The concil of Trent declared.CANON XXIV.-If any one saith, that the justice [justification] received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema.
now we dont teach salvation of works so how would a Catholic explain this document when the issue arrises?
Catholic Dude gave me some insight on this before but I want something more in depth
The key is to think about this in terms of ADOPTION.
Due to the Fall we lost our adoption as sons because we are born lacking sanctifying grace in our souls. When you are not an adopted child of God your works arent done in a relationship with God to further His Kingdom. This doesnt mean your good works are “evil” or anything like that. Once you receive sanctifying grace (Rom 5:5) in your soul you become an Adopted Son by definition and as a son (and heir) your actions contribute towards your maturing into an adult (as you grow through good works your capacity to love grows) and furthering the Kingdom.
Romans 8: 9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. 12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Galatians 6: 7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
THIS is the essence of what Catholics mean by “meritorious works” done “in a state of grace”. It means with the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit we are able to do what is pleasing to God and God gladly rewards our obedience. THESE are the good works we can and MUST (not guaranteed) do in order to be found worthy to enter Heaven.
Traditionally Protestants have mistakenly taken a narrow view of salvation/justification to be a legal exchange (with adoption being accepted, but taking a backseat), when the key concept which is above all that Paul is driving home is receiving Adoption through the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Protestants dont really even believe in the concept of sanctifying grace (for example they dont believe Adam lost it because they dont believe it exists), and because of that they failed to grasp the essence of what Paul was getting at.
Tef, us Catholics are standing on the backs of giants like St Augustine and St Thomas…THEY through their gifts of God did most of the heavy theological lifting for us. As time goes on more and more are seeing that the Catholic Church has had it right the whole time.
can anyone expand on this?
I want to hold a debate but this will be a stumbling block for me I want to get my ducks in a row
thanks for any help