j u s ti f i c ati o n
inhere within his soul. Righteousness must be inherent within the person; God must examine his life and find righteousness there. If a person dies in mortal sin, he goes to hell. If the person dies with any sin, with any imperfection or blemish on his soul, he cannot be admitted into heaven but must first go through the purging fires of purgatory, where his impurities are cleansed away until such time as righteousness is truly inherent in him. Much is at stake here. One of the most significant theological issues we can ever discuss is on the table. It is the question of what we must do to be saved. If I thought that I had to arrive at a state, no matter how much grace the church has for me, of pure righteousness without any imperfections in order to reach heaven, I would completely despair of ever having salvation. If my church taught this concept of justification, that would be horrible news, not good news. Thankfully, the Reformation affirmed the biblical gospel, the truth that the moment a person possesses saving faith, he is transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, his sins are taken away, he is declared to be just on the basis of the righteousness of Christ, and he is adopted into the family of God. There is no need for inherent righteousness, for purgatory, or for a second plank of justification. The Reformation view of justification The motto of the Reformation with respect to the doctrine of justification was sola fide, which means “faith alone.” This was one of five great Reformation slogans, including sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone,” which we examined in the previous chapter), sola gratia (“grace alone”), solus Christus (“Christ alone”), and soli Deo gloria (“to God alone be the glory”). As we have seen, the Roman Catholic Church also strongly affirms that faith is necessary for justification. In fact, we saw that it was a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition. A person 39
Published on Jun 7, 2012
In Are We Together? A Protestant Analyzes Roman Catholicism, Dr. R.C. Sproul takes his stand for the cardinal doctrines of Protestantism in...