Holiness Outside the Church

country-churchThe doctrine of justification in Holiness theology very much resembles the Roman Catholic Church’s position on the doctrine. Both Roman Catholics and adherents to Holiness theology believe that faith is necessary for justification and for receiving salvation. However, they both err in their respective positions as they both deny that justification is by faith alone. 

In Roman Catholic teaching, good works must accompany faith in order for one to be justified and therefore saved in the end. If a Catholic commits a sin they lose some of their justification before God which can lead them into a stay in purgatory or Hell depending on the severity of the sin committed. In the event that one does sin, there is the Roman Catholic sacrament of penance which is available to help them make restitution and restore their righteousness for their justification.

Likewise, adherents of Holiness theology must necessarily demand that justification comes through good works and faith. Their teaching may not be as explicit as Roman Catholic theology, but it necessarily follows. According to Holiness theology, when one is baptized with the Holy Spirit, they are entirely sanctified. They are fully enabled to never commit another act of sin as long as they live. This doesn’t mean that they won’t sin, but a true believer has the full capacity not to sin. In fact, if one does sin they lose their justification before God and unlike Roman Catholicism, there is no means of reconciliation. Once he has sinned he has no hope whatsoever of ever being saved. So to this effect, one must maintain righteous works all his life following his baptism of the Holy Spirit, for if they fail to do so they will be condemned eternally. This is quite the burden to bear.

As Protestants we separate ourselves from Roman Catholicism in many areas of doctrine and for many reasons, but especially due to their denial of justification by faith alone. This was the issue that was at the heart of the Reformation.

By this understanding of the Holiness view of justification and realizing that they also do not hold to justification by faith alone, we must declare them to be in the same state as the Roman Catholic Church…lost and in desperate need for true saving faith in the savior and resting on Him alone for salvation.

Sola fide!

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