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Journal of Reformed Theology


Roman Catholic scholar Josef Pieper has suggested that the Protestant teaching of salvation by grace alone promotes a type of false assurance that undermines the necessity of striving for Christlikeness in the lives of Christians. Protestants do sometimes sound as if justification and sanctification are identical therefore downplaying the importance of good works and the pilgrim character of the Christian life. Nonetheless, a proper understanding of the distinction between justification and sanctification maintains both the Reformation emphasis on grace and a robust place for human striving toward sanctification in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, the Thomist tradition’s understanding of the theological virtues, as interpreted by Pieper, has the potential to offer a category for understanding the striving of sanctification as the fitting action of one with the disposition of hope.

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