Some Thoughts on Romans 4

Posted by on January 26, 2014 in Baptism, Covenant Theology, Exegesis, Featured, Galatians, Gospel, Justification, Law, Ordo Salutis, Romans, Sola Fide | 2,049 comments

I’m feeling a little cray cray, like I want to get all exegetical up in here. And stumbling across PCA pastor Nick Batzig’s post, “Abraham and the Time Frame of Justification,” provides me with a perfect opportunity to do so. Plus, some of you have been nagging me to delve back into Romans, so. Concerning the issue of “eschatological justification,” Nick writes:

The most significant passage of Scripture in this regard (and yet one that has been often overlooked) is Romans 4:10. In the context of chapter 4, the apostle Paul explains the nature of justification by faith alone from the example of Abraham. Repeatedly citing the locus classicus, Gen. 15:16, Paul develops his argumentation based on the application of the covenant sign to Abraham. In one short passage, Paul posits justification at a specific point in time. He asks, “How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised?” Paul replied with a unhesitating, “It was not after, but before he was circumcised.” The apostle eliminates the possibility of understanding justification as occurring after Abraham was circumcised. Our Reformed and Confessional statements on the doctrine of justification insist that it is a once-for-all ”act of God’s free grace” (WSC. 33). There are actually quite a number of implications that we can take away from this observation. . . .

The first thing I would point out (and I’ve argued it before) is that I think Nick is spot on in his identification of Paul’s overall argument in this chapter: The apostle is seeking to demonstrate that Abraham was justified before he was circumcised. I also agree that Abraham was justified “at a specific point in time” (although I think this works against Nick’s theology of justification, as I will show in a moment). I would point out, however, that Nick moves seamlessly from what Paul said to what the Westminster Divines said, with nary a justification (ahem) for that move. He goes from citing Paul himself to reminding his readers that “our Reformed and Confessional statements on the doctrine of justification insist that it is a once-for-all  ‘act of God’s free grace’ (WSC. 33).” Of course, nothing in this passage hints at such an idea, but we’ll get to that eventually. Nick then highlights four points that he feels derive from the passage he is considering:

(1) The Jews do not have any special privileges above the Gentiles after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

Agree wholeheartedly.

(2) Abraham was justified at a particular point in time, as is true of those who believe after Abraham. He was not counted righteous after circumcision but before he was circumcised. We must make clear that there is no future imputation of righteousness Was Abraham justified while circumcised or while uncircumcised? Not while circumcised but while uncircumcised.

While it is true that Abraham was justified before he was circumcised, it is a non-sequitur to therefore insist, as Nick does with no argumentation, that subsequent instances of justification were impossible. In fact, not only does James explicitly say that “Abraham was justified when he offered Isaac” in Gen. 22 — citing the same passage Paul cites here in Rom. 4 (Gen. 15:6) — but this very text is proof itself that justification is not once-for-all. If, as Nick insists, justification is a non-repeatable and once-for-all event, and if it happened for Abraham in Gen. 15, then all the history of Abraham’s life from his call to leave Ur onward is the history of an unjustified pagan. In fact, the writer to the Hebrews cited the response of this unjustified pagan as the example par excelence of the faith without which it is impossible to please God (11:6).

(3) Personal Law-keeping played absolutely no role in Abraham’s justification. In fact, the law came 430 years after Abraham (Gal. 3:17). It is completely out of the question when it comes to Abraham’s right standing before God. This is no insignificant detail, as Paul consistently takes us back to Abraham as the example of the “justified man.” It is by faith alone that Abraham was accepted as righteous before God. “Abraham believed in the LORD and He accounted it to Him for righteousness” (Gen. 15:6).

Nick makes a couple mistakes here. He seems to assume that “personal law-keeping” can only happen after the giving of the Mosaic law on Mt. Sinai (a position that is so easy to refute it’s barely worth the effort). But more importantly, Nick assumes here that because Abraham’s initial  justification occurred irrespective of any works of sacrifice or love, that therefore there could not have been a subsequent increase  in justification that did in fact take such works of sacrifice and love into account. And as I mentioned above, since James explicitly says that Abraham was justified when he offered up Isaac, I’d say that such a view is more than warranted (which makes Nick’s point completely false). Plus, it’s head-spinningly ironic that Nick can say that “it is by faith alone that Abraham was accepted as righteous before God. ‘Abraham believed in the LORD and He accounted it to Him for righteousness’ (Gen. 15:6),” when James cites that very passage to show that “Abraham was justified by works, and not by faith alone” (2:21).

(4) Abraham was not regenerated or justified by the sacrament. Abraham believed and was justified 14 years prior to receiving the sign and seal of the Covenant. The argument of the Apostle Paul in Romans 4:9-12 is one of the strongest against any sort of sacramentalism. This does not mean that the sacraments are empty signs–as Paul goes on to explain that the circumcision that Abraham received after he believed and was justified was a “sign and a seal of the righteousness of faith.” The sacrament signifies and seals God’s promises to His people.

Implicit in Nick’s argument here is the assumption that what was true about circumcision’s inability to justify is necessarily true of “any sort of sacramentalism,” a position he assumes but does not argue for. The underlying presupposition is that when it comes to the sacraments, the New Covenant is no better than the Old, and its sacraments are just as powerless to effect spiritual change as they always were in times past. Given the New Testament’s clear statements about baptism (“be baptized for the forgiveness of sins”; “Be baptized and wash away your sins”; “As many of you as were baptized have been united to Christ,” etc.), I would maintain that drawing a one-to-one correspondence between circumcision and baptism is something that needs to be defended rather than merely assumed, for it betrays a radically under-realized eschatology.

I’d like to conclude with a brief sketch of what I think Paul is actually trying to say in Romans 4. As I indicated above, Paul’s basic point in this chapter is to demonstrate to his fellow Jews that Abraham was justified before he was circumcised. His reason for insisting on this is quite simple: If Abraham did not need circumcision to be justified, then neither do his children under the New Covenant (which is why he mentions circumcision like ten times in this chapter). This is precisely the apostle’s point when he speaks of the one who does not work. His phrase “the one who does not work, but trusts in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” is perfectly parallel with what he says a few verses later: “Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness while he was uncircumcised.” The purpose in bringing this up is not to demonstrate the impotence of baptism or to eliminate the possibility of subsequent increases in justification, but simply to show that Abraham, by initially being justified without having been circumcised, is now “the father of all who believe without being circumcised, and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them” (v. 11).

In short, this chapter has nothing to do with the role of Spirit-wrought works in justification (although Paul does address that issue elsewhere), and neither is it about what baptism doesn’t accomplish. It’s about one thing and one thing only: When God initially justified Abraham, he did it prior to the work of circumcision, instead counting Abraham’s faith as his righteousness. This means that Abraham’s spiritual offspring may be justified without circumcision as well (and without any works of the law, for that matter). To borrow the language of Galatians, the New has come and the Spirit has fallen, and therefore we have reached the age of maturity and no longer need the Mosaic babysitter.

2,049 Comments

  1. James, The thing that makes faith live is who it grasps, Christ and his righteousness. Not infused charity.

  2. Kevin,

    More false dichotomies. Trent:
    “the charity of God is poured forth by the Holy Ghost in the hearts of those who are justified and inheres in them; whence man through Jesus Christ, in whom he is ingrafted, receives in that justification, together with the remission of sins, all these infused at the same time, namely, faith, hope and charity.

    that justice which is called ours, because we are justified by its inherence in us, that same is [the justice] of God, because it is infused into us by God through the merit of Christ.”

  3. James, but you never finish, And then you cooperate with grace thru sacraments to final justification. Right?

  4. James, I guess what i’m asking is if initial justification is free, why another justification. How many times does a judge need to tell you the fine is paid, go in peace. You going to come back to court in a week and say let me work off some more?

  5. Kevin,

    When one is in a state of grace, one is “finished”. A baby or deathbed conversion is “finished”. We cooperate with the means of grace to continue to grow and strengthen our participation/capacity in the agape that was infused in us at initial justification and hence to battle venial and mortal sin.

    Initial justification is unmerited. The grace of perseverance is unmerited. The grace of restoration after mortal sin is unmerited. Our sins are remitted in justification. Our venial sins are remitted in prayer/eucharist/etc. One’s condemnation is all of himself, one’s salvation is all of God – the mystery between our will and God’s sovereignty as described in the G-L citation earlier.

    Your line of thinking leads me to think you really have no compelling reason for God to finally purify you after death. He should just keep looking at you with imputed righteousness for eternity.

  6. James–

    A faith is living from its inception, from before it has a chance to be “formed in love” or produce fruit.

    God’s foster system is for the elect. Think of them as the heirs of the rich and famous. No matter how bad they get, a place is found for them. Money talks.

  7. James–

    1. No Catholic life can be considered finished prior to death (other than a saint to whom it has been revealed that he or she has the gift of final perseverance). Everyone else is but a work in progress…though they may look shiny for the moment.

    2. The Protestant is just as interested in inherent righteousness as the Catholic or even more so. We are not tied up in the nasty business of constantly having to prove ourselves.

  8. James, something got to give here. Please answer this question for me. When you do a sacrament ex opere operato , do you earn and increase in justice? For example the mass, I know for a fact Rome considers it a work to earn an increase in grace and justice. Yes?

  9. James, One more question ( I just had an awesome lunch. My neighbor from ROME made me Pasta Carbonara. Oh my gosh!) I speak fluent Italian and can make some awesome Pasta myself. James, sorry back to my question. Why aren’t venial sins covered by Christ’s perfect sacrifice? And temporal punishment?

  10. Kevin–

    I’m gluten intolerant. Alas and Alack, no pasta for me! Must you rub my face in it?

  11. James, Just to confirm what Eric said. That righteousness that comes form outside us, doesn’t remain there. It is implanted or inheres in us thru the Spirit, but it is His righteousness and it justifies immediately and rewords us an relocates us to the heavenly places, adopted, heir, imperishable. When we are buried with Him, we are clothed in his righteousness. Thats why Colossians says we have been made complete. Now, I ask you, how can make that statement. We aren’t complete inherently. But Christ’s perfect passive and active obedience are coated to our account and we stand legally righteous. He docent delate bad people good , but legally righteous. Why? because he fulfilled the RRQOTL in us, not by us, those who walk by the Spirit in faith enjoy no condemnation, justification, adoption, our inner man is raised and seated with Him, sealed in the Spirit, which Peter says is an imperishable and won’t fade away. Our Spirit led works are grounded in our forensic justification. Some 30 fold 6o food 90 fold.

  12. Eric, Oh I’m sorry man, I will only tell you when i have a big steak. What is all that gluten stuff, is it wheat and flour?

  13. James, that should be counted not coated.

  14. Erick,

    It comes down to Christ’s righteousness and imputation….

    You wrote:
    The parameters that the reformed put around “Righteousness”, “life”, “faith”, and “grace” are not substantiated in Scripture. The reformed are under the burden of proving that salvation is wholly bound up with Christ and his righteousness being legally and forensically imputed to us and that the transformational realities which kick in gear immediately are only signs, symbols, and evidences of an earlier, already completed, irreversible, and greater reality which alone merits salvation

    Chapter 6
    Can the justified man live in sin? No! One is justified by their release from the life of the flesh, the life of sin, and the body of death. By union with Christ’s resurrection, we walk in newness of life, for only such a life can lead towards eternal life. Anyone who wishes to live in sin will always die eternally.

    Response:
    Anyone who reads catholic theology knows that parameters are subtle and very distinct. For example, “grace” is called a quality after the manner of a habit. Faith is not a quality, but a habit or virtue. Are they really substantiating these from Scripture ?

    Proving ‘salvation is wholly bound up with Christ and his righteousness’ is something no Christian needs to do. I think you would agree.

    If, by the law of faith (Rom.3:27), you believe in Christ (Rom.3:22), then He will not count sins against you (2Cor.5:19) and will impute righteousness apart from works. (Rom.4:6). This is being justified as a gift by His grace. (Rom.3:24) Since Christ our Righteousness (1Cor.1:30) reigns, and would have grace to reign through righteousness (Rom.5:21), then those who receive grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life. (Rom.5:17). Life ! (Rom.5:10) and saved from wrath ! (Rom.2:5) through His resurrection (Rom.4:25) to eternal life (Rom.5:21).

    Whatever benefit gained by being baptized into Christ (Rom.6:3) should not be confused with God imputing righteousness. (Rom.4:6) You should consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God through that mystical union, but consider yourselves righteous by imputation. When the fog leaves our sight, we begin to see that Romanism doesn’t even teach imputation of righteousness. When does God impute righteousness to you like the blessed man of David ?

  15. Eric, What can I do about my spelling and grammar mistakes from my careless typing?

  16. Eric W. great job.

  17. Kevin,

    “do you earn and increase in justice?”

    If by “earning” you mean making God a debtor as if he owes us something, no. We increase yes.
    Trent:
    “Having, therefore, been thus justified, and made the friends and domestics of God, advancing from virtue to virtue, they are renewed, as the Apostle says, day by day; that is, by…faith co-operating with good works, increase in that justice which they have received through the grace of Christ, and are still further justified…And this increase of justification holy Church begs, when she prays, “Give unto us, O Lord, increase of faith, hope, and charity.”

    “Why aren’t venial sins covered by Christ’s perfect sacrifice?”

    They are.

    “And temporal punishment?”

    Eternal debt is different from temporal debt. Why does God discipline you here on earth?

    Eric,

    No Protestant life can be considered finished or free from possibility of self-deception prior to death (other than a Protestant who has seen the future).

    “The Protestant is just as interested in inherent righteousness as the Catholic or even more so. ”

    If it was just as RCism or even moreso, you wouldn’t hold to imputation nor imputed merit.

  18. James, So you do increase in justice by your works. Why is eternal debt different from temporal debt?

  19. Eric, Whats James saying to you , that you wouldn’t hold to imputation. You don’t believe in imputation? You swimming?

  20. Kevin,
    Thanks… the whole gluten things angers me because my work place stopped Bday food parties… Gluten divides

  21. Kevin,

    If there’s no temporal/horizontal debt caused by sin, there’s no need for discipline/chastisement after forgiveness. You affirm discipline/chastisement after forgiveness.
    We increase in justice by our participation in agape – our acts of agape are participation in agape.
    What I’m saying to Eric is what I said to him. You can praise infusion/ontological union/inherent righteousness till the cows come home – as long as you keep holding to extra nos imputation and imputed merit and constant mortal sin, it’s a hollow claim. That’s why you keep freaking out whenever theosis comes up.

  22. James, Eric W. asks a great question. For the Catholic when does God impute righteousness to you like the blessed man in Romans 4:6?

  23. +JMJ+

    James wrote:

    You can praise infusion/ontological union/inherent righteousness till the cowscome home – as long as you keep holding to extra nos imputation and imputed merit and constant mortal sin, it’s a hollow claim. That’s why you keep freaking out whenever theosis comes up.

    Word.

  24. Kevin,

    When our sins are remitted and no longer imputed/counted against us in initial justification. Reckoning/crediting language is acceptable, as long as such reckoning language also reflects reality and transforms us and achieves what it says (instantly making us inherently righteous via infused agape/sanctifying grace). That’s why I specified extra nos imputation.

  25. James, You said “You can praise infusion, ontological union? inherent righteousness til the cows come home as log as you ……….” I don’t get it. We were left with the Spirit who regenerates us and brings us the righteousness of Christ thru faith. It does not remain outside. It comes with union with Christ in and with the Spirit. We participate ontologically thru the Spirit, the only way we can. He brings us all the blessings and graces of Christ, not the church.John says grace upon grace, freely. The Spirit’s work can’t be subjugated to a secondary cause. It blows where and how it wants.The church can replace the Spirit. God has jurisdiction on the soul, not the church. The church can only be the moon reflecting the sun, it isn’t the sun. The church can only be the recipient, not the provider. It can’t usurp the work of the Spirit. Christ sits high above all rule and Authority and mediates thru His Spirit.

  26. James, why foo you put those conditions on Romans 4:6, they are not there? This is what the problem was for calvin and the Reformers. You make it half His righteousness and faith and half your works. You fudge on the material and formal cause, that Christ is our righteousness and life and this benefit only comes thru faith. You can’t resist the urge to smuggle your character into the work of god’s grace?

  27. James, In the next to the last post it should read the church can’t replace the spirit.

  28. Kevin,

    “It does not remain outside…. We participate ontologically thru the Spirit”

    Then you have no need for extra nos imputation. You have no need to say your best works are defiled with mortal sin and damnable. You have no need to maintain you are mortally sinning every second of your life. You have no need to say you cannot fulfill the royal law or obey the commandments according to God’s standards. You have no need to say that Paul didn’t really understand what he meant when talking about theosis. You have no need to say theosis destroys the creature-creator distinction or obliterates human nature. You have no need to play the zero-sum game with cooperation. You have no need to call synergism (and the historic west and east church) heretical or god-diminishing or grace-extinguishing or man-exalting.

    But you do hold all these things. Hence my comment.

    “You make it half His righteousness and faith and half your works.”

    No I do not. Reiterations aren’t compelling.

    “You can’t resist the urge to smuggle your character into the work of god’s grace?”

    Another false dichotomy which is your MO. The work of god’s grace is what transforms our character. Again, if you actually held to “It does not remain outside…. We participate ontologically thru the Spirit” in any meaningful sense, you wouldn’t keep saying stuff like that.

  29. James, You said” The work of God’s grace is what transforms our character.” It is also what justifies us once and for all thru faith alone.” For by grace you have been saved through faith, it is not that of yourselves, it is a free gift of God, not a result of works, lest any man should boast. Salvation will always be by faith alone, and ever be not of yourself, and not of works. This verse contains anything you ever do as being meritorious in salvation. No infused habit, just faith. Thanks for the exchange.

  30. James, you wrote:
    When our sins are remitted and no longer imputed/counted against us in initial justification.

    If a positive imputation of righteousness follows remission and non-imputation of sins, then what difference is there between this and,

    sin is not imputed where there is no law (Rom.5:13)
    …for apart from the Law sin is dead (Rom.7:8)
    I was alive apart from the Law (Rom 7:9)

    If inherent righteousness in reality is imputed as righteousness, then Paul’s language about sin did not match reality. Sin was in the world (Rom.5:13), therefore, sin was imputed.
    —————————————

    …charge to my account….Philemon vs.18

    What reality does this language reflect ?

  31. Kevin–

    James believes that a flower that believes it might get picked at any give moment produces more fruit than a flower whose attachment to the vine is secure. You’ll have to ask him why he holds to such a belief. It makes no sense to me….

  32. Autocorrect is of the devil. I wrote “given.” 🙁

  33. Eric, I want to tell you thank you. Thanks for all the times you have helped me and lovingly rebuked me. I’ve learned so much from you. You are truly brilliant. I’ve gleaned from some of your comments that maybe you have some struggles. My wife will be praying for you and your family. I truly am sorry for any bad behavior and any reflection it has had on my Reformed brethren. If you and Robert and Eric W were in Scottsdale, I’d take you to Ruth chris for a steak. I’m going to take a break. Everybody is on me. This guy CK dropped and started busting my chops. Keep your flag planted bro! If you ever need anything let me know. To God be the glory. Romans 9:16 ” So it does not depend on the man who wills or the one who runs, but on God who has mercy.” He will always be our righteousness and our life. Everything comes form Him. No smuggling. K

  34. Eric,

    Only you’re not a flower, by your own admission. Remember, God can’t make goats acrobats according to you.

  35. James, He declares goats acrobats thru the righteousness of Christ. Romans 4:6. Not by doing the commandments but by hearing and believing. Law versus Gospel. We pray for Catholics who try to smuggle your character into the work of God’s grace. Cooperating to merit increase puts you under Law according to Romans 4:4-5 and Galatians 3:10. My last post. Thanks James, God bless you.

  36. James–

    Now, what did your English teacher (way back when) “learn” you about not mixin’ no metaphors?

  37. there is a relationship between understanding Scripture and salvation. Protestants claim that day don’t need to be taught or even to study Scripture. they claim that scripture is perfectly clear.

    this is in contradiction of Scripture which says study to show yourself approved rightly dividing the word of God.

    obviously then, it takes work to understand Scripture correctly. it is the same way with salvation. It takes work in order to be righteous and be given the grace of salvation.

    Protestants will say that they were saved first and then began to work. But that is like saying that they were granted to get the understanding and then began to study the Scriptures.

  38. De Maria–

    You wrote:

    “Protestants will say that they were saved first and then began to work. But that is like saying that they were granted to get the understanding and then began to study the Scriptures.”

    You hit the nail on the head!

    Credo ut intelligam is Latin for “I believe so that I may understand” and is a maxim of Anselm of Canterbury (Proslogion, 1), which is based on a saying of Augustine of Hippo (crede, ut intelligas , “believe so that you may understand”; Tract. Ev. Jo., 29.6) to relate faith and reason. In Anselm’s writing, it is placed in juxtaposition to its converse, intellego ut credam (“I think so that I may believe”), when he says Neque enim quaero intelligere ut credam, sed credo ut intelligam (“I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but rather, I believe in order that I may understand”). It is often associated with Anselm’s other famous phrase fides quaerens intellectum (“faith seeking understanding”).

  39. but you left works out of the equation all together. Surly one believes first but then one must work and study and be granted understanding.

    in fact it can be argued that those who do not believe will not work in order to gain understanding.

    believing does not grant understanding unless one studies as well. Otherwise you’re making a mockery of the scripture that says study that you may be approved.

    but tell us Eric did you understand Scripture without studying? after all, you are the one who boasts of your diploma in linguistics.

  40. De Maria,

    It takes work in order to be righteous and be given the grace of salvation.

    Working to get grace—the essence of all non-Christian religions.

  41. DeMaria, All the blessings of God are the gratuitous work of the Spirit bringing us Christ and are unconditional, Christ who is to us righteousness and life. These benefits are only available thru faith. We live by faith and justification are the grounds for the rest of our salvation NOT conditions that human beings fulfill to receive grace.

  42. DeMaria, In the RC grace is just a tool to for meriting justification.

  43. DeMaria,

    “It takes work in order to be righteous and be given the grace of salvation.”

    This is clearly not the teaching of the Church. I hope that was just a slip. If not, you really need to do your homework. The order of salvation is not work-righteousness-salvation. Grace is a pure gift. The desire for righteousness, and any work we do, are themselves the result of grace, not a prelude to it. Our cooperation with grace is entirely a result of grace. Any merit of ours is only called so equivocally.

    From the CCC:

    620 Our salvation flows from God’s initiative of love for us, because “he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins” (I Jn 4:10). “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor 5:19).

    2022 The divine initiative in the work of grace precedes, prepares, and elicits the free response of man. Grace responds to the deepest yearnings of human freedom, calls freedom to cooperate with it, and perfects freedom.

    2023 Sanctifying grace is the gratuitous gift of his life that God makes to us; it is infused by the Holy Spirit into the soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it.

    2007 With regard to God, there is no strict right to any merit on the part of man. Between God and us there is an immeasurable inequality, for we have received everything from him, our Creator.

    2008 The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man’s free acting through his collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Man’s merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit

    From Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church:

    “Even if I had performed all the deeds of St. Paul I would still consider myself an unprofitable servant; I would notice that my hands were empty. But that is precisely the cause of my joy; since I have nothing, I shall expect everything from the good God.”

  44. De Maria–

    Then why don’t Augustine and Anselm say, “I work and I study in order that I might understand”?

    It is with the light of faith that we begin to study Scripture. (Your words: But that is like saying that they were granted to get the understanding and then began to study the Scriptures.)

  45. Charlotte–

    You are like a breath of fresh air. I have been listening to Catholic radio of late, and I could swear that grace is NEVER mentioned. Plenty of things for us to do, but the mercies of God are taken for granted….

  46. Charlotte,

    are you denying the necessity of works for salvation? Do you deny the jane says that we are justified by works and not by faith alone?

    the Church teaches that works are necessary. And the church does not teach that the wicked are justified. The Church teaches but the righteous I justified.

    so whenever you’re ready, show me the Catechism where it says that the wicked are justified.

  47. Charlotte,

    De Maria’s statement is roman catholic from beginning to end. Even as a reformed guy I can see it.

    Trent, justifcation, Can. 4 & 24

  48. Charlotte. I think what DeMaria is saying is that Catholic doctrine Sacraments and other works are meritorious in the increase of grace and justice. So instead of grace being a free gift of favor to a sinner, the RC actually believes the accompanying works done in cooperation with infused grace are meritorious for an increase.

  49. Charlotte, maybe your not familiar with cannon 24 from Trent ” If someone saith, that the justice received is no more preserve and also increased before God thru works; but that said works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof, let him be anathema. So to disagree with DeMaria would anathematize you from your church. Incidentally, this is not congruent with Paul’s statement in Romans 4:5 that God justifies the ungodly by faith alone, apart from works, by counting him righteous.

  50. DeMaria,

    “so whenever you’re ready, show me the Catechism where it says that the wicked are justified.”
    Why would I want to do that? Of course living faith works through love, but the love and the faith are gifts of the Spirit. The good works that you do are God’s gifts to you.

    Eric,

    “but the mercies of God are taken for granted….” I hope not, but it’s possible.

  51. Charlotte, you said ” Why would I want to do that?” Maybe because thats what the scripture teaches. Romans 4:5 “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the UNGODLY, his faith is credited as righteousness.”

  52. Sacraments are pure gifts of grace. The ability to cooperate with grace is a grace.

    “Christ Jesus Himself, as the head into the members and the vine into the branches [John 15:1f], continually infuses strength into those justified, which strength always precedes, accompanies and follows their good works, and without which they could not in any manner be pleasing and meritorious before God . . . ” (Decree on Justification 16)

    Grace before, during, and after good works, not as a mere precursor or addition. Imagine a father who gives a child money to buy the father a present. The child does, in a sense, give the father a present, even though we all understand that the child has nothing to give. In a similar sense, we can “give” the Father our good works, except that, unlike the child’s desire to give his father a gift, our desire to “give” to the Father is also a gift from him.

    This is straight up RC.

  53. Eric and Kevin,

    With all due respect, you know so little about Catholicism, please don’t explain my words. I can do that myself.

    Charlotte,

    Please disregard anything which Kevin and Eric have said regarding my explanations of Catholic doctrine.

  54. CHARLOTTE February 23, 2014 at 6:05 pm
    DeMaria,
    “so whenever you’re ready, show me the Catechism where it says that the wicked are justified.”
    ?Why would I want to do that?

    Because you disagreed when I said:

    CHARLOTTE February 23, 2014 at 4:13 pm
    DeMaria,
    “It takes work in order to be righteous and be given the grace of salvation.”

    Of course living faith works through love, but the love and the faith are gifts of the Spirit. The good works that you do are God’s gifts to you.

    More is the reason that you should exercise the gifts.

    Now let me understand your logic. Are you saying that because they are gifts of the spirit, we may neglect them? Furthermore, are you insinuating that because they are gifts of the spirit, we are saved and no longer need to work for righteousness and salvation?

    You see Charlotte, God pours his mercy upon the righteous. Not upon the wicked. When we approach the sacraments, we approach in a state of grace. That means that we have begun the work of justification BEFORE we are baptized. Of course, this is in regards to adults. Not to infants.

    So yes, if you do not agree that we need to work towards righteousness in order that we be given the grace of salvation, you need to show me on the catechism where those who persist in wickedness will be saved.

  55. Charlotte said” Sacraments are pure gifts of Grace.” You won’t get an argument from Protestants if you mean that sacraments are God’s free gift of grace to us. But here is what Rome says they are, Trent canon 4 ” If anyone saith, that the sacraments of the new law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous, and that, without them or without the desire thereof, men obtain God through faith alone, the grace of justification.” So your church says that men do not obtain justification thru faith alone, but must do the sacraments ex opere operato ( by the doing of the sacrament)to merit an increase in grace and justice to be finally justified. It seems your in disagreement with your church. Which begs the question why are you in a church who views sacraments as a work on the part of the participant to merit an increase in grace and justice. Thx Charlotte

  56. Charlotte–

    You are speaking with one of the two voices coming out of Trent. The voice I like. De Maria represents the voice I find unappealing.

    I went to Mass this morning, and the homily was on upholding Catholic moral virtues. Since we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, we are to refrain from getting drunk, from taking drugs, from participating in premarital or extramarital sex, from the use of contraceptives, and from terminating a pregnancy through abortion. If grace was even tangentially articulated, I missed it.

    The contrast with Reformed sermons is stark. Reformed sermons are so grace saturated they could almost be called grace obsessed. At least, that is my experience. What is your experience with Catholic sermons?

  57. CHARLOTTE February 23, 2014 at 6:42 pm
    Sacraments are pure gifts of grace.

    To whom are they given? To the faithful? Or to the unfaithful?

    Mark 16:16
    He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

    1 Corinthians 11:29
    For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

    The ability to cooperate with grace is a grace.

    That is true. But within grace there are those graces upon which we must act. All is grace. Faith is grace. But faith is also an act of the will. And faith must also be exercised in works of love.

    So you don’t solve anything by saying that works are grace. You are simply confusing issues. Yes works are grace. Our good works are God working through us. But God gives us credit for those works which he accomplishes through us

    .Hebrews 6:10
    For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

    “Christ Jesus Himself, as the head into the members and the vine into the branches [John 15:1f], continually infuses strength into those justified, which strength always precedes, accompanies and follows their good works, and without which they could not in any manner be pleasing and meritorious before God . . . ” (Decree on Justification 16)
    Grace before, during, and after good works, not as a mere precursor or addition. Imagine a father who gives a child money to buy the father a present. The child does, in a sense, give the father a present, even though we all understand that the child has nothing to give. In a similar sense, we can “give” the Father our good works, except that, unlike the child’s desire to give his father a gift, our desire to “give” to the Father is also a gift from him.
    This is straight up RC.

    Straight up Catholicism is what I’m preaching.

    I hope we are on the same page now.

    sincerely,

    De Maria

  58. KEVIN February 23, 2014 at 7:17 pm
    Charlotte said” Sacraments are pure gifts of Grace.” You won’t get an argument from Protestants if you mean that sacraments are God’s free gift of grace to us. ….

    Since when did you begin to submit to the sacraments?

  59. DeMaria, maybe Charlotte believes the biblical view of justification. Which is God justifies the one who does not work, but believes in Christ who justifies the ungodly. Romans 4:5. Maybe she believes all of salvation is totally by grace. Maybe she believes that even our works are gifts of the Spirit.Maybe she does not agree with the RC that grace is a way to merit salvation. Romans 11:6. And maybe she believes a sacrament is God’s free gift to us instead of the RC view that it is a work to merit an increase of grace and justice. And just maybe DeMaria she believes all these things ( the Gospel) which would raise the question, Why would you ever stay in a church that teaches the complete opposite of what you believe?

  60. ERIC February 23, 2014 at 7:23 pm
    Charlotte–
    You are speaking with one of the two voices coming out of Trent. The voice I like. De Maria represents the voice I find unappealing.
    I went to Mass this morning,

    Really? Why? I thought you considered it sinful.

    and the homily was on upholding Catholic moral virtues. Since we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, we are to refrain from getting drunk, from taking drugs, from participating in premarital or extramarital sex, from the use of contraceptives, and from terminating a pregnancy through abortion. If grace was even tangentially articulated, I missed it.
    The contrast with Reformed sermons is stark. Reformed sermons are so grace saturated they could almost be called grace obsessed.

    The reformed talk about grace. We receive it in the sacraments.

  61. DeMaria, you said ” But God gives us credit for those works which he does inn us.” No DeMaria. Robert said working to get grace is the essence of all non Christian Religions. Rome teaches grace is a tool to merit salvation. Paul said all his righteousness was filthy rags. For a Christian all of our righteousness and life are His and this benefit is only to be received by faith. All of this never leaves the sphere of faith and feeds constantly off the forgiveness of sins. We are no longer under any Law, but we are free in Christ, justified by his perfect obedience and death. We stand just before Him. raised in the inner man, seated in heaven with Him, sealed in the Holy Spirit, our older brother being the first fruits and us to follow. ” If we are faithless He remains faithful.” He will never forsake any of us who will trust in Christ alone. Those who He called , He justified, and He glorified. this is the peace of the Glorious Gospel of our Lord. Eric’s experience is very instructive. We Reformed always focus on the grace of God, as it says in John 1, grace upon grace etc. never ending grace. Free come out of that system DeMaria and embrace the free gospel of Christ. And our works are simply gifts of God.

  62. KEVIN February 23, 2014 at 7:32 pm
    DeMaria, maybe Charlotte believes ….

    I’m perfectly capable of responding to Charlotte directly.

    If you have any of your own thoughts and you want to address to me, please do so. But don’t pretend to speak for any Catholics when you’re addressing me. You know little to nothing about Catholicism.

  63. DeMaria, you don’t know that for we Reformed the Lord’s supper is very important in our worship. and we continually look back on our baptism as a sign and seal of the reality of faith and God’s grace. Again this is always done in faith, the Spirit, with the Word. The spirit works all the graces of Christ in our heart. We are in Him and He is in us thru his Spirit, not an infused substance. He left us the Spirit who distributes all of Christ’s victory spoils and His humanity to us. All this is done thru the word by the Spirit. By God’s word He spoke the World into existence. “Faith comes thru hearing and hearing the word of God.”

  64. KEVIN February 23, 2014 at 7:51 pm
    DeMaria, you said ” But God gives us credit for those works which he does inn us.” No DeMaria. Robert said working to get grace is the essence of all non Christian Religions.

    Neither you nor Robert understand Scripture:

    Hebrews 6:10
    For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

  65. KEVIN February 23, 2014 at 8:03 pm
    DeMaria, you don’t know that for we Reformed the Lord’s supper is very important in our worship.

    Good to hear. But forgive me if I doubt the veracity of that statement. I’ve spoken to too many Protestants who referred to the Eucharist as a cracker and grape juice.

    and we continually look back on our baptism as a sign and seal of the reality of faith and God’s grace.

    But at the same time you do not believe that God can use water to wash away sins. A fact clearly and explicitly stated in Scripture:
    Acts 22:16
    And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

    Again this is always done in faith, the Spirit, with the Word.

    it’s a strange kind of faith which doesn’t believe that God can act through water. Or that God can transmute bread into his body and wine into his blood as easily as he made water into wine. It’s a strange kind of faith that denies that God can act through men to forgive sins.

    Yeah, Yours is a strange kind of faith.

    The spirit works all the graces of Christ in our heart. We are in Him and He is in us thru his Spirit, not an infused substance. He left us the Spirit who distributes all of Christ’s victory spoils and His humanity to us. All this is done thru the word by the Spirit. By God’s word He spoke the World into existence. “Faith comes thru hearing and hearing the word of God.”

    except for these words, “not an infused substance.” your statement would be Catholic. But as it is, you simply don’t understand neither your faith nor Catholicism.

    Scripture however tells us that the spiritual is also a substance:
    1 Corinthians 15:44
    It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

    Kevin, if you truly believed that you are in Christ and Christ is in you, you would believe that we could be pure as God is pure. But as it is you don’t believe one and therefore Believe the other. Scripture says:

    Leviticus 11:45
    For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

    Matthew 5:48
    Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

    and you and all your brethren ridicule this teaching from Scripture.

  66. DeMaria, ” Be ye perfect even as your father in heaven is perfect” How you doing with that DeMaria? Jesus also said if you lust in your mind after a woman, you have committed adultery. How you doing with that? If you want to be justified by Law in any way, your better keep all of it. Galatians 3:10. James says if you fail in one thing you’ve broken the whole Law. The Law was never meant to justify anyone. Paul said he died to the Law and lives to the Spirit. Here is the memo, none has ever kept the whole Law. So you have one other option. The Gospel. Christ’s righteousness. And thats only available thru faith. Our righteousness isn’t derived from His righteousness, it is his righteouness. Romans 4:5 and Ephesians 2:8 and Galatians 2:16 “nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ.” For thru the Law I died to the Law, so that i might live to God” No works and no Law, no righteousness of your own. following the Roman system won’t go well for you DeMaria.

  67. Roman Catholics,

    Stop calling a meritorious act a “gift”. The power and faculty of will belongs to nature and not the order of grace. If it is a gift, then ask in prayer for God to will for you. You will, therefore you merit. Is this not what divides Catholic men from boys and women from girls ?

  68. Eric W.–

    I was wondering if you could clarify what you just said. Kevin just got through saying that “our works are simply gifts of God.” How is that different from the Catholics claiming that their willed acts are “gifts”? (And doesn’t Philippians 2 say the following? “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”)

    If, as new creatures in Christ in union with him, we ourselves will to do this or that to please our Lord, do such self-willed acts merit justification in your view?

  69. Eric,

    There is no difference really until they say….He wishes the things that are His gifts to be their merits (Trent) Honestly, why do they waste time saying it ? If God crowns our merits because they are HIS works, then they should pray that God WILLS for them and call it a greater merit ! It would be God’s work in a truer sense.

  70. De Maria,

    God pours his mercy upon the righteous.

    Righteous people don’t need mercy. They’re righteous. Only sinners need mercy.

  71. Eric said ” If as new creatures in Christ in union with Him, we ourselves will to do this or that to please our Lord, do such self willed acts merit justification? No. Christ merited justification. And it is only available thru faith. And our works come from faith. We are saved unto good works. Nothing we do merits salvation.

  72. Eric, Eric W, Here is what Horton says ” Paradoxically, it is an announcement that because the blessings of the covenant come to us as a result of Christ’s personal obedience rather than our own, and by virtue of the fact that the Spirit who unilaterally bestows new life has now been liberally poured out, that a return of grateful obedience on our part is even possible. Grace engenders a return of thankful obedience, so the covenant is always entirely gracious in its basis. Even when responsibilities are laid upon the covenant partner, they are NEVER the conditions for inheriting life but the characteristics of the life that they have inherited from the father, in the Son, by the Spirit’s operation. Only by refusing to embrace these blessings as one’s own inheritance can a visible member of the covenant be estranged from the reality of participation in the new covenant of Grace.” Rome say grace is a tool that merits justification. I agree with Eric W. Catholics need to quit saying meriting a reward is gift. Meriting a reward falls into the category “To the one who works” Pay them, and hope that they are perfect. For the Catholics who try to middle the bet, no dice. Salvation is only and ever available thru faith alone in Christ alone and will never be available to anyone trusting merit or themselves in any way, or cooperating their way to perfection. Its not available thru our own will or righteousness, only thru His by faith. The whole life is a life of faith and feeds of the forgiveness of sins. Being in Christ we stand justified ( past tense) and will pass thru judgment based on Christ.

  73. Protestants,

    All this discussion should be brought to a completion by virtue of the fact that Jesus said he will judge the wicked, as well as the righteous, according to their works. The “according to” , as much as protestants have recently tried to make this compatible with sola fide, really does denote “merit”. The wicked through their wicked works, do they not deserve damnation ? Well, it is a result of their being judged “according to their works”. Likewise, the righteous enter the glory of the kingdom because, as a result of God judging them “according to their works”, he sees it fit to bring them into heaven.

    Any response which does not deal with the clear teaching of Scripture on the end time judgement being “according to the works”, is not acceptable. The wicked are judged according to their works…does that mean that none of their sin merits death?

  74. Erick Y said ” The wicked thru their wicked works do they not deserve damnation?” Paul says by faith alone in Christ alone they get heaven. Romans 4:5

  75. Romans 11:6 ” for if its by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, or grace is no longer grace.” Those of faith have passed out of death into life, and have passed out of judgment. We will rewarded with our inheritance which is reserved in heaven for us an” Abraham the BELIEVER” This is the promise that brings peace.

  76. KEVIN February 23, 2014 at 9:09 pm
    DeMaria, ” Be ye perfect even as your father in heaven is perfect” How you doing with that DeMaria?

    How are you doing as being in Christ? Remember you said that Christ was in you and you in Christ? If that were true then you would be perfect as the father in heaven is perfect.

    As for me, God is my judge. If I am perfect, he will let me know at the last judgment.

    Jesus also said if you lust in your mind after a woman, you have committed adultery. How you doing with that?

    I’m sure that Protestants are taught to judge everybody. But I’m not Protestant. I have a priest to whom I confess my sins. And you are not that priest.

    But if you have a problem in that regard, you’ll need to confess your sins.

    If you want to be justified by Law in any way, your better keep all of it. Galatians 3:10. James says if you fail in one thing you’ve broken the whole Law.

    Anyone who keeps the law of the Spirit, fulfills the law in the Commandments. Have you not read in Scripture:

    Romans 13:10
    Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

    Galatians 5:14
    For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    The Law was never meant to justify anyone.

    but those keep the law are justified by God. While those who refused to keep the law are condemned

    Paul said he died to the Law and lives to the Spirit.

    absolutely!

    Romans 8:4
    That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    Here is the memo, none has ever kept the whole Law. So you have one other option. The Gospel.

    Here’s the memo, everything is possible with God. And you have no options if you refuse to do the works which Jesus Christ commands you to do in the Gospels.

    Matthew 25:31-46
    King James Version (KJV)
    31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

    32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

    33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

    34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

    35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

    36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

    37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

    38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

    39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

    40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

    41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

    42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

    43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

    44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

    45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

    46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

    Christ’s righteousness. And thats only available thru faith.

    That is only available through a strong faith which works to achieve God’s promises:

    Romans 4:18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.

    19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb:

    20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

    21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

    22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

    Our righteousness isn’t derived from His righteousness, it is his righteouness.

    if you remain in sin as you have plainly stated. If you make no effort to purify yourself from all wickedness. You have no righteousness. You certainly don’t have Christ’s.

    Romans 4:5 and Ephesians 2:8 and Galatians 2:16 “nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ.”

    Faith in Christ supposes the sacraments which we are washed them all sins and justified in the New Testament. If you are not submit to the sacraments, you have no faith in Christ.

    For thru the Law I died to the Law, so that i might live to God

    Through the law – by keeping the law. By keeping the law he died to the law because he fulfilled the law by keeping the law of the Spirit which is the law of Christ which is the law of love.

    Galatians 3:24
    Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

    ” No works and no Law, no righteousness of your own. following the Roman system won’t go well for you DeMaria.

    On the contrary, rejecting the Catholic system and following your own interpretation of the word of God won’t go well for you. I say, “your own”, because you have revealed many idiosyncrasies which are not believed by any of your fellow Protestants. Especially your idea that you may remain in sin after you claim to be saved.

  77. Erick Y.,

    This discussion really should be brought to a close by noting that Jesus said that one can be justified without having any works. Such as the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9–14) and the thief on the cross. Moreover, the reality of the deathbed conversion and infant salvation in Roman Catholicism shows that your unstable religion has an understanding that at least SOME people make it to heaven WITHOUT works.

    It’s all grace, or its no grace. The simple use of “according to” does not mean we earn heaven. If it is by works then it is no longer by grace, otherwise grace would not be grace.

  78. KEVIN February 24, 2014 at 4:21 am
    Erick Y said ” The wicked thru their wicked works do they not deserve damnation?” Paul says by faith alone in Christ alone they get heaven. Romans 4:5

    No Kevin, the wicked are condemned to hell. This is what Scripture says:

    1 Corinthians 6:8-10
    King James Version (KJV)
    8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

    9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

    10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    it seems obvious to me that you care very little about what the word of God truly says. God doesn’t justify the unrepentant sinner. Only those who by faith in God repent of their sins will be saved. This is the teaching of Scripture.

  79. To All, Here is what Calvin said ” The delirious notion that we make the movements of God in us efficacious, as if God’s work could not be done unless we allowed Him to do it. On the Contrary right feelings are formed in us by God, and are rendered by Him effectual. All of our progress and perseverance are from God. Patience, love are gifts of God. these virtues aren’t in our power or are they efficacious.” If I were a Catholic the fact that my church teaches grace merits salvation and that the catechism says that merit is “recompense owed”, no matter how beautiful the stain glass, it would make me shake.

  80. ROBERT February 24, 2014 at 5:09 am
    Erick Y.,
    This discussion really should be brought to a close by noting that Jesus said that one can be justified without having any works. Such as the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9–14) and the thief on the cross.

    Yours is a very limited understanding of works. Both the tax collector and the thief on the cross produced many works.

    The tax collector:

    1. Repented of his sins.
    2. Made a public confession.
    3. Gave a public witness which others could imitate.

    These works fall under the category of “spiritual works”.

    In addition, the tax collector is probably Zacchaeus, (note the proximity of the verses). Who having repented of his sins made restitution for his offenses:

    Luke 19:7-9
    King James Version (KJV)
    7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. 8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.

    the good thief:

    1. Defended Christ from the cross.
    2. Suffered with Christ.
    3. Expressed his desire to be with Christ.
    4. And his witness was such a perfect work that it was inscribed in Scripture and has been the cause of many conversions. It certainly was a contributing factor in my own.

    Moreover, the reality of the deathbed conversion and infant salvation in Roman Catholicism shows that your unstable religion has an understanding that at least SOME people make it to heaven WITHOUT works.

    Yours is the instability. If you don’t recognize that those who can work in obedience to God’s word, but refuse to do so, are lawless and disobedient, then it is your faith which is unstable.

    For Scripture says plainly:

    Romans 8
    King James Version (KJV)
    1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

    3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

    4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

    6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

    7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

    8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

    And again:
    John 15
    King James Version (KJV)
    1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

    2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

    It’s all grace, or its no grace. The simple use of “according to” does not mean we earn heaven. If it is by works then it is no longer by grace, otherwise grace would not be grace.

    yours is a perversion of the word of God. God does not reward the wicked. It is only those who do the Commandments which will be saved by God.

    Revelation 22:12-15
    King James Version (KJV)
    12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

    13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

    14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

    15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

  81. Robert said:

    It’s all grace, or its no grace. The simple use of “according to” does not mean we earn heaven. If it is by works then it is no longer by grace, otherwise grace would not be grace.

    yours is a perversion of the word of God. God does not reward the wicked. It is only those who do the Commandments which will be saved by God.
    Revelation 22:12-15
    King James Version (KJV)
    12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
    13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
    14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
    15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

  82. KEVIN February 24, 2014 at 5:36 am
    To All, Here is what Calvin said ” The delirious notion that we make the movements of God in us efficacious, as if God’s work could not be done unless we allowed Him to do it. On the Contrary right feelings are formed in us by God, and are rendered by Him effectual. All of our progress and perseverance are from God. Patience, love are gifts of God. these virtues aren’t in our power or are they efficacious.” If I were a Catholic the fact that my church teaches grace merits salvation and that the catechism says that merit is “recompense owed”, no matter how beautiful the stain glass, it would make me shake.

    You follow Calvin, we will follow Scripture:

    Deuteronomy 30:19
    I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

    Philippians 2:11-13
    King James Version (KJV)
    11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

    13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

    you follow the traditions of Calvin and Luther. We follow the Traditions of Jesus Christ.

  83. DeMaria, I have never said that a person remains in sin. On the contrary a believer pursues righteous living and Holiness and repentance from sin. But this is the life of faith. Those works are not meritorious in salvation but the our reasonable service of worship. For you they are meritorious and accordion to Galatians 5 puts you under the Law and will severe you from Christ and you be fallen from grace Paul said that if they took circumcision they were obligated to the whole Law. Its a unit. You cannot mix the 2 covenants to be justified. Its either by doing the commandments or hearing by faith. Either with DeMaria the doer or “Abraham the believer.” The first one is outer darkness and the second leads to eternal life. Im with Abraham the believer. ” For the righteous shall LIVE by faith.” PTL

  84. Robert,

    Yes, the “according to” does involve works. This teaching of Christ to the church of thyatira refutes any and all notions of sola fide. And please see extra comment below, for I know what you are thinking when you see the embolded “works” in the passage.

    18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze:

    19 “I know your works—your love, faith, service, and patient endurance. I know that your last works are greater than the first. 20 But I have this against you: you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet and is teaching and beguiling my servants[b] to practice fornication and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her fornication. 22 Beware, I am throwing her on a bed, and those who commit adultery with her I am throwing into great distress, unless they repent of her doings; 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am the one who searches minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call ‘the deep things of Satan,’ to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden; 25 only hold fast to what you have until I come. 26 To everyone who conquers and continues to do my works to the end,

    I will give authority over the nations;
    27 to rule[c] them with an iron rod,
    as when clay pots are shattered—
    28 even as I also received authority from my Father. To the one who conquers I will also give the morning star. 29 Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

    What you are thinking is thus: Of course there are works! Those who are justified are simul and subsequently sanctified, and therefore the works demonstrate those who are heaven bound, and those who are worthy.

    The problem with this is that it strips the clear intention of Christ in the causal relationship he gives to works and the effect, salvation. When he says “I will give to everyone what their works deserve”, he is not simply speaking of the “Wicked”, he is speaking of those who do his works. The righteous have works which deserve the glory of the kingdom, not in any natural sense or strict sense, but because God has bound Himself to the covenant to reward such obedience.

    Also, he says “your latter works are more than your first works”. What’s the point in bringing this up? It is assumed that if one’s latter works and not more than your former works, that you are not worthy. It means that a progression in works is required for heaven.

  85. Erick Y., Revelations 19:7-9 ” Let us rejoice and be glad and give glory to him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride is has made herself ready. IT WAS GIVEN to her to clothe herself in fine linen , bright and clean, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me”Write” Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Judgment is for the unbeliever. We are already seated with our older brother in heaven waiting to collect the inheritance that Peter says has been reserved in Heaven for us and can never fade away. ” Even when we were dead in our transgressions, He made us alive with Christ ( for by grace you have been saved) and RAISED us up with Him and SEATED us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. You people are blind. When will you ever see. He could seat no one in heaven with Him as adopted heirs with an inheritance if we were still to be judged and could be condemned. We stand just before our God because of Christ. When will you take the veil off your face and embrace the free grace and salvation of our savior. Its called GOOD NEWS!

  86. Gentlemen (and any Ladies still present)–

    1. As I have said before, the Reformed acknowledge that we will be judged “according to our works,” which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. He prepared them, willed them, empowered them, maintained them, and completed them. Only the elect, only those in union with Christ, actually do any good works.

    2. There is no record that the penitent thief was reviled along with Jesus. He may have been, but all that we do know is that he suffered for his own crimes, which he himself acknowledges (in contradistinction to Christ, who, as the thief pointed out, was innocent). All that Dismas demonstrably did was express faith. Noble enough, but for all intents and purposes he was utterly without actual works.

    3. In reply to Eric W., when he said, “There is no difference really until they say….He wishes the things that are His gifts to be their merits (Trent) Honestly, why do they waste time saying it ? If God crowns our merits because they are HIS works, then they should pray that God WILLS for them and call it a greater merit ! It would be God’s work in a truer sense.”

    As I have observed to Catholics here time and time again (and have received no reply as far as I remember), if they truly, truly believe that “all is of grace,” if even one’s cooperation with cooperative grace is itself of grace, then they can put down their hatchets and run into the open-armed embrace of Sola Fide. (They’ll still be basically Arminian, but we can deal with one obstacle at a time.)

    The fact that they ferociously fight such a conclusion reveals them to prioritize merit over grace. They give lip service to “all is grace,” but they simply do not truly believe it. (Jonathan Prejean, to his credit, has admitted as much: what the Catholic means by Sola Gratia and what the Protestant means do not coincide.)

  87. Eric Y.,

    See point 1 in Eric’s response above.

    The fact of the matter is this, if works are required to merit salvation in the way you want them to, then babies cannot be saved, there can be no deathbed conversion, and the thief on the cross could not be saved. And I can make a fairly convincing case that all of these things do happen, particularly the thief on the cross.

    Even RC recognizes this, but you all create a strange kind of exception that ends up with these people being saved and meriting heaven in a way different than the rest of us. Such is the instability of your theology that can’t fully bring itself to deny grace and yet wants to make sure that the only people who get into heaven really “deserve it.” Something has to give.

    If salvation is fully and completely without our merit in any sense and due finally to the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, than I and all the aforementioned examples are justified in exactly the same way and achieve heaven in exactly the same way. By making your grace-enabled works a requirement for final justification, you end up with a quasi-classical dispensationalist view of salvation wherein some people are finally justified one way (only by grace and the regeneration of baptism, presumably) while others are justified finally in another way (by grace, baptismal regeneration, and grace-enabled good works, particularly in the sacrament of reconciliation to atone for mortal sin.)

    This is all related to the error of having us justified by the law of Christ while ignoring that David was not justified by the same law of Christ.

    All this division of means of salvation is rather quasi-dispensational. You guys are spinning trying to defend it and to prove it is of grace.

  88. An interesting tidbit I had never heard: concerning the short slanted crossbar toward the bottom of Russian Orthodox crosses–one side points “up” toward the good thief, and the other side points “down” toward the bad thief!

  89. Eric, bingo! Isaiah 57:12 ” I will declare your righteousness and your deeds but they will not profit you. When you cry out let your collection of idols deliver you! The wind will carry them off, a breadth will take them away. But he who takes in Me shall possess the land. and shall inherit the mountain. One’s righteousness and merit will not profit them!

  90. Robert–

    Catholics get around the inconsistency you point out by positing the perfection of being in the initial State of Grace, even without works. If one lives, one is required to increase that perfection through grace-enabled works, but one is moving from (a lesser) perfection to (a greater) perfection.

  91. There seems to be quite a bit of confusion on the Catholic teaching on merit and works.

    Paul tells us: “For [God] will reward every man according to his works: to those who by perseverance in working good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. There will be . . . glory and honor and peace for every one who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality” (Rom. 2:6–11; cf. Gal. 6:6–10). 

    In the second century, the technical Latin term for “merit” was introduced as a synonym for the Greek word for “reward.” Thus merit and reward are two sides of the same coin. 

    Protestants often misunderstand the Catholic teaching on merit, thinking that Catholics believe that one must do good works to come to God and be saved. This is exactly the opposite of what the Church teaches. The Council of Trent stressed: “[N]one of those things which precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification; for if it is by grace, it is not now by works; otherwise, as the Apostle [Paul] says, grace is no more grace” (Decree on Justification 8, citing Rom. 11:6). 

    The Catholic Church teaches only Christ is capable of meriting in the strict sense—mere man cannot (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2007). The most merit humans can have is condign—when, under the impetus of God’s grace, they perform acts which please him and which he has promised to reward (Rom. 2:6–11, Gal. 6:6–10). Thus God’s grace and his promise form the foundation for all human merit (CCC 2008). 

    Council of Orange II

    “[G]race is preceded by no merits. A reward is due to good works, if they are performed, but grace, which is not due, precedes [good works], that they may be done” (Canons on grace 19 [A.D. 529]). 

  92. Robert, double bingo! So clearly stated. If grace isn’t a tool for meriting salvation and isn’t given by God as a response to an action or ability like the RC teaches, then come out and say it. Your exactly right, its either all by grace and His righteousness or they can’t resist the urge to smuggle their character into God’s work of grace, which is fatal. Which is it people?

  93. Eric,

    Yeah, I’ve had other RCs talk about moving from perfection to perfection. The question I have, of course, is this one—why isn’t the lesser perfection good enough. It’s good enough for some, but not for those that keep on living. To me it just shows the fundamental instability of their theology. They want to have a role for grace, but just one role among others ultimately.

  94. Kenneth,

    The condign/congruent distinction—where do we find that in Scripture?

  95. Kenneth, You said, “Protestants often misunderstand Catholics thinking that one must do good works and be saved.” Its not a misunderstanding. Your doctrine says you get and increase of justice and grace for doing a sacrament. Trent says in cannon 4 that the Sacraments of the new law are necessary for justification and anyone who says they are not are anathematized. This is a condition added to faith. Sacraments are works on the part of a participant to merit increase of justice and grace. Justification in RC is a recognition of an intrinsic qualification for a reward and for Paul it was the opposite, it was a declaration about someone intrinsically unqualified. Your catechism says merit is “recompense owed” Grace in the RC is a tool for meriting salvation, nothing more. God does not give grace as a response to an act or an ability. If he did this grace is no longer a gift but a reward. John said that we have grace upon grace. It a free gift. You can’t earn it and you don’t deserve it.

  96. Kenneth, Heris what Paul said “To the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the UNGODLY, his faith is credited as righteousness. Here is what Trent says ” To the one who works well to the end, salvation is to be offered, not only as a gift but also as a reward to their good works and merits. Those statements of salvation are irreconcilable. Paul isn’t talking about some first stage of justification. He describes in in 5:1 in the aorist past part. Its something we look back on because it always and ever by faith. Christ is our righteousness and life and this benefit is only available by faith. Its all a work of the Spirit and is all gracious. We can finally put away the fictitious system of infused habits and 7 types of grace and 2 kinds of merit. The apostles knew nothing of this fictitious system. You have made a savior of merit and inherent grace, and without this your superstitious system would collapse.

  97. Everybodies–

    The way I see it, the Catholics are trying to have their cake and eat it, too. (Who can blame them? It’s great cake: Dad is great! Gives us chocolate cake!)

    The Protestants, on the other hand, are trying to keep everyone honest.

    If we are justified through our own inherent righteousness (rather than by the “deception” of imputed righteousness), then God is accountable to us to grant reward. If, on the other hand, the whole superstructure of our [apparent] inherent righteousness is girded up by the grace of Christ, then once again, all is of grace, and God is not accountable to us.

    One must choose:

    Do you HAVE actual inherent righteousness all your own? Then all is NOT of grace, but merit enters in.

    Is your supposed inherent righteousness a facade, bolstered–or rather, wholly manufactured–by grace? Then all is of grace, and you can become an honorary Protestant.

    What you cannot do is say that God doesn’t owe you but pays you anyway for the inherent righteousness that you did not gain on your own (and do not possess on your own) but still actually have in some sense (because otherwise God would be a liar in paying you).

  98. Kevin,

    God grace brings us to the sacraments a that increase our justification. Look up the distinction between strict and consign/congruent merit. After that you should be caught up to speed

  99. Kevin,

    Here ya go. One of your reformed buddies vs sungenis. Merit is explained

    http://youtu.be/YvbTmQ0Gu5o

  100. Eric, Robert, How can they belong to a church and than run a sprint form their doctrine. They speak out of both sides of their mouth. He says God’s grace brings him to a sacrament and then he earns the increase of justice and grace.. Well isn’t that special. Its all free, but you got to do the sacraments to increase justice and grace. But its all free. So you do your level best and God gives you grace and the more you do your level best the more grace he gives you. But its a free gift. Right!

  101. Kevin,

    You are equating earn with merit. We do not equate the two. Learn the RC distinction between various kinds of grace and merit. I would provide you with the links but I have so little faith that you would even bother to read them

  102. Kenneth, I don’t care about the difference between the hair splitting of merit. Merit isn’t meritorious at all! What part of” not that of yourselves” did Sir Thomas not get. Or what part of “to the one who does not work” refers to condign merit. Trent uses words like “truly attain justification.” “but now apart from the Law thru faith to those who believe.” Not only does he say its thru faith but he repeats its for those who believe. In Romans 1:17 he says from faith to faith. That covers it all. No smuggling. Man is just because Christ died. Something took place exterior to man in the process whereby his salvation was effected. Christ is the mediator between man and God not the church. Faith alone saves a man’s soul, not being a part of extending the incarnation by your salvific works thru the sacraments.

  103. Kenneth, Do you increase in grace and justice by doing the mass (ex opere operato)? James told me you increase. Do you?

  104. Kevin,

    If you do not care about the distinction we make theologically there is little progress to be made. God bless

  105. Kenneth–

    Can you really not see the inherent double speak in “a reward is due to good works, if they are performed, but grace, which is not due, precedes [good works], that they may be done”? Especially if you maintain that grace not only precedes good works, but initiates. empowers, maintains, and completes them. Once our own will and power DOES any good work, even in part, the claim to be “all of grace” is abandoned. And if our own will and power cannot be said, even principally, to DO any good work, then a reward is NOT due. I wouldn’t reward my young sons for riding with me on a riding lawn mower (if we had one), nor would I proclaim them good mowers.

    You all have insisted that grace is not just some sort of steroids added to our own pumping iron on our way to becoming power lifters (or Major League baseball players)…it is the pumping of iron itself that is of grace. We are extrinsically made fit from head to toe (in which case, of course, the proclamation of our inherent righteousness seems contrived). It may be in some sense inherent, since it is IN us, but it is in no way rightfully “ours” (any more than imputed righteousness), as it certainly doesn’t come from us.

    All in all, I don’t believe we Protestants ought to be faulted for our confusion concerning the Catholic teaching on merit and works, for it is a confused and confusing teaching.

  106. Kenneth–

    We have looked at the distinctions you speak of, and they not only do not make sense, but for all we can tell, they CANNOT make sense. Make a stab at explaining them to us.

  107. Kenneth–

    Looked at your youtube link. They are ostensibly discussing the Assumption of Mary (though they spend more time on Sola Scriptura). What they don’t discuss is merit. Did you give us the wrong link?

  108. Robert–

    I am assuming the “lesser” perfection would accrue sins of omission if it continued on in a static manner.

  109. ERIC February 24, 2014 at 9:00 am
    Kenneth–
    Can you really not see the inherent double speak in “a reward is due to good works, if they are performed, but grace, which is not due, precedes [good works], that they may be done”? Especially if you maintain that grace not only precedes good works, but initiates. empowers, maintains, and completes them.

    The problem Eric, is that you failed to distinguish between the various types of grace. Have you not read in Scripture that God rains upon the good and evil. There are certain graces, like life itself, which God gives to everyone. But there are certain graces, like salvation, which got only grants to those who merit them.

    The doublespeak Eric, is with those who claim that all of God’s graces are given freely without regard to merit. Because that leads to the obvious error that the wicked must be saved without regard to repentance.

    1 Corinthians 6:8-10
    King James Version (KJV)
    8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

    9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

    10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

  110. Everyone, when Paul simply says his goal is simply “to lay hold of that for which I was also laid hold of by Christ.”The stubble is not to envelope Christ in our faithfulness but to enveloped in his faithfulness. When Peter was stupefied by big catch of fish, confronts the goodness of his master and says” Depart from me I’m a sinful man. In the face of the radiance of his master , Peter can only bow his head. Sanctification is not a divine work apart from justification ( particularly implanted habits), nut to justification itself. The habits concept is an unbiblical concept of a supernatural qualification. Justification is sufficient to ground all of the blessings of mystical union, and is a work of the spirit. This denies us even partial righteousness of our own. Genuine sanctification always is oriented to justification and the forgiveness of sins.Christ communicates his whole life to us by his Spirit and not the flesh. The Roman system yields the the ethical contrast of sin and grace to that of nature and super nature. Grace according to Rome is not first of all free favor of God in which he forgives our sins, but a quart injected into a man by which he shares to some extent in the divine nature. It is super natural , created, hyper physical power, infused into a man thru a Priest or a sacrament which elevates the recipient to the super natural order. We teach that grace relieves the believer of sin for Christ’s sake. Justification in no way can follow moral renovation. it is not a change of substance, as if creation were essentially flawed rather than ethically fallen.Positively it is a new life, a new birth, and a new heart.

  111. My sentence should read The struggle is not to envelope Christ in our faithfulness but to be enveloped in His faithfulness.

  112. Eric,

    “Is your supposed inherent righteousness a facade, bolstered–or rather, wholly manufactured–by grace? Then all is of grace, and you can become an honorary Protestant.”

    It’s not supposed – it’s actual and real, unlike in your system where it’s only quasi-real or something. If inherent righteousness is a facade (telling choice of word) and all of grace, and based on that, one should believe in imputed righteousness and become an honorary Protestant, how would the state of affairs be any different if inherent righteousness didn’t exist at all?

    “What you cannot do is say that God doesn’t owe you but pays you anyway for the inherent righteousness that you did not gain on your own (and do not possess on your own) but still actually have in some sense (because otherwise God would be a liar in paying you).”

    What you cannot do is say that God doesn’t owe you heavenly reward from progressive sanctification but pays you anyway for the reward that you did not gain on your own (and do not possess on your own) but still actually have in some sense (because otherwise God would be a liar in paying you).

    “Can you really not see the inherent double speak in “a reward is due to good works, if they are performed, but grace, which is not due, precedes [good works], that they may be done”? Especially if you maintain that grace not only precedes good works, but initiates. empowers, maintains, and completes them. ”

    Apply the above to progressive sanctification and heavenly reward. Is that double-speak?

    “Once our own will and power DOES any good work, even in part, the claim to be “all of grace” is abandoned.”

    And do it here.

    “And if our own will and power cannot be said, even principally, to DO any good work, then a reward is NOT due. I wouldn’t reward my young sons for riding with me on a riding lawn mower (if we had one), nor would I proclaim them good mowers.”

    And do it here.

    “It may be in some sense inherent, since it is IN us, but it is in no way rightfully “ours” (any more than imputed righteousness), as it certainly doesn’t come from us.”

    And again as in my first paragraph, we see that union and inherent righteousness really has no purpose in your system. Imputation and union are functionally equivalent.

    “I am assuming the “lesser” perfection would accrue sins of omission if it continued on in a static manner.”

    Yes, if after one was initially justified one never cooperated with grace, that would necessarily result in mortal sins of omission at the very least.

    “I went to Mass this morning, and the homily was on upholding Catholic moral virtues….The contrast with Reformed sermons is stark. ”

    Ever watch your homeboy Paul Washer?

  113. KENNETH WINSMANN February 24, 2014 at 8:20 am
    Kevin,
    You are equating earn with merit. We do not equate the two. Learn the RC distinction between various kinds of grace and merit. I would provide you with the links but I have so little faith that you would even bother to read them

    Kenneth,

    Don’t be frustrated. I have learned to use the responses of those like Kevin as opportunities to preach the doctrines of the Catholic Church. When I respond to those sort of illogical messages, I do it to reach out to those lurking, who might be reading the messages. I hope that many of them are men of good faith who are searching for truth.

    Kevin might not read those links, but others might.

  114. Robert, one of the problems is what you said. Their view of the fall and what it necessitated is a big difference. Sin, evil, the flesh, are located across the ontic field, the mind as well as the body, thought as well as passions, spirit as well as matter. Matter does not need to be saved or suspended by spirit, rather the the entire creaturely realm requires salvation from sin and death, the curse for the broken covenant.

  115. James, God’s gift of salvation is free. You can’t earn it and you don’t deserve it. Can you not see the double speak in saying that God gives grace for doing your best ( reward, is not a free gift. You told me “yes we increase.” Why? Its a gift by faith and no more. Your doctrine says you do a sacrament you increase justice and grace. Thats a reward, not a gift. So if you do sacraments your in and if you don’t your out. Wow, where can I sign up for that free gift! That won’t make me sing amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. If I gave you a watch and you payed me for it, would it be a gift?, no! Salvation is a gift that is not of works and not of ourselves, yet you want to tell us the works you do to increase is really not of ourselves and its a free gift. Bull! Smuggling isn’t allowed my friend. No smuggling. For if its by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, or grace is no longer grace. Notice you add merit, it aint grace no more.

  116. Eric,

    All in all, I don’t believe we Protestants ought to be faulted for our confusion concerning the Catholic teaching on merit and works, for it is a confused and confusing teaching.

    I second that. Someone posted a lovely quote from Therese of Liseux (spelled right?), I can’t remember if it on this thread or another, talking about how she brings nothing before God. Then we have De Maria saying something like we need to do good works to get grace. Then we have the CCC which talks about grace preceding and eliciting but not guaranteeing the free response of man. But if some who get grace respond appropriately and some don’t, there has to be something better about the one that chooses for the response to happen.

    And on and on it goes. This is what you get when you try to superimpose the Bible’s teaching on grace over a man-centered ex opere operate sacramental system.

  117. Eric,

    Oops. Sorry bud. The discussion with slick and sungenis turns to merit in the Second part of the YouTube video. I accidently posted part 1

    http://youtu.be/ynZokT9Owv4

    The above is part 2 and focuses primarily on salvation

  118. ERIC February 24, 2014 at 9:00 am
    Kenneth–
    ….I wouldn’t reward my young sons for riding with me on a riding lawn mower (if we had one), nor would I proclaim them good mowers.

    THAT is very strange. Because, forensic imputation sounds very much like what you are describing. You claim that we never are righteous (i.e. the good mowers) but only covered by the righteousness of Christ (i.e. the true mower). Very much like the father simply saying that we are good mowers.

    HOWEVER, your metaphor needs tweaking yet again. God rewards us by allowing us to ride with him. It is called the union with Christ. So let’s go back to your metaphor.

    The father commands his son to mow the lawn. When the son begins to mow the lawn, the father comes along and works with the son. When the work is done, the father gives credit to his son for his obedience.

    On the other hand, if the son refuses to mow the lawn as commanded, he will be punished.

    Philippians 2:11-13
    King James Version (KJV)
    11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

    13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

  119. Kevin,

    “Thats a reward, not a gift…Notice you add merit, it aint grace no more.”

    Keep playing the false dichotomies. As I said in the other thread, CCC cites Augustine’s famous statement on crowning merits for a reason.

    I guess heavenly reward in progressive sanctification in your system ain’t grace no more either then and is a reward, not a gift.

    Robert,

    That was a nice citation of Therese from Charlotte. That’s why CCC cites a similar sentiment from her in its section on merit.

    “But if some who get grace respond appropriately and some don’t, there has to be something better about the one that chooses for the response to happen.”

    But if some who get grace respond appropriately in progressive sanctification and earn reward/resist sin and some other regenerate don’t, there has to be something better about the one that chooses for the response to happen.

  120. Eric,

    James pokes fun of your objection to grace and merit quite well with a handy to quote…. Here are two links that explain the coherence of the Catholic view that should be read in order

    http://theophilogue.com/2010/05/24/thomas-aquinas-on-operating-co-operating-and-prevenient-grace-summa-theologica/

    http://www.thecatholicthing.org/columns/2010/was-aquinas-a-proto-protestant.html

  121. Anyone who wants to attack the Catholic Church will be forced, eventually, to get through Aquinas. The initial problem is that most protestants don’t know what Aquinas has to say. The next issue is that they see what he wrote but don’t understand it. After one both knows what Thomas has to say And understands it…. Well… Calvin doesn’t look so hot anymore.

  122. The Holy Scriptures and the Christian faith are little taught, and the blind, heathen master Aristotle rules alone, even more than Christ” They mix the dreams of Aristotle with theological matters, and conduct nonsensical disputations about majesty of God, beyond and against privilege granted to them.”

  123. Melanchthon ” How corrupt are all the theological hallucinations of those who offered us the subtitles of Aristotle instead of the teachings of Christ.” They got their little heads caught in their round globe and confused heaven and earth.

  124. God does not accept the person because of the works but accepts the works because of the person.

  125. God came for man not in man.

  126. James–

    The new creature–within the bounds of gracious justification–merits greater or fewer heavenly rewards. Scripture, I believe, would even allow for us to “boast” in some sense. Though caught up in intimate union with Christ, guided and inspired and enabled by him to humbly imitate his self-sacrificial ways, we would be “boasting” in our dependence and our submission and our contingency.

    The only “inherent” righteousness that means anything is that derived from Christ, the only true source of righteousness. In other words, only extrinsic righteousness means anything. There is a huge role for intrinsic righteousness in our system. We simply and unequivocally insist that it is always derivative.

    You tip your hand with statements like this: “Yes, if after one was initially justified one never cooperated with grace, that would necessarily result in mortal sins of omission at the very least.” It is grace cooperating with grace, is it not? Or did you forget that concept in the heat of the moment? If grace doesn’t cooperate with grace, whose fault is it? You see, this is the Achilles heel of your system. Grace is in control until the Old Man rears his ugly head and reasserts his rights. And then grace splinters into a million shards of nothingness and is gone.

    Paul Washer literally SCREAMS out grace through his tears! It is utterly unnerving. I have a hard time watching….

  127. William Wilberforce ” He said of all the Spiritual and practical errors of the nominal christians of the is age… Results from the mistaken conception entertained of the fundamental principles of Christianity. They consider not that Christianity is a scheme ” for justifying the ungodly” Romans 4:5, by Christ’s dying for them ” When yet sinners” Romans 5:6-8, a scheme for reconciling us to God – “when enemies” Romans 5:10, and making the fruits of Holiness the effects , not the cause of our being justified and reconciled.

  128. All , Decreed to be “in Christ”from all eternity in the intratrinitarian covenant of redemption, the elect are redeemed by Christ in History, and are united to Christ by the Spirit in a covenant of grace. Now they are chidden of the Father rather than transgressors before a judge. The judgment was first conceived in the mind of God in a decree of justification Galatians 3:8. Second it was pronounced in Christ our head as He rose from the dead 2 Corinthians 5:19.Third it is pronounced in actuality when faith is born Romans 8:1. Fourth it is pronounced by the Spirit of God witnessing to our spirits our reconciliation Romans 5;5. This testimony of the Spirit is not properly justification itself, but rather an actual perceiving of what has been given before as if in reflected act of faith. Far from severing soteriology from ethics and ecclesiology , justification inaugurates the new creation in its transformative and cooperate as well as a judicial and personal dimensions.

  129. Eric,

    “The new creature–within the bounds of gracious justification–merits greater or fewer heavenly rewards.”

    Merits in name only you mean, because they are still corrupted and defiled with mortal sin.

    “Though caught up in intimate union with Christ, guided and inspired and enabled by him to humbly imitate his self-sacrificial ways, we would be “boasting” in our dependence and our submission and our contingency.”

    Great. So you’re not really boasting. It’s all grace alone. Even though you cooperate and earn heavenly reward. Now apply that to RC synergism.

    “The only “inherent” righteousness that means anything is that derived from Christ, the only true source of righteousness.”

    Trent: “For, whereas Jesus Christ Himself continually infuses his virtue into the said justified,-as the head into the members, and the vine into the branches,-and this virtue always precedes and accompanies and follows their good works, which without it could not in any wise be pleasing and meritorious before God,-we must believe that nothing further is wanting to the justified, to prevent their being accounted to have, by those very works which have been done in God, fully satisfied the divine law according to the state of this life, and to have truly merited eternal life”

    “In other words, only extrinsic righteousness means anything. There is a huge role for intrinsic righteousness in our system. We simply and unequivocally insist that it is always derivative.”

    We are part of the vine. We are not a weed on the ground looking up to the extrinsic vine with pleading eyes every second.

    “You tip your hand with statements like this: “Yes, if after one was initially justified one never cooperated with grace, that would necessarily result in mortal sins of omission at the very least.” It is grace cooperating with grace, is it not?”

    We are not cooperating when we sin. Do you cooperate when you resist grace and sin in progressive sanctification? Our condemnation is entirely of our own. Our salvation is entirely of God. As said before with the G-L quote:
    “Our intelligence must be held captive before the divine obscurity of this great mystery, confessing these two graces (sufficient and efficacious), the first of which leaves our will without an excuse before God, while the second does not allow it to glory in itself. In other words, “It must be admitted (in opposition to the Jansenists) that there are two interior graces, of which one (namely, sufficient grace) leaves our soul inexcusable before God after sin, and of which the other (that is, efficacious grace) does not permit our will to glory in itself after accomplishing good works.” “What hast thou that thou hast not received? For who distinguisheth thee?”
    These two propositions, thus formulated, are as two very luminous semicircles surrounding the deepest obscurity of the mystery. Above these semicircles is the mystery of the divine good pleasure, combining infinite mercy, infinite justice, and supreme liberty, which are identified in the Deity. Below, however, is the abyss of our defectibility and the gravity of mortal sin.”

    “Or did you forget that concept in the heat of the moment? If grace doesn’t cooperate with grace, whose fault is it? ”

    It’s keeping things in right tension with each other. Not sacrificing mystery so that things fit “neatly” into systems. As I said before, the historic church both east and west, all understood and upheld this mystery. If you want to make a neat system that truly glorifies God according to your mentality, just say we’re automatons.

    And again, apply all your objections about cooperation/grace to progressive sanctification and resisting or not resisting sin and meriting or not meriting heavenly reward. Just shrugging or saying “well it’s ours, but it’s derivative, so we can boast, but not really” isn’t meeting your own standards you hold RCism and Eoxy to.

    “Paul Washer literally SCREAMS out grace through his tears! It is utterly unnerving. I have a hard time watching….”

    Really – I guess that’s why other Reformed and Lutherans criticize him for his law law law, do do do. Just like they criticize Chan and Platt. But you did love the Puritans so maybe not surprising. Btw, those tears come forth every time he gives those exact same sermons.

  130. James, ” by those very works that have been done in God, fully satisfied the divine law, and to have truly merited eternal life.” You merit eternal life thru your works.. Smuggler! and have truly merited eternal life. Quit saying they are completely of grace, because if they were you wouldn’t” have truly merited eternal life” and have to be purged some day. If it were Christ’s righteousness you wouldn’t need a final evaluation based on accompanying works of love. I’d run form that doctrine too.

  131. James, We are part of the vine thru the Spirit and it brought us adoption papers and justification and sanctification. It also brought us peace. You are a bunch of shaky sticks trying to cling on. I did good today Mr vine, may i have some more sap. sure and if you do good tomorrow i’ll give you more sap, so shake your stick hard so you can stay on. And if you sin to bad i’m cutting you off. Oh thanks Lord. rejoice and again I say rejoice. if i do my level best tomorrow i’ll get some more sap. Oh the peace that brings. Cmon James. Hope your having a blessed day bro.

  132. Protestants,

    Kenneth wrote:
    After one both knows what Thomas has to say And understands it…. Well… Calvin doesn’t look so hot anymore.

    Aquinas and Pseudo-Isidore. Understanding how they were related will make Calvin warmer.

  133. Kevin,

    We participate in the divine life. We merit deeper participation in Christ by our acts of agape. Christ is eternal life itself. Hence we merit eternal life. If we never performed any acts of agape after justification, we would necessarily have committed mortal sin by omission. That is the sense in which we cannot merit initial justification, but can merit eternal life. And I will not quit saying those acts are completely of grace, because they are, as is initial justification, as is your cooperation in progressive sanctification and associated heavenly reward. I’d take you seriously if you deny that your cooperation in progressive sanctification is completely of grace. But you won’t do that.

    “If it were Christ’s righteousness you wouldn’t need a final evaluation based on accompanying works of love”

    Please explain why RCism believes in infant and deathbed salvation then. We are saved by Christ’s infused righteousness and sanctifying grace shed forth into our hearts at initial justification (or restoration). That’s why.

  134. Kenneth–

    Thanks for the links. Francis Beckwith, by his own admission, is not a theologian. He’s an ethicist by trade. He makes a big deal out of the divergent use of terms: Protestants and Catholics define “justification” differently. His argument is so flawed it isn’t worth responding to. It’s almost like he’s trying to make the case that Thomas IS a proto-Protestant (but then again, Beckwith is the guy who said, after his reversion to Catholicism, that it was his belief that Trent was compatible with Sola Fide).

    As regards the other summary, it all depends on one’s view of free will whether or not what Thomas says squares with Reformed soteriology. But, since we know he is compatibilistic and not libertarian, that cinches it.

    In these operations of the human (both interior and exterior) God strengthens the will interiorly “so as to attain the act” and also grants the outward capability of the exterior operation. Since the human will is also operating as the effect of God’s operating, this kind of grace is called co-operating grace. Augustine says: “He operates that we may will; and when we will, He co-operates that we may be perfect.” (I-II.111.2).

    We could paraphrase Augustine as saying that God wills us to will, and wills what we have willed. It is an operation of God from beginning to finish. (And since Augustine, as well as Thomas, are going to conflate the concepts of justification and sanctification, saying that we are part and parcel of our justification does not necessarily jibe with Trent at all.)

  135. Eric W,

    Aquinas and Pseudo-Isidore. Understanding how they were related will make Calvin warmer.

    Since the Thomistic doctrines of grace and the summa in general have very little to do with Pseudo-Isidore…… not really!

  136. Eric,

    I was aiming at your objection that

    Especially if you maintain that grace not only precedes good works, but initiates. empowers, maintains, and completes them. Once our own will and power DOES any good work, even in part, the claim to be “all of grace” is abandoned. And if our own will and power cannot be said, even principally, to DO any good work, then a reward is NOT due. I wouldn’t reward my young sons for riding with me on a riding lawn mower (if we had one), nor would I proclaim them good mowers.

    You all have insisted that grace is not just some sort of steroids added to our own pumping iron on our way to becoming power lifters (or Major League baseball players)…it is the pumping of iron itself that is of grace. We are extrinsically made fit from head to toe (in which case, of course, the proclamation of our inherent righteousness seems contrived). It may be in some sense inherent, since it is IN us, but it is in no way rightfully “ours” (any more than imputed righteousness), as it certainly doesn’t come from us.

    Question: Why does God reward those who cooperate with progressive sanctification? You claim above that if it is not “of us” a reward is not due. Seems strange given your theology of sanctification wouldn’t you agree?

    Argument: The claim of being “all of grace” may be abandoned as far as the reformed define “all of grace” but is it abandoned according to the clear teachings of scripture and tradition? I think not!

    Challenge: Show me where Saint Thomas theology of grace and participation violates scripture. Just one verse will suffice. This is the summary in question….

    Grace can refer to God’s moving of the human to will and to act, or it can refer to God’s bestowal of a habitual gift (the gift of a new disposition which then becomes the principle of meritorious works). Each of these graces can be thought of in terms of operating grace and also co-operating grace.

    First, with regard to God’s moving of the human to will and to act, “the operation of an effect is not attributed to the thing moved but to the mover” (I-II.111.2). Thus, since the human is moved but does not do the moving, this kind of grace is called operating grace, since God is the only one operating. However, this operating grace causes an effect in the human whereby by the human mind, after being moved, also moves (i.e. moves the other powers—i.e. the will begins to will the good, which moves the person to act exteriorly, etc.]. Thus there is an interior act of the will (ceasing to will evil and beginning to will the good) and also an exterior act subsequently commanded by the will. In these operations of the human (both interior and exterior) God strengthens the will interiorly “so as to attain the act” and also grants the outward capability of the exterior operation. Since the human will is also operating as the effect of God’s operating, this kind of grace is called co-operating grace. Augustine says: “He operates that we may will; and when we will, He co-operates that we may be perfect.” (I-II.111.2).

    Second, with regard to God’s bestowal of a habitual gift, “inasmuch as this gift heals and justifies the soul, or makes it pleasing to God, is called operating grace; but inasmuch as it is the principle of meritorious works, which spring from the free-will, it is called co-operating grace.” (I-II.111.2)

    However, such free will and such works are the effect of God’s operating grace. “God does not justify us without ourselves,” as Augustine says: “He Who created thee without thyself, will not justify thee without thyself.” “Whilst we are being justified we consent to God’s justification (justitiae) by a movement of our free-will. Nevertheless this movement is not the cause of grace, but the effect; hence the whole operation pertains to grace.” (I-II.111.2.ad2).

    I dont want to know why this doesnt reflect “reformed principles”. I want to see where it violates scripture. In my view, this explanation makes better use of the biblical evidence than both Arminianism and Calvinism (it is immune to both of their usual “proof texts”). Its like Molinism but with a biblical version of grace (winks to the catholic audience)

  137. Kenneth,

    Prayer of St. Thomas,

    “I am receiving Thee, Price of my soul’s redemption; all my studies, my vigil and my labors have been for love of Thee. I have taught much and written much of the Most Sacred Body of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Roman Church, to whose judgment I offer and submit everything.”

    Since doctrines of grace and the summa in general belong to everything, then Pseudo-Isidore is not very little….Calvin temp. rising

  138. James,

    But if some who get grace respond appropriately in progressive sanctification and earn reward/resist sin and some other regenerate don’t, there has to be something better about the one that chooses for the response to happen.

    It is one thing to say that all who are justified by grace attain a different level of holiness in this life. It is another to say that one cannot be justified until one is holy and that God guarantees the holiness of none.

    God is working in me to will and work to his good pleasure. He does it all ultimately in sanctification. As long as sanctification and justification are not the inevitable consequences of grace, then you have man giving something and taking something away.

    Those who practice holiness will become more holy and more obedient. The difference is that no matter the level of holiness attained, all who are justified are guaranteed to persevere in some degree of holiness. That is precisely what Rome denies, meaning you can never say that salvation is all of God, that the will is not in bondage. Some people are just more spiritually sensitive than others without grace, which is seen in the nonsense some of you have talked about in referring to us asking the church for the grace of regeneration.

    As Eric said, if you really believed salvation is all of grace and all of God, you would become monergists and embrace imputed righteousness.

  139. Eric,

    “Beckwith is the guy who said, after his reversion to Catholicism, that it was his belief that Trent was compatible with Sola Fide).

    Trent: “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.”

    I do not know Beckwith’s statement but I assume he is saying nothing differently than Benedict or some of the Tridentine fathers such as Domingo de Soto. Extra nos sola fide is not compatible, that is true.

  140. James–

    1. Derived merit. Works of humble self-sacrifice. Neither hardly call for too much actual boasting, now do they?

    2. You’re going to have to decide whether works merit justification, and thus eternal life, or not. You keep going back and forth. Trent even quotes Romans 11: But if it is by grace, it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. And then later it says the exact opposite.

    3. We are IN the Vine. We are NOT the Vine itself. Both imputation and infusion are extrinsic to us. They come from outside of us.

    4. Justification and sanctification are by no means the same and need not play by the same rules. If we merit justification, we are earning our very salvation. If we merit some baubles or some increased responsibilities in the World to Come, that is a totally different situation. Not to mention things are predetermined. Our talents and characters are intrinsically different; our roles in the kingdom are equitable but hardly equal. Boasting in one’s self-entrance into the kingdom is nowhere near the same as accepting with thanksgiving the role one has been granted within it.

    5. Clearly you haven’t listened to Washer, nor read Chan or Platt. Why am I not surprised? Are you somehow angry when someone who espouses the Doctrines of Grace is not Antinomian? By the way, unless you know him personally, it is presumptuous and uncharitable to question Washer’s genuineness. Without question, he is high strung, but manipulative? Could be, but you’re going to have to show me some more compelling evidence.

  141. Robert,

    “Those who practice holiness will become more holy and more obedient. The difference is that no matter the level of holiness attained, all who are justified are guaranteed to persevere in some degree of holiness.”

    You still evade the point. You are cooperating with grace (or not) in progressive sanctification. You are becoming more holy and more obedient compared to other regenerate who do not cooperate with grace and fail to resist sin, or vice versa. One achieves a different level of holiness and heavenly reward while the other doesn’t. You fall under God’s fatherly displeasure through sin, and then cooperate with grace for his countenance to be restored as WCF says.
    And you don’t actually become more “holy and obedient” if you continue to mortally sin every second of your life until death.

    “That is precisely what Rome denies, meaning you can never say that salvation is all of God, that the will is not in bondage.”

    Is cooperation and level of holiness/heavenly reward in progressive sanctification all of God or not?

    “Some people are just more spiritually sensitive than others without grace”

    Nope. Grace drives all. Did someone cooperate with grace in progressive sanctification while the other regenerate didn’t because of their little grace-free island within them?

    “the nonsense some of you have talked about in referring to us asking the church for the grace of regeneration.”

    The nonsense is that natural revelation can point to a creator and the church. Someone can recognize truth and still refuse to submit or enter into it – only grace can achieve that.

    “As Eric said, if you really believed salvation is all of grace and all of God, you would become monergists and embrace imputed righteousness.”

    Goodbye Augustine and the historic east/west church. If you really believed progressive sanctification is all of grace and all of God, you would deny you cooperate in it or that there will be different levels of holiness/heavenly reward resulting from that cooperation.

  142. Kenneth–

    You said:

    I don’t want to know why this doesn’t reflect “Reformed principles”. I want to see where it violates Scripture.

    As I already answered, Thomas himself appears to me to BE REFLECTING Reformed principles, at least in these passages, and thus, you will not get an argument out of me as to how he is violating Scripture. He is not. You are.

  143. Eric, Eric W, Robert,’The rebellious unconverted heart is always a religion of works unto itself” Romanism is Cain’s offer of the fruit of his Labor. Reformed is Abel’s offer the shed blood of the Lamb.

  144. James–

    You quoted Trent:

    “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.”

    If Trent is not delineating between justification and sanctification, then I myself don’t have a huge problem with what they’re saying here. If they are, then they appear to be in conflict with St. Thomas, for he states that grace prepares and disposes the movement of the will.

  145. Eric,

    I’m not angry at Washer, Chan, or Platt. I’m just pointing out your love for Puritan piety is not shared by many of your Reformed brethren and certainly not by many Lutherans who think they emphasize law at the expense of gospel. I’ve read much of Crazy Love as well as Radical – it’s do do do. I’ve listened to many Washer sermons, that’s how I noticed he repeats the same theatrics and style each time. Not necessarily a bad thing, he’s an effective preacher, but seeing the same ticks over and over again loses its power. Platt and Chan at least feel more real.

    “And then later it says the exact opposite.”

    As I said a million times, it’s called preserving mystery, as the G-L quote lays out. You guys do it with your gymnastics over God being the author of sin and everyone does it with the Trinity and Christ. Stop trying to fit things into neat boxes.

    “3. We are IN the Vine. We are NOT the Vine itself. Both imputation and infusion are extrinsic to us. They come from outside of us.”

    No kidding – theosis does not obliterate our nature (again). How would your position be any different if you were never in the vine? Obviously the source of infusion is outside of us – we don’t infuse righteousness from within ourselves. But it doesn’t remain outside of us – that makes infusion meaningless.

    “Justification and sanctification are by no means the same and need not play by the same rules.”

    You do if you are claiming grace is inherently opposed to synergism/cooperation. Or if you are claiming that if you can resist grace and sin, that means it is no longer grace.

    “Boasting in one’s self-entrance into the kingdom is nowhere near the same as accepting with thanksgiving the role one has been granted within it.”

    You accept with thanksgiving the reward and fruits of progressive sanctification. You view such as a gift. And yet it is synergistic. RCs accept with thanksgiving the reward of salvation. We view such as a gift. And yet it is synergistic.

  146. Kevin,
    ’The rebellious unconverted heart is always a religion of works unto itself”

    It must be because Paul made sure to say ‘not of works’. I think Romanism is the predicted Apostasy, so no argument with the Cain link.

  147. Eric W,

    So your argument is that Aquinas ideas are bad because he is Catholic. Nice one! Lol or maybe you are saying all of his ideas are bad because he thought forged documents were legitimate… Another brilliant stroke!

  148. Eric,

    So then you agree that our actions brought about through habitual grace are meritorious

  149. James, your missing the point . Why are you meriting anything? Its a free gift by faith. He is just and justifier of those who have faith in Jesus. “The Scripture, foreseeing that he would justify the gentiles by faith.’

  150. Eric,

    “If they are, then they appear to be in conflict with St. Thomas, for he states that grace prepares and disposes the movement of the will.”

    Trent: “God touches the heart of man by the illumination of the Holy Ghost, neither is man himself utterly without doing anything while he receives that inspiration, forasmuch as he is also able to reject it; yet is he not able, by his own free will, without the grace of God, to move himself unto justice in His sight. Whence, when it is said in the sacred writings: Turn ye to me, and I will turn to you, we are admonished of our liberty; and when we answer; Convert us, O Lord, to thee, and we shall be converted, we confess that we are prevented by the grace of God.
    …..
    Now they (adults) are disposed unto the said justice, when, excited and assisted by divine grace, conceiving faith by hearing, they are freely moved towards God, believing those things to be true which God has revealed and promised”

    CCC:
    “2001 The preparation of man for the reception of grace is already a work of grace. This latter is needed to arouse and sustain our collaboration in justification through faith, and in sanctification through charity. God brings to completion in us what he has begun, “since he who completes his work by cooperating with our will began by working so that we might will it:”
    Indeed we also work, but we are only collaborating with God who works, for his mercy has gone before us. It has gone before us so that we may be healed, and follows us so that once healed, we may be given life; it goes before us so that we may be called, and follows us so that we may be glorified; it goes before us so that we may live devoutly, and follows us so that we may always live with God: for without him we can do nothing.”

    Aquinas distinguishes between operative and cooperative, actual and habitual grace. So does Trent and RCism.

  151. Kevin,

    “James, your missing the point . Why are you meriting anything? Its a free gift by faith.”

    Kevin, you’re missing the point. Why are you meriting any heavenly reward/deeper holiness in progressive sanctification? It’s a free gift by grace.

  152. James–

    You said to Robert:

    And you don’t actually become more “holy and obedient” if you continue to mortally sin every second of your life until death.

    How silly is that?

    So if five years ago I was a serial killer and a pedophile and an adulterer and a thief; plus, I practiced Natural Family Planning and, from time to time, had impure sexual fantasies in my sleep.

    The very next year, I gave up serial murder for Lent and never took it back up again.

    The second year, I made a resolution to quit abusing children and kept it.

    The third year, my wife and I recommitted to our marriage and have remained faithful since.

    Last year, five-finger discounts became a thing of the past.

    This year, I finally kicked the sexually illicit dreams habit.

    Yep, me and my deary still practice NFP, but in an effort to HAVE kids, not to avoid them. I know. I know. It’s probably still a mortal sin! But, come on, am I not at least a smidgen more “holy and obedient” than I was five years ago?

  153. Eric W. ” If anyone saith that by faith alone the impious is justified, in such wise to mean nothing else is REQUIRED to co-operate in order to OBTAIN the grace of justification, and that it is not in any way necessary that he be prepared by the movement of his own will.” Romans 5:1 ” Therefore having been justified by faith we have peace.” I rest my case.

  154. Eric,

    “It’s probably still a mortal sin! But, come on, am I not at least a smidgen more “holy and obedient” than I was five years ago?”

    Not according to your own standards. You gotta OBEY IT ALL PERFECTLY rabble-rabble-rabble. You’re comparing your holiness to fallen man’s standards! Rabble-rabble-rabble. Filthy rags! Rabble-rabble-rabble. Mortal sin 3600x24x7.

  155. James–

    Fine. So Trent is in conformity with Thomas after all. How is it out of conformity with Protestantism (other than giving the regenerate the power to apostatize)?

  156. James–

    Get a grip! Not only do I not have to obey it all perfectly (since that’s already been done for me), I don’t have to obey it at all. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!

  157. James, you said ” theosis doesn’t obliterate our nature. Well yes it does. It elevates it outside of itself into divinity. Its the removal of the nature of sin from the soul thru a virtuous elevator to the divine.

  158. James–

    I honestly don’t believe Thomism “preserves the mystery.” I believe it is self-contradictory. As I said earlier, if it were merely hanging onto mystery, it would not have contended with Double Justification which does the exact same thing. (And as I have also said, I also believe Double Justification at least deserves exploration. Calvin supposedly signed his name to it at one point in the interest of unity, along with a few of the less contentious, more ecumenical contemporary Catholics.)

    Once again, our sanctification depends on infused grace. We are in the Vine, and His sap flows through us. We don’t really view sanctification as synergistic. It is likewise “all of grace.”

    I prefer Chan and Platt, as well. Washer’s histrionics get on my nerves.

  159. Kenneth–

    On the contrary, any action brought about by grace (unmerited favor) is by definition NOT meritorious.

  160. James, ya and the Reformers had a real problem with all the preparation to receive grace. Calvin said we should come to the Sacrament as God’s gift to us by faith. You guys squeeze hard.

  161. James, we don’t do our works to merit rewards. We do them out of love and obedience to God. they are all a gracious work of the Spirit. My cooperation isn’t meritorious. We live by faith. In fact all of our sanctification is grounded in justification and faith, and feeds off of constant forgiveness of sins. You, on the other hand, do your works to purchase your salvation ‘in a state of grace.”The condition of your soul at death will determine your justification. Your doctrine says “you truly merit eternal life. But you hide and equivocate on this. You can’t compare our acts of obedience out of pure response and great fulness for our free justification thru faith, to your abominable smuggling.

  162. James, that should be and great thankfulness for our free justification …

  163. Eric,

    “We don’t really view sanctification as synergistic. It is likewise “all of grace.””

    I honestly don’t believe this “preserves the mystery.” I believe it is self-contradictory.

    “(And as I have also said, I also believe Double Justification at least deserves exploration. Calvin supposedly signed his name to it at one point in the interest of unity, along with a few of the less contentious, more ecumenical contemporary Catholics.)”

    With Trent’s “sole formal cause” language, I do not see how double justification can now be accommodated. From what I’ve read, Calvin was somewhat open to what was going on at Regensburg with the RC side of Contarini and Pole and Seripando, but Luther nixed it pretty hard just as Rome eventually did. You can read a book online here that covers Contarini and has a chapter focused on Regensburg. Contarini died before Trent wrapped, but Pole saw it through and did eventually submit but after much inner turmoil.

    If you are interested in reading more ecumenically-minded studies of Trent, I’ve not read this work but have heard good things about it – Justification by Faith: Do Sixteenth-Century Condemnations Still Apply? Otto Pesch’s contribution in it goes through Trent canon by canon. You may also be interested in Michael Root’s Aquinas, Merit, and Reformation Theology – Root was an ecumenically-minded Lutheran who eventually converted to RCism a few years back (he wrote this work before conversion) if the notion of merit is of any interest. And Anthony Lane’s Justification by Faith in Catholic-Protestant Dialogue.

  164. Kevin,

    “James, we don’t do our works to merit rewards. We do them out of love and obedience to God. they are all a gracious work of the Spirit.”

    All a gracious work of the Spirit. Yet you cooperate with grace to perform them and earn heavenly reward, or resist grace and sin and earn fatherly displeasure. “And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

    Secondly, it is not sinful to have a reward in view when doing good works.
    “To those who by perseverance in working good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life”
    “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”

    Seeking rewards does not have to taint motives, or make heavenly reward a bribe.

    “My cooperation isn’t meritorious. ”

    Does your cooperation in progressive sanctification nullify grace or not?

  165. James–

    Thanks for the resources!

    By the way, I honestly feel sorry for you:

    With Trent’s “sole formal cause” language, I do not see how double justification can now be accommodated.

    You care more about the church than about the truth. But if a church is not true, then it is not the church.

  166. Eric,

    To be clear, I don’t think double justification works. So I’m not sweating over Trent wishing it had budged a bit. I think Trent is reasonable and got it right. But as with all things, faith seeks understanding, not the other way around.

    “You care more about the church than about the truth.”

    This of course presupposes the two are opposed.

  167. James, i just told you we obey out of faith and not to merit reward. So your model of comparison to your abominable synergistic system of meriting of salvation is false. God rewards our works, but we don’t do them for a reward. We cooperate out of faith. In fact all of salvation is by faith and justification grounds our sanctification. Our righteousness is his righteousness, “in Him. Paul simply said that he was laying hold of what Christ had laid hold of him. He is clear, works are not meritorious. For you its a different story. You make a savior of merit and inherent grace which replaces Christ’s righteousness. ” being converted to their own justification” Despicable.

  168. Kevin,

    ” We cooperate out of faith. ”

    Does your cooperation nullify grace in progressive sanctification? I mean, you could’ve not cooperated and sinned right? So you must have a grace-free island within you that makes you better than other regenerate who don’t cooperate and merit the degree of heavenly reward/holiness you do. Smuggler!

  169. James, our good works in sanctification are fruits of the Spirit and our obedience is the response to the work Christ is doing in us. But all this is grounded in justification and faith. You’ll have to explain what a grace free Island is? The Spirit brings all of God’s graces to us. But our works don’t merit salvation in any way, Christ has done that for us. We receive the fight freely by faith.

  170. James–

    I wrote:

    “You care more about the church than about the truth.”

    To which you replied:

    “This of course presupposes the two are opposed.”

    No, James, it presupposes that if the two are not opposed, a sincere search for the truth will invariably lead to the church.

  171. http://youtu.be/zIdUlp3QAsk

    James has murdered this combox. Just drop the mic Cletus and walk off to awed silence

  172. James,

    Is cooperation and level of holiness/heavenly reward in progressive sanctification all of God or not?

    Ultimately yes. Those whom God is progressively sanctifying will not fall away. They will become increasingly holy in this life and perfect in the next.

    Nope. Grace drives all. Did someone cooperate with grace in progressive sanctification while the other regenerate didn’t because of their little grace-free island within them?

    All the regenerate cooperate with grace in progressive sanctification. Ultimately, the degree they reach in this life is grounded in God’s eternal decree and is part of his hidden will. IOW, there is no such thing as the regenerate person who does not cooperate with grace in progressive sanctification. And then there is Rome’s teaching.

    And you don’t actually become more “holy and obedient” if you continue to mortally sin every second of your life until death.

    You don’t actually become more “holy and obedient” if you continue to sin venially throughout your life. The mortal/venial sin distinction does not hold. It is a blasphemous invention that makes God less holy than he actually is.

    Goodbye Augustine and the historic east/west church.

    Whatever.

    If you really believed progressive sanctification is all of grace and all of God, you would deny you cooperate in it or that there will be different levels of holiness/heavenly reward resulting from that cooperation.

    Ultimately the cooperation in sanctification is grounded in God’s eternal decree and his monergistic work of regeneration. Cooperation that is guaranteed by the author and finisher of our faith is far different from cooperation that is not guaranteed.

  173. James, you wrote to Kevin,

    If we never performed any acts of agape after justification, we would necessarily have committed mortal sin by omission.

    Response:
    Your doctrine is so twisted. That habit of charity infused pleases God and you are rendered holy and sinless. You imagine some world where God gives the gift of faith, but it remains unformed leaving a person in mortal sin. Then you imagine a world where God gives the gift of charity, but its acts of love do not follow. The omission is rendered as mortal sin.

    If, by a true cooperation of will, you continue in His kindness and merit an increase in Christ, then you are faced with the unmerited gift of perseverance. Of course, you cannot be charged with mortal sin if you want this gift and God doesn’t give it. Well, He must give it because you have not failed in His grace. Without it you cannot truly merit eternal life.

    The mystery of iniquity includes this doctrine of semi-hopelessness. You can only hope in God’s help for a way to cooperate, but never in the eternal objects prepared for those who love Christ’s appearing.

  174. James, You said ” If we never perform acts of agape after justification…” This is crazy that you speak after justification. Your justification is never finished, and why do you speak of initial justification since all that rely maters is the state of you soul at death. Thats like me saying after i ate the pasta i made, but haven’t rely eaten it til 5 pm finite. Initial justification is useless if the final teat is what rely matters. Sad religion.

  175. James, our cooperation in sanctification is simply the Spirit working out Holiness in our life. And our obedience is our response to what the Spirit is doing. We consider all this gracious activity from God. It never leaves the sphere of faith, and is always grounded in justification. He is perfecting us so that our life would match our position. Christ is our righteousness because we are in Him thru faith. It isn’t a righteousness of our own although it inheres in us thru the Spirit of God. Paul said he laid hold of what christ had laid hold of him. This is all a work of the Spirit. For you you get the super serum sand then you have to complete your justification and sanctification. It partially depends on your works and merit ” who have TRULY merited eternal life” You merit eternal life. God rewards our works but we are not meriting our salvation.

  176. +JMJ+

    Kevin wrote:

    James, You said ” If we never perform acts of agape after justification…” This is crazy that you speak after justification. Your justification is never finished, and why do you speak of initial justification since all that rely maters is the state of you soul at death. Thats like me saying after i ate the pasta i made, but haven’t rely eaten it til 5 pm finite. Initial justification is useless if the final teat is what rely matters. Sad religion.

    I’d point out that the belief that one receives an indelible sacramental mark allows Catholicism to fully cogently speak of an ‘after’, but then, you’d probably just go off on some sleazy tangent attacking Sacramentalism or something.

  177. Wosbald, Hi Wossy How are you? If you mean putting up sacramental efficacy up in the place of the atonement, yes your right. I cherish my baptism and look forward every week to the Lord’s supper and my encounter with Christ thru faith, the Word and the Spirit. But i am saved by faith alone in Christ. I’m not earning my salvation thru the sacraments of the church, correct. “He saved me, not on the basis of deeds done in righteousness but according to His mercy.” Its a done deal and the scripture tells me I seated with Him in heaven, guaranteed salvation, sealed in the Spirit, transferred from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of light, passed out of judgment, given the spirit of adoption, an heir, with an inheritance that won’t pass away, reserved in heaven for me. The red carpet has been rolled out bro. All because of Him. Your not done. Your still getting it worked out. Your with your philosophy buddies who were standing on their head and got heaven and earth upside down. When I go to church I.m dancing and singing the Amen, A mighty fortress is our God!

  178. Eric W, You said” your doctrine is so twisted.”I love when you do this man. Your not afraid to call it like it is. Through history the true church has always separated itself from this system. In the long war on the truth the most relentless and deceptive enemy has been roman catholicism. Its a false gospel.

  179. Wosbald, You said We receive the indelible mark. But what good is that justification if it is somehow contingent on the state of the believer at death. God’s Law is Holy, but Paul said it brought the knowledge of sin, death, and wrath. Gospel on the other hand brings life, hope, and eternal security. Paul said he died to Law and lives in the Spirit of Christ who fulfilled the RROTHL in us. Our assurance comes from being in Christ and the promises that brought. He docent need help finishing his incarnation, he accomplished it just fine. He only call us to faith where His righteousness and life become ours and the adoption unto eternal life. God clothes us in the gospel when we are buried and raised to heaven with Him, he is not hanging a carrot out for us to chase like a rabbit. LOL

  180. Robert,

    “Is cooperation and level of holiness/heavenly reward in progressive sanctification all of God or not?
    Ultimately yes.”

    Great. Now apply that to RC synergism.

    “Those whom God is progressively sanctifying will not fall away.”

    Will they resist grace and sin in their progressive sanctification? The point is not perseverance, it’s cooperation and resistance.

    “IOW, there is no such thing as the regenerate person who does not cooperate with grace in progressive sanctification.”

    So when a person sins in progressive sanctification, they are cooperating with grace? (We’ll leave aside the fact that they sin even when they cooperate with grace in progressive sanctification – even the best works done in grace are defiled and damnable)

    “You don’t actually become more “holy and obedient” if you continue to sin venially throughout your life.”

    Since venial sin is compatible with agape, we do.

    “The mortal/venial sin distinction does not hold. It is a blasphemous invention that makes God less holy than he actually is.”

    Ah yes, God can only be holy if monergistic and if he cannot actually transform us but needs to keep us defiled. I’m going to say we’re all passive puppets even after regeneration, God continues to view us under extra nos imputed righteousness after death, and occasionalism is true. That glorifies God and his holiness better than Calvinism.
    Oh Augustine who you said sowed the seeds of the Reformation was a blasphemer I guess.

    “Goodbye Augustine and the historic east/west church.
    Whatever.”

    Compelling!

    “Ultimately the cooperation in sanctification is grounded in God’s eternal decree and his monergistic work of regeneration.”

    Yes Thomism would track closely with you here.

    “Cooperation that is guaranteed by the author and finisher of our faith is far different from cooperation that is not guaranteed.”

    So when you sin in progressive sanctification, what happened? Do not conflate definitive sanctification with progressive sanctification.

    The point is that for all the talk about cooperation/grace and monergism/synergism you still appeal to tension and mystery in the sphere of progressive sanctification. Your side has all these debates about how to talk about progressive sanctification because they want to be faithful to both sides of the coin, just as my quote in G-L was. Even WCF sees both sides when it says:
    “Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves….but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.”

    You say all these things like “yes we cooperate but ultimately…” Just putting the word “ultimately” around it doesn’t resolve anything. It’s fine to appeal to tension and mystery. Just don’t judge other systems by a double standard or say things like “i guess the RC who was saved had a little grace-free zone in their soul they used better than the unsaved” or such nonsense.

  181. Kevin,

    “our cooperation in sanctification is simply the Spirit working out Holiness in our life. And our obedience is our response to what the Spirit is doing.”

    Just as our obedience and cooperation is our response to what the Spirit is doing in RCism.

    “We consider all this gracious activity from God. It never leaves the sphere of faith, and is always grounded in justification.”

    Our acts of agape are grounded in our initial justification and Christ who infuses us as the vine as my citation of Trent showed above.

    “He is perfecting us so that our life would match our position.”

    Perfecting you so that you continue to mortally sin every second of your life until death.

    “It isn’t a righteousness of our own although it inheres in us thru the Spirit of God.”

    Smuggler.

    “This is all a work of the Spirit.”

    Exactly right. Why don’t you ever view RCism in this light. You switch into amnesia mode for some reason.

    “It partially depends on your works and merit ” who have TRULY merited eternal life” You merit eternal life. God rewards our works but we are not meriting our salvation.”

    God rewards your works. So you’re not meriting salvation, but you’re meriting heavenly reward and degree of holiness. So your heavenly reward and degree of holiness partially depends on your works and merit. Smuggler.

  182. James,

    Will they resist grace and sin in their progressive sanctification? The point is not perseverance, it’s cooperation and resistance.

    No, my friend, perseverance is the entire point because perseverance is the end result of, wait for it, cooperation undergirded by the monergistic work of God in all whom he saves.

    t’s fine to appeal to tension and mystery. Just don’t judge other systems by a double standard or say things like “i guess the RC who was saved had a little grace-free zone in their soul they used better than the unsaved” or such nonsense.

    Quit saying that some justified and regenerate persons will not persevere, and we’ll let up. Affirm monergism and we’ll let up. Otherwise, God’s guaranteeing nothing, and it is finally all up to you.

  183. Gentlemen–

    Just want to say one more time that the derision of the Reformed tenet of the defilement “even of the best works of the regenerate” is quite uncharitable. Not only that, but the manner in which it has been depicted by our Catholic interlocutors has been cheap mischaracterization.

    I supply the following Reformed passages for your edification:

    “It is terribly confusing when people say that the only righteousness that has any value is the imputed righteousness of Christ. I agree that justification is not grounded on any of our righteousness, but only the righteousness of Christ imputed to us. But sometimes people are careless and speak disparagingly of all human righteousness, as if there were no such thing that pleased God. They often cite Isaiah 64:6 which says our righteousness is as filthy rags…[But] when my sons do what I tell them to do—I do not call their obedience “filthy rags” even if it is not perfect. Neither does God. All the more because he himself is “working in us that which is pleasing in his sight” (Hebrews 13:21). He does not call his own, Spirit-wrought fruit, “rags”

    –John Piper in Future Grace , pp. 151-152).

    IX. Further with regard to the question here agitated between us and the Romanists-whether the works of believers are and can be called truly good. We must distinguish between truly good and perfectly good. We have proved before that the latter cannot be ascribed to the works of the saints on account of the imperfection of sanctification and the remains of sin. But the former is rightly predicated of them because although they are not as yet perfectly renewed, still they are truly and unfeignedly renewed. While the Romanists are unwilling to make this distinction, they falsely charge us with denying that the works of believers are truly good because we maintain that they are imperfect, since the truth and perfection of works are notwithstanding most diverse and the former can be granted without the latter.

    X. That the works of believers are truly good is proved: (1) because they are not performed only with the general concourse of God, but by a special motion and impulse of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in the hearts of believers and excites them to good works. Hence these works are usually ascribed to him as the primary cause (Ezk. 36:27; Gal. 5:22; Rom. 8:9; Phil. 1:6; 2:13). Nor are they done only by the Holy Spirit exciting and impelling, but also by the qualities of infused grace mediating (which overcome the order of nature). Hence Paul ascribes all his works to the grace of God (1 Col. 15:10) and Christ asserts that we can do nothing without him (Jn. 15:5). Now what is produced by the Spirit and the grace of Christ must be truly good. Nor does the flesh, which still remains in us, hinder this because its presence can indeed take away the perfection of sanctification, but not its truth. (2) Such works please God; therefore they are truly good. For what is properly and by itself sin, cannot please him. The passages are obvious (1 Pet. 2:5; Heb. 11:4-6; 12:28; Rom. 12:1; 14:18; Phil. 4:18). 1 confess that the first cause of their acceptance is Christ, in whom we are pleasing to God (Eph. 1:6) because the person is rather pleasing to God and is reconciled to him by the Mediation. In this sense, God is said to have had respect to Abel rather than to his sacrifice (Gen. 4:4). But this does not hinder God from being pleased with the works also, on account of the true goodness which occurs in them (flowing from the regeneration of the heart and the restoration of the divine image). For wherever God beholds his own likeness, he deservedly loves and holds it in honor. Thus not without a cause is the life of believers (regulated according to holiness and righteousness) said to please him. (3) A reward is promised to them, which could not be done if they were not truly good. For although works have nothing in themselves which can deserve and obtain such a reward (which on this account is merely gratuitous, as will soon be shown), still they have a certain ordination and aptitude that they are ordained to a reward, both from the condition of the worker, who is supposed to be a believer (i.e., admitted into the grace and friendship of God), and from the condition of the works themselves, which although not having a condignity to the reward, still have the relation of disposition required in the subject for its possession. This condition being fulfilled, the reward must be given as, it being withheld, the reward cannot be obtained. For as without holiness, no one shall see God and, unless renewed by water and the Spirit, cannot enter the kingdom of heaven (Jn. 3:5; Heb. 12-14); so, holiness being posited, glory is necessarily posited from the inseparable connection existing between them.

    XIII. Our affirmation that all works (even the best) are not free from sin in this life does not destroy the truth of the good works of believers because although we affirm that as to mode they are never performed with that perfection which can sustain the rigid examination of the divine judgment (on account of the imperfection of sanctification), still we maintain that as to the thing they are good works. And if they are called sins, this must be understood accidentally with respect to the mode, not of themselves and in their own nature. So there always remains a difference between the works of the renewed and the unrenewed. The latter are essentially and specifically evil and so destitute of those circumstances and conditions which are requisite to the essence of a good work (which accordingly are only good as to sight and appearance). On the other hand, the former are essentially good works because they have all things from which the goodness of an action results and so are truly and not apparently such (although as to degree they may fail and have blemishes mixed up with them).

    XIV. Although the works of the renewed are said to be sins, and so faith (by which we are justified) can be called a sin under a certain relation (schesei) (as also the prayer by which we seek the pardon of sins), it does not follow that man is justified by sin and by gin obtains the remission of sins. We do not say that the act of believing itself or of praying is a sin, but only that there are defects and blemishes connected with it. Thus the work of faith is not the instrument of justification with respect to such imperfections, but with respect to the act itself (which is produced by the Holy Spirit and under that reduplication). Nor by sin do we seek or obtain the remission of sin, as our opponents foolishly infer; but we seek it by and on account of the merit of Christ, the duty, not the fault of our prayer mediating as the condition required from us.

    XV. Although it is granted that all the works of the renewed are tainted by some sin, the apostle could rightly say, “I am conscious of no evil,’ because he does not speak here of the course of his whole life, but concerning a ministry faithfully completed. Nor does he boast that the work of his ministry had been so completed by himself that no fault had interfered with it on the part of the flesh, but that he had done nothing deceitfully and impiously to wound his own conscience. For otherwise, he professes that he did not do the good that he would, but rather the evil he hated (Rom. 7:19).

    –Francis Turretin in The Sanctification of the Saint

  184. Robert,

    “No, my friend, perseverance is the entire point because perseverance is the end result of, wait for it, cooperation undergirded by the monergistic work of God in all whom he saves.”

    RCs do not disagree our cooperation is undergirded by God’s efficacious grace. That some are not granted the grace of final perseverance is in His will, but it does not mean they were not given sufficient grace that they resisted – they have no excuse before God.
    You have to deal with sin in progressive sanctification – did God give grace that was sufficient but resisted or did God not give any grace at all when a person sinned?

    “Quit saying that some justified and regenerate persons will not persevere, and we’ll let up. Affirm monergism and we’ll let up. Otherwise, God’s guaranteeing nothing, and it is finally all up to you.”

    If you can resist grace or cooperate with grace in progressive sanctification, your heavenly reward or lack thereof is all up to you I guess. God guarantees the elect will persevere – not that all regenerate are elect.

  185. Eric,

    Everyone knows your good works are good insofar as they come from Christ. The point is they are still always corrupted and defiled and damnable because of your attached (mortal) sin – hence the confessions I’ve cited, and your citations above echo the same distinguishing between the two modes. God must overlook that attached sin (impute) in order to reward them. If you don’t like that or want them to be intrinsically good, you would adopt the RC view of merit and venial sin. But you won’t do that and rail against it.

  186. Eric, Awesome Turretin. What James and the RC’s will never understand is the reason our works, even though they are stained, can stand before God and be saved and rewarded is because they are covered in the Righteousness of Christ. They are done in Him, and are fruits of the Spirit. Our Obedience is simply our response to what He is working in us. Its all gracious activity and in no way do we do them to merit rewards. But Calvin said it right, works in pursuit of justification stink in God’s nostrils. Paul makes it clear in Galatians, where his problem with them wasn’t so much the Law but those scoundrels trying to add works to faith and grace to be justified. And He called them “you who are seeking to be justified by Law”, and said just one stinking work can severe you from Christ and fall you from grace. Any attempt by the heart to trust in scoundrel works in any way to be justified, just one work, spit out by God. If it is by grace, it is no longer by works, or grace isn’t grace. Grace isn’t grace in the Roman system because they smuggle.

  187. Kevin,

    “the reason our works, even though they are stained, can stand before God and be saved and rewarded is because they are covered in the Righteousness of Christ.”

    Bingo. imputed merit. not intrinsically good. Union in name only.

    “works in pursuit of justification stink in God’s nostrils.”

    Works done outside of agape yes. Works of agape, no. “to those who by perseverance in working good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.” Law of works vs law of faith.

    “If it is by grace, it is no longer by works, or grace isn’t grace.”

    Trent: “And whereas the Apostle saith, that man is justified by faith and freely, those words are to be understood in that sense which the perpetual consent of the Catholic Church hath held and expressed; to wit, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation, and the root of all Justification; without which it is impossible to please God, and to come unto the fellowship of His sons: but we are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which precede justification-whether faith or works-merit the grace itself of justification. For, if it be a grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the same Apostle says, grace is no more grace. “

  188. +JMJ+

    Kevin wrote:

    Wosbald wrote:
    .
    … but then, you’d probably just go off on some sleazy tangent attacking Sacramentalism…

    Wosbald, You said We receive the indelible mark. But what good is that justification if…

    Right on cue.

  189. Kevin,

    Unfortunately, modern day ecumenism doesn’t want to hear or call it like it is. A very underdeveloped doctrine in Rome is Antichrist in church history. Couple the boasts of the papacy with the soteriology of divinization to produce the man of sin claiming to be God.

  190. James, you said, “Works of Agape no” Take another look at Galatians 5. Those RC’s ( judaizers believed grace was necessary) and they tried to add one work, and Paul called them “those who are seeking to be justified by Law.”and said they would be severed from Christ and fallen from grace. Paul’s problem in Galatians want so much the Law but works being added to faith for justification. And he didn’t direct them to their grace enabled works, but faith.

  191. Roman Catholics,

    If good works are gifts, then just ask God to give good works. Ask in faith without doubting and God is generous to give them. Now you have no reason to fear judgment rendered according to our works.

  192. Eric W,

    “If good works are gifts, then just ask God to give good works.”

    Trent:
    “Having, therefore, been thus justified, and made the friends and domestics of God, advancing from virtue to virtue, they are renewed, as the Apostle says, day by day; that is … through…faith co-operating with good works, increase in that justice which they have received through the grace of Christ … And this increase of justification holy Church begs, when she prays, “Give unto us, O Lord, increase of faith, hope, and charity.” “

  193. James,

    You betray your own doctrine. Faith, hope and charity are habits, not acts. Good works are acts. Do you ask God to give you good works ?

  194. James–

    Sorry, but no “bingo!”…not even a “bing!”

    Read next time. Our good works are truly, intrinsically good. No they are not perfectly, intrinsically good. Do you somehow have trouble with the word “intrinsically”? The definition’s not that difficult.

    One might even say that they are intrinsically perfect, for the flesh which defiles them is technically extrinsic and foreign to the true self, the new creature, from which they spring.

  195. Eric W,

    Habits/virtues necessarily work themselves out in action. And such acts deepen/strengthen them.

    Eric,

    “Our good works are truly, intrinsically good. No they are not perfectly, intrinsically good. Do you somehow have trouble with the word “intrinsically”? The definition’s not that difficult.”

    If they’re truly intrinsically good why the distinction between your sinful contribution and Christ’s perfect contribution? Why must God look over the sin attached to them to reward them, as your citations and Kevin and my citations of the confessions clearly state? You can’t say “intrinsically, but only this percentage here”. If they’re intrinsically good, there’s no need for imputed merit.

    “One might even say that they are intrinsically perfect, for the flesh which defiles them is technically extrinsic and foreign to the true self, the new creature, from which they spring.”

    This is bizarre – you are trying to shoehorn some analog of RC notion of merit and venial sin into your system; it’s not working. Embrace your confessions.

  196. James, you wrote:
    Habits/virtues necessarily work themselves out in action. And such acts deepen/strengthen them

    There it is ! You betray and refute your own doctrine. If the actions (good works) necessarily follow the habits or virtures, then the contrary vices cannot subsist with them. The necessity precludes any mortal sins. You have removed all reasons to fear judgment rendered according to good works.

  197. James–

    1. You need to look up the word “intrinsically.”

    2. I find the whole notion of venial “sin” so truly bizarre, so contrary to anyone’s honest experience as a human being, that you won’t find me trying to “shoehorn” it into anything. If you wish me to ever even think about taking you seriously as a person, you’ll ditch venial sin. It’s not true. In fact, it’s about as demonstrably false as a concept can possibly be. So it cannot be compatible with the true church, which is what you SAY you believe in. (That’s just me being honest. I will gladly listen if you wish to attempt an explanation.)

  198. Eric W,

    Because we have a habit/virtue does not mean we cannot kill it. Think of natural virtues – one doesn’t always remain virtuous after acquiring said virtue for a period of time. That’s why “the contrary vices cannot subsist with them” – of course they can’t – they kill it. If I’m in prime health, I keep exercising/eating right – and that keeps improving my prime health – and that keeps me improving in my exercising – and so on. Feedback reinforcing loop. I’m a healthy person for years. But then I kill myself. Doesn’t mean I wasn’t healthy before then.

    Eric,

    If your good works were only extrinsically good, how would that be different than your current perspective?

  199. James, you wrote:
    Because we have a habit/virtue does not mean we cannot kill it….

    If this situation is true, then ask God to give you good works and prevent the bad (mortal) works. When God grants the gift of perseverance by asking, He preserves the good works and prevents the bad. Good works, preventing bad works, and perseverance are all gifts. Ask in faith without doubting and He will give them, right ?

  200. Eric W. Your point about will worship was spot on. They can kill what God predestined form long ago.

  201. Eric W,

    “When God grants the gift of perseverance by asking, He preserves the good works and prevents the bad”

    Of course. CCC on Joan of Arc: “Asked if she knew that she was in God’s grace, she replied: ‘If I am not, may it please God to put me in it; if I am, may it please God to keep me there.'”
    Trent: “He that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved:-which gift cannot be derived from any other but Him, who is able to establish him who standeth that he stand perseveringly, and to restore him who falleth:… Nevertheless, let those who think themselves to stand, take heed lest they fall, and, with fear and trembling work out their salvation” Perseverance is all of God, condemnation all of man.

    Kevin,

    “They can kill what God predestined form long ago.”

    Incorrect. God predestined the elect. The elect will persevere infallibly by grace.

  202. Kevin,

    For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God PREPARED BEFOREHAND so that we walk in them…..(Eph.2:10)

    Ask and it shall be given…(Matt.7:7)

    For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. (2Thess.2:11,12)

  203. James,

    Then bear witness to the gifts of God….Assuming you asked in faith without doubting (for God knows the heart), then He will prevent bad (mortal) works in your life.

  204. James, some times I think your so close.

  205. James–

    You wrote:

    “If your good works were only extrinsically good, how would that be different than your current perspective?”

    Hmm…let’s see…um, they would no longer be intrinsic? (Did you look up the word yet? It doesn’t sound like it.)

    Our works are indeed perfected extrinsically (the imputation of righteousness and all).

  206. James–

    You wrote:

    “Perseverance is all of God, condemnation all of man.”

    What happens when the two meet? Who wins?

  207. James, there is no condemnation for those in Christ. 1 Cor: 1: 8″who will sustain you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” James we will be blameless in that day. Imputed baby!

  208. Kevin,

    “James, some times I think your so close.”

    Because I hold that the elect are predestined to persevere via intrinsically efficacious grace? I know it’s easy to paint RCism as open theist Pelagians, but reality is not that simple. Calvinists involved at Dordt such as Ward and Davenant cited Aquinas and Banez in disputes on predestination. The RC Haydock Bible commentary on Romans 9 you can read here has strong predestination tones as well. Predestination is not a four-letter word in RCism – that wasn’t the heart of the dispute during the Reformation.

    Eric,

    What I mean is, if they are intrinsically good – why the need as Kevin says for them to be “covered in the Righteousness of Christ.” for God to accept and reward them? If they were only extrinsically good, how would Kevin or you need to change your characterization of good works from what it is now?

  209. James, Eric is right. His post on Turretin i think had it right. We are told that God has prepared them before the foundation of the world that we might walk in them. Revelations 19 says we are cloaked with righteous deeds that He gave us. But they are are not propitiatory. This required a higher perfect obedience and more costly sacrifice. Christ had to meet all the requirements of the Law positively and negatively. Thats why it is only his righteousness that can justify us. And he made that righteousness only available thru faith. Romans 4:16 If the Roman wants to saved by grace alone he will have to be saved thru faith alone.Its good to hear you believe in predestination of the Elect.

  210. James–

    Let me go slowly for you.

    Our good works are intrinsically good but they are NOT intrinsically perfect. We are still attached to our dying flesh.

    Since our works are defiled in this way, they require the imputation of Christ’s righteousness for acceptance. Or you could probably even say, they require the discernment of God to delineate between that which is of Christ, in whom we as new creatures move and have our being, and that which springs from our still sinful flesh.

  211. Eric, That post was so clear i’m going to have a second mocha today also in your honor!

  212. Eric,

    Our good works are intrinsically good but they are NOT intrinsically perfect. We are still attached to our dying flesh.

    Good but not perfect indeed, and perfection is what a perfect God requires. Even Rome implicitly agrees with this, hence the mortal/venial sin distinction and the need for post-death purgatorial purging/punishment.

    The question is what does the Word of God teach. We find nothing on mortal-venial sin, and a whole lot on imputation.

  213. Eric,

    “Since our works are defiled in this way, they require the imputation of Christ’s righteousness for acceptance.”

    Thanks. That wasn’t hard.

    Trent:-“If any one saith, that, in every good work, the just sins venially at least, or-which is more intolerable still-mortally, and consequently deserves eternal punishments; and that for this cause only he is not damned, that God does not impute those works unto damnation; let him be anathema. “

  214. Robert, I agree I see imputation all over it.

  215. Heresy!

  216. James–

    “If any one saith, that, in every good work, the just sins venially at least, or–which is more intolerable still–mortally, and consequently deserves eternal punishments; and that for this cause only he is not damned, that God does not impute those works unto damnation; let him be anathema.”

    1. We do not sin IN our good works. Our good works are good. Sin defiles them from the outside.

    2. There is no biblical delineation between venial and mortal sin. It is a fantasy made up by Catholics to justify themselves in the eyes of the world, to make excuses for their very real sin.

    3. We are not damned only because God does not impute the sin attached to our good works unto damnation? Give me a break! ROFLMAO!!

    Trent had no clue, period.

  217. Eric,

    “We do not sin IN our good works. Our good works are good. Sin defiles them from the outside.”

    So we do not sin in our good works, but our good works are defiled with sin that must be covered by imputed righteousness. And we get accused of speaking out of both sides. A work proceeds from us and with our motivations – if those motivations (as well as us) are corrupted by mortal sin, I don’t see how that is not *in* the work.

    Calvin:
    “How could he impute righteousness to our works, did not his indulgence hide the unrighteousness that is in them? How could he deem them worthy of reward, did he not with boundless goodness destroy what is unworthy in them?….All we assign to man is that, by his impurity he pollutes and contaminates the very works which were good. The most perfect thing which proceeds from man is always polluted by some stain. Should the Lord therefore bring to judgment the best of human works, he would indeed behold his own righteousness in them; but he would also behold man’s dishonor and disgrace.”

    “2. There is no biblical delineation between venial and mortal sin. It is a fantasy made up by Catholics to justify themselves in the eyes of the world, to make excuses for their very real sin.”

    John was incoherent I guess. And bye bye Augustine who you keep trying to like for some reason.

    “3. We are not damned only because God does not impute the sin attached to our good works unto damnation? Give me a break! ROFLMAO!!”

    Trent’s point is that the good works of the just do not merit eternal condemnation and it is error to hold that the only reason they do not result in or exacerbate damnation is because God does not impute sin to them. You and your confessions affirm that exact thing.

  218. James, Works are excluded from justification. Its by faith. If you want to trust your good works to merit your salvation, go ahead. We will stick to living a life of faith. Paul says” For i know that nothing good dwells in me, that is my flesh”I find that evil is present in me the one who wants to do good. But I see a different Law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.” This is what the Catholic denies with saying concupiscence is all thats left over. They deny the reality of the battle with sin between us as a new creature in Christ and the flesh.

  219. Kevin,

    “If you want to trust your good works to merit your salvation, go ahead.”

    Trent (again):
    “And whereas the Apostle saith, that man is justified by faith and freely, those words are to be understood in that sense which the perpetual consent of the Catholic Church hath held and expressed; to wit, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation, and the root of all Justification; without which it is impossible to please God, and to come unto the fellowship of His sons: but we are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which precede justification-whether faith or works-merit the grace itself of justification. For, if it be a grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the same Apostle says, grace is no more grace. ”
    ….
    “For, whereas Jesus Christ Himself continually infuses his virtue into the said justified,-as the head into the members, and the vine into the branches,-and this virtue always precedes and accompanies and follows their good works, which without it could not in any wise be pleasing and meritorious before God,-we must believe that nothing further is wanting to the justified, to prevent their being accounted to have, by those very works which have been done in God, fully satisfied the divine law according to the state of this life, and to have truly merited eternal life, to be obtained also in its (due) time, if so be, however, that they depart in grace: seeing that Christ, our Saviour, saith: If any one shall drink of the water that I will give him, he shall not thirst for ever; but it shall become in him a fountain of water springing up unto life everlasting. Thus, neither is our own justice established as our own as from ourselves; nor is the justice of God ignored or repudiated: for that justice which is called ours, because that we are justified from its being inherent in us, that same is (the justice) of God, because that it is infused into us of God, through the merit of Christ. Neither is this to be omitted,-that although, in the sacred writings, so much is attributed to good works, that Christ promises, that even he that shall give a drink of cold water to one of his least ones, shall not lose his reward; and the Apostle testifies that, That which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; nevertheless God forbid that a Christian should either trust or glory in himself, and not in the Lord, whose bounty towards all men is so great, that He will have the things which are His own gifts be their merits.”

    “This is what the Catholic denies with saying concupiscence is all thats left over. They deny the reality of the battle with sin between us as a new creature in Christ and the flesh.”

    Concupiscence explains the ongoing battle between our members and new man, but it is not sin proper. It hardly denies the battle – that’s the definition. Augustine held to the same in his disputes with the Pelagians.

  220. James, Here is the difference for me. In Romanism Christ isn’t Lord and savior, He is eternal victim. For us He is Lord and Savior.

  221. James–

    1. So, in your opinion, “Ivory” is not real soap because it’s only 99 and 44/100 % pure? You’re goofy in the extreme!

    2. Calvin didn’t say anything I didn’t say. You have trouble reading. Good works don’t assign us to condemnation, sin does! We simply don’t “photo shop” sin out of the picture as you Catholics do!

    3. 1 John 5 talks of “sin unto death,” sin that we are not even to pray for (unlike the Catholic innovation called “mortal sin”). And yes, Augustine got a lot of things wrong.

    4. You wrote: “Trent’s point is that the good works of the just do not merit eternal condemnation, and it is error to hold that the only reason they do not result in or exacerbate damnation is because God does not impute sin to them. You and your confessions affirm that exact thing.”

    Get it through your head–good works are GOOD and do not of themselves result in or exacerbate condemnation!! Trent got it completely WRONG. Trent and its contemporary Magisterium (and every Magisterium since, if we can speak in such a manner) tried to whitewash sin out of the picture.

  222. James–

    Your quote from Trent:

    “And whereas the Apostle saith, that man is justified by faith and freely, those words are to be understood in that sense which the perpetual consent of the Catholic Church hath held and expressed; to wit, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation, and the root of all Justification; without which it is impossible to please God, and to come unto the fellowship of His sons: but we are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which precede justification-whether faith or works-merit the grace itself of justification. For, if it be a grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the same Apostle says, grace is no more grace. ”

    The problem here is that the Apostle does NOT say that man begins to be justified by faith, but that he IS justified by faith apart from works. Faith is the beginning and the end of human salvation; it is both the foundation and the capstone ; it is the root, the trunk, and the branches of justification. If it is not all through faith rather than works, then grace is no more grace.

  223. Eric,

    “1. So, in your opinion, “Ivory” is not real soap because it’s only 99 and 44/100 % pure? You’re goofy in the extreme!”

    On what basis can you say your work is not 1% “good through Christ” and 99% defiled by sin?

    “Calvin didn’t say anything I didn’t say. You have trouble reading. Good works don’t assign us to condemnation, sin does! We simply don’t “photo shop” sin out of the picture as you Catholics do!”

    More doublespeak. The good works are defiled with sin. That’s why you can’t “photo shop” it out. “How could he impute righteousness to our works, did not his indulgence hide the unrighteousness that is in them?”

    “1 John 5 talks of “sin unto death,” sin that we are not even to pray for (unlike the Catholic innovation called “mortal sin”). ”

    So you don’t even know what to do that with that passage – it’s just weird to you. Secondly that is not the only place John makes the distinction:1 John 1:8 vs 1 John 3:9,5:18.

    “And yes, Augustine got a lot of things wrong.”

    And apparently most of the western church in history.

    “Get it through your head–good works are GOOD and do not of themselves result in”

    So good works do not of themselves result in condemnation. Yet the defilement in them has to be looked over to be accepted. If they do not of themselves result in condemnation, then there is no need for the imputed righteousness to them, nor the confessions talk about such works without imputation deserving condemnation. Which was Trent’s point.

  224. Eric,

    “Faith is the beginning and the end of human salvation; it is both the foundation and the capstone ; it is the root, the trunk, and the branches of justification”

    Which Trent agrees with. You think works done in agape are outside of faith?

  225. Kevin,

    “James, Here is the difference for me. In Romanism Christ isn’t Lord and savior, He is eternal victim. For us He is Lord and Savior.”

    Oh brother. Do you even try to stay on topic? Or do you just randomly switch around to your little pet issues/jabs whenever you cannot engage with replies? I guess next you might bring up the Inquisition or the Assumption. Just keep flinging spaghetti at the wall – see what sticks. Great approach for dialogue.

  226. James, ” You said You think works done in agape are outside of faith.” They are outside of faith if they are necessary for justification before God. Catholics have attacked the Supremacy of the Word, Sufficiency of the Son, Singularity of the Gospel, Sovereignty of God’s grace, Security of God’s children, Severity of God’s punishment.

  227. James, you said ” So good works in themselves don’t result in condemnation” For the wages of Sin is death. Like Eric told you its sin that results in condemnation. In RC God can be appeased by your sufferings, by penalties imposed by a priest and by afflictions imposed by God. These are said to atone for sins. This is the antithesis of Christianity.

  228. James–

    Hey, quit with the ethnic slurs already–flinging spaghetti against the wall, sheesh–don’t you realize that Kevin is a Dago, uh…, um…, I mean Italian?? 😉

    By the way, what happens when an Italian’s tires go flat? Dago wop-wop-wop-wop. (An Italian foreign-exchange student told me that one way back in high school.)

  229. James–

    You wrote:

    Which Trent agrees with. You think works done in agape are outside of faith?

    Yes, honestly, I do. Not that you or any Catholic believes that they are…consciously. But you call them synergistic. That alone to my mind places them outside of being done through faith (and thus by grace).

    Just admit that they are monergistic (which is implied when some of you say that not only cooperative grace is grace but our cooperation with that grace is grace) and all will be well between us on that score.

  230. James–

    As you probably already realize, but are reluctant to admit, your verses from 1 John prove too much if taken so literally. If anyone born of God cannot sin, you have actually proven some radical form of perfectionism (as was present in some circles in the early church). If the baptismally regenerate cannot sin, any mortal sin banishes one to hell without recourse.

    Besides, what chance is there that John would use the word “sin” in such absolutely different ways, separated by three short chapters? (Or with just one chapter intervening in the case of 1 John 3).

    I’m sorry, but your church’s interpretation is totally unbelievable.

  231. Eric, Thats it with you, time for the family If you know what I mean miseria! Reformed brotherhood only goes so far!

  232. Eric,

    “That alone to my mind places [the just’s works] outside of being done through faith (and thus by grace).”

    Hey let’s cite Trent again!
    “For, whereas Jesus Christ Himself continually infuses his virtue into the said justified,-as the head into the members, and the vine into the branches,-and this virtue always precedes and accompanies and follows their good works, which without it could not in any wise be pleasing and meritorious before God… Thus, neither is our own justice established as our own as from ourselves; nor is the justice of God ignored or repudiated: for that justice which is called ours, because that we are justified from its being inherent in us, that same is (the justice) of God, because that it is infused into us of God, through the merit of Christ. Neither is this to be omitted,-that although, in the sacred writings, so much is attributed to good works, that Christ promises, that even he that shall give a drink of cold water to one of his least ones, shall not lose his reward; and the Apostle testifies that, That which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; nevertheless God forbid that a Christian should either trust or glory in himself, and not in the Lord, whose bounty towards all men is so great, that He will have the things which are His own gifts be their merits.”

    “Just admit that they are monergistic (which is implied when some of you say that not only cooperative grace is grace but our cooperation with that grace is grace) and all will be well between us on that score.”

    So by this token, grace in both progressive sanctification and regeneration (must) work exactly the same way and hence both are monergistic. If you start saying things like “well it’s monergistic in a sense, but….” I’ll just say;
    “But you call your cooperation/works in sanctification something different than monergistic as in regeneration. That alone to my mind places them outside of being done through faith (and thus by grace).”

    “If anyone born of God cannot sin, you have actually proven some radical form of perfectionism (as was present in some circles in the early church). If the baptismally regenerate cannot sin, any mortal sin banishes one to hell without recourse. ”

    We’ve been over this before. Infused righteousness/agape does not entail wesleyan perfectionism. We sin in one sense, but not another. Christians have concupiscence and sin venially (which is compatible with agape and infused righteousness), but not mortally (which is incompatible). That’s how those verses of John are reconciled.

  233. James, You keep quoting Trent on initial justification. The issue is your works help you increase in further justification. You top me “We increase” This is a violation of Paul’ etching. Calling what Romans 5:1 describes past tense as final justification, initial justification is a violation of the fact Paul says it can’t ever be of works. For if its by grace……. You are on justification on the installment plan and your works merit you an increase of it and that is false gospel.

  234. James, That sentence should say You told me ” We increase” in justice. This violates Paul’s teaching.

  235. Kevin,

    “You keep quoting Trent on initial justification.”

    Um, no that citation of Trent is on additional justification – the section titled “On the fruit of Justification, that is, on the merit of good works, and on the nature of that merit. ” One can’t perform good works before initial justification. If you focus before replying instead of running to your bowl of spaghetti every time, dialogue is much more fruitful.

  236. James, ok sorry. Incidentally your on the family list with Eric for the Spaghetti comment! HA! Do you increase in grace and justice? Yes or no? Trent says to the one who works well to the end? You agree? Salvation is to be offered, not only as a gift but a reward to their merits and good works? You agree spaghetti bender? LOL

  237. Kevin–

    You didn’t include a smiley face with your comment. Should I fear for my life? Should I quick get my wife and kids into the witness protection program or something?

    Look at me…I’m shaking!

  238. James–

    Your “reconciliation” of 1 John 1…with 1 John 3 and 5…just doesn’t work. In 1 John 1:8, you interpret “sin” as venial sin.

    Therefore, in 1 John 5:18, you cannot interpret “sin” as venial sin without being in conflict with your interpretation of 1 John 1:8. But you also cannot interpret it as mortal sin because the verse before it makes clear that Christians can indeed sin mortally. Your only remaining choice is to do violence to the text and say that Christians cannot sin AND REMAIN IN A STATE OF GRACE. If you do this, however, you relegate mortal sinners to hell as 5:17 leaves no recourse for those who “sin unto death.”

    You would seem to be painted into a corner between a rock and a hard place with no way out.

  239. Eric, you got to be more trusting. Trust me your safe for at least today! Just kidding Love you bro!

  240. Kevin–

    Back in high school, I literally didn’t know any Italians, so the foreign-exchange student had to teach me the ethnic slurs. (By the by, he was quite the ladies man and “stole” the girl I had my eye on. But not to worry, I got her back.) At any rate, he would call himself the World Operations President (W.O.P.)

    So what happens to me…tomorrow?

  241. Kevin–

    By the way, my real name is Aloysius, and I live in a tenement on the outskirts of Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, with my five Russian Wolfhounds and a parakeet. I am unmarried at present but have my eyes on a diminutive Russian lady who has a Lhasa Apso or two. She takes them for a walk (or should I say, they take her) every morning just after daybreak, in the park directly across from my place of residence. Ah, me!

    Anyway. Just in case you wanted to track me down or anything….

  242. Eric, Non Ho deciso ancora per domani. I can tell you this Italian didn’t have any trouble getting the girls. I was engaged 4 times. But the one I married, we’ve been married for 28 years.

  243. Eric, thanks for the lead, I already had some of my guys in the Cammora in Southern Italy check out Ashgabat and i know your not really there!

  244. James, Why do support the flawed result of the Renaissance scholastics which chucked Augustines doctrines of grace for a meritorious cooperative model ( semi pelagian). The Bible always views God’s justification, for all its moral implications, as unilateral, immediate, entire, objective, alien, forensic. A verdict, just or unjust. 2 Corinthians 5:21 can’t mean a change in nature. God does not become an inherent sinner and we don’t become divine. But sin is counted to Christ and God’s righteousness is counted to us. Romans 8:1 no condemnation can’t mean” to make.” Again its an immediate verdict. God justifies forever the ungodly at the moment of faith.

  245. Kevin,

    “Why do support the flawed result of the Renaissance scholastics which chucked Augustines doctrines of grace for a meritorious cooperative model ( semi pelagian).”

    You clearly have no idea what Semi-Pelagianism is or what Augustine’s doctrines of grace were. Hint – he helped in formulating RC theology on cooperation and merit. And since you’ve conceded he was dead-wrong on justification because of linguistics, I guess his doctrine of grace somehow was completely isolated from his view of justification? Give me a break.
    If you want to actually substantiate your assertions for once, we can discuss them – it could start by giving an accurate definition of semi-pelagianism and then showing how RCism endorses such a view.

  246. James, Did not Augustine lay the foundation of sovereign grace being rooted in unconditional election?

  247. James, Augustine was the first to develop the doctrine of grace, taken not in the sense of divine attribute, but in the sense of the benefits which God thru Christ grants to us the church. You agree?

  248. Kevin,

    RCs can hold to unconditional election. If you don’t think that, I already linked you to Garrigou-Lagrange’s commentary on the Summa – predestination/election are not four-letter words. Thomists believe in intrinsically efficacious grace, Molinists extrinsically efficacious. RCs can hold to either, although regardless of the position, they must hold that sufficient grace is offered to all. And we distinguish between operative and cooperative grace – you seem to think RCism reduces all grace to cooperative, which is a mistake.

    As to your second question, Augustine held to infused righteousness in justification as well as theosis (by grace in adoption, not by nature-obliterating/confusing). We hold such sanctifying grace to be a divine quality infused into the soul.

  249. I constantly emailed this wweb site post page to all my associates, for the reason thhat if like to read it then my contacts wil too.

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