Sunday, January 10, 2010

Trent on Justification - Canon 19

The Council of Trent's eighteenth canon on justification (which we looked at here) deals with errors concerning God’s Law on one extreme—that is, to say that we cannot obey it completely (even with God’s help). Canon 19 addresses another error related to the law.

If any one saith, that nothing besides faith is commanded in the Gospel; that other things are indifferent, neither commanded nor prohibited, but free; or, that the ten commandments nowise appertain to Christians; let him be anathema.

There are some who say that the Christian has no duty to obey God. It’s not too hard to see that this falsehood is somewhat related to that condemned by the previous canon: some say we can’t obey God properly; others deny that we have a duty to do so. To affirm that we do have a duty to obey God is the Catholic view, and it is not contrary to justification by grace alone.

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