis upon future judgment, it seems that 2:14-26 mainly addresses the issue of how faith and works relate to the final judgment at the very end of one's life. Genuine faith will produce and be accompanied by good works; such good works will be evidence at the last day of a genuine faith. False faith, or "dead faith," is empty belief, like that of the demons" (2:19; purely cognitive recognition of who God is without a desire to trust and to obey Him.)

                            Therefore, the reference to being justified" by works together with faith in vv. 21:24 probably has the final judgment in view. The Greek word dikaióō in Paul has the sense of "vindicate." Sometimes Paul uses it in the sense of (1) "vindicating" a person from the guilty verdict of their sin by which a relationship with God is established through Christ during the present age, and sometimes in the sense of (2) "vindicating" such people before God's judgment seat at the end of the age against the unjust verdict of the world. James has the second meaning in mind, namely, that good works demonstrate that the verdict of the world against God's people - that God's people are foolish and enemies of the common good - is false and unjust. Good works will vindicate others at the last day because they will demonstrate the reality of faith in the only wise God, whose plan and purpose is for His creation is wholly good. They will show that we are united to Christ by faith alone and therefore share in His goodness and wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30, 31).

                            James 2:24 offers an axiom based on the example of Abraham: "You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone." Notice the plural "works" here that indicates that the many good works of Abraham's whole life vindicated the true nature of his faith. Thus, the works of a person's entire life are displayed at the final judgment, not in order to receive God's verdict that we are righteous in our sight, but to prove that we possess the kind of faith by which we lay hold of the righteousness of Christ, which is the only basis for God's justifying verdict (Romans 3:21-4:25; 5:12-21; 2 Corinthians 5:21). For James, good works done throughout a person's life serve as evidence of genuine faith (2:14, 18).

                            R. C. Sproul

                            James 2:21 - James appeals to Abraham as his chief exhibit of one whose faith is justified, or demonstrated by his works. This involves no conflict with Paul, who also appeals to Abraham as the chief exhibit of one justified, or declared righteous in the Lord's sight, by faith alone. Note that James appeals to Genesis 22, while Paul appeals to Genesis 15. In the sight of God, Abraham is justified to us, to human eyes, in Genesis 22 when he shows his faith through his obedience. Jesus used the same verb in Luke 7:35 when He declared "wisdom is justified by all her children" (i.e. shown to be genuine wisdom by its results). Here, the word "justify" does not mean to be reconciled to God and declared righteous in His sight, but it means to demonstrate the truth of prior claim. Just as true wisdom is demonstrated by its fruit, Abraham's claim to faith is justified by fruit, namely, his outward obedience. His works were not the meritorious cause of his salvation, they added no merit to the perfect and sufficient merit of Christ. The same is true of our good works.
                            John Calvin

                            James 2:24
                            Ye see then how that by works a man is justified,.... Not as causes procuring his justification, but as effects declaring it; for the best works are imperfect, and cannot be a righteousness justifying in the sight of God, and are unprofitable in this respect; for when they are performed in the best manner, they are no other than what it is a man's duty to perform, and therefore cannot justify from sin he has committed: and besides, justification in this sense would frustrate the grace of God, make void the death of Christ, and encourage boasting in men. Good works do not go before justification as causes or conditions, but follow it as fruits and effects:

                            and not by faith only: or as without works, or a mere historical faith, which being without works is dead, of which the apostle is speaking; and therefore can bear no testimony to a man's justification; hence it appears, that the Apostle James does not contradict the Apostle Paul in Romans 3:28 since they speak not of the same sort of faith; the one speaks of a mere profession of faith, a dead and lifeless one; the other of a true faith, which has Christ, and his righteousness, for its object, and works by love, and produces peace, joy, and comfort in the soul. Moreover, the Apostle Paul speaks of justification before God; and James speaks of it as it is known by its fruits unto men; the one speaks of a justification of their persons, in the sight of God; the other of the justification and approbation of their cause, their conduct, and their faith before men, and the vindication of them from all charges and calumnies of hypocrisy, and the like; the one speaks of good works as causes, which he denies to have any place as such in justification; and the other speaks of them as effects flowing from faith, and showing the truth of it, and so of justification by it; the one had to do with legalists and self-justiciaries, who sought righteousness not by faith, but by the works of the law, whom he opposed; and the other had to do with libertines, who cried up faith and knowledge, but had no regard to a religious life and conversation; and these things considered will tend to reconcile the two apostles about this business, but as effects declaring it; for the best works are imperfect, and cannot be a righteousness justifying in the sight of God, and are unprofitable in this respect; for when they are performed in the best manner, they are no other than what it is a man's duty to perform, and therefore cannot justify from sin he has committed: and besides, justification in this sense would frustrate the grace of God, make void the death of Christ, and encourage boasting in men. Good works do not go before justification as causes or conditions, but follow it as fruits and effects.
                            God bless,
                            William
                            Comment>

                            • #15
                              William,

                              I disagree with your analysis, but exactly what James meant is missing the point I was making.

                              Paul uses the word faith over 200 times but never refers to faith alone, or faith only. He uses the words alone or only many times but never links them with faith. We can confidently say therefore that Paul does not preach justification by faith alone or he would have said it.
                              Comment>
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