all assurance of salvation impossible. (Council of Trent, 9th chap.: ?Every man, by reason of his own weakness and defects, must be in fear and anxiety about his state of grace. Nor can any one know, with infallible certainty of faith that he has received forgiveness of God.?). But since justification is an instantaneous act of God complete at the moment of the sinner?s first faith; it has no degrees. Weak faith justifies as perfectly as strong faith although, since justification is a secret act of God, weak faith does not give so strong assurance of salvation.
Foundations of our Faith, 216 ? ?The Catholic doctrine declares that justification is not dependent upon faith and the righteousness of Christ imputed and granted thereto but on the actual condition of the man himself. But there remain in the man an undeniable amount of fleshly lusts or inclinations to sin even though the man is regenerate. The Catholic doctrine is therefore, constrained to assert that these lusts are not in themselves sinful or objects of the divine displeasure. They are allowed to remain in the man, that he may struggle against them and, as they say, Paul designates them as sinful only because they are derived from sin and incite to sin but they only become sin by the positive concurrence of the human will. But is not internal lust displeasing to God? Can we draw the line between lust and will? The Catholic favors self here and makes many things lust, which are really will. A Protestant is necessarily more earnest in the work of salvation when he recognizes even the evil desire as sin, according to Christ?s precept.?
All systems of religion of merely human origin tend to make salvation, in larger or smaller degree, the effect of human works but only with the result of leaving man in despair. See, in Ecclesiasticus 3:30, an Apocryphal declaration that alms make atonement for sin. So Romanism bids me doubt God?s grace and the forgiveness of sin.
See Dorner, Gesch. prot. Theol., 228, 229 and his quotations from Luther. ?But if the Romanist doctrine is true, that a man is justified only in such measure as he is sanctified then:
1. Justification must be a matter of degrees and so the Council of Trent declares it to be. The sacraments, which sanctify are therefore essential, that one may be increasingly justified.
2. Since justification is a continuous process, the redeeming death of Christ, on which it depends, must be a continuous process also hence, its prolonged reiteration in the sacrifice by the Mass.
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