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Article Four

Whether a Movement of Faith is reojuired for the Justification of the Ungodly

We proceed to the fourth article thus:

1. It seems that a movement of faith is not required for the justification of the ungodly. For a man is justified by other 189things besides faith. He is justified by fear, for example, of which Ecclesiasticus says (1:21): “The fear of the Lord driveth out sin, for he who is without fear cannot be justified'”; and by charity, according to Luke 7:47: “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much”; and by humility, according to James 4:6: “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble”; and also by mercy, according to Prov. 16:6: “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged.”4444Migne: “By mercy and faith sins are purged.” Hence a movement of faith is no more required for the justification of the ungodly than is a movement of the virtues named.

2. Again, justification requires an act of faith only in so far as a man knows God through faith. But a man can know God in other ways. He can know him through natural knowledge, for example, or by means of the gift of wisdom. It follows that an act of faith is not required for the justification of the ungodly.

3. Again, there are several articles of faith. Hence if an act of faith is required for the justification of the ungodly, it seems that a man must contemplate all the articles of faith at the time when he is first justified. But this is impossible, because such contemplation would take a long time. It seems, therefore, that an act of faith is not required for the justification of the ungodly.

On the other hand: it is said in Rom. 5:1: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God. . . .”

I answer: as we said in the preceding article, the justification of the ungodly requires a movement of the free will, since God moves a man’s mind. Now God moves a man’s soul by turning it to himself, according to Ps. 85:7: “Thou wilt turn us, O God, and bring us to life” (Septuagint). Hence justification requires the movement of the mind by which it turns to God. But the mind turns to God in the first instance by faith, according to Heb. 11:6: “he that cometh to God must believe that he is.” A movement of faith is therefore required for the justification of the ungodly.

On the first point: a movement of faith is not perfect unless it is formed by charity. There is, therefore, a movement of charity in the justification of the ungodly, simultaneous with the movement of faith. There is also an act of filial fear, and an act of humility. Provided that it can be directed to diverse ends, one and the same act of the free will can be the act of diverse virtues, one of which commands while the others obey. An act of mercy, however, either operates like a satisfaction for sin, in which case it follows justification, or serves as a preparation 190for justification, as it does when the merciful obtain mercy. It can therefore precede justification, contributing towards it simultaneously with the virtues mentioned, as it does when mercy is included in love to one’s neighbour.

On the second point: when a man knows God through natural knowledge, he is not turned to God as the object of blessedness and cause of justification. His knowledge is therefore insufficient for justification. The gift of wisdom presupposes faith, as we explained in Q. 68, Art. 4, ad 3.

On the third point: the apostle says (Rom. 4:5): “to him . . . that believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”4545Migne adds: “. . . according to the purpose of God’s grace.” This makes it plain that an act of faith is required in the justification of the ungodly to this extent —that a man believe that God is the justifier of men through the mystery of Christ.


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