Sunday, June 7, 2009

St. Thomas on Justification - We are justified by faith in Christ

In discussing how the Old Testament fathers were saved, St. Thomas makes it clear that their justification was from the same source as ours:
Although the Old Law did not suffice to save man, yet another help from God besides the Law was available for man, viz. faith in the Mediator, by which the fathers of old were justified even as we were. [ST I-II Q98, A2, ad 4]
And:
As to those under the Old Testament who through faith were acceptable to God, in this respect they belonged to the New Testament: for they were not justified except through faith in Christ, Who is the Author of the New Testament. [ST I-II Q107, A1, ad 3]
Does the same hold true for us as it did for them? Yes:
It is written (Romans 5:1): "Being justified therefore by faith, let us have peace with God."

I answer that, As stated above (3) a movement of free-will is required for the justification of the ungodly, inasmuch as man's mind is moved by God. Now God moves man's soul by turning it to Himself according to Ps. 84:7 (Septuagint): "Thou wilt turn us, O God, and bring us to life." Hence for the justification of the ungodly a movement of the mind is required, by which it is turned to God. Now the first turning to God is by faith, according to Heb. 11:6: "He that cometh to God must believe that He is." Hence a movement of faith is required for the justification of the ungodly. [ST I-II Q113, A4]
Hence we see that those who claim that the Catholic Church teaches a works-based Gospel are badly misinformed.

2 comments:

Mike Burgess said...

Proving yet again what an awesome God we serve by demonstrating the truths he has vouchsafed to us as our heritage (via the incomparable genius of St. Thomas Aquinas), you show yourself to be a fine disciple of them both. Thank you so much for this "series," Reginald. Blessings of the Blessed Trinity be with you and yours this waning Trinity Sunday.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Thanks, Mike. I hope to be found worthy by God's grace to be called a disciple of them both.

RdP