Sanctifying Grace


  1. What is GRACE?
  2. What is Sanctifying GRACE?
  3. What are THE CHIEF EFFECTS of Sanctifying Grace?
  4. WHY is Sanctifying Grace NECESSARY FOR SALVATION?
  5. Go to Actual Grace
  6. Return to The End Days Menu Index

I. What is GRACE?

Grace is not God but something that touches God. St. Thomas Aquinas says that "grace is nothing other than a certain participated likeness of the divine nature." Grace is a supernatural gift of God bestowed on us through the merits of Jesus Christ for our salvation.

"And he said: This is why I said to you, No one can come to me unless he is enabled to do so by my Father" (John 6:66).

  1. Grace is a favor, a free gift, granted to us though we have no claim to it. God grants us graces because He is good, not because we deserve them. God grants us graces for the sake of His Son, Who died on the cross to earn for us these graces; We men can never merit these graces. All have sinned and have need of the glory of God. They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption which is in Christ (Rom. 3:23-24).
  2. The Holy Spirit dispenses the graces of God merited by Our Lord Jesus Christ; He bestows and perfects what is already earned. In a similar manner the sun does not make the plants, but develops what is already planted; without the sun plants would die and be useless to man.
  3. The supernatural is that which is beyond natural powers. It is of two kinds:
  4. The assistance, of the Holy Spirit is necessary. Without the help of the graces that He dispenses, with merely natural powers, we cannot do the least work to merit salvation. Without God, we can do nothing (John 15:5), including saving oneself. In order to reach Heaven, we need God's grace; so we say with the Apostle: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything, as from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God (Cor. 3:5)
  5. There are two kinds of grace: sanctifying grace and actual grace.

II. What is Sanctifying GRACE?

Sanctifying grace is a perfect imitation of God that is effected in us by divine infusion. It produces in the soul a likeness to God that infinitely transcends that which is had in the purely natural order. It is that grace which confers on our souls a new life, that is, a sharing in the life of God Himself, a participation in the very nature of God.

  1. By sanctifying grace, our souls are made holy and pleasing to God. It is an abiding (habitual) or permanent grace, which we gain by baptism, and lose only by mortal sin. By Adam 's sin all mankind lost the friendship of God; that is, we are born in original sin, without sanctifying grace. Our Lord's death won back sanctifying grace for us; it is granted freely at Baptism.
  2. A soul to whom God grants sanctifying grace receives not merely a gift from God, but God Himself. He receives a new life, a new nature, a sharing of God's life, a participation in the nature of God. It is in this sense that Our Lord said: It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh profits nothing (John 6:64). Again, And the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world (John 6:52). As the living Father has sent me, and as I live because of the Father, so he who eats me, he shall live because of me (John 6:58).
  3. St. Paul refers to this acquisition of sanctifying grace as the putting off of the old man and the putting on of the new. It is as if an old and worn man were suddenly to become a handsome young man full of the vigor of life. The beauty of a soul in the state of sanctifying grace is too great for human eyes to bear. It would be more brilliant than the sun. As a child said, when asked how his soul would look immediately after his confirmation, if it could be photographed, ''Why, it would look like God!''

III. What are THE CHIEF EFFECTS of Sanctifying Grace?

  1. First, it makes us holy and pleasing to God.
  2. Second, through sanctifying grace, we become children of God by adoption. With sanctifying grace, the Holy Spirit enters our soul; we are led by His Spirit, and are therefore His children: For whoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God (Rom. 8:14).
  3. Third, it makes us temples of the Holy Spirit. Sanctifying grace brings the Holy Spirit to dwell in us as in a temple. St. Paul says, For you are the temple of the Living God (2 Cor. 6:16).
  4. Fourth, it gives us the right to Heaven. When we are in sanctifying grace, we are inspired to do good works. The Holy Spirit does not sleep within us, but expands our heart with His grace, and urges our will to do good. And as we are adopted children of God, such actions become meritorious for Heaven.


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Created July 16, 1996.