**No one ought to flatter himself up with faith alone, fancying that by faith alone he is made an heir, and will obtain the inheritance. . . . **
Sadly, there are plenty of people (both in Catholic and Evangelical circles) who think they can earn they way to heaven by being a good enough person.
Unfortunately I think there is some truth to that lanman87 but I haven't seen any of that here on this thread.
Sadly, there are plenty of people (both in Catholic and Evangelical circles) who think they can earn they way to heaven by their faith too.
But fortunately we have the Bible and the reassertion from the Council of Trent against thinking your faith or works can merit initial justification.
COUNCIL OF TRENT . . . . 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.
Likewise Trent condemns the notion of being justified in any sense via "the law" (such as circumcision) or by mere natural law (works on your own).
COUNCIL OF TRENT If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or through the teaching of the law, without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.
Once you are children of God, then you DO have "Divine grace" and you are expected to cooperate with Christ WORKING in and through you.
Faith IS utterly foundational . . . .
COUNCIL OF 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.
Then you MUST cooperate with your justification after that "moment".
On the increase of Justification received.
COUNCIL OF 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 mortifying the members of their own flesh, and by presenting them as instruments of justice unto sanctification, they, through the observance of the commandments of God and of the Church, faith co-operating with good works, increase in that justice which they have received through the grace of Christ, and are still further justified, as it is written; He that is just, let him be justified still; and again, Be not afraid to be justified even to death; and also, Do you see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. And this increase of justification holy Church begs, when she prays, "Give unto us, O Lord, increase of faith, hope, and charity."
More from the Council of Trent . . .
COUNCIL OF TRENT For God forsakes not those who have been once justified by His grace, unless he be first forsaken by them. Wherefore, no one ought to flatter himself up with faith alone, fancying that by faith alone he is made an heir, and will obtain the inheritance, even though he suffer not with Christ, that so he may be also glorified with him. For even Christ Himself, as the Apostle saith, Whereas he was the son of God, learned obedience by the things which he suffered, and being consummated, he became, to all who obey him, the cause of eternal salvation.
And the condemnation of the heresy of justification by faith ALONE . . . .
*CANON XII * If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ's sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema.
COUNCIL OF TRENT CANON IX 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.
COUNCIL OF TRENT CANON XX If any one saith, that the man who is justified and how perfect soever, is not bound to observe the commandments of God and of the Church, but only to believe; as if indeed the Gospel were a bare and absolute promise of eternal life, without the condition of observing the commandments ; let him be anathema.