Biblical Support for Sacraments being a vehicle of grace


I thought that the Catholic Church also taught that belief was necessary for baptism. A child who is 6 or younger can be baptized because the parent or guardian believes for the child, and those over 7 years old must believe and consent to water baptism. Otherwise we could go around the streets and public places baptizing strangers and expect the baptisms to be effective and for the Holy Spirit to fill these strangers.

But while humans must consent to water baptism, I agree that God does not need our consent to pour out the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit appears in His timing and does not need to follow the date that humans choose to schedule the baptism ceremony.


I apologize I must have misunderstood your comment.

Not sure of the exact ages but yes infants are Baptized on the faith of the parents.

I jumped to the assumption that your comment…

…was actually speaking against this. Since the majority of the times, that I’ve heard of, these “believers” Baptisms are performed on Catholics who were Baptized as infants.

I do agree. Yeah we shouldn’t just randomly be Baptizing people. It’s just the way you worded it that is misleading and makes one assume the words …

…includes infants. As long as you you are making this exclusion it seems we are on the same page.

God Bless


I think we are all trying to understand how the Holy Spirit works, and in relation to the Sacraments. An important reality, is that we cannot know the depths of the Lord in this way.

I agree with all Christians who believe the Spirit is working for the conversion of all men and women from the earliest moments of coming into the age of reason.

I also believe He desires our children to be made holy through our privilege as parents who are able to bring our children to the Lord for this grace. “Otherwise, they would not be clean”

The Lord stands at the door and knocks. The Father beckons us to the Son! And His spirit goes where it will. “We know not whether it comes or goes”.

But we are not ignorant of His promises either!

The Spirit is called on at Baptism! The earliest conversions were not always aware of the accurate understanding of the faith. Yet there was genuine faith to convert, enter into Salvation, and grow in knowledge and charity.

How do you explain the Laying on of Hands? The early Church fathers attest to this practice as a significant practice in the life of a Christian. It was a means of conferring a blessing and grace to a Christian by strengthening their call!

You seem to acknowledge that an adult can faulter in his knowledge and sincerity while receiving Baptism, but God still bestows a certain grace nevertheless.

How do you understand Hebrews 10

Do you not think that a much worse punishment is due the one who has contempt for the Son of God, considers unclean the covenant-blood by which he was consecrated, and insults the Spirit of grace?

Is it possible that this grace has come through the Sacraments of Baptism, Comfirmation (Laying on Hands), and Communion?


Yes, the CC teaches that faith is necessary for baptism.

I don’t think there is a fixed age that is considered 'the age of reason". A child would not be bapitzed unless the parents/godparents made promises to raise that child in the faith, as no 6/7 year old would be expected to be responsible for their own faith formation.

I am not sure what this means. Are you saying that infants should not be baptized because they cannot consent? Does this not nullify the baptism of “whole households” (which likely contained children), the children referenced at Pentecost, and the practice of the Early Church?


As saving faith is a faith that hears the Gospel, believes the Gospel message and actively responds to Gospel in trust and obedience.

You know you have a saving faith if you believe that Christ is the son of God and He has become the treasure of your heart. Obedience and worship and everything we do as Christians comes from the fact that Christ is our treasure, He is what we long for, He is what brings us eternal joy, and He is who’s arms we rest in and who’s presence we celebrate.


When speaking to the Pharisees in Matthew 15 and how they placed importance “religious traditions” that they had developed over the centuries Christ tells them

‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

In the old law you would see the favor of God by bringing an offering to the priest who would make a sacrifice on your behalf and you seek to live the mosaic law and all the things prescribed in it to keep yourself clean. The pharisees had added many things to the mosaic law that were not the doctrines of God but where the doctrines of men. These things were well intentioned and designed to make sure that the pharisees and their followers were always “clean”. But the laws themselves became an idol that must followed and distracted people from and kept them from following the heart of the Law. “Which is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and your mind and to Love your neighbor as yourself.”

When following the letter of our modern Christian law (much of which are traditions and opinions of men) becomes more important than having a heart that has Christ as it’s treasure then we are modern day Pharisees. We can become very “religious” and moral and know all the things that Christians are supposed to do and take part in all the religious ceremonies and services (including the sacraments), but still have missed the heart of Christianity. If someone does that then they are guilty of honoring Christ with their lips and worshiping in Vain.

But thankfully, today we do not use sacrifices and the old law to try and earn God’s grace. Instead, Christ made the one time sacrifice for our sins and we come directly to Him the Great High Priest, by His grace and through faith. Christ is our mediator and access to the throne of God. And for the true believer in Christ, the one who has been born again by the Holy Spirit then the things we do (worship and serve and give and love) we do because of who we are in Christ and because we rest in His love and mercy and grace. We are not like the Jews who had to continually bring sacrifices in the hopes of obtaining the mercy and grace of God.


Can you please tell us which commandments anyone here has mentioned that are from men, and not God?

We are discussing the Sacraments. Baptism, Confirmation, the Lord’s Supper, Reconciliation, Marriage (for those who desire a sexual relationship.

What commandment of men has anyone suggested as necessary to observe for salvation?


Beautifully said. Thank you.

Although, confusing. Sooo, a saving faith is accompanied by works of obedience and worship and love of God (Christ) and I include also of our fellow man, since this is what Christ commanded.

Why do Evangelicals and other Protestants object that the Church Teaches that we are saved by faith accompanied by works of love?


I like this one! I know, you will say “accompanied” is essentially the same as “plus”. Perhaps, but “demonstrated” by works of love is even better!


It is the teaching of Evangelicals that faith is accompanied by works of love. For instance, saying I have faith without repentance isn’t really faith. Faith that doesn’t cause a change in our actions and attitudes isn’t the kind of faith that saves because it isn’t really faith. If a person truly has faith then they will have works of love. That is the teaching of most evangelical churches and it is the teaching of historic Protestant Theologians like Jonathan Edwards and John Bunyan.


I don’t believe that any of the commands we’ve been talking about (the seven sacraments) are commands of men.

I do believe however, that the understanding of how they work and what they accomplish are derived from opinions of men. For instance, instead of just taking the Lord’s supper and rejoicing and giving thanks for what Christ has done for us, over the centuries the Theologians gave their opinions as to what they mean and how they work. Is the body of Christ in the Eucharist literal or spiritual or symbolic or just a time of thanksgiving to remember what Christ did for us? Theologians had different views of this throughout the centuries. The views that eventually came to become the dogma of the church and to believe differently was to not follow Christ and not be saved. Never mind that those folks who thought differently loved Jesus and were faithful to Him. They were excluded by what men thought, which may or may not be relevant in how we live out our faith in Christ. You were no longer considered a follower of Christ by your faith and Love of Christ (having a heart close to Him), but by your understanding of of the Lord’s Supper and if that matched the opinions that became the dogma of the church.

But my real point is that even doing the commandments of God without a saving faith is no better than the pharisees who worked with great zeal to do the commandments of God (as they saw them) but yet their hearts were far from him and they worshiped in vain.


How very Catholic!

Perhaps we should focus on more of the Sacred Traditions our separated brethren have retained, rather than what they have not?


One of the biggest misconceptions I’ve read on this board is that the doctrine of “Faith Alone” means “Belief alone”. The idea that you can come to faith in Christ and not have a profound change in your heart and life is foreign to my evangelical understanding. Sometimes it can be a very subtle change, especially if someone is raised to follow Christ and sometimes it can be very dramatic if the person was living a very sinful life but there should always be a change. Even if it is just confirmation and peace that what you have been taught is about Christ is the truth.

The real difference is that Faith Alone teaches that those works of love that we do don’t add to or contribute to our salvation. We are saved because of our faith and do works of love as a result of our faith. In other words, our work of love flow from who are (A new creation in Christ) instead of what we are trying to get (Final Justification and less time in purgatory and so forth)


No doubt there are many human opinons about the sacraments, but these must be distinguished from Sacred Tradition, which is the Teaching of the Apostles preserved infallibly in the Church by the Holy Spirit.

Such questions are exactly why we need the Sacred Traditions, as there are as many human opinions as there are belly buttons!

There is a distinction between being excluded because of what men thought, and being excluded because one has espoused a belief that is opposed to what Jesus taught. I can attest that many people who have done this love Jesus and are as faithful to Him as they know to be. But we cannot give up what the Apostles taught as heresy just to make them feel in unity with the Church He founded.

Actually, what has been handed down to us from the Apostles is doctrine. Things that have been declared after the Apostles are dogmas. The Trinity, for example, is a Dogma. The contents of the Bible is a Dogma. The real presence in the Eucharist is a doctrine of the faith.

I am sure this is true for some people, but not all. There were those that followed all the commandments of God but never met Jesus. They are saved the same way we are, by grace, through faith. Saving faith is demonstrated in obedience to Him.


I think this has more to do with our different conceptions of what it means to be “saved”. For Catholics, entering the life of Christ at justification is only the beginning of our salvation, which is followed by sanctification and glorification. We do not experience the final part of our salvation until this life is over, so works can never be separated from “salvation” for us, because, during this life, we can walk away from the life that God has created in us at justification.


Ummm, i disagree. The commandments of God and Christ save! You cannot follow the commands of Christ without faith.

What are the commands of Christ?


It depends on what you mean by commands of Christ. If you mean to believe and trust in Christ then you are correct, because by definition that is faith.

If you mean to go to church services and be a good moral person then I definitely believe it is possible to do those without a saving faith. It is possible that people go to church and live moral lives because they were taught to do so by their parents and it is a cultural norm instead of an expression of an inward faith. The problem is that some people believe that going to church and being moral is how they are saved. They are trusting in their own ability to be holy and good instead of trusting in Christ and His sacrifice for their salvation.


But Scripture (Jesus) doesnt merely tell us to attend Church, but examine ourselves and receive His body and blood in a worthy manner. That is a command from the Apostle, in Scripture!

What was the most important Command Jesus affirmed? Love the Lord your God with all your heart. And He gave another command, to love one another as ourselves. And He commands us to repent from sinfulness. And He commands us to be Baptized, etc.


This is a little clearer, but now I need to ask how does one define obedience and how do you know your definition is correct?

As an example.

I say to my son I need you to go to the barn in the morning an accomplish X. He says sure dad. So I hand him a list of the 7 steps he needs to do to accomplish X. He gets up in the morning runs down to the barn and pulls out the list. As he is ready he says to himself I don’t know why in the heck dad gave me such a long list I can simply do steps 1, 3 and 7 and be done in half the time. So he goes to work and finishes up, easy peasy.

Was the son obedient to the father?

From the sons point of view he accomplished X so the father should be pleased.

Now what’s your thoughts on the fathers point of view?

Should the son be declared righteous because he accomplished X?

Did the son have the right to say steps 2, 4, 5 & 6 are just overkill and were unnecessary? After all it’s pretty obvious that they weren’t needed, we can all see that he accomplished the task.

How about can the son say to the father well you must not have meant what it says in step 2 because as you can see it wasn’t need to still be able to accomplished X.



His obedience was partial and his father may discipline and correct him but the righteousness doesn’t come because of his obedience, it comes because he is his fathers son. His position as a son is what makes him righteous but a son will be rewarded and blessed or disciplined according to his obedience.

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