Malleus Haereticorum wrote:
I read this statement on a friends post, and something seems missing about it, but can't figure out what. Any thoughts?
“We are certain there is forgiveness, because there is a gospel, and the very essence of the gospel lies in the proclamation of the pardon of sin.” —Charles H. Spurgeon
I don't see anything wrong with Mr. Calvinist (C.H Spurgeon) here. Presumably we would differ with him on the belief in the sacrament of confession, and what pardon of sin means for the person.
Maybe that is what you are picking up? To merely pardon someone is not to heal them. If I murder your son, you may forgive me, but you do not thereby make me a new man. So Christ says "your faith has saved you" often, but this can just as easily be translated "your faith has made you whole" (which is what older translations often have). Spurgeon would hold that justification does not involve an interior change in the man justified, but merely in externally forgiving him. Though it should be added that Calvinists do believe in sanctification that occurs after justification, whereby we do grown in holiness. But they separate these two things, which we see as intimately linked.
As Catholics, we wouldn't distinguish between our sanctification and our justification? Aren't these two separate?
We might make at least a logical distinction, though often we tend to use the terms interchangeably (justifying grace is sanctifying grace etc).
Hence, the Council of Trent talks about growing in justification through merit. Justification for the Calvinist, as it does not involve any intrinsic change (at least in the sense we mean) cannot "grow". It just is or isn't. Whereas sanctification is where, through dependence on Christ, the Christian does have an interior change, eliminating his "corrupt heart and sinful nature" and growing in virtue.
Basically in Calvinism we have that forensic, instantenous change of state called justification. It is like being pardoned by the governor. Or in Lutheran terms, being covered rather than transformed by the merits and righteousness of Christ (NB it is, however, not wholly external, this justification). But sanctification is internal, is something that is a gradual process, one of growth. They speak of being grafted into His justice or righteousness. Leaving aside the idea of merit, as far as what sanctity is (an internal, transformative change), we and Calvinists agree. Whereas Luther holds both are forensic, external, coverings.
Justification is forgiveness and utterly gratuitious, sanctification does involve our actions. Which is why Calvinists insist on dividing the two, not conflating them.
Now we could admit a similar distinction. Certainly there is no merit prior to justification, and we could well speak of intial justification in similar terms (even for the Calvinist it includes an internal element from which sanctification is possible). But ultimately we see justification in that sense as not ontologically different than sanctity. The intial obtainment involves no human merit, nor persevereance in it, but its growth does. Whereas they hold that these are really two things, though interdependent