A pastor says, catholics have a works salvation


Ok, what do catholics really believe about works and salvation?

Do you really think you are going to get to heaven under your own good works?

Isaiah 64:6
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

So, the subject is define your understanding of works and salvation, make distinctions and connections.

deal with Isaiah 64:6, what is your understanding of it?



I would ask “a pastor”, if we have faith in Christ, what difference does it make if we think our works (done with God’s grace) are also necessary?

This is an important point. If we have faith in Christ, what difference does it make if (according to his view) we don’t perfectly understand how we are saved? Is perfect understanding of the mechanics of salvation also necessary to be saved? In “a pastor’s” view, is there some additional requirement for salvation besides faith? If so, isn’t that also works salvation, with the work being intellectual mastery of the mechanics of salvation?


The Holy Father, Benedict XVI, has written a lot of books, one of the recent is Jesus of Nazareth.

In this, he echoes what many outside the Catholic Church subscribe to, that you cannot lift verses out of the Bible and understand them on their own.

You must look at every verse in the context of the entire Bible, and, as the Catholic Church teaches, also consider the teaching of the Church. (With respect to “listening” to the Church, take a look at 1 Ti 3:15 – the church, not the Bible, is the foundation of our faith, well our faith anyway.).

The Catholic Church teaches that our salvation is totally dependent on Jesus Christ. there is nothing we can do to take the place or add to what Jesus has done. The issue cannot be plainer.

But, most of the New Testament also makes it very plain that we are to repent of our sins, turn away from them, and live our lives following the Master.

Undoubtedly what you are questioning when you say Catholics follow a “works” gospel are the sacraments of the Church, which we believe God has given to us and which are scripturally based.

We must be baptized, usually and normally with water. Jesus gave us a liturgy, which we call the Mass. He FIRST took bread and said that it was His body, He took wine and said that it was His blood. We do this as a continuation of this first liturgy, as He commanded.

You must really read ALL the verses in the Bible, especially the New Testament. You, I respectfully submit, must shake yourself free of the oversimplification of looking for ‘proof texts.’

And, what have you got to lose? Look at the ‘early church fathers’ and their writings. They believed in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Elsewhere on the Catholic Answers website is “This Rock” magazine. There is an excellent article by Dr. Scott Hahn about the ‘search for the fourth cup.’ He discusses aspects of the Lord’s Passover which you may find inspiring and life-changing.

He points out how in the Jewish tradition of Passover, the Jews consumed the body of the sacrificial victim. It had to be eaten in its entirety (with anything left over burnt the next day). Likewise…LIKEWISE…Jesus gives us Himself to eat, under the forms of bread and wine. With your eyes wide open, how can you dismiss this?


Hi Daniel,

Faith and baptism is how we are justified, made adopted children of God and heirs to heaven. It’s our ticket to heaven and it’s given us totally free without any merit on our part, but only through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

Having the ticket we must bring it to the door, the door of heaven. This means that with God’s help we must live a good life. If we fail, we can, through repentance and confession, gain back God’s friendship. We cannot even think a good thought without God’s help. So even our good works are the work of God, so that we can’t “merit” heaven through these good works. Everything is God’s work.

So, you see, we are not saved through “works”, We are saved by God working through us. But we can refuse God’s help and invalidate our ticket to heaven.



Tell him to prove that from an actual Catholic document like the Catechism.

He can’t because it’s not there…


I was listening to a program on the radio the other day and the speaker put it very nicely.

To a Catholic, our faith which is the key to our salvation, involves turning away from sin BUT it doesn’t stop there. The grace we receive, once accepted, kindles our faith and demands that we act as Christians not only by avoiding evil but by doing good.

I am paraphrasing but I think this is pretty close.


Nearly everyone I know, both Catholic and Protestant, believes in some sort of “works salvation.”

By that, I mean that they believe there is something that we must DO to be saved:

–accept Jesus as my personal Savior. (something I must do)
–put my faith and trust in Jesus (something I must do.)
–be baptized (something I must do)
–turn my life over to Jesus (something I must do)

Catholics believe that none of those actions could be taken without having the initial grace of repentance from God. It is his initiative, not ours.

Nevertheless, his gift requires our acceptance–an act of the human will–something I must do.

In addition, Catholics take very seriously the words that Jesus spoke in Matthew 25:31-46. Jesus’ own description of the last judgment. How does He decide, in this passage, who goes to heaven and who does not? Sounds like it’s based on something we did or did not do in this life.

Does the pastor believe Jesus?


Well the Catholic Church lets us set up a 401k for Christ. The more WORK we do for Jesus the more heavenly cupcakes we get. jk. Anyways, lets just say in the last 100 years, our works record is pretty legit. (Momma T, DD ‘Dorthy Day’, Henri Nouwen). Our faith is in our hands. We as Catholics just try to make the Gospel fully ruin the modern American life(jk). No you cant own a BMW, sell everything and give it to the poor. Just because you are “saved” doesnt always mean your in the Kingdom of God (a place where God’s loves reigns). That kind of intimacy is seen in the face of someone who needs more help then just prayer. If I have faith I cant stop my works, if I dont have faith, well Ill watch Baseball.


For our salvation, faith alone is not enough … neither are our works alone. Scripture tells us repeatedly to have an “obedient” faith – which means that with our will we participate in, or use, God’s graces to act on our faith. God’s grace is what brings us to salvation, if we cooperate. Even Satan believes in Jesus. If we claim to believe in God, but choose to separate ourselves from Him by disobeying His commandments and failing to love Him and others, then we aren’t choosing eternal life with God. Our salvation isn’t just a matter of wishful thinking.


I would suggest you tell “a pastor” that he clearly believes in “easy believism”–once prayed, always saved.

Also, let him know there’s a difference between what HE believes by “salvation” and what the BIBLE believes by “salvation.” (He probably thinks they are the same, but he’s wrong.)


‘A member’ (he is secret and hidden, you will never find out who he is :D) of this site says that ‘the pastor’ should first learn something about Catholicism lest he risks bearing a false witness. :rolleyes:


We believe this

James 2

**Faith and Deeds **
14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?

15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.

16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?

17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?

22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.

23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.

24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?

26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Written by and for the Catholic Church with the help of God


Ephesians 2:8-10 answers the question.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Listen carefully to stadium evangelists, televangelists, and radio preachers. Nine times out of ten they will quote Ephesians 2:8-9 with great emphasis and never mention verse 10. We are not slaves futilely trying to earn salvation by doing “works of the law” (Eph. 2:8-9). Yet as sons of God we are inspired and energized by the Holy Spirit to do “good works” as we cooperate with our heavenly father in extending the Kingdom of God (Eph. 2:10). Catholicism believes and teaches the full message of Ephesians 2:8-10, without equivocating or abbreviating the truth.


Isaiah doesn’t mean what you claim.

Now read the next verse, Isaiah 64:7.

“There is no one that calls upon your name, that bestirs himself to take hold of you, for you have hidden your face from us and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquities.”

Does verse 7 sound like Isaiah is addressing every human being on the planet? No? Then why assume that verse 6 is addressed to every human being on the planet?

Isaiah 64:6 does not support the man-made Calvinist doctrine of total depravity. God LOVES our good works. No, we cannot “work our way to heaven” – we need Jesus’ shed blood to wash away our sins — but our good works are pleasing to God. They aren’t “filthy rags.” They are precious to Him.


We had this for over 1000 posts. It will be a good read!


I would ask “a pastor”, if we have faith in Christ, what difference does it make if we think our works (done with God’s grace) are also necessary?

This is an important point. If we have faith in Christ, what difference does it make if (according to his view) we don’t perfectly understand how we are saved? Is perfect understanding of the mechanics of salvation also necessary to be saved?

A little off topic, but my wife and I were recently discussing how a RC could almost form a “denominational pascal wager” :
RC’s believe outside Rome you are damned. Protestants believe you only need Jesus which a RC could have. Where is the safer bet?



From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1996 Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.46

The Catholic Church does not now nor has it ever taught that we are saved by our own works. We cannot earn our salvation.

Hope this helps. :tiphat:



You have mistated the Church’s position, and that is the fatal error in your argument.

Catholics do not believe that outside Rome you are damned. I live in North Carolina…does that mean that I’m damned since I am “outside Rome”? :stuck_out_tongue:

The correct formulation is, “There is no salvation outside the Church.”

The burning question then becomes, “What does it mean to be ‘outside the Church’?”

Hope this helps. :tiphat:


An important part of our race of Salvation is Doing what Jesus told us to do.

This is too often ignored by protestant groups.


Yes, this is a good point. I have asked something similar in discussions with Protestants. Eventually in these discussions they usually decide that Catholics don’t have faith in Jesus, because - well, I don’t exactly know why. :slight_smile:

As a Catholic I would even (gently) challenge a Protestant’s claim to have faith in Christ, since rejecting Christ’s Church is rejecting Christ. But of course the Protestant will see this matter quite differently, so while I would bring up the concept I wouldn’t dwell on it since that would just kill any discussion.

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