An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

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Simul justus et peccator

Latin phrase meaning "at once justified and a sinner." It is associated with Martin Luther and Protestant thought concerning salvation. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us by God and received by faith. We are thus justified by a righteousness that is extrinsic and alien to us personally. Although we are pronounced righteous by God in Christ, we continue to be sinners. In contrast, other views of salvation have emphasized that the righteousness of Christ is actually imparted and transformative for the one who receives God's grace in faith. Justification is thereby understood to involve a real change in the life of the believer through participation in an ongoing process of sanctification. In the sixteenth century the Roman Catholic Council of Trent upheld the transformation of the believer in the saving process, and contradicted simul justus et peccator. Contemporary theologians have moved beyond the polemics and caricatures of the sixteenth century. Many affirm the reality of a saving process involving participation in the unmerited gift of God's grace for salvation that is received by faith, and assert the ongoing need for human repentance. See Justification; see Salvation; see Sanctification.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.