***For anyone who converted to Catholicism from a baptist or similar background, would it be fair to say that while I as a Bible Christian view salvation to be a one time occurance and the process of sanctification to be ongoing the Catholic Church view them to be synonymously occuring?***
Hi, OK I will try to answer:
Justification is total removal of sin, an infusion of grace and the renewal of the inner man. Catholics maintain that a true faith in Jesus Christ is not saving faith unless it bears fruit in good works without which spiritual growth is impossible. (I really think Fundamentalists agree here with Catholics and is why they put so much emphasis on the changed life of the believer but are afraid to say that good works take any effort on the part of the individual lest it be perceived the individual is trying to earn their salvation by good works) A Catholic does not believe you can earn salvation by good works just like Fundamentalists. That is the misconception. Catholics believe it is only by God's Grace we are saved but good works are necessary for Salvation in the sense they are a reflection of ones faith. Faith without works is dead. see James chapter 2.
So to a Catholic Justification and Sanctification are not separate from each other but closely related and intertwined. Sanctification is the process of being made holy not just legally declared so. Sanctification begins at baptism, is facilitated by prayer, acts of charity and the aid of the sacraments and is ultimately fulfilled upon entrance into heaven and union with God.
"Grace is defined in Catholicism as the gratuitous benevolence shown by God toward the human race and it is an absolutely unmerited free gift of God made possible through our redeemer Jesus Christ and his atoning death on the Cross for us."
Mere external works done without purity of heart and charity are of little worth. 1 Cor 13:3
Catholicism holds that a person cannot save himself by his own self-originated works. The works come from a desire to demonstrate or work out our faith.
James Chapter 2:14-17 (KJV)
14What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
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