By Grace through Faith or through Faith and Works?


#1

Guys I am confused about this matter. Are we saved by Grace through Faith alone as Protestants say or through Faith AND good works? What is exactly the Catholic Church’s view about salvation and why is it right according to Bible?
In James 2:24-26 it’s written “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” So he is clearly saying that faith without works doesn’t lead to Salvation. However in Ephesians 2:8 it’s written “for by Grace you have been saved, through Faith,not by works so that no one should boast.” and I don’t get it.Please I would be very grateful if someone could help me with the interpretation because I didn’t do good catechism and nobody really teached me about these matters.


#2

By grace through faith, as the Catholic Church Teaches.

Here’s the thing. In order to be saved, you must have done the good works that God commands. In other words, you must keep the Commandments.

God doesn’t save anyone who does not keep the Commandments. But it is God who saves us through His mercy and grace.

What is exactly the Catholic Church’s view about salvation and why is it right according to Bible?
In James 2:24-26 it’s written “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” So he is clearly saying that faith without works doesn’t lead to Salvation.

Agreed.

However in Ephesians 2:8 it’s written “for by Grace you have been saved, through Faith,not by works so that no one should boast.” and I don’t get it. Please I would be very grateful if someone could help me with the interpretation because I didn’t do good catechism and nobody really teached me about these matters.
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Let me see if I can help.

Eph 2:8 is a Sacramental Teaching. It’s about Baptism.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;

It is in Baptism that we receive grace because we express our faith in Jesus Christ. It is a gift of God for all those who keep His Commandments. There’s a rule that Scripture does not contradict itself. Let’s look at another one, below.

Titus 3:5 not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us
through the bath of rebirth

This says that we have done many good deeds, but the good deeds don’t save us, it is God who saves those who do good deeds, through the bath of rebirth which is another way of saying, through baptism.

Notice that those who have not done any righteous deeds are excluded from this verse.

Another verse to read is Matt 25:31-46. That’s where God saves all the Sheep, because they do good. But condemns all the goats because they didn’t.


#3

Although I really agree the commandments should be uphold but as a mere human being, I would not put ANY limits on God. It is not for you or me or whomever to decide who and for what reason God saves anyone. God being God, well He would know.


#4

True. But that is what is revealed. And I wouldn’t want to bet my soul that I could be saved without obeying His Commands.

Exodus 20:6 but showing love down to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Matthew 19:16 Now someone approached him and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”[a] 17 He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good.[b] If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

John 14:21 Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”


#5

Agreed. I won’t either.

The statement just seemed very definitive. Maybe not exactly what you meant but any statement saying “God does this or that” puts a limit on Him.


#6

From the CCC:

CHAPTER THREE GOD’S SALVATION: LAW AND GRACE ARTICLE 2 GRACE AND JUSTIFICATION


#7

Nowhere in the Bible does it teach we are saved by “faith alone”. If you are speaking to a protestant I would ask them how they define the term “faith alone”. Usually they will add the disclaimer that faith isn’t alone, they agree that faith without obedience or good works is not saving faith. So basically they use the terminology faith alone but that faith has to show good works to be true saving faith.

Now the Catholic view of salvation is not faith plus works, if by works you mean purely human efforts to win God’s favor.

Catholics believe in salvation by grace alone, yet grace must not be resisted, either before justification (by remaining in unbelief) or after (by engaging in serious sin).

Now to understand what grace alone means you need to understand that the Church teaches there are two primary categories of grace: actual and sanctifying.

Actual grace is the strength God gives us to act according to His will (do good works).

Sanctifying grace is a state in which God allows us to share in his life and love. When we speak of being in the state of grace, we mean the state of sanctifying grace. There is no mortal sin in us. This grace comes to us first in baptism and then in the other sacraments.

WELL SAID, AMEN!

In order to understand what this verse is saying we need to understand the context. A tip I picked up was anytime you are given a verse read the 4 verses before and after the verse and then respond. Inverse 4 he says…

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with him,

These verses reveal that St. Paul was talking about the initial grace of salvation by which we were raised from death until life. This is exactly what the Church teaches we are raised from death to life in Baptism. There is no work we can do to merit this sanctifying grace. However, once we are given this initial gift we must cooperate with this grace and “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (phil 2:12) or as St. Paul goes on to say in verse 10 of Ephesians 2…10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Sure we are justified by faith (sanctifying grace), but not by faith alone. Jesus makes it clear that our faith can not exclude works (actual grace). John 11:25, Matthew 19:17-19, Matthew 12:37, etc…

Hope this helps,

God Bless


#8

Thank you so much
God Bless


#9

The parable of the Vine in John 15 is a great starting point. Our Lord describes Himself as the vine as believers as the branches. Branches on the vine are nourished by the vine and produce good fruit. Branches that do not produce good fruit are cut off. Through the sacraments, we are given a share in Christ’s own divine life. Christ transforms us into His own image. Thus He gives us the grace necessary to carry out good works pleasing to the Father. For this reason, the Church teaches that we are saved by grace alone, by the work of Christ alone, for none of this would be possible without His death and resurrection and the gift of grace He freely offers us…yet He enables us to please the Father. Thus the Church can also say that we merit salvation, but only in a secondary sense in as far as we cooperate with the grace Christ gives us and bear good fruit.


#10

I would like to weigh in on this conversation with a challenge for all of you. Please go to God’s word to find the truth. I am coming at this from the Protestant point of view but want you to know I don’t get my answers from only listening to a pastor or a Bible study group, I want to know what God says not what man says about a subject. If you read scripture it is clear to me that we are saved by faith alone. If it were by works than God wouldn’t be big enough to save us, He would need our help which clearly isn’t the case. John 3:16 says “whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.” Acts 16:31 says “believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” Ephesians 2:8&9 says “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.”

Read Romans 3:28, 4:5, 5:1, Galatians 2:16, Ephesians 1:13, Philippians 3:9.

Also remember the story of Jesus on the cross (Luke 23:39-43) when on of the two thieves believed Jesus was Lord and Jesus said to him “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” This thief did not keep the commandments, he didn’t do any good works, in fact he was being crucified for being a criminal. Because he believed Jesus was who He said He was, the Christ, the Son of the living God, this thief was going to spend eternity in heaven. These are words coming straight from Jesus’ mouth.

I think people get confused when James says faith without works is dead. James never says we aren’t saved by faith. James says if you have a saving faith your life is going to show good works but it is never implied that these good works are what saves you. It is also never implied what these works are. There is not a human that has walked this earth that has kept the commandments besides Jesus. That’s why He had to die for us. To think that because we are saved we can all of a sudden keep the commandments is not true. Also baptism as an adult when we believe in Jesus is an outward symbol to the world that we believe. There is nothing in baptism itself that saves us. Same with communion or confession or any other sacrament. Nowhere is scripture does it say that they “help us” get to heaven. Go back to the verses above, it is by grace through faith and not of works so we can’t boast and say I helped God save me.

Please take my challenge on any question that you have and go to God’s word for the truth.


#12

I’m not making up facts. The verses I cited came from God’s word. And yes the demons believe He is God but they do not believe He is their savior. There is a difference. Even Muslims and other religions believe Jesus was a man or a prophet that walked this earth. The difference is I believe that I’m a sinner and that He died for me and that without Him I will not spend eternity in heaven. There is a difference between belief and faith and these scriptures I shared with you clearly state it is faith alone. Not belief but faith that Jesus is who He says He is. I’m not trying to do anything but get the truth about God’s word out. So again I challenge you to go to His word and ask God to give you wisdom and discernment when reading and understanding the truth.


#14

I didn’t mean to offend you or anyone else. I truly believe after studying God’s word that this is the truth. I would never argue or condemn someone else’s beliefs. My only goal is in love to share what I believe. My hope for you and everyone else reading this is that you will always seek God’s will through His word.


#15

Fair enough. How, then, would you explain what Jesus meant when He spoke of the ‘final judgment’ (i.e., the “sheep and goats”)? The basis of that judgment isn’t “did you believe?”, but rather, “did you act on your professed belief?”

After all, both the sheep and the goats know who Jesus is, so that example isn’t talking about Christians on one hand and non-Christians on the other. Rather, it’s those who acted to the fullest through love who receive eternal life, and those who failed to act through love who fail to be saved.


#16

The scripture you are referring to in Matthew 25 is when Jesus comes back at the end of the 7 years Tribulation. There will be people who become Christians during the Tribulation so I do believe he is referring to Christians and non-Christians when he refers to sheep and goats. We will be judged on whether or not we accept Him as our savior and for those who don’t they will not enter heaven with Him. Yes the goats know who Jesus is but like the Mormons or Muslims or other religions that we discussed, they don’t believe He is their savior and haven’t accepted Him as their savior. So I would say this judgment in this particular scripture is “did you believe.”


#17

I’m sure we all agree that God doesn’t need our help, but do you believe He doesn’t want us to cooperate with His grace? or that we are unable to cooperate with His grace?

Amen this passage speaks of the saving power of out faith, however it in no way diminishes our being obedient to Christ in order to get to heaven. Keep reading 36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life,…” We all agree here that we can not work our way into heaven. However, we can reject God by our actions (bad works). Or we can cooperate with God by our good works. Not to mention Jesus says this right after telling us we must be Baptized. I know…

But what about God’s words. 1 Peter 3:21 says…And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

33 At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay.

Why were they “Baptized without delay” if it is just a symbol? Why would just a symbol need to be done “AT THAT SAME HOUR”. St. Paul lets everyone know it was done “WITHOUT DELAY”. Not sure about you but I don’t make symbols my number one priority.

Amen, the Council of Trent states: “And we are said to be justified by grace because nothing that precedes justification, whether faith or works, merits the grace of justification. For ‘if it is by grace, it is no longer by works; otherwise,’ as the apostle says, ‘grace is no more grace’ [Rom. 11:6]” (Decree on Justification 8).

Although, I would like to point out that this verse is speaking of works of law, read to verse 11

I don’t have enough room we can take them one by one if you would like.

Continued…


#18

…Continued

You might want to reread these verses…

40 But the other rebuked him

Do you have any idea how hard it is to speak while hanging on a cross? This thief used every bit of strength he had to lift himself up to take a breath in and “REBUKE” the other criminal. Sure sounds like a good work to me.

41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.”

Sure sounds like repentance to me, yet another good work.

Actually Jesus says he would be with Him in Paradise. This is not heaven because we know Jesus did not ascend directly to heaven after He died. This would be Abraham’s bosom. The Bible does not tell us what occurred there to prepare the thief for heaven.

I don’t understand this? Are you saying we are incapable of Loving God and neighbor?

So are you saying we can still get to heaven even if we don’t confess our sins to God?

Just curious what you do with all of the texts where Jesus tells us what we must do to gain eternal life?

God Bless


#19

Grace is required for both faith and works.

People get too caught up in the “faith and works” terminology. There’s very, very few protestants who stress the “intellectual faith alone, I can sin as much as I want to because I’m saved” mentality. If we wish to get down to brass tacks, the key point is what the Church teaches about man’s role in doing good works?

Is it all man? The Catholic Church says no.

Is it all God? The Catholic Church says no.

Is it fifty-fifty or some other split? The Catholic Church says no.

Good works are initiated by God but actively cooperated with by man, because it’s God’s desire that man should cooperate of his own free will. Good works are 100% God and 100% man. One doesn’t exclude the other. Man is active in his cooperation, not passive. God could do it all on His own but chooses to invite man. Man could do nothing without God.

God is like a Father getting ready to push a heavy object and asking his toddler son or daughter to help out. It’s not because father can’t move the heavy object on his own. It’s also not the case that the toddler can move the heavy object on his own. It’s also not the case that the Father mind control’s the toddler into helping to push the boulder. The father gets ready to push a boulder, then asks his toddler to push along with him. The toddler has a choice to cooperate with this opportunity or not. The father wishes to associate his child in the deed because it pleases him to do so, but he leaves it open to the child’s free will.

We can get even more nuanced with a discussion on efficacious grace and sufficient grace, but in either case I’d maintain that the man’s free will and active cooperation is maintained, and that man is not simply passive.


#20

I never said man doesn’t have an obligation after becoming saved. I said that is not what saves us. If you are truly saved by faith through Jesus then you are going to want to please Him and do good works. I was answering the original question that works do not save you. Baptism does not save me. Faith in Jesus as my savior, which yes involves repentance on my part, but I wouldn’t call repentance a work. I guess we disagree on terminology there. Repentance is part of my saving faith. Again I’m not trying to argue with anyone either. I just want the person who originally asked the question to hear what God says. Do you really believe if you have a saving faith through God’s grace and you die that you won’t go to heaven if you haven’t done a certain number of good works. That’s what I’m trying to get across to everyone. That is not in scripture.


#21

God saves those who do good.
Romans 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

Baptism does not save me.

Scripture says it does:
1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us …

Faith in Jesus as my savior, which yes involves repentance on my part, but I wouldn’t call repentance a work.

We do.

I guess we disagree on terminology there. Repentance is part of my saving faith. Again I’m not trying to argue with anyone either. I just want the person who originally asked the question to hear what God says.

He hears God’s word through the Church:

Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Do you really believe if you have a saving faith through God’s grace and you die that you won’t go to heaven if you haven’t done a certain number of good works. That’s what I’m trying to get across to everyone. That is not in scripture.
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We don’t judge ourselves. Protestants do that. For example, you claim to have saving faith apart from works. Well, how did you measure your faith? Did you put it in a jar and check to see how many ounces that represented? Or did you put it on a scale and weigh it?

No man can judge a heart. Not even our own.

1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

The Word of God says that He saves those who do good works. Not those who don’t. Read Matt 25:31-46 We will all be judged by our works.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.


#22

Okay.

Well then:

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

If it is a judgement of belief, explain how those who go to heaven or hell are judged on the basis of what they did for the least of His brethren. Assuming you believe in double predestination, explain how heaven is prepared for the sheep from the foundation of the world, and how hell is only for the devil and his angels.


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