While that is common, it need not be that way. God tells each of us after he offers his merciful reconciliation, “Go, and sin no more” (Jn 8:11). I don’t believe that God demands of us something he doesn’t equip us to achieve. When we fall from grace, we aren’t doing something inevitable, as some seem to think. God tells us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9). Despite our weakness, by the grace of God we are given a Divine gift, the perfect power to remain in Him.
Yet, the greatest of all God’s gifts is love. Love requires freedom, or else it is not authentic love. He won’t force Himself upon us. We can reject his gifts. If we remain or return to our “prodigal” ways, no longer choosing to remain “in Him,” we become spiritually dead, until we repent and turn again to be reconciled in Him, by Him.
- If one has that sense of urgency and overwhelming desire to flee intoo God’s grace and love, is this a sign of one no longer being spiritually dead before God?
I think it is dependent upon the chief motive of our sorrow. If the principal reason for our sorrow is fear of punishment, then this “fear” is also a gracious gift of God, and an “actual” grace. It does not in itself sanctify or justify. Yet, sorrow chiefly based upon fear can move a sinner toward repentence and reconciliation with God who is love. Such “imperfect contrition” alone does not transform a “spiritually dead” sinner to be “alive again” in Christ. When imperfect contrition is acted upon in the manner willed by God, that is, when the sinner cooperates with this “actual grace” in turning to God and doing the “deeds” worthy of repentance, then God and man are reconciled and man is no longer “spiritually dead.” Turning to God in the sacrament of reconciliation, the “oath” of our covenant, is that deed worthy of our repentance.
Yet, in some cases, the motive of our desire to flee into God’s grace is not principally due to “fear” of punishment, but can be chiefly due to the love of God, who is most deserving of all our love. This is called “perfect contrition”, not because of a perfect “degree” of sorrow, but because of the “kind” of sorrow, which is a “contrition of charity,” and because “Love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Pet 4:8). This “perfect contrition” is necessarily joined with the desire to received the sacrament of reconciliation, yet perfect contrition alone signifies that we are no longer being spiritually dead before God.
Also, what does it mean to be no longer be justified before God?
“Justified before God” means “being mad righteous by God.” It is “the gracious action of God which frees us from sin and communicates ‘the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ’ (Rom 3:22). Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man” [Catechism of the Catholic Church, glossary; cf. CCC 1987-1989]. Consequently, when we are no longer justified before God, we are not remitted from sin and do not possess the righteousness of God, nor sanctification.
Is this the same as those not Baptised?
There is a initial translation from the state in which man is born a child of the first Adam (i.e. not-justified), to the state of grace and the adoption of the sons of God through Jesus Christ (justified). This initial translation cannot occur, except through the sacrament of Baptism or its desire. So, they are not justified prior to receiving the grace of justification by baptism or its desire. Those who have been baptized are given all the supernatural help from God to “go, and sin no more” and therefore remain justified, if they freely co-operate with the grace they’ve been given. If they fall from grace, they can be restored to God’s grace through contrition, reconciliation, and penance.
I think this prompts my same question as before: what does it mean to no longer be sanctified or justified, in terms of our living relationship with God?
Scripture teaches us that justification is not a ‘one-time’ event, but instead must be ongoing in our lives. “Let the just be justified still” (Rev 22:11).
The Church teaches:
Having, therefore, been thus justified and made the friends and domestics of God,[Eph 2:19] advancing from virtue to virtue,[Ps. 83:8] they are renewed, as the Apostle says, day by day,[2 Cor 4:16] that is, mortifying the members [Col 3:5] of their flesh, and presenting them as instruments of justice unto sanctification,[Rom. 6:13, 19] 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;[Rev 22:11] and, Be not afraid to be justified even to death;[Ecclus. 18:22] and again, Do you see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only?[Jam 2:24] This increase of justice holy Church asks for when she prays: “Give unto us, O Lord, an increase of faith, hope and charity.”
[Council of Trent, decree on Justification, ch. 10]
If we choose contrary to God’s will, choosing to not work together (co-operate) with God, we can be described as it says in Scripture, to “***accept the grace of God in ***vain” (2 Cor 6:1), to “fall away from the living God” (Heb 3:12; cf. Mk 4:17), to be those “severed from Christ” and “fallen away from grace” (Gal 5:4).