Pope Francis recently underlined that “we do not become just through our own effort”, for “it is Christ, with his grace, who makes us just”.
Speaking at the general audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, the pope reflected on “justification,” a doctrine fiercely contested at the time of the Protestant Reformation.
He said: “What is justification? We, who were sinners, have become just. Who justified us? This process of change is justification. We, before God, are just. It is true, we have our personal sins. But fundamentally, we are just. This is justification.”
The Pope described the doctrine of justification as “a difficult but important topic,” noting that it had generated “a lot of discussion” among Christians, focused on the writings of St Paul the Apostle.
He said that while the doctrine was “decisive for the faith,” it was hard to provide “an exhaustive definition”.
“In fact, God, through Jesus’ death – and we need to underline this: through the death of Jesus – destroyed sin and definitively granted us his pardon and salvation. Thus justified, sinners are welcomed by God and reconciled with Him,” he explained.
“It is as though the original relationship between the Creator and the creature before the disobedience of sin intervened has been restored. The justification wrought by God, therefore, allows us to recuperate the innocence lost through sin.”
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