Grace as “stuff” or “substance”

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PointyHaired Calvinist

Puritan Board Sophomore
I have heard of Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox people speaking of “grace” as it is a “thing” or some kind of ”stuff” or ”substance.” They argue about “created grace” vs “uncreated grace” and the like.

I always understood “grace” to be a quality, as in the “unmerited favor of God” or secondarily “being nice to someone that doesn’t deserve it.” Am I missing something? Do the Reformed fathers speak of grace as if it is some kind of stuff? The latter view makes me scratch my head.


Puritan Board Junior
@PointyHaired Calvinist

The RCs see grace like a zap of Red Bull, a kind of energy that gives you that oomph to do meritorious works. But Biblically, far as grace for obedience, it is at core Christ working in us by the Spirit. Gal 2:20. So for us, it is not something, but someone.


Puritanboard Clerk
Yes, which is why they speak of justification as an infusion of grace. This is most clear in their treatment of the sacraments and mortal sin. Mortal sin kills charity in the heart and so the "grace stuff" in the Eucharist won't avail you until you get it taken care of.

I strongly recommend Bruce McCormack's treatment of this.

To be fair, while they see it as a quasi-substance, it's not like it is a physical thing.
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