Are we saved by faith alone, or do we need works, too?

Need some info

You need both faith and works - neither one is completely sufficient for salvation. It is not enough to just be a good person; you have to be one for the right reasons. Likewise it is not enough just to have faith in God; you also have to please him with good works.

We are saved by Grace, we receive Grace through Faith and Works

Faith itself is actually a Work, as God does not believe in Himself for us, it is something that we ourselves DO in response to, and through, Grace.

Not a forum master, but what Brendan said.:thumbsup:

*14 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?
17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
18 But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.
19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder.
20 Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren?

-James, Chapter 2

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has a section which deals with this in depth if you want to take a deep dive with references:


We need a supernatural faith but we are not saved by faith alone.

We receive graces of supernatural faith (and hope and charity) at Baptism. We need supernatural faith, hope, and charity to be saved.

Then when we become children of God, we need to DO something with our “talents” that we received.

Unless you cannot work (i.e. a baby, a profoundly handicapped person, etc., or die briefly after baptism), you need to perform works done in grace.

That doesn’t mean you can save yourself by works. (you can’t save yourself by anything)

But it means we must cooperate with God’s grace.

Grace = God’s favor AND God working in you and through you (but you can, eventually to your own peril, refuse to cooperate with such good works).

This is why St. Paul in 1st Corinthians 13, says you can have faith to move mountains, but if you have not charity, you have nothing (notice St. Paul doesn’t say: “Well you have salvation anyway”).

The Church teaches faithfully observing even the natural law (placed in the hearts of all men) is necessary for our salvation.

The natural law is how people who through no fault of their own, and have not yet had the Gospel preached to them, etc., will be judged.

Catholics of course are judged on a higher standard—to whom much is given much is required (Luke 12:48, and you can also see a reflection of this principle in James 3:1).

Hope this helps. Let me know if you want/need more details (Scriptural? Catechetical? Or whatever).

God bless.


The sermon on the mount when Jesus taught the crowd the beatitudes.

Poor in spirit…unattached to the things of this world and dependent on God.
Those who mourn…doing the hard things that faith demands in walking the narrow road.
The meek…not having the last word, but giving kindness and silence, and letting others be first.
Thirst for righteousness…longing for God in their life and wanting him first.
Being merciful…will obtain mercy.
Clean of heart…getting rid of sin, and respecting God’s temple within them.
Being peacemakers…become imitators of God in spreading peace and goodness on earth.
Being persecuted…rejoice for martyrdom will attain heaven, and other suffererings will be rewarded.

All of these Jesus said to practice because by these we will enter his kingdom.

Well said!!

PLEASE disregard the nonsense (and sometimes heretical) answers you have received.

The Catholic Church teaches that we are saved by the Grace of Christian Baptism, and by NOTHING else CCC 1263], (Our Baptismal Grace is restored, if necessary, by Sacramental Confession CCC 1446]).

If we die in a state of Grace (meaning our Baptismal Grace has been preserved or restored) we will attain salvation. NOTHING else is necessary, and any Catholic who believes otherwise does not understand the Doctrine of the Catholic Church regarding the economy of salvation. I have argued this point many times on this Forum (it’s almost a full-time job), and I have never lost. Nobody has ever cited actual Catholic doctrine to the contrary.

We are not saved by faith OR works. Some Catholics want to quibble with me on this by quoting the Catechism that Baptism is the Sacrament of Faith (which it is), but the large majority of Catholics are Baptized as infants and have no personal faith, and the Faith of their Baptism comes from their parents, their godparents, and the Christian community at large, who share in the profession of Faith at every Baptism (by affirming each stanza of the Nicene Creed). Obviously an adult convert to Christianity has personal faith - why else would s/he desire Baptism? It’s really a straw-man logical fallacy to suggest that a faithless adult would seek Christian Baptism.

We are not saved by our own personal faith, works, beliefs, or anything else. We are saved by the Grace of Christian Baptism, and by nothing else. If we knowingly and voluntarily forfeit this Grace through mortal sin, it can be restored by Sacramental Confession, and by nothing else. Faith, works, or beliefs cannot attain salvation, and they cannot restore it if we lose it through mortal sin.

ONLY the Sacraments of the Church can attain (and, if necessary, restore) saving Grace. It is heresy to suppose that we must have something MORE than the Grace of Christian Baptism, intact at the time of our death, in order to be saved.

What does the Word of God say?

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

James 2:24 (KJV)

What more do you need to know?

It says “A man” “is justified” “not by faith only” = “A man is not justified by faith alone.”

Your question was: are we saved by faith alone?

The Word of God says “A man is not justified by faith alone.”

There’s your answer.

And if we are justified by faith, but not faith alone, then by what else are we justified?

The same verse has the answer: “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified” = “A man is justified by works.” But not works alone, of course.

You could just as well ask “are we saved by works alone?” The answer, similarly, would be that although we are saved by works, we are not saved by works alone. That’s what the Word of God says.

Yes, I know I have equated “saved” and “justified”. First, you must define for yourself what you mean by “saved”. Then you must understand the context of “justified” here and elsewhere in Sacred Scripture and see if this verse is really an answer to your question. Definitions are everything. But one thing is clear: whatever the ‘exact’ meaning of “justified” in James 2:24 is, we are ‘not’ “justified” by faith alone, but also by works.

We’re saved by grace-and our response to it, to God’s drawing and calling and working in us. This response includes faith, repentance, performing whatever acts of love God has prepared for us to do, persevering, struggling against sin, striving. Authentic love of God and neighbor is the ultimate goal, the ultimate definition of our justice, and works naturally flow out of that love. “The only thing that counts is faith working through love.” Gal 5:6. Read Matt 25:31-46 to get an idea how that love is intended to express itself, and how we’re judged accordingly.

But faith can exist without love. As St Augustine put it, “Without love faith can indeed exist, but avails nothing.” And St Paul said, in 1 Cor 13, “…if I have a faith that can move mountains, but don’t have love, I am nothing.” And St John of the Cross summed it up this way, “At the evening of life we shall be judged on our love.”

To follow up on post #5 where James 2 is quoted:
“You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and* not by faith alone.*” James 2:24

“by faith alone” appears ligitimately, once in scripture.

NOT is in front of it James 2:24

Re: “works” vs “good works” we have to make a distinction between “works of law” (the 613 Mosaic laws ) and “good works”

**Eph 2:**8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

“works” in that case is NOT talking about “good works” but “works of law”. Here’s the vs that follows that Protestants usually leave out of the argument.

Eph 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

One has to ask the question, what happens to the one who doesn’t do what God created them to do? It’s the same for anything God creates.

Matthew 3:10[/FONT] , Luke 3:9[/FONT] , Luke 13:7-9[/FONT] , Matthew 25:44-46[/FONT]

One then has to ask the question why do we get credit for doing “good works”?

When Jesus crowns our good works He is really crowning His work He is doing in us. In Context & Philippians 2:13

St. Paul says that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law he is talking about the OT law, such a s circumcision, which could not bring salvation provided it is made alive by
charity. saving faith has to work through love Gal 5:6. In 1 Cor 13:2 St. Paul tells us that faith without love is nothing and it cannot save. It means that if we love God, we must keep
His commandments (jn14:21). When the rich man asks Jesus what he must do to be saved,
Jesus answers: "keep my commandments "MT 19:16-17 Thus, it is clear that faith alone is not enough for salvation. We must also have love(charity) and keep God’s commandments. St. James says that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone for as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dea Jam 2:24,26
The Catholic Church teaches that we are saved by God’s grace alone and works are evidence of faith (acc to the bible) Grace enables us to have the saving faith that works in love Eph 2:8-10 All good works must be done in the grace of God to have any supernatural value.

The Church teaches we are saved by faith and works, not by faith alone. What are “works”? Are these things that we should morally do? Thanks.
**Answer by Fr.Stephen F. Torraco on 01-15-2008 (EWTN): **
’ “Works” refers to human actions by which we grow in faith, hope, and charity. Such “works” are made possible only by the grace of God.’

Answer by David Gregson on 09-19-2007 (EWTN): **
“A mistake that Protestants often make is that they interpret what Christ says by what St. Paul says, rather than interpreting St. Paul by what Christ says. For example, Christ, in his simile of the sheep and goats, lists a number of charitable works on which our salvation depends (Matt 25:31-46). Reading St. Paul in light of the gospels helps us to realize that when he says “works of the law” won’t save us, he’s not talking about good works in general, but the (513 statutes of) the Mosaic Law. Good works in general are necessary. See Romans 2:6-11.
It’s not that works are added to faith, but that faith, in the light of Christ’s teaching, implies faithfulness, taking up our cross and following Him. That means obedience.”

‘The Catholic Church does not now, nor has it ever, taught a doctrine of salvation by works…that we can “work” our way into Heaven. Additionally, nowhere in the Bible does it teach that we are saved by “faith alone.” The only place in all of Scripture where the phrase “faith alone” appears is in James 2:24, where it says that we are not justified (or saved) by faith alone.
The Bible says very clearly that we are not saved by faith alone.

‘Works do have something to do with our salvation. Numerous passages in the New Testament that I know of about judgment says we will be judged by our works, not by whether or not we have faith alone. We see this in Romans 2, Matthew 15 and 16, 1 Peter 1, Revelation 20 and 22, 2 Corinthians 5, and many, many more verses.

‘If we are saved by faith alone, why does 1 Corinthians 13:13 say that love is greater than faith? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

‘As Catholics we believe that we are saved by God’s grace alone. We can do nothing, apart from God’s grace, to receive the free gift of salvation. We also believe, however, that we have to respond to God’s grace.’

POPE PAUL VI (Humanae Vitae Section 4) For the natural law, too, declares the will of God, and its faithful observance is necessary for men’s eternal salvation.

Draw your own conclusions Christidiscipl1.

As I said in post 7:

Unless you cannot work (i.e. a baby, a profoundly handicapped person, etc., or die briefly after baptism), you need to perform works done in grace.

Baptism is the beginning of the Christian life. Those who have received the Supernatural virtues through Baptism (virtues of faith, hope, and charity) must put those virtues into practice.

We need to work. We MUST cooperate with God’s grace, lest we receive that grace in vain.

2nd CORINTHIANS 6:1 And we helping do exhort you, that you receive not the grace of God in vain.

2nd CORINTHIANS 6:1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.

Neither. We are not saved by grace alone. Neither can we earn our salvation.

We are saved by grace alone which not only saves us but allows God to act through us. We don’t work; God does.

There’s a lot of Biblical exegesis going on in this thread, where people are overlaying their interpretation of Scriptural passages (especially the writings of James and Paul) onto Catholic salvation theology .

I say again:

I ask people here to refrain from coming up with their own idea of Catholic salvation theology and listen to what the Catholic Church actually teaches.

What is needed is to “remain faithful to the demands of baptism”, for the **CCC 1274 **emphasises that it is “the faithful Christian who has ’kept the seal’ until the end, remaining faithful to the demands of his Baptism, will be able to depart this life ‘marked with the sign of faith,’ with his baptismal faith in expectation of the blessed vision of God – the consummation of the faith – and in the hope of resurrection.”

Real Catholics heed the truth.

**What do Catholics teach about being saved?
Answer by Fr. John Echert on 09-02-2007 (EWTN): **
You are getting closer to the truth, but I must make further distinctions. The Catholic Church teaches that faith is necessary for salvation but not of itself sufficient. Our Lord Himself commanded that the disciples go forth and baptise the nations, which confers a particular grace of sanctification. This grace of sanctification is necessary for salvation – at least in the case of those who have access to baptism. **The good works and repentance which you cite in James are essential, but we say that they proceed from supernatural charity as a motive, and not simply faith. **In other words, someone can truly have faith in Christ by which they are drawn to Him and accept Him, but would not necessarily do acts of charity for the motive of faith alone – which is why we typically call them acts of charity, that is, supernatural love.

So salvation depends not only on baptism but on actively doing what Christ requires through that sacrament as taught by His Church, and not as conjectured by anyone else.

So be heartened by this:
faith and works
Answer by Bill Bilton on 04-16-2002 (EWTN):

‘Catholics believe that faith and good works are both necessary for salvation, because such is the teaching of Jesus Christ. What Our Lord demands is ``faith that worketh by charity .’’ (Gal. 5 :6). Read Matthew 25:31-46, which describes the Last Judgment as being based on works of charity.’

‘The Catholic Church does not teach that purely human good works are meritorious for salvation; such works are not meritorious for salvation, according to her teaching. Only those good works performed when a person is in the state of grace – that is, as a branch drawing its spiritual life from the Vine which is Christ (John 15:4-6)–only these good deeds work toward our salvation, and they do so only by the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ. These good works, offered to God by a soul in the state of grace (i.e., free of mortal sin, with the Blessed Trinity dwelling in the soul), are thereby supernaturally meritorious because they share in the work and in the merits of Christ. Such supernatural good works will not only be rewarded by God, but are necessary for salvation.

‘St. Paul shows how the neglect of certain good works will send even a Christian believer to damnation: But if any man have not care of his own, and especially of those of his house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.'' (1 Tim. 5:8). Our Lord tells us that if the Master (God) returns and finds His servant sinning, rather than performing works of obedience, Heshall separate him, and shall appoint him his portion with unbelievers.’’ (Luke 12:46).’

CCC 1270 “Reborn as sons of God, [the **baptized] must profess before men the faith they have received from God through the Church” and participate in the apostolic and missionary activity of the People of God.80

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