After persons are justified by becoming Christians in baptism and entering the state of grace, can we be justified to a greater extent, or have an increase of faith, hope, and charity, by faith and good words, OR is justification just a simple case of on or off, justified or not, with no possible increase?
It’s like a marriage or adoption, your relationship can grow with your spouse/parents, and it should.
Yes! And there’s no end to the amount of justice we can grow in because the model is God, Himself, whose image we’re to be transformed into. Here’s the Council of Trent speaking on it, session 6:
THE INCREASE OF THE JUSTIFICATION RECEIVED
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, mortifying the members of their flesh, and presenting them as instruments of justice unto sanctification, they, through the observance of the commandments of God and of the Church, faith cooperating with good works, increase in that justice received through the grace of Christ and are further justified, as it is written:
He that is just, let him be justified still; and, Be not afraid to be justified even to death; and again, Do you see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only?
This increase of justice holy Church asks for when she prays:
“Give unto us, O Lord, an increase of faith, hope and charity.”
I posted this a few days ago thought it might help.
As a Catholic we believe the Sacraments instituted by Jesus help us to remain in a state of grace.
So like you said we enter into a state of grace when we are baptized. But it doesn’t stop there. When we receive the sacraments God gives us more grace. When we do acts of Charity, God gives us more grace. etc…
Think about it this way. Catholics believe grace is a gift given to us from God that strengthens us and draws us closer to Him. We believe through the sacraments God gives us more grace. We believe through acts of charity and love God gives us more graces. Most protestants I talk to (not claiming all of them, don’t know) say it is a one time event. Basically there faith gives them 1 grace which gets them to heaven. Some believe they can lose that 1 grace some don’t.
Anyway, Based on the above beliefs who do you think is going to be closer to God (justified to a greater extent)?
Guy A who goes to church for one hour on Sundays and goes about his life the rest of the week.
Guy B who goes to Church everyday, reads the Bible everyday, volunteers at homeless shelters, gives to the poor, participates in Church functions, etc…
I believe, as I am sure you do, that Guy B is going to be closer to God.
Now here’s the kicker.
I believe Guy B is closer because God merited him additional graces for his actions. Basically, he is only closer to God because of what God gave him.
For the people who don’t believe God merits us additional grace, why and how can Guy B be closer to God? Is it something God did for him or is it something Guy B did?
Don’t ever let anyone minimize the role works play in our salvation. God didn’t give us good works because He needed our help to get us to heaven. He gave us good works because we need them to learn how to love perfectly. And like any good Father He rewards us, when we try, even though the task would be impossible without Him.
Hope this helps,
That was good MT. And the Parable of the Talents aligns with your scenario, beautifully describing this whole dynamic of grace leading to more grace.
Can you please share a link where I can read the whole chapter?
This is the whole text resulting from session 6 of the Council of Trent. This is where the Church laid out its position on justification more thoroughly than it ever had before, largely in response to the Reformation which was happening at the time.
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