The concept is simple, we are saved by grace through faith. I understand but recently had a conversation where the notion of being saved by “faith through grace” was compared and differentiated from being saved by grace through faith.
Is it confusing to anyone else that, like the chicken vs the egg, one may necessarily be pre requisite for the other?
I mean we are all graced by our creation in the image and likeness of God from conception so that grace is not contingent on faith first. Its been a long day and I was going to wait and ask what you all thought tomorrow but I’m anxious to hear if I’m just complicating something that is actually very simple or not.
Thanks in advance and God Bless.
Faith is a response to God’s calling, to grace. But it’s a response that we’re never forced to make. The following is from the Catechism:
**1989 The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit is conversion, effecting justification in accordance with Jesus’ proclamation at the beginning of the Gospel: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."38 Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high. "Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man.39
But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
1993 Justification establishes cooperation between God’s grace and man’s freedom. On man’s part it is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, and in the cooperation of charity with the prompting of the Holy Spirit who precedes and preserves his assent:
When God touches man’s heart through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself is not inactive while receiving that inspiration, since he could reject it; and yet, without God’s grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God’s sight.42 **
The Catholic Catechism on GRACE:
CCC 1996 Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.
CCC 1997 Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ, the Head of his Body. As an “adopted son” he can henceforth call God “Father,” in union with the only Son. He receives the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him and who forms the Church.
CCC 1998 This vocation to eternal life is supernatural. It depends entirely on God’s gratuitous initiative, for he alone can reveal and give himself. It surpasses the power of human intellect and will, as that of every other creature.
CCC 1999 The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification:
Therefore if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.
CCC 2000 Sanctifying grace is an habitual gift, a stable and supernatural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by his love. Habitual grace, the permanent disposition to live and act in keeping with God’s call, is distinguished from actual graces which refer to God’s interventions, whether at the beginning of conversion or in the course of the work of sanctification.
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.
CCC 2002 God’s free initiative demands man’s free response, for God has created man in his image by conferring on him, along with freedom, the power to know him and love him. The soul only enters freely into the communion of love. God immediately touches and directly moves the heart of man. He has placed in man a longing for truth and goodness that only he can satisfy. The promises of “eternal life” respond, beyond all hope, to this desire:
If at the end of your very good works . . ., you rested on the seventh day, it was to foretell by the voice of your book that at the end of our works, which are indeed “very good” since you have given them to us, we shall also rest in you on the sabbath of eternal life.
CCC 2003 Grace is first and foremost the gift of the Spirit who justifies and sanctifies us. But grace also includes the gifts that the Spirit grants us to associate us with his work, to enable us to collaborate in the salvation of others and in the growth of the Body of Christ, the Church. There are sacramental graces, gifts proper to the different sacraments. There are furthermore special graces, also called charisms after the Greek term used by St. Paul and meaning “favor,” “gratuitous gift,” “benefit.” Whatever their character - sometimes it is extraordinary, such as the gift of miracles or of tongues - charisms are oriented toward sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. They are at the service of charity which builds up the Church.
CCC 2004 Among the special graces ought to be mentioned the graces of state that accompany the exercise of the responsibilities of the Christian life and of the ministries within the Church:
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
CCC 2005 Since it belongs to the supernatural order, grace escapes our experience and cannot be known except by faith. We cannot therefore rely on our feelings or our works to conclude that we are justified and saved. However, according to the Lord’s words “Thus you will know them by their fruits” - reflection on God’s blessings in our life and in the lives of the saints offers us a guarantee that grace is at work in us and spurs us on to an ever greater faith and an attitude of trustful poverty.
A pleasing illustration of this attitude is found in the reply of St. Joan of Arc to a question posed as a trap by her ecclesiastical judges: “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.’”
One thing to keep in mind is that faith does not always imply the presence of sanctifying grace.
However the presence of sanctifying grace always implies the presence of faith.
God makes the first move. This is called God’s prevenient grace.
God HAS to make the first move.
This is not a bone of contention between Catholics and Protestants by the way.
Catholics and Protestants BOTH affirm God makes the first move. We both assert the belief in God’s prevenient grace.
The Semi-Pelagians (erroneously) taught that we could approach God first.
From Wikipedia . . .
In Semipelagian thought, therefore, a distinction is made between the beginning of faith and the increase of faith. Semipelagian thought teaches that the latter half - growing in faith - is the work of God, while the beginning of faith is an act of free will, with grace supervening only later. It too was labeled heresy by the Western Church in the Second Council of Orange in 529.
After God makes this first move, we by His grace respond too. But His grace mysteriously does not force our free will.
We have a natural faith assuming we assert what God puts in all our hearts and gives us via our experiences.
St. Paul puts it this way . . .
ROMANS 1:19-20 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse;
As we respond with our natural faith, we are Baptized and then in Baptism, we receive a supernatural faith (and hope, and charity).
St. John in John 2 contrasts a natural faith and a supernatural faith.
The CCC talks about faith being a grace and grace being a human act in CCC 153 and 154.
Once we have these supernaturalized graces, we are expected to respond to the graces God gave us (and continues to give us). We are called to cooperate with God’s grace.
St. Paul reminds us of this concept here . . .
2nd CORINTHIANS 6:1 1 Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain.
Hope that helps.
Thank you. This is what I was gonna say , but you saved me the trouble.
Thank you all for the input.
It makes total sense when I read your comments but I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the use of “through” in the scriptural verse in Ephesians 2:8
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
It seems to say that Grace must be transmitted “through” faith which would imply that without faith God does not grace us. I know that is not true, that we receive prevenient grace as Cathoholic posted.
Is there any verse that says we are saved by faith through grace? That would imply our faith is possible only because of God’s graces in the first place which also makes sense to me, even more so.
I’ll promise not to drag this out much longer and appreciate your patience with me but you know how it is when your trying to work through these things. Glad its not a point of contention between C and P but I think this all started because a P preacher I was listening to tried to convince his audience that we are saved by faith through grace.
Its the by and the through, aka chicken and the egg thing I’m really stuck on.
The lyrics of Amazing Grace have done much to confuse people.
Faith is simply* our response. Paul isn’t saying that we can initiate salvation-or save ourselves. We’re lost*. We don’t have a clue where we came from, if anywhere, what we’re here for, if anything, and where we’re going, if anywhere-if not for Jesus. To be ‘saved through faith’ means that, as the Council of Trent put it, faith is the beginning, the root and foundation of justification-and therefore of salvation. We’re not saved simply by believing and trusting in Christ, in His words and deeds, as if nothing else mattered; rather we’re saved by entering into communion with God, apart from Whom we can do nothing. (John 15:5). Faith is knowledge of and relationship with God. And this relationship begins formally with the “Sacrament of Faith”, Baptism, which He’s provided for this purpose.
Another Scriptural help from Jesus
" No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him" Jn 6:44