The council of Trent said your an anathema if you believe in faith alone


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


This is a little tangent but could you or anyone give me a quick place to reference the timelines of the councils (their dates, etc?)


I could look it up but im sure someone else will come and give a better site. I would like to know myself


What about it needs explaining?


“meritorious works” done “in a state of grace”.

I dont dissagree I just need more help on this subject its confusing
and so is sanctifying grace.

I dont know what else to say other than Im just not getting the whole picture


Read my justification article on my signature. I tried to hit the major points (the fall, atonement, justification, etc) and where Catholics and historical Protestants disagree. It is kind of long, but I dont think it can be reduced down any further.


The canon is explaining what James means in James 2:24. He says a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. As Catholics, we believe, as the Scriptures and fathers teach, that justification is not a purely juridical action, in which a man is judged to be just by God in light of Christ, but also a true intrinsic act, in which man is mande truly interiorly just by God, who pours the Holy Spirit into our hearts.

Now if it were merely juridical, justification would be either/or - either one is just, or he is not. However, as justification pertains to real interior justice, it is not either/or, but rather it is on a continuum of sorts. In other words, one person may be more just than others. Protestants also recognize this concept, but they seperate it from justification. They do recognize that in the process of sanctification a person grows more and more interiorly holy, but they do not see it as a part of justification, which they see as an either/or juridical act.

The Church teaches that no person can be justified by his own works, as you will be aware for having read the canons of Trent :stuck_out_tongue: . This is because we owe a debt of justice. Once we are justified by Grace, however, we can grow in justification - that is, attain a greater level of holiness and thus a greater justice before God - by our works. These works are themselves the gift of God. In other words, it is through God’s Grace that we do the good we do, and that He rewards it, but nevertheless we can still say in some mysterious way that we have merited the reward we receive. This is what the Council teaches using James 2:24, and if considered rightly, it is inarguable. For if we recognize that justification is merely either/or, as the Protestants do, then James 2:24 teaches that a man can earn his own salvation.

If you would like a somewhat deeper look at this, please see my article here. It’s not as thorough as Catholic Dude’s, but its a bit shorter and approaches the issue in a way I believe is essential but have never really seen done elsewhere.

Peace and Gos bless


Justification begins the Christian life when one comes to repentant faith in Christ as Lord and Savior…It is an event…

Therefore, **having been justified **by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Romans 5:1 NAS95)

Much more then, **having now been justified **by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. (Romans 5:9 NAS95)

Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but **you were justified **in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11 NAS95)

This is when one passes from death to life…now no condemnation since they are justified. “Justified” and “Condemned” are opposites.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; *but is passed from death unto life. *(John 5:24 KJV)

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:1 KJV)

No place in scripture is justification a process.

It is a time where one is married to Christ and become dead to the law and the penalties that the law imposes…

Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (Romans 7:1-4 KJV)

Therefore…no longer in our sins and sin is not imputed to us…

Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. (Romans 4:8 KJV)

Justification is a past event when the believer died in Christ and was raised to newness of life. Sanctification is a progressive process that takes place throughout the life of the Christian…glorification ultimately takes place when one dies and is with Christ…

We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV)

Those who are justified WILL be glorified.

There is no place in scripture where a progressive justification is taught. It is a point where one repents…turns to Christ as Lord and Savior…and renounces any works of self-righteousness as if one can earn the favor of God by keeping the law and, is by faith alone.


Ok. Others have given you good answers. Here’s an angle that is very important that sometimes goes unseen. When we are in a state of grace, “in Christ”, our works have tremendous value. So does our suffering. After all, our good works are with “Christ living in us” as Paul tells us. It is a cooperative effort between our Spirit and His. Sooo, consider any meritorious works you might do in cooperation with Christ and His grace. When others deny the value of your works, who is it they are actually denying? Whose power do they actually deprive of merit?


For He has joined Himself to us. Who would deny the value of these works if they understood the power of Christ behind good works? Those who deny the merits done in Christ are indeed asserting a serious error against Him.


I’ve started reading Tanquerey’s “The Spiritual Life” and this is pretty much what it’s about. At least I think, it’s huge and daunting but actually not too hard to grasp.


thanks guys all this stuff is really good


Mat 12: 36"But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. 37"For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

Rom 2: 13for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.

1 Cor 4: 3But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. 4For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.

These passages show justification to be a future event based on your actions, the Christian’s own account is being considered here and clearly it must be found righteous

Im sorry but you arnt very convincing when there are passages such as these


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