The quick-and-to-the-point question is, why do Protestants reject the infusion of grace? Why ONLY imputation?
The explanation and context of the question can be found below:
The question centers around justification and my seeking for the real root between the difference between Protestant and Catholic views of it.
The Protestant cries, " by faith alone!" and what the Catholic hears is that a faith devoid of works, literally faith all by itself, without hope or charity (love) saves you. Which the Catholic then points to 1 Cor 13 as well as James 2 and says, “huh uh…NOT by faith alone.” But the Protestant doesn’t mean, in actuality, a faith devoid of works, a dead faith. He means a true faith that manifests itself in works. I think it’s the Westminster Confession of Faith that phrases it as, “We are saved by faith alone, but that faith is not alone.” The Protestant means a faith that is rooted in love is what saves.
The Catholic cries/replies, “faith and works!” and what the Protestant then hears is that we somehow work ourselves into a state of justification/grace from a state of unjustification and says, “huh uh…faith alone” and proceeds to point to Ephesians 2 as well as Titus 3 (and others). But the Catholic doesn’t mean, in actuality, that we literally work ourselves from a state of sin into a state of justification. He means that once justified, we live according to that justification, and it manifests itself with works.
In both cases, I feel the everyday application of “faith alone” and “faith and works” should look the same to the casual observer, that being Gal 5:6, a faith working through love.
But is that to say that the two theologies are congruent?
I find the primary difference is that Protestants believe that the righteousness which justifies them is a righteousness that is alien to them, it is a righteousness that is external to them, it is not their own righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ that gets credited to the believer account. While Catholics believe that the righteousness by which justifies them is a righteousness, of which the source is Christ, that changes them throughout their whole being. In justification, the Catholic is made righteous, and it then is by his own righteousness, graced to him by Christ by which he is saved.
The primary difference being that in Protestant theology, you are saved by a righteousness that is not your own, a righteousness that is outside of you, then you have no responsibility for that righteousness and therefore your actions cannot corrupt that righteousness. Hence, once saved, always saved and a theology arises where your actions are irrelevant to your salvation, “faith alone”. Whereas in Catholic theology, the righteousness which saves you is your own righteousness, it is a righteousness graced to you by Christ. Therefore, by sinning, you can corrupt that righteousness with sin and thereby defile the righteousness that has been graced to you, the righteousness that has changed you internally. Hence, a theology arises where actions are important upon being brought into the community of the faithful, the ekklesia, “faith and works”
Therefore, the primary difference is that difference between the Protestant’s understanding of only being declared righteous while not being made righteous (imputation), while the Catholic understands that when God declares him righteous, he is also made righteous as well (infusion + imputation).
Which bring me back to the question at the beginning: what is the case that Protestants make for the rejection of the infusion of grace actually making us holy?
(Feel free to correct me if any of this is wrong, I’m not an expert or anything, just some schmuck on a message board looking for answers.)