Justification by faith

Deceptive justifications have little to do with the phrase "Justification by faith."  This phrase was used by the Apostle Paul, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and a host of other priests, monks, nuns, ministers, and theologians to describe the experience by which one finds salvation and peace with God. 

It goes something like this:  You can’t earn salvation; it’s not possible for you to be good enough for that.  Only by the grace of God through your faith will your sins be forgiven, and that forgiveness makes salvation possible. 

There’s more to it, of course, for the scope and depth of precisely what is justified by faith has been the focus of much debate and unfortunate conflict for centuries.  It is in part what forms the chasm between Protestant and Catholic Christianity.

We cannot resolve the conflict and debate here.  We won’t even try.  However, we’d like to add something to the mix:  Christians are not the only group of believers who profess to be justified by faith.  Jodo Shinshu Buddhists do, too.  And there are loads of other religious groups who profess similar doctrines.

How’s that for opening up the arena for even more conflict and debate?  Now we not only have to consider the scope and depth of what is justified, we must also consider in whose name the justification takes place.  Jehovah’s?  Amida Buddha?  Someone else?

Since we don’t discriminate here (we think everyone who needs to justify their ridiculous, strange, destructive, abusive, inconsiderate, stupid, ignorant, and/or bad behavior should have a free rein), I’d like to make an insane suggestion: 

All people who believe are justified by faith.  All it takes is simply wanting to believe.

The only people who aren't, then, are those who believe in absolutely nothing.  After all, you can't be justified by faith if you have none.

Followers of Jesus might claim they have no need for justifications, and they might be right.  But if you are a follower of Jesus, then you also recognize that you are a sinner.  And since you are a sinner (aren't we all?), then sometimes you will stumble and slip into self deception.  It's human.  Forgive yourself.  God does.

 

 

 

 

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