Losing Sanctifying Grace (& a question regarding KK's What Catholics Really Believe)


Hello - I am a new convert to the Church (baptized Catholic, raised Baptist, most recently Lutheran) and as one might suspect, one of the doctrinal issues I’m wrestling with (actually, it may be the only one, praise God!) is the notion of losing one’s salvation. I have for some time believed that it was only logical that one could willingly discard one’s faith by purposely turning from God. However, I’ve been trying to understand the specifics of the doctrine that we can lose our salvation through sin, and then need to regain it through confession, penance and the Eucharist.

Karl Keating’s apologetics have helped me immensely in my conversion. But I’ve found a seeming contradiction in What Catholics Really Believe. This illustrates perfectly the troubles I’m having with this doctrine.

It may very well be that I am misreading the section in question. On page 103 (Ignatius Press edition), topic 37 (Reason plays no role in our salvation. We just have to believe.) Keating is explaining actual grace and sanctifying grace. About sanctifying grace he says:

*Sanctifying grace, which elevates the soul so it is capable of living in heaven, is a permanent quality by which we share the divine life (Jn 14:6, 15:5), become partakers in the divine nature (2 Pt 1:4), receive adoption as the children of God (Rom 8:15, Gal 4:5, Eph 1:5, 1 Jn 1:3, 1 Pt 1:23), and are made temples of the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:1, 8:11). We lose sanctifying grace through mortal sin, regain it through confession, and increase it through other sacraments, particularly the Eucharist. *
I’ve bolded the problematic phrases. First he says sanctifying grace is permanent, then in the next sentence he says that we lose it through mortal sin. Can someone explain this apparent contradiction to me? If we are saved through grace, and that grace is permanent, how can we lose it through sinning?

Thanks and God bless,


The word permanent means lasting or intended to last a relatively long time or indefinitely without change. I think he used the word permanent to mean “intended to last indefinitely without change.” The key word is* intended.*

In other words, Sanctifying grace, which elevates the soul so it is capable of living in heaven, is a quality intended to last indefinitely without change by which we share the divine life

Deliberate serious sin is the only thing that can cause us to lose santifying grace. Unless there is deliberate serious sin, santifying grace will remain indefinitely unchanged.


Any other thoughts on this question?


Sanctifying Grace is the abiding presence of the life of God in our soul, lifting us above the natural and enabling us to be pleasing to God and to enter Heaven. God comes to make His dwelling place within us.

It is intended to be permanent. God does not change His mind. He does not leave voluntarily. But because we have free will, He cannot stay if we kick him out. This can only happen by deliberately choosing serious sin over God. If we have kicked Him out, we can invite Him back in through repentance and confession.


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