Actual Grace


grace

As a review: The definition we gave for Grace was this:

Grace is a supernatural gift of God bestowed on us through the merits of Jesus Christ for our salvation.

We also briefly discussed the fact that there are two kinds of grace.

1. Sanctifying Grace
2. Actual Grace

Neither of which are specifically named in scriptures. But the scriptures do testify of the two graces and their differences. For those who would deny that there are not two kinds because the scripture never names them should also know that the word Trinity is not mentioned in the scriptures either. Nor is the word Rapture, even though as Catholics we believe the bible tells us of a time at the end of the ages when we as the Church will be taken up to meet Christ in the clouds. (that's a whole different subject.)

The Definition given for Sanctifying Grace:
Sanctifying Grace is that grace that confers on our souls a new life that is, a sharing in the life of God Himself.

We concluded with:
Through the baptismal waters and the regeneration of our hearts by the Holy Spirit we become "born again", a "new creature" in Christ Jesus, "adopted sons of God". This is what Sanctifying grace is all about.

Now let us end our lessons talking about Actual Grace

Actual Grace is a supernatural help of God which enlightens our mind and strengthens our will to do good and to avoid evil.-Baltimore Catechism

 

Actual Grace does not grant permission to live in the flesh; Actual Grace supplies power to live in the Spirit. Actual Grace is not simply leniency when we have sinned. Actual Grace is the enabling gift and power of God not to sin.

Actual grace, according to Scripture, teaches us "to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live soberly (sensibly), justly and godly in the world" Titus 2:11-12

For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God, I am what I am; and his grace in me hath not been void, but I have laboured more abundantly than all they: yet not I, but the grace of God with me. I Corinthians 15: 9-10

In these verses, St. Paul describes actual grace as the enabling power of his work as an apostle. It is the power to press on in obedience. Therefore the effort we make to obey God is not an effort done in our own strength, but in the strength which God supplies, that in everything God may get the glory. (See I Peter 4:10-11)

St. Paul confirms this by calling our acts of goodness “works of faith” and by saying that the glory this brings to Jesus is “according to the grace of God” because it happens “in [his] power”:

Wherefore also we pray always for you; that our God would make you worthy of his vocation, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness and the work of faith in power; That the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I Thessalonians 1:11-12

The obedience that gives God pleasure is produced by the power of God’s grace through faith. It is at work at every stage of the Christian life. The power of God’s Sanctifying grace that saves through faith (Ephesians 2:8) is the same power of God’s Actual grace that grows us in our Christianity through faith.

Examples where we need Actual Grace for daily living:

Let's revisit Titus 2 again. St. Paul says Actual Grace, teaches us "to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live soberly (sensibly), justly and godly in the world" Titus 2:11-12.

The first 10 verses describe what ungodly and worldly things should be denied. Theses verses not only describe to us what we should deny in our lives, but it also points out to us what we should be living out in our lives while we are in the world. Those things are sober things, just things and godly things. Let's look at the descriptions:

That the aged men be sober, chaste, prudent, sound in faith, in love, in patience. The aged women, in like manner, in holy attire, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teaching well: That they may teach the young women to be wise, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, sober, having a care of the house, gentle, obedient to their husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men, in like manner, exhort that they be sober. In all things shew thyself an example of good works, in doctrine, in integrity, in gravity, the sound word that can not be blamed: that he, who is on the contrary part, may be afraid, having no evil to say of us. Exhort servants to be obedient to their masters, in all things pleasing, not gainsaying: Not defrauding, but in all things shewing good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things: Titus 2:2-10

That the aged men be sober, chaste, prudent, sound in faith, in love, in patience.

Paul has a message for the senior citizens-for the senior citizen who is male and for the senior citizen who is female.
The senior men are to be sound in their faith, in their love, and in there patience. What does it mean to be sound? It means to be firm; strong; valid; solid; that cannot be overthrown or refuted. how are you able to be firm in your faith? How can you be strong in love? How do you keep your patience from being overthrown? The answer is Hebrews 4:16. "Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find (Actual) grace in time of need."

The aged women, in like manner, in holy attire, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teaching well:

Holy attire is not just a reference to clothing. It is a reference to their holy decorum. St. Jerome says "The women are like the older men, to be honest, sober chaste, strong in faith and charity and patience. They are also to bear themselves in a way proper for their sex, to maintain a holy manner in bodily movements, facial expressions, words, silence and whatever tends to the dignity of a holy decorum."

How does a woman become all those things? By going "therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find (Actual) grace in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

That they may teach the young women to be wise, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, sober, having a care of the house, gentle, obedient to their husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
"Having a care of the house" means they are to be taking care of the house keeping watch over it. taking care of the household affairs. A wifes first responsibility is in her home. It is a serious responsibility to be a wife and to care for children in the home. It is not something to be taken lightly. The biggest and most important business in the world is the making of a home. It was the main business of our Mother Mary.

They are to be gentle-that is kind.They are to be obedient to their husband. Paul uses the same Greek word in Romans 8:7 where it is translated "subject," This word was a Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader". In non-military use, it was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".

How in the world is a the younger women and wives suppose to live this out? By going "therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find (Actual )grace in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

Young men, in like manner, exhort that they be sober.

Now St. Paul turns his attention to the young men, and he probably means that Titus is the one who is to teach the young men.

In all things shew thyself an example of good works, in doctrine, in integrity, in gravity,

Paul is saying to Titus, "you be a pattern, an example, for the other young men." How can he be a good example to the young men? By going "therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find (Actual ) grace in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

The sound word that can not be blamed: that he, who is on the contrary part, may be afraid, having no evil to say of us.

In other words, your speech even your life for that matter should reveal the fact that you are a child of God. And it can only be revealed through the actual grace that God is working in you.

"Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence,) with fear and trembling work out your salvation. For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will." Philippians 2:12-13

Exhort servants to be obedient to their masters, in all things pleasing, not gainsaying: Not defrauding, but in all things shewing good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things:

"Exhort servants"-now St. Paul turns his attention to another group. In the early church there were many slaves. I am told that 90 percent of the names on the walls of the catacombs are those of slaves or ex-slaves. They were told "to be obedient unto their masters, in all things pleasing them." Again, the idea behind obedience is that they should respond to their masters, be interested in them and their work.

Those who are Christians, especially, should put their heart into their work. "shewing good fidelity", in other words, shewing faithfulness to a person.

How is a person to be in a bad situation of being a slave or to be under a boss that is overbearing and still do what St. Paul says to do? By going "therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find (Actual) grace in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

This is what Actual grace is all about: It supplies power to live in the Spirit. It is the enabling gift and power of God not to sin. It is a supernatural help of God which enlightens our mind and strengthens our will to do good and to avoid evil. And it begins with our Confirmation. That is when, those that are already baptized are given power by the Holy Spirit to grow strong in their faith,to boldly proclaim the gospel, and to have all the actual graces they need to strive toward perfection as Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.

Cyprian of Carthage
"It is necessary for him that has been baptized also to be anointed, so that by his having received chrism, that is, the anointing, he can be the anointed of God and have in him the grace of Christ"

Actual Grace Lesson 12 Quiz

Actual Grace