The Roman Catholic church teaches that salvation is achieved on the basis of God’s grace plus works that have been infused with that grace. We can make the choice to throw off that infused grace or fight against that infused grace to the detriment of our souls.
Further, according to the RC church, this fight and/or throwing off of God’s grace can take many forms…so many, in fact, that we must work to keep his grace without ever really knowing if we’ve done enough to keep it. The only way to find out will be at death.
While Luther may be drug through the wringer by RC theologians for many things, his torment over faith/works is quite understandable. Let no RC theologian say he puts his head on his pillow at night with no dread…we aren’t talking about car trouble…we’re not even talking about cancer. We’re talking about every second of our lives being on the brink of eternity and NEVER knowing how we stand in God’s sight. And how CAN I know? With lists of mortal sins, the knowledge that even my service to God and neighbor is tainted with sinful intentions and all the caveats of life, there IS no way to know!
So why are these boards filled with no dread? We are living each hour, awaiting the final verdict of our souls before a holy, utterly righteous God. This is not occasion for peace.