The following is a four point summary of the absolute importance and complete opposite differences between Roman Catholicism and the Christian Reformation. Points 1 & 2 were discussed on Tuesday 27th July 2021. Point 3 was discussed on Wed 28th July. Today Thurs 29th July 2021, we will discuss Point 4.

Roman Catholicism

The Reformation

1. Justified by God’s work of grace in man

1. Justified by God’s work of grace in Christ

2. Justified by faith which has become active by good works of charity

2. Justified by faith alone

3. Justified by infusedrighteousness

3. Justified by imputed (outside of yourself) righteousness

4. Justification means making a man righteous in his own person

4. Justification means a man is accounted and declared righteous – not made righteous!


This has always been the stumbling block for Rome. They say “How can God declare anyone righteous if they are not righteous inside of themselves?” Roman Catholicism is the religion of human reasoning. To support their argument, they reach into the Latin and take the meaning of the word “justify” to be “made righteous” inside the man himself. The Catholic reasons that a man must be transformed within himself before he can have right standing with God. Surely the reader can see, how this just produces endless torment within a man. This is why the Catholics whip themselves, starve themselves and strap barb wire to their bodies for punishment as they know they are wicked sinners and never good enough before God. As they believe the wafer is actual body of Christ being ‘unbloody sacrifice’, how many of these biscuits must they eat to be pure inside? Indeed, how much of Christ’s actual blood must they drink? The Catholic’s never ending quest is for to have 100% purity within themselves – but here’s the dilemma that can never be solved – “HOW MUCH OF GOD’S SPIRIT MUST BE POURED INTO THEM TO MAKE THEM RIGHTEOUS ENOUGH IN GOD’S EYES?” It’s like a rat running inside a circular wheel – it can never stop! There is never an end to it!

In contrast, Reformation salvation theology is based upon St Paul’s scripture But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that JUSTIFIETH THE UNGODLY, his faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 4:5. See that? God accounts an ungodly man, that is, declares a wretched sinner, as justified, as righteous, even when he isn’t inside of himself, because someone else paid the law’s penalty on his behalf. God justifies all sorts of sinners, not on the condition of any preceding righteousness they have of their own, but on the condition they believe and are fully persuaded like Abraham (Rom 4:21) what God has done for them – that God has already reconciled and accepted them in the substitute – the Lord Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh who came to satisfy his own laws because an ordinary man could not. This is an incomprehensible love - that a man would die for his enemies! WHAT SORT LOVE IS THAT?! Certainly not human love. It had to be God’s love (Jn 3:16). Christ died in our place.

The Reformers pointed out the words “justify” and “justification” are legal and judicial words connected with courts of law and closely related to trials, judgment, penalties and justice (Deut 25:1; 1Kings 8:32; 1Cor 4:3; Matt 12:37; Rom 3:4). The words directly point to a declaration and pronouncement from the divine court in heaven that a sinner can be certain of right-standing with God upon believing what God has already done FOR HIM and outside of him – that is, God punishes Christ instead of the man himself.

Justification” does not mean a change in the man’s own person, but a declaration of how he appears in God’s eyes. Divine justification does not make a man internally righteous, but simply accounts him as righteous. In the Old Testament God did not pronounce Abraham as a father after Isaac was born but before. Believing God would perform what he had promised, Abraham, by his own faith, accepted that he would be a father as God declared it so. As in creation, God said “Let there be light” before there was light (Gen 1:3).

Although we are foul sinners inside, we can have right standing with God for what Christ has already done for us. Abraham staggered, but believed God, that his and Sarah’s dead bodies (Rom 4:20) would produce a child. Similarly, we are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1), but we can believe, reckon and account that God can give birth to a new creature calling “…those things which be not as though they were.” (Rom 4:17). Upon believing on what Christ has done for us, God will spiritually circumcise a man so his soul is cut from his sinful flesh.  The soul is spiritually washed clean and thereby saved (Col 2:11). Even though still trapped in sinful flesh, our saved soul is the new creature (2Cor 5:17). A saved person can now stand before God saying “I believe that with Christ’s work outside of me, you declare me free!

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Harley Hitchcock  Thurs 29th July 2021



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