Today we embark upon Paul’s practical argument & his sentimental argument for justification. With all this talk about justification – do we know what Paul means by it? “Paul very often expresses his doctrine regarding grace and salvation in terms of “justification by faith” and not by “works” or “works of the law”. [Our] Protestant Christian [sisters] often place great emphasis on these words, but without understanding them correctly. … To be justified means being made righteous, just, holy, and acceptable before God. In other words, the term “justification” in these and other similar New Testament passages, means what Catholics more commonly describe as the change from the “state of sin” to the “state of grace” “.1
When we are in a state of sin, we are separated from God. There is nothing we can do for ourselves to earn redemption. An attempt to get salvation for ourselves would be to do a “work through the law”. However, when we have faith in Christ’s sacrifice – we become an adopted child of God’s. Do you know what this means?! God puts us into a state of grace through His redemptive actions and His mercy upon us! Our works of the law will not obtain this state of grace because we aren’t always obedient to the law. God continually wipes away our sins through works of faith – baptism & confession – and let’s us enter into this state of grace over and over again. We just need to seek him! We need to recognize this gift & not throw it away. How could we turn our back on such a great gift?
Unfortunately, there are many in our lives that have thrown away this gift. We may have family members or friends that have walked away. Maybe they didn’t recognize the gift in front of them. Maybe they didn’t understand, or want to understand. Or maybe they did see it but it was “not worth it” to them. Whatever the case, do we go after them like Paul? It comes to a point in his writing where Paul asks if he’s become the bad guy for telling the Galatians the truth. Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth. Sometimes, we don’t want to hear the truth. But God’s truth cannot be changed. We can’t make it fit to our lives – we must fit to it. We have a great gift of freedom. Do we have the courage to be the “bad guy” and deliver truth to our family or friends so that they can have this freedom too? Do we love them enough to edify them?
1. Justification by Faith, Rev. Brian W Harrison, M.A., S.T.L. www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/JUSFAITH.htm