Our Catholic friends have a pretty tight grip on the term “The State of Grace” for, literally, ages. Over many centuries they have defined it, mostly in catechistic terms as a state of sanctification by God. Most particularly, the “State of Grace” is discussed in terms of holy communion, when a person must be cleansed of their sins before Christ can spiritually inhabit them. According to the website “Catholic Answers (subtitled: “To Explain and Defend the Faith”) “We receive sanctifying grace (the life of God in our soul) at Baptism. We lose it if we commit a mortal sin, that is, we are no longer in a state of grace. If we have lost the state of grace by mortal sin, we regain it in the sacrament of penance (reconciliation, confession). That is why the Catechism also says:
#1415 ‘Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance.’”
This notion of being able to simply be absolved of your sins by a priest, or any other human being, is something Protestants have objected to for a very long time. Their equivalent term is called “Divine Grace”. That is, incidentally, a term present in many religions. It has been defined as the divine influence, which operates in humans to regenerate and sanctify, to inspire virtuous impulses, and to impart strength to endure trial and resist temptation; and as an individual virtue or excellence of divine origin.
According to Wikipedia, Grace in Christianity is the free and unmerited favor of God as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowing of blessings. It is God's gift of salvation granted to sinners for their salvation. Common Christian teaching is that grace is unmerited mercy (favor) that God gave to humanity by sending his son to die on a cross, thus delivering eternal salvation.
Here is where crucially distinguishing theological battle lines have been drawn. On the Catholic side, God can grant graceful dispensations through baptism or communion. Catholics can charge up, if you will, their depleted spiritual juice through absolution and sacraments. The Calvinist doctrine known as “irresistible grace” states that, since all persons are by nature spiritually dead, no one desires to accept this grace until God spiritually enlivens them by means of regeneration. But the rub is that God only regenerates those individuals whom he has predestined to salvation. So, for many Protestants, especially those of the Calvinistic flavor, man gets cut no breaks: they avoid language that would suggest that man earns anything by his obedience in grace.
About this blog.
This blog is a place where many of the confluences of my life can be shared. I am, at the core, a creative person. I approach everything from that basis... whether composing symphonies, playing the cello, being a serial entrepreneur, writing sermons and essays, flying airplanes, or creating software apps. I am deeply passionate about creativity, issues of social justice, and spiritual enrichment. These are fundamental to everything I do. Welcome to my journey!