Justification and Sanctification

Below is a discussion that took place on a Protestant discussion board.

Recently I was accused of only posting my "opinions" in a response to Jason. Below I have taken a couple messages (which were the ones accused of only presenting my opinions), leaving all the text that was in the originals - and inserting Church teaching and Scriptural references to show my initial statements certainly were NOT mere opinions, but well grounded in the teachings of the Church and Scripture. This is also now posted on my website. What I am adding today is in purple, and quotes from Church teaching and Scripture is indented and in red.

Scott writes: Purgatory is where any unconfessed venial sins and/or sins not fully contrite for - are "purged" or "cleansed" as Scripture states, "nothing unclean can enter heaven."

Jason replies: Just for the sake of Protestants who might not know, it is significant that these purgatorial punishments by which sins are cleansed, are for the express purpose of making satisfaction for sin, inflicted by God's holiness and justice on an albeit justified person, which is necessary for the full remission of sin and to placate the divine justice due to their sin. That is, these purgatorial punishments are inflicted by God's sanctity and justice for the purpose of expiation because the justified person is only forgiven the "eternal punishment" of sin and not the "temporal punishment" of sin, which can only be satisfied through sufferings.

And Scott responds: Again, Jason overstates the case a bit, attempting to prove a point. Rather than just listen to the "opinions" Jason stated above, let's look at some real Catholic teaching on the matter:

CCC 1031. "The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.[Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1304; Council of Trent (1563): DS 1820; (1547): 1580; see also Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1000.] The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:[Cf. 1 Cor 3:15 ; 1 Pet 1:7.] As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.[St. Gregory the Great, Dial. 4, 39: PL 77, 396; cf. Mt 12:31 .] "

CCC 1472. "To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the 'eternal punishment' of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, 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. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain.[Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1712-1713; (1563): 1820.]"

Hence we see, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that Purgatory is not an absolute necessity for all Christians to endure, for it is possible that one could reach complete purification on this earth. We see that the suffering endured is not some vengence from God, as Jason appears to imply in his carefully selected words.


PS - Wes commented on one of my messages that I presented only my opinions (which wasn't true, I referenced the Scriptures in the message Wes responded to, I just didn't cite chapter and verse) and in this message from Jason, we have no reference to Church teaching or to Scripture - all we have is "Jason's opinions." Will Wes talk to Jason about this? :-)

Wes's message:


As an apologist you should be able to provide a defense for what you believe. You haven't proved (sic) anything. It appears that Jason knows more are your church doctines than you do.

You haven't showed (sic) anybody anything except your opinion. You will need to provide Scripture and church doctrine which disproves what Jason has written. He has quoted from your church doctrine and you have only stated your opinion. I'm wondering if you're even faithful to what a Catholic believes. Your statement that Jason is misrepresenting Catholicism is simply your opinion and has no validity in fact.

You're gonna have to come up with proof.


Below is the message that Wes commented on, this time with Scriptural and Church citations added in (words I add today will be in purple, quotes will be in red):

Scott wrote: Jason - you misrepresent Catholic Teaching, and I was attempting to clarify it. There is no "increase in justification" for justification is the "final phase" in the economy of salvation. Those justified ARE saved, period. Good works done in the state of grace (grace preceeding) are meritorious and lead to an increase in sanctification. Sanctification can lead to more rewards in heaven - but if one is not sanctified, he will not be justified and if not justified, will not be "saved."

I must add here, the Church often uses the terms of sanctified and justified synonymously:

CCC 2813. "In the waters of Baptism, we have been 'washed . . . SANCTIFIED . . . JUSTIFIED in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.'[2 Cor 6:11 .] Our Father calls us to holiness in the whole of our life, and since 'he is the source of (our) life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and . . .sanctification,'[1 Cor 1:30 ; cf. 1 Thess 4:7.] both his glory and our life depend on the hallowing of his name in us and by us. Such is the urgency of our first petition. By whom is God hallowed, since he is the one who hallows? But since he said, 'You shall be holy to me; for I the LORD am holy,' we seek and ask that we who were SANCTIFIED in Baptism may persevere in what we have begun to be. And we ask this daily, for we need sanctification daily, so that we who fail daily may cleanse away our sins by being SANCTIFIED continually.... We pray that this sanctification may remain in us.[St. Cyprian De Dom. orat. 12: PL 4,527A; Lev 20:26.]"
So I can understand how Jason, who takes a bit of a different view/definition of justification, has misunderstood and misapplied Catholic teaching on this matter.

Your out-of-context quotes from Catholic teaching are very misleading. You cannot take snippets from our Faith and then present your argumentation. Catholicism includes what I have said, thus an out-of-context quote that ignores a more complete treatment of the subject doesn't tell the whole story here. I don't accuse you of deliberately being deceptive, for I believe you're only repeating propaganda that you've been taught regarding the Catholic Faith. Nonetheless, you're not presenting the truth regarding the Catholic Faith if you don't present the whole truth. Might I suggest, if you (or anyone else) has a challenge regarding Catholicism - let a Catholic represent his/her Faith. My purpose in answering this thread was not to challenge RefBap - but to clarify Catholic teaching on this matter. I am not attempting to deceive anyone here regarding the Church's teaching on sanctification or justification - I hope you're open to hearing the full story, and not just what those who have an agenda against the Catholic Church have to say.

We had a very similar discussion in the #CathApol Chatroom earlier this evening (I guess that's really "yesterday" now). I presented this "hierarchy" in regard to grace/works/sanctification/justification and I used the terms of sanctification and justification in the way I believe Jason (and much of Protestantism) uses them:

Catholicism is not a "works = salvation" system at all.
for without GRACE - works are nothing.
without WORKS there is no sanctification.
without SANCTIFICATION there is no justification.
without JUSTIFICATION there is no SALVATION.

It all begins with Grace.

CCC 1996. "Our JUSTIFICATION comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.[Cf. Jn 1:12-18 ; Jn 17:3 ; Rom 8:14-17 ; 2Pet 1:3-4.]"

CCC 1692. "The Symbol of the faith confesses the greatness of God's gifts to man in his work of creation, and even more in redemption and SANCTIFICATION. What faith confesses, the sacraments communicate: by the sacraments of rebirth, Christians have become 'children of God,'[Jn 1:12 ; 1Jn 3:1 .] 'partakers of the divine nature.'[2Pet 1:4.] Coming to see in the faith their new dignity, Christians are called to lead henceforth a life 'worthy of the gospel of Christ.'[Phil 1:27 .] They are made capable of doing so by the grace of Christ and the gifts of his Spirit, which they receive through the sacraments and through prayer."

Paul teaches, quite consistently, that we must persevere in our faith to be saved. James, likewise says that a faith that has no works is not a "saving faith." Throughout the NT we're told of all the things we must "do" (works) or we do not have that "saving faith."

1Tim4:16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (NAS)

Rom2:7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; (NAS)

Rom5:3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (NAS)

2Th1:4 therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. 5 This is a plain indication of God's righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. (NAS)

1Tim6:11 But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and 12 fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which He will bring about at the proper time He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen. (NAS)

2Tim3:10-17 Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (NAS)

2Pet1:4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For IF these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NAS)

CCC 162. "Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man. We can lose this priceless gift, as St. Paul indicated to St. Timothy: 'Wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith.'[1 Tim 1:18-19 .] To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase our faith;[Cf. Mk 9:24 ; Lk 17:5 ; Lk 22:32 .] it must be 'working through charity,' abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church.[Gal 5:6 ; Rom 15:13 ; cf. Jam 2:14-26 .]"

Quite often challengers to Catholicism will point out Paul contrasting Faith and Works - but invariably, Paul is speaking about "works of the law" and NOT "works done in/by/through Grace." As I mentioned earlier, Paul also, quite often, speaks of "persevering" and "running to win..." (etc.) so Paul too sees the importance of "works" in a "saving faith." James and Paul are quite consistent when read in the proper perspective and context.

Rom3:20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. (NAS)

Rom3:27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. (NAS)

Gal2:16 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. (NAS)

Gal3:2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain if indeed it was in vain? 5 So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? (NAS)

Gal3:10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them." (NAS)

(ok, one from John)
John 6:27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." 28 Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" 29 Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the One he has sent."

Eph2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (NAS)

1Tim2:9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. (NAS)

1Tim6:17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. (NAS)

That last one says it all quite nicely. We are to be rich in good works, storing them up for a treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that we may take hold of that which is life indeed (eternal life).

John 7:18 He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.

John tells us that one who works for the honor of the one sent is a man of truth.


CathApol Chatroom

PS - So, I submit to both Wes and Jason that what I initially said was not merely my own opinions, but quite reflective of the teachings of the Catholic Church, which are quite Scriptural, and Scriptures themselves. I would hope that both Wes and Jason will have the integrity to apologize for falsely accusing me of not representing Church teaching.