In By Grace, Stay In By Faithfulness?

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog:

We’re coming up on Reformation Day again this seems like a good time to cover the basics again. The medieval church came to teach that we enter a state of grace through baptism. According to the medieval church, we remain in a state of grace by the exercise of our free will, which we were said to have retained after the fall, in cooperation with grace. This consensus was confirmed at the Council of Trent and became Roman Catholic dogma.

It remains Roman dogma:

§1989The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit is conversion, effecting justification in accordance with Jesus’ proclamation at the beginning of the Gospel: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high. “Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

For Rome, acceptance with God includes forgiveness but it “with justification, faith, hope, and charity are poured into our hearts, and obedience to the divine will is granted us” (ibid, §1991).  Justification

establishes cooperation between God’s grace and man’s freedom. On man’s part it is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, and in the cooperation of charity with the prompting of the Holy Spirit who precedes and preserves his assent (ibid, §1993)

As part of this article, the catechism quotes the teaching of Session VII of the Council of Trent (1547), which declared “man himself is not inactive while receiving that inspiration, since he could reject it.” According to Rome, the Spirit enables our cooperation but we must do our part. It can be lost, unless we do our part.

The Reformation was a repudiation of the scheme of acceptance with God on the basis of forgiveness plus moral renovation, i.e., by grace and cooperation with grace or by grace and faithfulness...


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