What does justification mean in the Bible
Justification by faith alone
A life question that deeply affects one's own existence - and the answer to which can change life: the question of the birth parents, the question of one's own incurable disease, the question of the meaning of existence ...
Martin Luther also had a question. She tormented him. It was one of the main reasons he became a monk. And when he finally found the answer to this question, he wanted to use it to change his church, the “Catholic” Church; wanted people to come to this conclusion too. That they too lose their fear of God, of hell and damnation.
The answer to his question led to the Reformation.
“How do I get a gracious God? How do I become righteous before God? ”- this is the question that preoccupied Martin Luther for so long. For him it was a very personal and existential question. He faced them not out of purely philosophical and theological interests - but out of fear. For fear of not being able to stand before God in the Last Judgment - and of being condemned by him to eternal damnation. For fear that all his good works, his self-mortification, even his life as a monk would not be enough to please God.
Martin Luther shared the fear of many people at that time. Because many sermons fueled the fear of eternal damnation. So scenes from hell and the agony of purgatory were depicted very vividly in small theater plays. Shrieking screams, fires and depictions of the devil who joyfully torments the poor deceased - who wouldn't want to be scared ?!
The Church's indulgence trade flourished. Finally, people were promised that by buying a letter of indulgence, the deceased relatives could be helped out of hell and their own life could be saved from hell.
However, Martin Luther was deeply convinced that God would not be bribed by a few coins and would take the soul out of hell.
But how, how could he then please God when his own good works would never be enough and even a letter of indulgence could not bring salvation?
Martin Luther studied the Bible - word for word. Read the good news it contained - and discovered words in it that let him recognize the way in which he himself - and man himself - can have a gracious God.
He recognized what changed his life and his trust in God: only by grace and only by faith man becomes righteous by God, that is, spoken freely, is saved from hell and damnation, is freed from his own guilt.
For Luther this discovery was life-saving and life-changing.
God gives his grace - not because man can make him gracious, not because man tries to do good works, not because he buys indulgences with his meager salary, but because God is gracious of himself. God chose to be gracious. Not just to a certain group of people, but to every person. God is gracious to people. That is part of the nature of God that man can never understand.
On the other hand, Luther recognized that people have to take up this offer so that it can have a life-changing effect.
Only those who also believe this gift of grace from God can confidently forget their fear of hell and damnation.
And those who have recognized God's grace as reality - and with it the message of his love and his offers to shape life in love for oneself, for one's neighbor and for God, whose life will change. Then “good works” will follow. These are therefore not a prerequisite for God's grace, but the consequence of his promise of grace to man.
For Luther, this realization was so revolutionary that his sermons and writings repeatedly dealt with it and found their published climax in what is known as the posting of theses.
As a result, the Catholic Church broke up on this question of justification - and the Evangelical Church came into being - with the doctrine of justification as the central content of faith.
On October 31, 1999, the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church signed the joint declaration on the doctrine of justification, in which they refer to a common understanding of justification by grace alone.
Here you can find the doctrine of justification as a comic video to watch: www.ekd.de/glauben/e-wie-evangelisch/e_rechtproduktion.html
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