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Justification, religious

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-K040-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 23, 2024, from

Article Summary

Justification is about the restoration of human beings after Adam’s Fall, by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and the beginning of a new life that anticipates the glory of heaven. According to the Roman Catholic Church, justification has two aspects: forgiveness of sin and the infusion of grace that makes Christians just (innocent). It is the beginning of a new life of grace, in which the gifts of faith, hope and charity enable one to perform meritorious works. However, the restoration is never complete in this life and concupiscence remains; a fall from the state of grace is thus possible, but this is reversible through penance.

A central feature of the Protestant Reformation was a dispute with the Roman Catholic Church over how justification should be understood. According to Luther, one does not become renewed (innocent) in justification. Rather, one is forgiven because the righteousness or justice of Christ is imputed to those who have faith in God’s promise of redemption; however, one remains a sinner. More recent thought, however, has pointed to the fact that in both Lutheran and Catholic conceptions of justification, there is a sense of incompleteness, that it is just part of the process of redemption. There has also been interest in the idea of justification involving an indwelling of God rather than a gift from God to the individual; this has interesting affinities with Eastern Orthodox beliefs.

Citing this article:
Allen, Diogenes. Justification, religious, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-K040-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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