Strengthening Our Faith and Knowledge

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Faith and Faith and Works

Q. Please explain justification.

Justification is the process by which a person is made righteous, holy and pure before God. This is accomplished by the grace of the Holy Spirit working within us; empowering us to recognize and repent for our sins and avoid sins in the future. The grace working within us causes an interior conversion to take place so that we no longer desire things which we now recognize as sinful. In the Catholic tradition, our justification comes about through our faith in Christ and in a life of good works which are a response to God's invitation to believe.

St. Paul condemns claims that salvation comes through the "works of the law" (Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16; 3:10) but "works of the law" are different from the life of good works described above. Those who depended upon the "works of the law" were the Jews (like the pharisees for example) who depended upon performing all the rituals prescribed in the Book of the Law. Such rituals were circumcision, ritual washing, temple sacrifices, avoiding certain foods, etc. (they had enumerated 613 laws which, if observed perfectly, made the individual righteous). The life of good works which the Catholic Christian lives is the life one lives because of their love for God and their fellow man. It is the life through which their faith enables them to radiate their hope and love. God has given every person unique gifts and abilities; how we use these talents in our everyday lives are the good works upon which we will be judged (John 5:28-29).

Recommended reading:

‚óŹ Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1987-1995

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