Decree On Justification 1547
On the Inability of Nature and of the Law to justify man.
The holy Synod declares first, that, for the correct and sound understanding of the doctrine of Justification, it is necessary that each one recognise and confess, that, whereas all men had lost their innocence in the prevarication of Adam -- having become unclean, and, as the apostle says, by nature children of wrath, as (this Synod) has set forth in the decree on original sin, -- they were so far the servants of sin, and under the power of the devil and of death, that not the Gentiles only by the force of nature, but not even the Jews by the very letter itself of the law of Moses, were able to be liberated, or to arise, therefrom; although free will, attenuated as it was in its powers, and bent down, was by no means extinguished in them.
[So because of the sin of Adam and Eve, we were in need of a Savior, being unable to bring ourselves back to grace from original sin without Him.]
On the dispensation and mystery of Christ's advent.
Whence it came to pass, that the heavenly Father, the father of mercies and the God of all comfort, when that blessed fulness of the time was come, sent unto men, Jesus Christ, His own Son -- who had been, both before the Law, and during the time of the Law, to many of the holy fathers announced and promised -- that He might both redeem the Jews who were under the Law, and that the Gentiles, who followed not after justice, might attain to justice, and that all men might receive the adoption of sons. Him God hath proposed as a propitiator, through faith in his blood, for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for those of the whole world.
[So God sent Jesus to remedy the state of humanity caused by Adam's Fall from grace.]
Who are justified through Christ.
But, though He died for all, yet do not all receive the benefit of His death, but those only unto whom the merit of His passion is communicated. For as in truth men, if they were not born propagated of the seed of Adam, would not be born unjust, -- seeing that, by that propagation, they contract through him, when they are conceived, injustice as their own, -- so, if they were not born again in Christ, they never would be justified; seeing that, in that new birth, there is bestowed upon them, through the merit of His passion, the grace whereby they are made just. For this benefit the apostle exhorts us, evermore to give thanks to the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light, and hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption, and remission of sins.
[all are offered justification, but not all accept it]
A description is introduced of the Justification of the impious, and of the Manner thereof under the law of grace.
By which words, a description of the Justification of the impious is indicated, -- as being a translation, from that state wherein man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace, and of the adoption of the sons of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Saviour. And this translation, since the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be effected, without the laver [washing] of regeneration, or the desire thereof, as it is written; unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.
[the laver of regernation is baptism; notice that the Council also taught a Baptism of desire, i.e. a non-formal Baptism]