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2. The meritorious cause of Justification.
3. The instrument or formal cause of Justification. 4. The "Homily of Justification."
I. Justification, its meaning and relation to Sanctification.
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The Article treats as convertible terms the expressions "to be accounted righteous" (justus reputari) and "to be justified" (justificari). We are accounted righteous by faith. ... Wherefore that are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine. Both phrases are founded on the language of Holy Scripture. The former is based on Gen. xv. 6: "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness" (LXX. étiotevoe τῷ Θεῷ καὶ ἐλογίσθη αὐτῷ εἰς δικαιοσύνην; Vulg. Credidit Deo et reputatum est illi ad justitiam). From this passage the phrase is adopted by S. Paul in the Epistle to the Romans, ch. iv., and throughout this chapter the Greek λογισθῆναι εἰς δικαιοσύνην is always rendered by the Vulgate "ad justitiam reputari" (see ver. 3, 5, 9, 11, 22, 23; and cf. Gal. iii. 6; S. James ii. 23). Justificari,
to be justified," is also the invariable Latin equivalent for Sikaιovolai,-a verb which (in the active or passive) δικαιοῦσθαι,occurs nearly thirty times in S. Paul's Epistles, although used but rarely elsewhere in the New Testament.
To discover the meaning of justification it is therefore necessary to examine and determine the sense in which δικαιοῦν and δικαιοῦσθαι are used in Scripture.
(a) In the Old Testament the active voice is used by the LXX. as the translation of the Hebrew Pay in a judicial or "forensic" sense: to "do right to a person," i.e. to do justice to his cause, and so to acquit (see Ex. xxiii. 7; Deut. xxv. 1; 2 Sam. xv. 4; 1 Kings viii. 32; 2 Chr. vi. 23; Ps. lxxxii. (lxxxi.) 3; Is.
v. 23, 1. 8, liii. 11; Jer. iii. 11; Ezek. xvi. 51, 52); in other words, its meaning is not to "make a person righteous," but to "make him out righteous," or to treat him as righteous."1 But in itself the word indicates nothing as to whether he is or is not righteous. So in the passive, a person is said to be "justified" when he is regarded as righteous, held "not guilty," or acquitted (see Gen. xliv. 16; Job xxxiii. 32; Ps. li. (1.) 5, cxliii. (cxlii.) 2; Is. xliii. 9, 26, xlv. 25).
(b) In the New Testament outside the Epistles of S. Paul the word is not of frequent occurrence, but wherever it is found (eleven times in all 2) its meaning is just the same. "Wisdom is justified by her works " (S. Matt. xi. 19; cf. S. Luke vii. 35), i.e. not "made righteous," but vindicated, proved to be righteous. In S. Matt. xii. 37 it is opposed to "condemned," and thus is equivalent to "acquitted." "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." The lawyer, willing to justify himself, says: "And who is my neighbour?" where the meaning evidently is to vindicate himself, or make himself out to be righteous (S. Luke x. 29; cf. xvi. 15). The publican "went down to his house justified rather than" the Pharisee (S. Luke xviii. 14). These are representative instances, and
1 This is quite in accordance with the classical use of the word, and with what might be expected from the formation of the word. "How can dikaιoû possibly signify to make righteous? Verbs, indeed, of this ending from adjectives of physical meaning may have this use, e.g. Tupλoûv, "to make blind." But when such words are derived from adjectives of moral meaning, as ἀξιοῦν, ὁσιοῦν, δικαιοῦν, they do by usage, and must from the nature of things signify to deem, to account, to prove, or to treat as worthy, holy, righteous." The Speaker's Commentary on 1 Cor. vi. 11, quoted in Sanday and Headlam On the Romans, p. 30.
2 S. Matt. xi. 19, xii. 37; S. Luke vii. 29, 35, x. 29, xvi. 15, xviii, 14; Acts xiii. 39; S. James ii. 21, 24, 25. In Rev. xxii. 11, which is sometimes cited for the meaning of infusing righteousness, the reading is really δικαιοσύνην ποιησάτω.
establish the meaning of the word outside S. Paul's writings. But as the phrase "to be justified by faith" is due to him, it becomes necessary to examine further into his usage of the word. It is employed in his Epistles altogether twenty-five times; and while in some cases it is unambiguous and must mean treat as righteous, and so (in the case of the guilty) pardon and acquit, in no single instance can the meaning of “make righteous" be established for it. This statement is one that can easily be verified, and therefore only a few examples need be cited here. "To him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned as of grace, but as of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness" (Rom. iv. 4, 5). "All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God: being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. iii. 23, 24). "With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment; yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing against myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but He that judgeth me is the Lord" (1 Cor. iv. 3, 4). In 1 Tim. iii. 16 the word is used of Christ, who was "manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit."
From these examples the meaning of the word may be ascertained without difficulty. It is regularly employed of the sentence or verdict pronounced on a man by God, and does not in itself tell us whether the person over whom the sentence is pronounced is really righteous or not. When a man is justified he is "accounted righteous," or regarded as righteous.
This leads to the inquiry, when is a man "justified"?
1 Rom. ii. 13, iii. 4, 20, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, iv. 2, 5, v. 1, 9, vi. 7, viii. 30, 33; 1 Cor. iv. 4, vi. 11; Gal. ii. 16, 17, iii. 8, 11, 24, v. 4; 1 Tim. iii. 16; Titus iii. 7.
And this raises the whole question of the relation of justification to sanctification.
Sanctifico and sanctificatio are in the Vulgate the regular equivalent of ἁγιάζειν and ἁγνίζειν, and of ἁγίασμος and ἁγιωσύνη, words which are all directly connected with the idea of making holy. Thus sanctification is a gradual work, the being really made holy in ourselves by the working of God's Holy Spirit in us. To "grow in grace" is to be sanctified. The question, then, to be decided is not whether obedience and good works are necessary for salvation, not whether sanctification is required, but at what point in the Christian life is the act of justification to be placed? in other words, the question is whether a man is first made righteous (sanctified) by God, and then declared to be so (justified); or whether God as it were anticipates what the man will become, and on his repentance accepts him, and for Christ's sake pronounces him "not guilty," the Divine verdict of acquittal running (as it has been said) in advance of the actual practice of righteousness.
In the early Church the question was not raised, as the subject of man's justification never came into controversy. But after the rise of Pelagianism it acquired a fresh importance, and assumed a new prominence, owing to the Pelagian assertion of human merit apart from grace; and in the writings of Augustine, while against Pelagianism the absolute need of grace, and the freeness of God's gift of salvation, is fully vindicated, the notion that justifico means to make righteous, and that justification is therefore an infusion of grace, can clearly be traced.1 This thought was further developed by the
1 In De Spiritu et Litera, § 45, Augustine admits that justifico may mean "reckon just," but practically his whole theory is that of an infusion of the grace of faith by which men are made just." Sanday and Headlam On the Romans, p. 150, where these quotations are given; De
schoolmen in the Middle Ages, and justification was defined as not only forgiveness of sins, but also an infusion of grace; and thus it was practically made to include sanctification,1-a view which was finally endorsed by the Council of Trent. The subject was considered at the sixth session of the Council held in January 1547, and justification was decreed to be "not merely the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the inner man, through the voluntary reception of the grace and gifts, whereby man from unjust becomes just, from an enemy a friend, that so he may be an heir according to the hope of eternal life." It was also stated that (1) the final cause of justification is the glory of God and of Christ and eternal life; (2) the efficient cause is the merciful God; (3) the meritorious cause is the Lord Jesus Christ, Who merited justification for us by His Passion; (4) the instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism, "which is the sacrament of faith, without which justification never befell any man"; (5) the formal cause is the righteousness (justitia) of God with which we are endowed by Him.2 Further, the
Spiritu et Litera, § 18: "Hæc est justitia Dei quæ in Testamento Veteri velata, in Novo revelatur: quæ ideo justitia Dei dicitur quod impertiendo eam justos facit." Enarratio, § 6: "Credenti inquit in eum qui justificat impium, deputatur fides ejus ad justitiam si justificatur impius ex impio fit justus."
1 See the Summa of Aquinas, 1ma 2 Q. cxiii. 2.
2 "Justificatio... non est sola peccatorum remissio, sed et sanctificatio et renovatio interioris hominis per voluntariam susceptionem gratiæ et donorum. Unde homo ex injusto fit justus, et ex inimico amicus, ut sit hæres secundum spem vitæ æternæ. Hujus justificationis causæ sunt, finalis quidem, gloria Dei et Christi, ac vita æterna: efficiens vero misericors Deus, meritoria autem dilectissimus unigenitus suus, Dominus noster Jesus Christus, qui cum essemus inimici proper nimiam charitatem, qua dilexit nos, sua sanctissima passione in ligno crucis nobis justificationem meruit, et pro nobis Deo satisfecit: instrumentalis item, sacramentum Baptismi, quod est sacramentum fidei, sine qua ulli nunquam contigit justificatio: demum unica formalis causa est justitia