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Life in Christ

473

C

hapter

T

hree

G

od

s

S

alvation

: L

aw and

G

race

1949

Called to beatitude but wounded by sin, man stands in

need of salvation from God. Divine help comes to him in Christ

through the law that guides him and the grace that sustains him:

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for

God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good

pleasure.

1

A

rticle

1

THE MORAL LAW

1950

The moral law is the work of divine Wisdom. Its biblical

meaning can be defined as fatherly instruction, God’s pedagogy.

It prescribes for man the ways, the rules of conduct that lead to the

promised beatitude; it proscribes the ways of evil which turn him

away from God and his love. It is at once firm in its precepts and,

in its promises, worthy of love.

1951

Law is a rule of conduct enacted by competent authority

for the sake of the common good. The moral law presupposes the

rational order, established among creatures for their good and to

serve their final end, by the power, wisdom, and goodness of the

Creator. All law finds its first and ultimate truth in the eternal law.

Law is declared and established by reason as a participation in the

providence of the living God, Creator and Redeemer of all. “Such

an ordinance of reason is what one calls law.”

2

Alone among all animate beings, man can boast of having

been counted worthy to receive a law fromGod: as an animal

endowed with reason, capable of understanding and dis­

cernment, he is to govern his conduct by using his freedom

and reason, in obedience to the One who has entrusted

everything to him.

3

1

Phil

2:12-13.

2 Leo XIII,

Libertas præstantissimum:

AAS 20 (1887/88), 597; cf. St. Thomas

Aquinas,

STh

I-II, 90, 1.

3 Cf. Tertullian,

Adv. Marc,

2, 4: PL 2, 288-289.

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