Part 1

By Dr. Robert A. Morey



Let us state at the outset that throughout this two part series

that it is not our intent to offend those Roman Catholics who trust

in Jesus Christ alone and rest their hope of salvation on God's

grace alone. We gladly embrace them as fellow Christians.

But there are those Roman Catholics who trust in their own good

to get them into heaven. They openly venerate Mary and pray to the

saints. And, when they do these things, they are actually following

the official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church!

It is our intent to refute a visible earthly organization called

the "ROMAN Catholic Church" whose headquaters is at Vatican City in

Rome and whose earthly "head" is the Pope, considered the "Vicar of


Please not that we are NOT attacking Catholics as people or their

motives. We are dealing with those historic issues which caused the

Protestant Reformation.

We did not invent these issues and we are quite aware of the fact

that we will not solve them either. But we feel the time has come to

clarify once again what exactly those issues are and why we are still

"protesting" against the Roman system.

the first issue concerns the heart of the Gospel: Justification by

faith apart from works. If Romanism is in error on justification, then

it is preaching another gospel and cannot be described as a true Chris-

tian church.



I. The Greek verb dikaiow in Roman Law and society meant "to declare

not guilty" or "to declare innocent of all charges" as a legal vedication

in court. It was the opposite of a verdict or declaration of "guilty as


II. When it is used in a non-technical sense, it simply meant "to be

vindicated" before others. O.T.: Gen.44:16; Job 33:2,32; Isa. 43:9.

N.T.: Matt. 13:37; Luke 10:29, 16:15.

III. But when it is used in its technical or theological sense in the

Old and New Testaments, this word has the same legal or forensic

declaratory meaning as in Roman Law. O.T.: Deut. 25:1; Isa. 5:23;

Micah 6:11. N.T.: Romans 8:33-34.

IV. It is clearly in this sense that both the Father and the Son are

said to be "justified." This can ONLY mean that God is "declared

innocent," "declared not guilty" or "vindicated from all charges."

O.T.: Psa. 51:4. N.T.: Luke 7:29; Romans 3:4

I Timothy 3:16 Rotherham translation says, "declared righteous"

and the Twentieth Century "pronounced righteous".

V. The Greek verb "to justify" is used in opposition to the word

"to condemn" i.e., "to pronounce a verdict of guilty as charged."

O.T.: Deut. 25:1; Job 40:8; I Kings. 8:32. N.T.: Romans 8:33-34.

VI. Just as "to condemn" someone does not MAKE them wicked, neither

does "to justify" someone MAKE them righteous.

VII. The equivalent words and phrases which are used as literary

parallels to the word "to justify" mean "to declare innocent" and

"to treat as not guilty." None of them means to MAKE someone righ-


O.T.: Psa. 32:2 "transgression is forgiven" "sin covered" "does

not impute iniquity"

N.T.: Rom. 4:3 "reckoned to him as righteous" 4:4 "reckoned"

4:5 "reckoned as righteous" 4:6 "reckons righteousness"

4:7 "forgiven" 4:7 "sins covered" 4:8 "will not take into account

(sin)" 4:9 "reckoned as righteousness" 4:10 "reckoned" 4:22 "reckoned

as righteousness" 4:23 "reckoned" 4:24 "reckoned" 5:10 "reconciled"

(cf. vs. 9 & 10).

VIII. Man's justification before God is always based on God's grace

through Christ's life, death, resurrection. O.T.: Isa. 53:11.

N.T.: Rom. 3:4,24,28; 4:25; 5:9; II Cor. 5:21; Titus 3:7.

IX. Thus justification is a free gift and not something merited

by works. N.T.: Rom. 3:20-30; 4:1-12; 5:15-17; 6:23; Gal. 2:16-21.

X. The instumental means of justification is FAITH apart from

such works as baptism. N.T.: Rom. 3:22,26-30; 4:1-12,16; 5:1;


XI. The Protestant view of justification is the doctrine of the

early church while ®the Romanist doctrine cannot be found anywhere

in the early church�. (® � denotes bold emphasis)



How Romanist Try to Refute The Reformers

I. Romanist usually misrepresent the Reformers. They often claim

that the Reformers taught that sinners are justified "by faith alone"

in order to contrast this statement with James 2:24 "not by faith alone."

But this is not what they taught.

The Reformers taught the ungodly are justified "solely," (i.e.

"only") through faith. They did not say that we are justified "by

faith that is alone." They were careful to make the disticntion

between "only" and "alone."

They stated that the faith that justifies is "not alone" but is

always accompanied by all the other virtues such as love, obdience,

etc. Hence, it is "not alone."

But what they did say was that the Bible makes it abundantly clear

that THE SOLE INSTRUMENTAL MEANS by which one receives salvation is

FAITH viewed as set apart from the other virtues such as obedience.

Why? FAITH is the only "empty" virtue which has no merit in and

of itself. Faith is not to be viewed as being the meritorious basis

of salvation. ®Christ's work not ours - is the meritorious basis of

salvation�. (® � denotes bold emphasis)

Thus while salvation is "through" faith as its sole means of

reception, it is accompanied by all the other VIRTUES.

II. Objection: What about James vs Paul?

A. James uses the word "justify" in its non-technical sense of

a personal "vindication" before man of one's profession of faith.

He emphasizes that you should validate your faith before others by

the kind of life that you live.

B. Thus James is emphasizing the DEMONSTRATING of justification

and not how to achieve it.

C. Nowhere does James use the word "justify" to mean to MAKE

someone righteous.

III. Questions which Romanist must answer:

A. Can you produce a single verse in the Bible where the concept

of grace as a "substance" is taught?

B. Can you show us a single verse where justification is described

as "infusion righteousness?"

C. Is not the concept of "grace as a divine substance infused into

the soul" a Medieval idea?

D. On what basis do you ignore the legal, cultural and exegetical

meaning of the word dikaiow?


E. Is there a single passage in the Bible which links baptism with

justification as the means of its reception?

F. Can you produce a single citation from the Apostolic Fathers

where they taught the concept of "infused righteousness?"


Dr. Robert A. Morey, is the Executive Director of The Research &

Education Foundation. Dr. Morey has earned degrees in theology,

philosophy, and apologetics and has received personal training

from Dr. Walter Martin, Francis Schaeffer, Gordon Clark and

Cornelius Van Til. He has authored over 20 books. Some of which

have been listed in Christianity Today's annual "best Books of

the Year" and the Christian Booksellers Association's "The Best

of the Good Books."

For a free catalogue of our books, tapes, videos and tracts write


The Research & Education Foundation

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This article was originally published in "The Researcher," a

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Copyright 1993 The Research & Education Foundation

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