Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Trent on Justification - Canon 22

Perhaps some enemies of the Gospel suppose that the Church’s insistence that Christians must live lives of obedience in order to be saved implies a “works-based” salvation. This supposition is false, and Canon 22 of the Council of Trent on Justification makes this clear.

If any one saith, that the justified, either is able to persevere, without the special help of God, in the justice received; or that, with that help, he is not able; let him be anathema.

We cannot persevere in justification without God’s grace. Consequently to pretend that there is something meritorious about our obedience on its own, apart from God’s grace, is just that: a pretense.

The canon also condemns an error of some Protestants—particularly some in the Reformed camp—that even with God’s help the Christian is unable to live a life of holiness.

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