Definition: The reception of God’s gift of goodness and love poured into the soul through the sacraments of the Church. When a Catholic is baptized, the righteousness of God causes inner conversion and makes the person fit for heaven. Serious sins committed after baptism result in the loss of this initial righteousness. The sacrament of reconciliation (confession, penance and satisfaction for sin) grants a “second chance” to restore the lost righteousness. The Catholic cooperates with God in a lifelong process of renewal and sanctification in order to merit heaven. It is impossible to have assurance of salvation since the final verdict awaits the completion of this process.
Discussion: The Bible states that we qualify for heaven immediately as a result of faith in Jesus (Rom. 5:1). A great exchange occurs: His infinite righteousness is credited to our account, while all our sins (past and future) are laid upon Him (Rom. 4:5-7). His righteousness cannot be lost – it is an irrevocable gift (Eph. 2:8-9).
Articles & Viewpoints:
- Article by James White – The Empty Hand of Faith