Popular apologist and author of Nuts & Bolts: A Practical Guide for Explaining and Defending the Catholic Faith, Tim Staples delivered an address on St. Paul and justification. Staples highlighted the importance of context when reading Scripture, saying that a lack of context can produce bad theology.
“Folks, context! Tradition brings to us a context out of which the Scriptures arise and have their meaning, so that we can understand the words of Scripture. And of course, the Magisterium. We have Sacred Scripture as a gift from God through his Church and we have the Tradition and the Magisterium that interprets both,” he said.
Staples observed that in the writings of St. Paul, he makes it very clear that not only is salvation a process, but justification is as well. “In Romans 5:1, justification is seen in the past tense, but do we have St. Paul talking about justification as future and contingent? Absolutely. And in multiple places.”
He explained how, by looking at the context, you can see that when St. Paul speaks about justification in the past tense he is referring to baptism and not to a person’s ultimate justification.
“There is no such thing as ‘no matter what you do sister, you’re going straight to heaven.’ My friends, our theology should order us toward holiness and not be a source that the devil can play with and lead us in the other direction. Catholics, you got a wonderful theology and a fullness of the faith. It is a tremendous gift. Please, please, as one who did not have it and now enjoys it, please give it away,” he closed.