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This is related to the monergism/synergism thread which I posted. 

I have had trouble trying to pin down precisely what the Catholic theology of justification, salvation and sanctification is. 

This comes up tonnes whenever I am discussing about the Church with my Protestant friends. I am largely ignorant about the whole debate (when I was Protestant, I had no clue what to believe about justification or salvation. In fact, I probably learned more about my Protestant religion after I converted to Catholicism than I learned when I was a practicing Baptist.) When I entered the Church I really wasn't comparing whose soteriology was correct. I mostly wanted to know whose Church was the true Church of Jesus Christ.

I digress. When I am asked by my Protestant friends if I believe in "works salvation", I tell them, "No, and the Catholic Church doesn't believe that you are saved by your works. You are saved by grace, through faith, in the works of charity. You have to do good works, like pray, fast, etc,. to sanctify yourself and conform to Christ, but all of this is done by and your cooperation with the grace of God."

I'm concerned that this is may not be the best way to express this (or even that it is the correct way to express it), so I hope that some one can help me to understand this. 

Thank you
Justin, May I suggest this page, on the main site?
I you want the full, in depth doctrine of the Church, here is what the Council of Trent had to say about it.

ON JUSTIFICATION
This is very much a summary (so full of imperfection), but useful when you're just speaking briefly with someone.

In Catholic theology justification is the process which ends up making one Just or holy. When we are just we can also be said to "have justification" or "be justified". One is Just when he has Sanctifying Grace. That first happens at Baptism or when someone above the age of reason through a special grace of God has receive Faith, Hope, Contrition and Charity and thus really and supernaturally desires Baptism or whatever would put him in the State of Justification/State of Grace (a process we often term "Baptism of Desire").

Because we can sin and turn away from God, we can lose our justification in this life. It can be restored by Contrition/Absolution. By sin we lose Charity and Sanctifying Grace, which is the State of Grace and Justification, and we fall instead into a state of sin and are not justified.

Sanctification might be able to be distinguished in some way, but practically in Apologetical conversations, it's not worth making some kind of distinction. For these discussion Sanctification = Justification. The process by which we are made holy (sanctus + facere), is the same process by which we are made just (justus + facere), and in Scripture Just = Holy. Scripture always praises people in the highest degree by saying that they were "just" which is synonymous with "holy".

It is important to note, however, because God is putting this grace into us which justifies/sanctifies, it actually causes this justice/holiness in us. So it is not mere imputation, or an appearance, but Sanctifying Grace makes the soul holy and just and pleasing to God, His child, and thus an heir of heaven, should we remain in that state.

The State of Grace, however is a state of being, just like being healthy is a state of being. To maintain that state it is necessary to do certain actions. To stay healthy we need to eat healthy food, we need to exercise the body, we need to take medicines and remedies when the health declines. These are the "works" of justification or Faith. If we want to remain just we have to do actions which exercise that holiness/justice which has come by Faith, through grace. If we don't, it's like being perfectly healthy, then sitting on the couch doing nothing, eating nothing. It won't stay for long.

It is also important to note here that doing good requires grace, and our free cooperation with that grace. So these "works" are actually God's impetus pushing us, but we freely cooperating, and thus since it is a good and free act and it is supernatural thanks to grace, there is a reward for us in it: supernatural merit, just like a good natural act would be rewarded with a natural merit.

We also need Sanctifying Grace and the State of Grace before any of our actions are pleasing to God. That state of grace is the principle (or foundation) of merit. We cannot merit the principle/foundation of merit. We cannot use or invest money until we have it. Only God can give that State of Grace/Justification. Nothing we do can cause this in us. It is God's to give alone. So good works done without the State of Grace are useless towards justification, and merit nothing supernaturally.

I think this is where the Protestants often misunderstand. They think we're saying one can be a sinner, and then feed lots of poor people and thus be saved. Not at all. One can be a sinner, and when he repents, God infuses Charity making him holy and on the path to heaven, and then when he feeds the poor, which his faith pushes him to do, he takes steps along that path to heaven, but even then only by grace moving him, and he freely cooperating. That's the whole point of 1 Cor 13. Without Charity/Sanctifying Grace we can do everything, and even "have Faith to move mountains" but all of that is useless.

Charity is God's own Love of Himself, infused into us so we can return His Love of us with His own Love. Nothing else would be worthy of God.

Salvation is what we would call Final Perseverance, which is the special grace to remain Just/Holy/in the State of Grace, until the end of our lives. This is also a free gift of God that we cannot merit, but only pray for. Salvation brings us to Purgatory/Heaven. Otherwise we will go to Hell at the end of our lives.

So the process in this life is :

1. Justification : God gives actual grace to a sinner who is lead step-by-step by this grace to a point where he is disposed to receive from God Sanctifying Grace and is then Justified (made a child of God, pleasing to Him, and an heir of Heaven), after which he is meant to use the Faith and Charity as further graces push him to act well in a supernatural manner which then thanks to grace earns him a supernatural reward we call merit which entitles him to a share in the rewards Christ has merited for him. If he loses this justification through sin, it can be restored by another grace of God which moves the man to Contrition/Confession.

2. Sanctification : At the end of a man's life after receiving justification, God, through his own free choice, maintains by grace a soul in this justified state until the end of his earthly life, and thus this soul is saved and either enters Heaven, or if because of need of purification on the way to heaven passes through a purgative state called Purgatory as described by St Paul (1 Cor 3.15).
Quote:1. Justification : God gives actual grace to a sinner who is lead step-by-step by this grace to a point where he is disposed to receive from God Sanctifying Grace and is then Justified (made a child of God, pleasing to Him, and an heir of Heaven), after which he is meant to use the Faith and Charity as further graces push him to act well in a supernatural manner which then thanks to grace earns him a supernatural reward we call merit which entitles him to a share in the rewards Christ has merited for him. If he loses this justification through sin, it can be restored by another grace of God which moves the man to Contrition/Confession.

2. Sanctification : At the end of a man's life after receiving justification, God, through his own free choice, maintains by grace a soul in this justified state until the end of his earthly life, and thus this soul is saved and either enters Heaven, or if because of need of purification on the way to heaven passes through a purgative state called Purgatory as described by St Paul (1 Cor 3.15).


So, in justification, which is it that justifies. If it faith or charity, or is the question the wrong question to ask? When I think of faith, I think of it as an intellectual assent. I assent to all that Christ teaches and believe on His authority as God, but my charity is what saves me, not my faith only.

But my Protestant friends talk about faith more in terms of confidence or trust. I think they conceive faith as "living faith."
(05-08-2020, 08:23 PM)Justin Tertius Wrote: [ -> ]
Quote:1. Justification : God gives actual grace to a sinner who is lead step-by-step by this grace to a point where he is disposed to receive from God Sanctifying Grace and is then Justified (made a child of God, pleasing to Him, and an heir of Heaven), after which he is meant to use the Faith and Charity as further graces push him to act well in a supernatural manner which then thanks to grace earns him a supernatural reward we call merit which entitles him to a share in the rewards Christ has merited for him. If he loses this justification through sin, it can be restored by another grace of God which moves the man to Contrition/Confession.

2. Sanctification : At the end of a man's life after receiving justification, God, through his own free choice, maintains by grace a soul in this justified state until the end of his earthly life, and thus this soul is saved and either enters Heaven, or if because of need of purification on the way to heaven passes through a purgative state called Purgatory as described by St Paul (1 Cor 3.15).


So, in justification, which is it that justifies. If it faith or charity, or is the question the wrong question to ask? When I think of faith, I think of it as an intellectual assent. I assent to all that Christ teaches and believe on His authority as God, but my charity is what saves me, not my faith only.

But my Protestant friends talk about faith more in terms of confidence or trust. I think they conceive faith as "living faith."

It cannot be "Faith" because as we know from 1 Cor 13.2 "Faith to move mountains" is not enough without Charity.

So really it is Sanctifying Grace/Charity which causes justification.

Faith is in the intellect, because it is, as you say, an intellectual assent to the Truth, but it depends on the will, which fills in for the lack of obviousness or proof by accepting the authority of God revealing (which is the supernatural aspect). However it is not our Faith as if we work ourselves up to this, it is infused by God.

Hope is in the will and it is the confidence that God will give the means necessary to attain our proper supernatural end.

Charity is also in the will, but it is the Love of God, as I mentioned above, so just as love is the act of the will, Charity is that which pushes the will to seek out and act for is proper end using the means that Hope is confident are provided, and Faith knows exist.

Without Charity, however, Faith and Hope are useless and is "dead". "Formless" is what theologians prefer, but "living" and "dead" is what Scripture (James 2) prefers, so I'd stick with that with Prots.

So, I think you can talk about "living Faith" as Faith which is animated by Charity. The clear message of St James (and St Paul, especially in 1 Cor 13 which is not about romantic "Love" but Charity, which is the God's Love infused into us prompting us to Love God with His own Love), is that without Charity Faith is dead, and so it does not Sanctify/Justify.

"Not everyone saying to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of My Father in the heavens" (Mt 7.21)

I also like to ask Protestants about Adam, who is clearly created in the Love of God (or as we would say Sanctifying Grace/Charity), and after his sin, clearly falls away, despite having had Faith. We are certainly not that good off, so our Faith alone, just like Adam's cannot preserve us from falling out of Love with God, and so, Faith itself cannot sanctify us, It must be Faith combined with something else, which is Charity.
What is "Faith alone" in a practical situation? Is there any means by which Faith is considered to be measured, or is measured?

I feel quite anxious about my belief, my Faith, in the sense that there isn't anything obvious to aim for - a measurable accomplishment. I suppose that in itself is the whole thing, what believing is about - I imagine it to be the point where, divinely inspired, self-realized and self-conscious Faith equals a conscious and heartfelt Charity.

As I write this, I realize my answer to myself would be "attention".
(05-09-2020, 01:59 AM)Lambert Wrote: [ -> ]What is "Faith alone" in a practical situation? Is there any means by which Faith is considered to be measured, or is measured?

I feel quite anxious about my belief, my Faith, in the sense that there isn't anything obvious to aim for - a measurable accomplishment. I suppose that in itself is the whole thing, what believing is about - I imagine it to be the point where, divinely inspired, self-realized and self-conscious Faith equals a conscious and heartfelt Charity.

As I write this, I realize my answer to myself would be "attention".

Hi Lambert,

Great questions - and the answers are simpler than you think. 

Justification means being justified before God. There is only one way to do this: you come to Christ, ask Him to forgive your sin and give Him permission to be Lord of your life. Anyone who does this genuinely is committing an act of faith. Faith in what? Not what, but whom. Faith in Jesus means trusting Him with your life demonstrated by obedience. How are we justified? Through no righteousness of our own. When “accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour” as we Protestants say, an exchange takes place. You give Him your sin and He, in turn, gives you His righteousness. When God looks at you from that time forward, He sees in you the righteousness of Jesus. The Old Testament pre-figuration of that is the Passover. Accepting Christ means to have His shed blood on you and because of that only, you pass from spiritual death to eternal life. The thing to remember is salvation is based on His righteousness in you and no righteousness of your own. You can’t get to Heaven on account of your own righteousness because that is self-righteousness. Only God is truly righteous and it’s this that we receive from Jesus. That’s what it means to be justified and His righteousness is perfect because He is God. Through it, the sinner is declared legally not guilty - justified - just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned. 

Sanctification is the process of becoming more and more Christlike and this lasts the rest of your life. There will be joys and blessings, trials and triumphs, etc. It is the perfecting of one’s faith all the while living in a state of God’s grace which is His unmerited favour toward us.

Finally, glorification or salvation. Fancy words for dying and going to Heaven. And we can be assured of our salvation because it is based on His merit, not ours.

Hope this helps.
(05-09-2020, 12:58 PM)Wingfold Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-09-2020, 01:59 AM)Lambert Wrote: [ -> ]What is "Faith alone" in a practical situation? Is there any means by which Faith is considered to be measured, or is measured?

I feel quite anxious about my belief, my Faith, in the sense that there isn't anything obvious to aim for - a measurable accomplishment. I suppose that in itself is the whole thing, what believing is about - I imagine it to be the point where, divinely inspired, self-realized and self-conscious Faith equals a conscious and heartfelt Charity.

As I write this, I realize my answer to myself would be "attention".

Hi Lambert,

Great questions - and the answers are simpler than you think. 

Justification means being justified before God. There is only one way to do this: you come to Christ, ask Him to forgive your sin and give Him permission to be Lord of your life. Anyone who does this genuinely is committing an act of faith. Faith in what? Not what, but whom. Faith in Jesus means trusting Him with your life demonstrated by obedience. How are we justified? Through no righteousness of our own. When “accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour” as we Protestants say, an exchange takes place. You give Him your sin and He, in turn, gives you His righteousness. When God looks at you from that time forward, He sees in you the righteousness of Jesus. The Old Testament pre-figuration of that is the Passover. Accepting Christ means to have His shed blood on you and because of that only, you pass from spiritual death to eternal life. The thing to remember is salvation is based on His righteousness in you and no righteousness of your own. You can’t get to Heaven on account of your own righteousness because that is self-righteousness. Only God is truly righteous and it’s this that we receive from Jesus. That’s what it means to be justified and His righteousness is perfect because He is God. Through it, the sinner is declared legally not guilty - justified - just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned. 

Sanctification is the process of becoming more and more Christlike and this lasts the rest of your life. There will be joys and blessings, trials and triumphs, etc. It is the perfecting of one’s faith all the while living in a state of God’s grace which is His unmerited favour toward us.

Finally, glorification or salvation. Fancy words for dying and going to Heaven. And we can be assured of our salvation because it is based on His merit, not ours.

Hope this helps.

Wingfold,

I'm sure you were well meaning in posting this, but I'd note the title of the thread is Catholic Theology of Justification, Sanctification.

What you have presented is not at all the Catholic teaching.
(05-09-2020, 08:38 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-09-2020, 12:58 PM)Wingfold Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-09-2020, 01:59 AM)Lambert Wrote: [ -> ]What is "Faith alone" in a practical situation? Is there any means by which Faith is considered to be measured, or is measured?

I feel quite anxious about my belief, my Faith, in the sense that there isn't anything obvious to aim for - a measurable accomplishment. I suppose that in itself is the whole thing, what believing is about - I imagine it to be the point where, divinely inspired, self-realized and self-conscious Faith equals a conscious and heartfelt Charity.

As I write this, I realize my answer to myself would be "attention".

Hi Lambert,

Great questions - and the answers are simpler than you think. 

Justification means being justified before God. There is only one way to do this: you come to Christ, ask Him to forgive your sin and give Him permission to be Lord of your life. Anyone who does this genuinely is committing an act of faith. Faith in what? Not what, but whom. Faith in Jesus means trusting Him with your life demonstrated by obedience. How are we justified? Through no righteousness of our own. When “accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour” as we Protestants say, an exchange takes place. You give Him your sin and He, in turn, gives you His righteousness. When God looks at you from that time forward, He sees in you the righteousness of Jesus. The Old Testament pre-figuration of that is the Passover. Accepting Christ means to have His shed blood on you and because of that only, you pass from spiritual death to eternal life. The thing to remember is salvation is based on His righteousness in you and no righteousness of your own. You can’t get to Heaven on account of your own righteousness because that is self-righteousness. Only God is truly righteous and it’s this that we receive from Jesus. That’s what it means to be justified and His righteousness is perfect because He is God. Through it, the sinner is declared legally not guilty - justified - just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned. 

Sanctification is the process of becoming more and more Christlike and this lasts the rest of your life. There will be joys and blessings, trials and triumphs, etc. It is the perfecting of one’s faith all the while living in a state of God’s grace which is His unmerited favour toward us.

Finally, glorification or salvation. Fancy words for dying and going to Heaven. And we can be assured of our salvation because it is based on His merit, not ours.

Hope this helps.

Wingfold,

I'm sure you were well meaning in posting this, but I'd note the title of the thread is Catholic Theology of Justification, Sanctification.

What you have presented is not at all the Catholic teaching.


My apologies for the intrusion. At least now you know what Protestants believe on these things.
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