Christianity – Religious life
Justification by faith


Which parts of the text

  1. extends a point
  2. contrasts a point with something else
  3. illustrates a point with an example

Justification by faith was something Luther wrote about extensively in the sixteenth century as the protest grew against abuses of the church such as the selling of indulgences, which supposedly guaranteed access to heaven. The issue is; how are human beings saved? The traditional Catholic view was that both faith and works played a part – that acts of righteousness were the public signs of a regenerated soul. However, to the reformers, righteousness was imputed by Godentirely the work of God given to us as a kind of legal acquittal. Salvation can be viewed in various ways in the Bible. For example, the view of Paul that we are ‘reckoned righteous’ seems to contrast with that of James that ‘faith without works is dead’. Augustine took a very different view from Luther. Augustine spoke of active grace, activated by action, whereas Luther wrote about ‘passive grace’ which we received by faith. One thing that proved crucial was the interpretation of certain verses in the book of Romans. For example, even Abraham, argues Paul was ‘justified by faith and it was reckoned to him as righteousness’ (Romans 4:1)