Faith, Works, Conversion of Heart and Co-operation

I am particularly interested in Lutheran belief regarding my questions. In the effort many of us Cats and Lutherans share in seeking a common/united faith regarding Justification and or salvation and how it is attained, I feel that the understanding of the terms ‘faith’, ‘works’, ‘conversion of heart’, and ‘believe in me’ must be broken down and agreed on what man’s participation in them include.

As it is, I think its too bad we don’t have a common agreement, and I can absolutely see a genuine goodness behind the ‘faith alone’ doctrine, while also seeing a genuine goodness in the ‘faith and works’ doctrine. Either or can have a good intended basis while not neglecting God’s grace behind, along and over the believer. To be honest, in itself, I see less of a potential for a misunderstood faith with the ‘faith alone’ doctrine. Yet, its only the defiant contempt for the Church’s position which brings a problem. And, properly understood, the Catholic position should not cause problem to the believer, but lead to a focus on the work of the Holy Spirit. Because no good work is from men, but from the Holy Spirit which descended through Jesus.

So my questions to discuss are these:

[LIST=1]
*]What is the work of God, and what is man’s co-operation with it?
*]What does it mean to ‘believe in Jesus’?
*]What is ‘conversion of heart’ and what is man’s co-operation in it?
*]What is ‘faith alone’ and what is man’s co-operation in it?
[/LIST]

As I see the doctrine of Faith Alone, I understand that we are saved apart from any work that we do, therefore we do not have an earned participation in justification and salvation, and good works are the result of a saving faith which cause increase of grace in the life of the Christian, having nothing to do with his justification.

As I see the Catholic doctrine of faith and works, I understand that we are justified/saved apart from works of the law, and attain, freely without co-operation the gift of faith (ultimately through Baptism) and then reception of Justifying grace is dependent on man’s free will to consent to the work of the Holy Spirit and thus participate in the conversion of heart (which is the first and principal work of the Holy Spirit). This is the basis of every good work done by the Holy Spirit through us, while every consequent work done increases the grace in the Christian.

P.S. I am welcome to any correction by my Catholic and Lutheran brothers/sisters for misrepresenting any doctrine. :thumbsup:

Thank you for this thread.

My take, as a layperson, is that this comment of yours,

the defiant contempt for the Church’s position

is uncomfortably on the mark. Maybe we don’t need to be quite so stubborn - it HAS been 500 years and a few things have changed.

The only part of the Catholic understanding of faith/works that makes me twitch a bit is the end -

while every consequent work done increases the grace in the Christian.

As a Lutheran, I would say that every consequent work done is EVIDENCE of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in the Christian. It’s not the volunteering at the soup kitchen that increases the grace in me, but my showing up each time is an indication that the Holy Spirit is drawing me farther from my own desires and closer to Christ.

Im glad you appreciate.

My take, as a layperson, is that this comment of yours, is uncomfortably on the mark. Maybe we don’t need to be quite so stubborn - it HAS been 500 years and a few things have changed.

True. And Catholics need to not be so knee jerk reactionary, because in themselves these doctrines arent necessarily off the mark, at least the principal essence.

The only part of the Catholic understanding of faith/works that makes me twitch a bit is the end -

As a Lutheran, I would say that every consequent work done is EVIDENCE of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in the Christian. It’s not the volunteering at the soup kitchen that increases the grace in me, but my showing up each time is an indication that the Holy Spirit is drawing me farther from my own desires and closer to Christ.

Ok, perhaps this is also my poor way of articulating it. I should have mentioned, that I am not using direct language of Church documents. I am welcome to either Catholics or non Roman Catholics to post them. I chose to primarily approach this discussion from my understanding of the doctrines.

So to your reaction to “…every consequent work done increases the grace in the Christian.” is understandable if taken as us earning grace by doing something apart from The Holy Spirit Himself leading, compelling, and stiring us to do what He has revealed in the first place. I was trying to convey the relation we have with Christ in the Holy Spirit. We have a place in participation, though in the feminine place with regard to us and Him. Our will consents to His from the moment of our conversion to its complete obedience. This is not different when we do good works which He has prepared for us. So what I meant to convey is that there are only two ways to go when confronted with the author of our faith. We either obey and increase in grace, or disobey and reject grace. In our daily lives, this becomes a matter of many various choices and levels of significance. The duty (though I try to allow love to compel as opose to fear of consequence) we have to receive the sacraments should strengthen us to opening our eyes and hearts to our daily activities. The Holy Spirit being in us directs us to what the Father has planned from the eternity. The more we participate in His plan, the more we will be filled with grace.

My thoughts generally echo Stilldreamn’s.

The serpent’s first temptation (“Eat it; you can be just like God!”) is the seed of all dangerous thoughts. That’s why I am uncomfortable using language that could be even remotely misinterpreted as placing our insignificance on the same plane as the unimaginable total-significance Who is the Beginning and the End.

While I know the Catholic Church does not teach that we can be like God, this seems to be a common enough misunderstanding among Catholics – especially when coupled with the idea that Grace is like some fluid matter that God drops into our empty cups when we behave ourselves. “If I’m really, really, really good, and I recite X amount of prayers, and I go to Mass X times per week, and I give X amount of dollars to the X Sisters of X, then I’ll get enough Grace to count as Saving Grace, and I’ll go to heaven because of how good I’ve been.”

Obviously, I’m being a bit dramatic here. It should be clear that this is not what the Catholic Church teaches (at least, as I understand and hope!), yet we see this all the time. How many copy-and-paste prayers did you see on Facebook today? How many Catholics struggle with scrupulosity? On the other end of that same spectrum, how many Catholics are convinced that simply being “good” on earth can get a non-Christian to heaven? If humans works are the only thing that matter, where does God fit in this paradigm? If I’m doing the work, then God isn’t; and that’s falling for the serpent’s trap. No, I’ll not take credit for any good that God does through me. I’ll just stay His humble servant, and receive His immeasurable Grace through the Sacraments and the Word. Bach had the right idea: Soli Deo Gloria.

What does this tell me? Not that the Catholic Church misunderstands justification. Not that the Catholic paradigm isn’t responsible for beneficial practices that have emerged. Only that, in my opinion, the Lutheran expression of the process of justification is clearer.

Of course, none of the above denies that a real transformation takes place in the heart of a believer in Lutheran thinking, either. Yet when the Lutheran expression is misunderstood, then we have fools who think they can avoid good works altogether. But Faith and Works are “as inseparable as heat and light from a flame.”

Perhaps humans simply lack the means to adequately explain God’s Grace.

Meh. Meant to reply briefly. Turned into a manifesto. Sorry.

Yes, a fear of placing works as the cause and merit of our justification before God has many people high tailing it away from the Catholic Church. I think genuine Catholics take up a responsibility to understand, live and share that this is far from the truth. But it takes special recognition to combat the tendancy, or the evil influence.

While I know the Catholic Church does not teach that we can be like God, this seems to be a common enough misunderstanding among Catholics – especially when coupled with the idea that Grace is like some fluid matter that God drops into our empty cups when we behave ourselves. “If I’m really, really, really good, and I recite X amount of prayers, and I go to Mass X times per week, and I give X amount of dollars to the X Sisters of X, then I’ll get enough Grace to count as Saving Grace, and I’ll go to heaven because of how good I’ve been.”

Be like God? That can be viewed in complete opposite ways. Be Godly, or be as God.

Deserving or earning heaven should be firmly condemned. I would expect there are many Church teachings against it, but for some reason, there are lukewarm, cafeteria Catholics who succum to this wicked lie. And why does the Catholic Church have sooo many of these insincere members???

Obviously, I’m being a bit dramatic here. It should be clear that this is not what the Catholic Church teaches (at least, as I understand and hope!), yet we see this all the time. How many copy-and-paste prayers did you see on Facebook today? How many Catholics struggle with scrupulosity? On the other end of that same spectrum, how many Catholics are convinced that simply being “good” on earth can get a non-Christian to heaven? If humans works are the only thing that matter, where does God fit in this paradigm? If I’m doing the work, then God isn’t; and that’s falling for the serpent’s trap. No, I’ll not take credit for any good that God does through me. I’ll just stay His humble servant, and receive His immeasurable Grace through the Sacraments and the Word. Bach had the right idea: Soli Deo Gloria.

Are the good works which participate with the Holy Spirit just human works?

What does this tell me? Not that the Catholic Church misunderstands justification. Not that the Catholic paradigm isn’t responsible for beneficial practices that have emerged. Only that, in my opinion, the Lutheran expression of the process of justification is clearer.

I think it would have been easier to find a local bible church in the neighborhood and just stick with faith alone. And probably find salvation. But I want to be obedient and defend what is ultimately true.

Of course, none of the above denies that a real transformation takes place in the heart of a believer in Lutheran thinking, either. Yet when the Lutheran expression is misunderstood, then we have fools who think they can avoid good works altogether. But Faith and Works are “as inseparable as heat and light from a flame.”

Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

Perhaps humans simply lack the means to adequately explain God’s Grace.

True, but we are trying to agree on how it is received. Either we participate in attaining the gift of life, or we just get it given to us and He picks and chooses who loses. Either faith and works are from the same conversion of heart and neither are the cause of justification, or neither are. Because faith alone is certainly not a cause of our salvation anymore than the works which come from that same faith would be.

Meh. Meant to reply briefly. Turned into a manifesto. Sorry.

Dont apologize, I was happy to see your post:thumbsup:

Rcwitness, Thanks for such a positive thread!

I think this articles deals with the distinctions:

chnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/salvation.pdf

Justification By Faith
By Dr. William Marshner

Finally, however, there comes a third stage, that of actual Christian life, with its problems of growth and perseverance. The man justified by faith is called to “walk” with God, to progress in holiness. It is at this stage that the parties sharply diverge. Catholics affirm, and Protestants strenuously deny, that the born-again Christian’s good works merit for him the increase of grace and of the Christian virtues. As a result, Protestant piety has no obvious place for the self- sacrifices, fasts, and states of perfection which are prominent features of Catholic piety. At each stage, neither the apparent agreements nor the apparent disagreements can be understood without looking at certain metaphysical quarrels, the chief of which is over the very existence of what
Catholics call “grace.”… The Church Fathers and their successors, the Scholastic Doctors, took the trouble to work out such a metaphysics because the existence of grace as a real entity in man—ontic grace—was and is the foundation, without which the whole Catholic understanding of justification makes no sense. The Protestant Reformers, however, impatient with metaphysics, preferred not to cope with such an entity and denied its existence.4 To them it seemed simpler to say that grace is something wholly in God, namely, His favor towards us. But then, if grace is not something real in man, our “justification” can no longer be conceived as a real change in us; it will have to become a sheer declaration on God’s part, e.g. a declaration that, thanks to the work of Christ, He will henceforth consider us as just, even though we remain inwardly the sinners we always were. Hence, the Protestant doctrine of “forensic” or “extrinsic” justification. Now watch what happens to our own act of faith: it ceases to be the foundational act of an interior renewal and becomes a mere requirement, devoid of any salvific power in its own right, which God arbitrarily sets as the condition on which He will He will declare us just. Whereupon, watch what happens to our good works: they cease to be the vital acts wherein an ontologically real “new life” consists and manifests itself; they become mere human responses to divine mercy—nice, but totally irrelevant to our justification—or else they become zombie-like motions produced in us by irresistible divine impulses, whereby God exhibits His glory in His elect.

I forgot where I got this quotes:

Justification by Mcgrath

Alister Mcgrath quotes: Reformation Thoughts

Whereas Augustine taught that the sinner is made righteous in justification, Melanchthon taught that he is counted as righteous or pronounced to be righteous. For Augustine, ‘justifying righteousness’ is imparted; for Melanchthon, it is imputed in the sense of being declared or pronounced to be righteous. Melanchthon drew a sharp distinction between the event of being declared righteous and the process of being made righteous, designating the former ‘justification’ and the latter ‘sanctification’ or regeneration.’ For Augustine, these were simply different aspects of the same thing… The importance of this development lies in the fact that it marks a complete break with the teaching of the church up to that point. From the time of Augustine onwards, justification had always been understood to refer to both the event of being declared righteous and the process of being made righteous. Melanchthon’s concept of forensic justification diverged radically from this. As it was taken up by virtually all the major reformers subsequently, it came to represent a standard difference between Protestant and Roman Catholic from then on…The Council of Trent…reaffirmed the views of Augustine on the nature of justification… the concept of forensic justification actually represents a development in Luther’s thought… Trent maintained the medieval tradition, stretching back to Augustine, which saw justification as comprising both an event and a process…

Starting with Augustine, the Roman Catholic tradition has understood justification as the entire process by which God forgives and then transforms Christians. Based on their reading of the use of “justification” in Paul’s letters, the Reformers took justification to refer specifically to God’s forgiveness and acceptance. The term “sanctification” was used to refer to the lifelong process of transformation. Thus the Roman Catholic term “justification” effectively includes both what Protestants refer to as “justification” and “sanctification.” This difference in definitions can result in confusion, effectively exaggerating the disagreement. However the difference in definitions reflects a difference in substance. In the Protestant concept, justification is a status before God that is entirely the result of God’s activity and that continues even when humans sin. Thus using different words for justification and sanctification reflects a distinction between aspects of salvation that are entirely the result of God’s activity, and those that involve human cooperation. The Roman Catholic tradition uses a single term, in part, because it does not recognize a distinction of this type. For the Roman Catholic tradition, while everything originates with God, the entire process of justification requires human cooperation, and serious sin compromises it.[1]

The Catholic tradition, following Augustine, has identified justifying works as those works performed by the regenerate, i.e., the baptized, i.e., the justified. Works do not bring bring about the state of justification–God does this gratuitously in the sacrament of baptism–but they do contribute to our growth in justification. Please note that in the traditional Latin usage, “justification” comprehends initial justification, growth in justification (sanctification), and final justification. Hence it is meaningful for Catholics to speak of works as justifying–not in the sense that they earn God’s favor, not in the sense that they effect the transition from a state of sin to a state of righteousness, but in the sense that they contribute to our growth in holiness and sanctity and thus deepen our communion with the Holy Trinity

And also this. So much this.

Hi rcwitness - great topic. I’ll keep this in my mind and try to reply later (from a Reformed perspective, which is broadly similar to the Lutheran view).
I wrote a little blog post about justification the other day which might prove useful - and might not!

burnleyreformer.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/how-do-we-get-right-with-god/

My job has taken me to six different Catholic parishes in the last year, and I will defiantly say that Catholics do a much better job of “working out their salvation in fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12) than what I’ve seen in Lutheran circles.

I think that comes from the Catholic understand of justification, and to an extent, I think Lutherans should almost never say “We are justified by faith” without adding “and we respond to God’s grace with works of mercy” immediately afterwards.

In my estimation, It’s think it’s fair to say that Catholics do a better job on “working out their salvation in fear in trembling” (Philippians 2:12)

Almost to a point what then us Lutheran mention “Grace though faith” we should immediately follow with “and that we are called respond with works of mercy.”

Our Catholic friends are generous to the poor and the week, and we Lutherans should defiantly emulate them - not that we’re slouches, but that Catholics do show us an ideal.

(This may wind up being a duplicate post, sorry in advance)

Hi Michael.
Great thread idea. Thanks for offering it.

What is the work of God, and what is man’s co-operation with it?

God’s work is grace, made available to us by the once for all sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Further, he send His grace through through word and sacrament, typically beginning in Baptism, where faith is kindled and grows by the power of the Holy Spirit.

What does it mean to ‘believe in Jesus’?

Luther says, “Thus faith is a divine work in us, that changes us and regenerates us of God, and puts to death the old Adam, makes us entirely different men in heart, spirit, mind, and all powers, and brings with it [confers] the Holy Ghost. Oh, it is a living, busy, active, powerful thing that we have in faith, so that it is impossible for it not to do good without ceasing.”
and
"[Justifying] faith is a living, bold [firm] trust in God’s grace, so certain that a man would die a thousand times for it [rather than suffer this trust to be wrested from him]. And this trust and knowledge of divine grace renders joyful, fearless, and cheerful towards God and all creatures, which [joy and cheerfulness] the Holy Ghost works through faith; "

What is ‘conversion of heart’ and what is man’s co-operation in it?

Conversion of the heart is, again, the Holy Spirit’s work in us, that changing and regenerating work of God in us.

What is ‘faith alone’ and what is man’s co-operation in it?

Faith alone simply means that, “poor sinful man is justified before God, that is, absolved and declared free and exempt from all his sins, and from the sentence of well-deserved condemnation, and adopted into sonship and heirship of eternal life, without any merit or worth of our own, also without any preceding, present, or any subsequent works, out of pure grace, because of the sole merit, complete obedience, bitter suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord Christ alone, whose obedience is reckoned to us for righteousness.”

The only work / cooperation man is capable of doing is a rejection of grace. The regenerate, justified man receives grace, and freed from sin death and the devil, does good works from a free spirit, guided by the Holy Spirit.

Jon

Michael,
One thing I have been considering recently,and pondering over, are the following canons from the Council of Orange 529:

Canon 3. If anyone says that the grace of God can be conferred as a result of human prayer, but that it is not grace itself which makes us pray to God, he contradicts the prophet Isaiah, or the Apostle who says the same thing, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me” (Rom 10:20, quoting Isa. 65:1).

Canon 4. If anyone maintains that God awaits our will to be cleansed from sin, but does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the infusion and working of the Holy Spirit, he resists the Holy Spirit himself who says through Solomon, “The will is prepared by the Lord” (Prov. 8:35, LXX), and the salutary word of the Apostle, “For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

Canon 5. If anyone says that not only the increase of faith but also its beginning and the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly and comes to the regeneration of holy baptism — if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, it is proof that he is opposed to the teaching of the Apostles, for blessed Paul says, “And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). And again, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). For those who state that the faith by which we believe in God is natural make all who are separated from the Church of Christ by definition in some measure believers.

Canon 6. If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7), and, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10).

Canon 7. If anyone affirms that we can form any right opinion or make any right choice which relates to the salvation of eternal life, as is expedient for us, or that we can be saved, that is, assent to the preaching of the gospel through our natural powers without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who makes all men gladly assent to and believe in the truth, he is led astray by a heretical spirit, and does not understand the voice of God who says in the Gospel, “For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), and the word of the Apostle, “Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5).

ISTM that in these canons we may find a common ground, a foundation if you will, where our understanding of soteriology meets, and can grow.

Thoughts?

Jon

Im so glad you guys think this. I have been opening my heart to a better approach to discussion here, and you have confirmed what I hoped to do, namely as a possitive based fellowship. That means not throwing protagonistic arguments at others, but actually looking at what I love about others faith and establishing that as the grounds to fellowship.

Like the issue of Sola Scriptura also, too many Catholics are fear driven to hammer against personal interpretations, that we dont see how this can provoke others to anger. There are too many Spirit opened hearts finding Jesus in the Scriptures to harp on their disagreements. We need to have more trust in the Lord, that those who genuinely seek Him will be led to Him, by Him.

If I, as a Catholic, feel obligated (yet compelled out of love) to observe things as from the Lord, then I ought to first do so, and then am able to show fruits of that obedience to others in my attempt to win them over.

:thumbsup:

Absolutely! Great Teaching resource to apply Jon. I hope to post some thoughts soon.

Of course. I know it is an old wound. But some of us just want to be done with the barrier, right?

God’s work is grace, made available to us by the once for all sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Further, he send His grace through through word and sacrament, typically beginning in Baptism, where faith is kindled and grows by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Yes. And as Christ told us, This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.

I am not trying to insert works in order to support a doctrine which I think is trying to push a works based salvation. And I know you dont see the doctrine of justification through faith and works as such.

Luther says, “Thus faith is a divine work in us, that changes us and regenerates us of God, and puts to death the old Adam, makes us entirely different men in heart, spirit, mind, and all powers, and brings with it [confers] the Holy Ghost. Oh, it is a living, busy, active, powerful thing that we have in faith, so that it is impossible for it not to do good without ceasing.”
and
"[Justifying] faith is a living, bold [firm] trust in God’s grace, so certain that a man would die a thousand times for it [rather than suffer this trust to be wrested from him]. And this trust and knowledge of divine grace renders joyful, fearless, and cheerful towards God and all creatures, which [joy and cheerfulness] the Holy Ghost works through faith; "

Is any of this something where the Catholic Church has differed with? Maybe, if anything, the Church would call this Faith and Works. The faith part being the mere belief and the works part being the living trust and consent?

Conversion of the heart is, again, the Holy Spirit’s work in us, that changing and regenerating work of God in us.

Here is not a point of disagreement unless you dont acount for the consentual, putting aside of the self and pride, in order to be filled with this Spirit.

Faith alone simply means that, “poor sinful man is justified before God, that is, absolved and declared free and exempt from all his sins, and from the sentence of well-deserved condemnation, and adopted into sonship and heirship of eternal life, without any merit or worth of our own, also without any preceding, present, or any subsequent works, out of pure grace, because of the sole merit, complete obedience, bitter suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord Christ alone, whose obedience is reckoned to us for righteousness.”

I wouldnt see this as anti Roman Catholic.

The only work / cooperation man is capable of doing is a rejection of grace. The regenerate, justified man receives grace, and freed from sin death and the devil, does good works from a free spirit, guided by the Holy Spirit.

This is the tiny bit of difference which Trent seemed to hold to. And drawing from St Augustines as regards man able to freely make a decision for Christ, not without the necessary assistance of His love, but ON ACCOUNT of His love and being moved by His love.

Jon

Canon 3. If anyone says that the grace of God can be conferred as a result of human prayer, but that it is not grace itself which makes us pray to God, he contradicts the prophet Isaiah, or the Apostle who says the same thing, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me” (Rom 10:20, quoting Isa. 65:1).

Canon 4. If anyone maintains that God awaits our will to be cleansed from sin, but does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the infusion and working of the Holy Spirit, he resists the Holy Spirit himself who says through Solomon, “The will is prepared by the Lord” (Prov. 8:35, LXX), and the salutary word of the Apostle, “For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

Good stuff here. God did not, nor does he ever wait for our will to come to Him. It says that our will is cleansed also. However, it does not say that our will is made obsolete, rather prepared.

Canon 5. If anyone says that not only the increase of faith but also its beginning and the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly and comes to the regeneration of holy baptism — if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, it is proof that he is opposed to the teaching of the Apostles, for blessed Paul says, “And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). And again, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). For those who state that the faith by which we believe in God is natural make all who are separated from the Church of Christ by definition in some measure believers.

This is ackowledging the grace behind, within and above salvation. Paul is not seperating the works of the Holy Spirit which come from that faith. He is showing that no work from us has earned the free gift of salvation.

Canon 6. If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or** if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle** who says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7), and, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10).
This is very powerfull. And this ought to be the settlement for us. Somehow, Trent made a distinction. I would like to look at that distinction.

Canon 7. If anyone affirms that we can form any right opinion or make any right choice which relates to the salvation of eternal life, as is expedient for us, or that we can be saved, that is, assent to the preaching of the gospel through our natural powers without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who makes all men gladly assent to and believe in the truth, he is led astray by a heretical spirit, and does not understand the voice of God who says in the Gospel, “For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), and the word of the Apostle, “Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5).

Here, I think all Catholics should be aware that the HERETICAL SPIRIT can and does exist within the hearts of million of Catholics worldwide. This is a troubling thought, yet it answers many questions as to how so much sin and dead faith is so prevalent within the Church and especially our catechesis. Oh, how I would that God makes me a counter agent against this spirit!

ISTM that in these canons we may find a common ground, a foundation if you will, where our understanding of soteriology meets, and can grow.

Thats definitely a good place for us to commune. :thumbsup:

BTW, Is this council accepted by Rome? It does not seem to be numbered :shrug:

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