Although this is an interesting topic, is a Catholic forum really the best place to get accurate information on this subject?
Lucy107 you wrote, “The Catholic outlook ideally requires constant vigilance, constant introspection, a constant awareness of one’s sinful tendencies. For some people, this is simply too much.”
Of course it is too much! If one truly understands how Holy God is and how disgusting and deserving of wrath our sin is, how can one possibly get out of bed in the morning? How can one do anything at all but spend a day in self-loathing, knowing that there is no reparation to be made by a human being to an infinite eternal God. Those who are born again do not have difficulty recognizing and feeling the weight of their complete depravity.
The difference is that we believe as Scripture tells us that Jesus bore our sin, and took the punishment of God’s wrath that we deserve and then rose from the dead. That He lived a perfect sinless life and imputed His own righteousness on to all who will believe. This is the gospel. It is good news! This is the freedom that Christ has called us to.
And, in order to be relevant to the original post, it was when Luther realized this glorious truth in Romans 1:16-17 that he was born again and began his journey out of Romanism.
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
The regenerate Christian is even MORE aware of their sinfulness after their new birth by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which leads them to repentance and grows them more and more into the likeness of Christ. The difference is “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:1-6)