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Augustine urged that grace is necessary to free the human will from bondage to sin, making it possible to choose the good. Augustine's teaching contradicted Pelagianism, which considered human nature to be able to achieve salvation without special divine assistance, and Semi-Pelagianism, which considered humanity to be capable of initiating the process of salvation that would subsequently be perfected by grace. Aquinas also urged that union with God is impossible for humanity without the help of divine grace. He noted that grace is inwardly received and transformative for new life. Luther emphasized that grace is God's absolutely free gift, and not the result of human works. Lutheran thought came to understand justification in terms of imputed righteousness in which the person remains inherently sinful. Calvinist understandings of grace minimized the role of human freedom, emphasizing God's predestination of the elect for salvation and the irresistibility of grace. In the Roman Catholic Church, the Council of Trent emphasized the transforming effect of grace in human life and the important role of active human cooperation in salvation. 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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