The Catholic View of Justification

By James M. Rochford

For more resources on this subject, see our earlier article “Catholicism.”

Catholics and Evangelicals differ over the subject of justification. We can characterize their differing views in this way:

Views of Justification

Catholic View

Evangelical View

By grace through faith and made alive by works

By grace through faith and apart from works

A perpetual process

A past, completed event

Justified by our works (made alive by the Holy Spirit’s power; Phil. 2:12-13)

Justified apart from works, but justified for good works (Eph. 2:10)

Creates a subjective change in the person, whereby they are changed to perform good works

Creates an objective change in the person, whereby they are legally justified before God (i.e. “not guilty”)

We cannot gain salvation through good works, but we can lose salvation from evil works

We cannot gain or lose salvation through our works

A Biblical Response

See our earlier articles, “Do Good People Go to Heaven?” and “Eternal Security.”