Changed All the Way Through!

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His call, and may fulfill every good resolve and work of faith by His power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

One odd quarrel in Christian circles centers on whether God “imputes” or “infuses” something called “righteousness.”  In the “impute” crowd, the argument is that God simply “calls us righteous” and thereafter “sees” us that way, even if, interiorly, we remain the same selfish person we always were.  To many people who hold this position it is somehow an insult to God to say that we can have anything good about us.  “Grace” in such a scenario means a sort of legal theory of overlooking our faults and declaring us “righteous.”  In Catholic (and Orthodox, and biblical) understanding, on the other hand, the idea is that God gives us grace to really change us into creatures like Himself.  “Righteousness” is, on this view, not simply being declared “not guilty” or dolled up with a legal fiction that “covers” but does not change us, it is instead a real and qualitative transformation of who and what we are.  We become, says St. Peter, “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).  That’s why Paul speaks today of our being made “worthy of His call” by God.  We are not just getting a new coat of paint on the old wreck of our life.  We are in for a complete overhaul and a transfiguration as dazzling as the risen Christ!  Today, thank God that He doesn’t just cleanse the outside of the cup but the inside as well!

Mark Shea

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Mark P. Shea is a Catholic author, blogger, and speaker.

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