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"Some of the older theologians, when expounding this doctrine, contended for the eternal justification of the elect, affirming that God pronounced them righteous .
Table of contents

The Synod furthermore declares, that in adults, the beginning of the said Justification is to be derived from the prevenient grace of God, through Jesus Christ, that is to say, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits existing on their parts, they are called; that so they, who by sins were alienated from God, may be disposed through His quickening and assisting grace, to convert themselves to their own justification, by freely assenting to and co-operating with that said grace: in such sort that, while God touches the heart of man by the illumination of the Holy Ghost, neither is man himself utterly without doing anything while he receives that inspiration, forasmuch as he is also able to reject it; yet is he not able, by his own free will, without the grace of God, to move himself unto justice in His sight.

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Whence, when it is said in the sacred writings: Turn ye to me, and I will turn to you, we are admonished of our liberty; and when we answer; Convert us, O Lord, to thee, and we shall be converted, we confess that we are prevented by the grace of God. The manner of Preparation. Now they adults are disposed unto the said justice, when, excited and assisted by divine grace, conceiving faith by hearing, they are freely moved towards God, believing those things to be true which God has revealed and promised,-and this especially, that God justifies the impious by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; and when, understanding themselves to be sinners, they, by turning themselves, from the fear of divine justice whereby they are profitably agitated, to consider the mercy of God, are raised unto hope, confiding that God will be propitious to them for Christ's sake; and they begin to love Him as the fountain of all justice; and are therefore moved against sins by a certain hatred and detestation, to wit, by that penitence which must be performed before baptism: lastly, when they purpose to receive baptism, to begin a new life, and to keep the commandments of God.

Concerning this disposition it is written; He that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and is a rewarder to them that seek him; and, Be of good faith, son, thy sins are forgiven thee; and, The fear of the Lord driveth out sin; and, Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; and, Going, therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; finally, Prepare your hearts unto the Lord.

What the justification of the impious is, and what are the causes thereof. This disposition, or preparation, is followed by Justification itself, which is not remission of sins merely, but also the sanctification and renewal of the inward man, through the voluntary reception of the grace, and of the gifts, whereby man of unjust becomes just, and of an enemy a friend, that so he may be an heir according to hope of life everlasting. For, although no one can be just, but he to whom the merits of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet is this done in the said justification of the impious, when by the merit of that same most holy Passion, the charity of God is poured forth, by the Holy Spirit, in the hearts of those that are justified, and is inherent therein: whence, man, through Jesus Christ, in whom he is ingrafted, receives, in the said justification, together with the remission of sins, all these gifts infused at once, faith, hope, and charity.

For faith, unless hope and charity be added thereto, neither unites man perfectly with Christ, nor makes him a living member of His body. For which reason it is most truly said, that Faith without works is dead and profitless; and, In Christ Jesus neither circumcision, availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by charity. This faith, Catechumen's beg of the Church-agreeably to a tradition of the apostles-previously to the sacrament of Baptism; when they beg for the faith which bestows life everlasting, which, without hope and charity, faith cannot bestow: whence also do they immediately hear that word of Christ; If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Wherefore, when receiving true and Christian justice, they are bidden, immediately on being born again, to preserve it pure and spotless, as the first robe given them through Jesus Christ in lieu of that which Adam, by his disobedience, lost for himself and for us, that so they may bear it before the judgment-seat of our Lord Jesus Christ, and may have life everlasting. In what manner it is to be understood, that the impious is justified by faith, and gratuitously.

Basic Christian Doctrine

And whereas the Apostle saith, that man is justified by faith and freely, those words are to be understood in that sense which the perpetual consent of the Catholic Church hath held and expressed; to wit, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation, and the root of all Justification; without which it is impossible to please God, and to come unto the fellowship of His sons: but we are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which precede justification-whether faith or works-merit the grace itself of justification.

For, if it be a grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the same Apostle says, grace is no more grace. Against the vain confidence of Heretics. But, although it is necessary to believe that sins neither are remitted, nor ever were remitted save gratuitously by the mercy of God for Christ's sake; yet is it not to be said, that sins are forgiven, or have been forgiven, to any one who boasts of his confidence and certainty of the remission of his sins, and rests on that alone; seeing that it may exist, yea does in our day exist, amongst heretics and schismatics; and with great vehemence is this vain confidence, and one alien from all godliness, preached up in opposition to the Catholic Church.

But neither is this to be asserted,-that they who are truly justified must needs, without any doubting whatever, settle within themselves that they are justified, and that no one is absolved from sins and justified, but he that believes for certain that he is absolved and justified; and that absolution and justification are effected by this faith alone: as though whoso has not this belief, doubts of the promises of God, and of the efficacy of the death and resurrection of Christ. For even as no pious person ought to doubt of the mercy of God, of the merit of Christ, and of the virtue and efficacy of the sacraments, even so each one, when he regards himself, and his own weakness and indisposition, may have fear and apprehension touching his own grace; seeing that no one can know with a certainty of faith, which cannot be subject to error, that he has obtained the grace of God.

On the increase of Justification received. Having, therefore, been thus justified, and made the friends and domestics of God, advancing from virtue to virtue, they are renewed, as the Apostle says, day by day; that is, by mortifying the members of their own flesh, and by presenting them as instruments of justice unto sanctification, they, through the observance of the commandments of God and of the Church, faith co-operating with good works, increase in that justice which they have received through the grace of Christ, and are still further justified, as it is written; He that is just, let him be justified still; and again, Be not afraid to be justified even to death; and also, Do you see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

And this increase of justification holy Church begs, when she prays, "Give unto us, O Lord, increase of faith, hope, and charity. On keeping the Commandments, and on the necessity and possibility thereof. But no one, how much soever justified, ought to think himself exempt from the observance of the commandments; no one ought to make use of that rash saying, one prohibited by the Fathers under an anathema,-that the observance of the commandments of God is impossible for one that is justified.

For God commands not impossibilities, but, by commanding, both admonishes thee to do what thou are able, and to pray for what thou art not able to do , and aids thee that thou mayest be able; whose commandments are not heavy; whose yoke is sweet and whose burthen light. For, whoso are the sons of God, love Christ; but they who love him, keep his commandments, as Himself testifies; which, assuredly, with the divine help, they can do.

For, although, during this mortal life, men, how holy and just soever, at times fall into at least light and daily sins, which are also called venial, not therefore do they cease to be just. For that cry of the just, Forgive us our trespasses, is both humble and true. And for this cause, the just themselves ought to feel themselves the more obligated to walk in the way of justice, in that, being already freed from sins, but made servants of God, they are able, living soberly, justly, and godly, to proceed onwards through Jesus Christ, by whom they have had access unto this grace.

For God forsakes not those who have been once justified by His grace, unless he be first forsaken by them. Justification from eternity is the teaching that justification itself is eternal rather than temporal, and that it occurs before faith rather than after it. Justification from eternity has been described as a "chief tenet of Antinomian Hyper-Calvinism ," [4] Early antinomians John Eaton and John Saltmarsh taught that justification precedes faith, though they did not specifically teach the doctrine of justification from eternity, and William Twisse taught that at least in some sense justification precedes faith.

Not Fishing in Front of the Net: The Importance of Luther's Doctrine

Tobias Crisp was one of the most notorious teachers of this view. Referring to Ephesians , Gill argued that "justification is one of those spiritual blessings wherewith the elect are blessed in Christ according to election-grace, before the foundation of the world. Another exponent of this doctrine was Abraham Kuyper. Berkouwer notes Kuyper's view came out of a belief that "justification does not originate through faith but that it is only accepted in and through faith. Opponents of the doctrine have countered with the argument that it undermines justification by faith.

This might seem a possible interpretation; but when we look at the next verse, we see it doesn't work. In verse 40, Jesus continues to tell us what the will of the Father is by saying that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in him will have eternal life and that Jesus would raise him up on the last day.

Various versions translate verse 40 differently. The NIV says, "shall have eternal life. In other words, are we saved when we believe or not?

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It cannot be that we "may" have eternal life be saved if we believe because believing is what justifies us Rom. Furthermore, upon believing, we have eternal life; and we can know we have it as 1 John says, "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life. If verse 39 can be interpreted to say that the will of the Father can fail and some perish, then verse 40 must likewise be interpreted to say that the will of the Father fails in that those who believe on Jesus won't be saved and don't have eternal life.

This cannot be! Otherwise, no one who believes in Christ can be sure he or she presently has eternal life--which is in contradiction to 1 John which says we can know! Therefore, both 39 and 40 must be interpreted in the same manner; namely, that the will of the Father is actually accomplished in that all who belong to the Son will not perish, and all who believe on the Son will have eternal life. Again, if all who belong to the Son might perish, then likewise all who believe on the Son might not be saved; that is, they might not possess eternal life if they believe in Christ!

If that is the case, then we aren't justified by faith Rom. Furthermore, verses 39 and 40 tells us that Jesus will raise them up on the last day. The one group of people who are raised on the last day are those who have been given by the Father to the Son v.

Jesus tells us that he gives eternal life to the sheep, the Christians.


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He clearly and definitely states that they shall never perish. There is no qualifier here. There is no statement such as, "they shall never perish if they remain faithful.


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This inability to perish is a result of the Lord Jesus giving them eternal life. Furthermore, Jesus says that no one shall snatch them out of his hand, which further emphasizes the idea that those who have eternal life will never perish. But, can we snatch ourselves out of Jesus' hand? No, we can't because the term "no one" includes the person who is saved.

Prefatory note

Therefore, you cannot snatch yourself out of Christ's hand. There are opponents to this position that would state elsewhere in Scripture such declarations exist that teach we can lose our salvation. If that is the case, then they must be harmonized with the above sections of Scripture.

But I do not see how it is possible, especially in light of John above which teaches you can't lose your salvation.

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Justification

The third Scripture I want to focus on is 1 John It says, "They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us. The context is as follows. In , John speaks about the manifestation of Christ in the world.

In he speaks about God being light and the forgiveness of our sins. In John says he writes so that we will not sin, that Christ is the propitiation for our sins, and that we are to keep his commandments so as to demonstrate that we are walking in him. In is where John writes about a new commandment--about loving your brother and walking in the light rather than darkness.

In he tells us that our sins are forgiven and that we have overcome the evil one.