Catholic Salvation Certainty

As a Catholic, your salvation is contingent on faith and works. Considering the fact that we all have a sinful nature, how do you know that your salvation is secure? If all our righteous acts are like filthy rags, how do you know that your works, in addition to faith, will merit eternal life?

What makes you think that Catholics claim to know this?

We’re all working out our salvation with fear and trembling, and we all trust in God’s mercy. Why claim to be certain of something that only God knows for sure?

As a protestant, when and where did the leader of your particular group decide that salvation was 'assured by faith alone?" (Faith alone is certainly not what Scripture tells us. Ask St. James)

Tell me, when Jesus Himself is speaking in the gospel of St. Matthew of the Judgment, all are divided into two groups --the sheep and the goats. The sheep are told to enter into salvation because, “I was hungry and you gave Me food: I was naked and you clothed Me, etc.” Aren’t these all works (done, of course, out of faith, but works)?

And the goats are told to go to damnation because, “I was hungry and you did not feed me.” “But Lord,” cry the goats, “We cast our DEMONS in your name!” (IOW, the goats had plenty of lip service, ‘faith’, crying on Christ, all sorts of pat-themselves-on-the-back-think-they’re perfectly-righteous-and-assured-of-salvation Christians. . .yet they DID NOT DO ‘works’ for the 'least of these". . and thus, they did not do the works for the Lord).

Did ‘faith alone’ save the goats? Hell (literally) no.

Did ‘works alone’ save the sheep? Heavens (literally), no.

Both groups (sheep and goats) had the faith that ‘knew’ the Lord (for even the demons believe, and tremble). But only one group took that faith and ‘used’ the faith as God willed it, right there when He spoke of the ‘two great commandments’. . .love God above all and love your neighbor as yourself.

If you focus on God ‘alone’, and forget about your neighbor, you’re actually not doing God’s own will. If you think that all you need do is ‘believe on Jesus’ and nothing more. . .you’re neglecting that second great commandment through which we are to love our neighbor–and how do we love our neighbor? With works. And when we do those. . .we do them also for Christ. . .just as He willed it, just as He told us in Scripture.

We don’t know our salvation with certainty… its not a one time thing… we must repent of our serious sins to achieve salvation. This is not only the position of Catholics but many protestants as well.

As for works… read James. Here’s a part of it.

[BIBLEDRB]James 2:20-26[/BIBLEDRB]


Matthew 5:

14 You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house.
16 So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

This question has been answered numerous times on this forum. Take some time to do a search on faith alone. So many protestants brought this up before that it’s been more than covered.

All our acts of righteousness are filthy rags…is that a Protestant thing? Cause I’ve never heard that one before.

See, the way I like think, is that by my definition of faith, we ARE saved by faith. But faith, to me, isn’t just saying I believe in God. ACTIVELY loving, fearing and repenting to God are how I show my faith. Works are a part of faith. I can’t speak for everyone, but I sure don’t feel like I am having faith if I do nothing with my faith.

It’s from Isaiah 64 actually.

Ah, thank you then.

This is an important point that you make, Palaeo. The concept of assurance of salvation has to be separated from an assurance of perseverence. Of course, we should all be confident that Christ has saved us from our sins and that we will be welcomed into His paradise when we die - if we persevere in the faith. I can only have the confidence of assurance if I am remain in Christ.

This is quite a different viewpoint than that formulated by John Calvin and the other Reformed theologians, which is assurance of perseverence. Calvin’s radical notion of assurance of perseverence is a stark departure from the Augustinian tradition he claimed to be an heir of. Augustine was quite explicit in teaching that no one knows whether they will receive the gift of perseverance. No one knows their own future that well. For no decision you make now can determine that in five or ten years or even tomorrow, you will not apostatize, abandon the faith of Christ, and go the way of eternal death.

The only way you could know you will persevere in faith to the end of your life is if you could know you are predestined to be saved. Augustine thought it obvious that no one knows this, but Calvin disagreed. This is what is profoundly radical about Calvin’s doctrine of predestination, which in other respects differs little from Augustine’s and therefore from Aquinas’s or Luther’s. Calvin teaches that believers can and should know they are predestined for salvation, which means they can and should know they will persevere in faith to the end, which means they can and should know they are eternally saved, now, already in this life-not just saved in hope, as Augustine describes the effect of Baptism: saved in spe but not yet in re, in hope but not yet in reality. Augustine says explicitly: we are “not yet saved.” We are still on the road to eternal salvation, and we do not get there until after this life.

Shondrea, I think you might be onto something. :wink: As James said faith without works is dead. Just saying without works is dead faith. Anyone with true faith will not want to express their faith by word only but also in deed. To show their faith thru love. Christ taught us ways to show our faith so when we say Lord, Lord, He will know us. Loving one another. Striving for peace. In Matt 25 He gives examples of righteousness. Serving the sick, the homeless, the naked, the prisoner. In many ways we can express our faith in love.

Well, it’s always something that just made sense to me :slight_smile: I could very easily say I am saved by faith alone, because of how I define faith. I wouldn’t feel right saying I have faith if that’s all I did, because it feels like empty words to me. But LIVING faith, showing my faith, proudly and beautifully, THAT’S what feels like real faith!

A servant can tell his Master, Yes, I obey you! I honor you! I strive to please you! But if he never does anything to show his Master this love and devotion, then of course the Master has no reason to believe him. He may know very well that the servant loves him, but what does that matter? he obviously doesn’t love him enough to actually SHOW him. He may tell his Master, gosh, I screwed up, I’m sorry. But to SHOW his master how sorry he is, to ask forgiveness to repent, THAT shows sorrow to me.

Course, the analogy isn’t meant to say that someone who believes in Faith Alone, in the traditional sense, doesn’t love God any less. Not saying that. Just saying, I liken myself to the servant. Love the word cna be said and forgotten, even if meant. Love the WILL, love the true emotion…if you love someone, you want to do everything you can to show the how head over heals you are for them! :thumbsup:

Yes and even some of the faith alone crowd show their love. :thumbsup:

We can never be saved by our faith alone because most of us, or at least speaking for myself, do not have that kind of faith. Jesus told his disciples that if they had the faith of a mustard seed, then they could move the mountains. And since I don’t see any mountains moving :slight_smile: But in all seriousness, few people I have known can fully accept the truth of the cross into their hearts. Even the disciples couldn’t accept it the three times Jesus foretold his passion, each time their reaction was negative. My theory is that those who think they have enough faith to merit salvation usually don’t because if they did have that kind of faith, they would be trembling in the fear of God and wouldn’t dare see themselves as worthy and I think we all fall into this trap.

To answer the question more directly, I don’t think there is a way to know if we will be saved. In Psalm 50 it says “I have done nothing good in Thy sight” and it is true. Even our works of kindness are often tainted by ulterior motives or annoyance with the person we are helping. God alone determines who is worthy, who are we to play God and decide who is and isn’t to be saved? We should leave that into His hands and do our best to please Him.

Evangelical protestants seem to get quite worked up over “assurance of salvation.” I don’t get the fascination.

We DO have an assurance that the Grace of God is sufficient to overcome the darkest of sins in our past. Grace gives us the gift of invincible strength to hold onto the gift of salvation such that NOTHING can pry it out of our grasp. But having that strength is no guarantee that one will not CHOOSE to open one’s hand and DROP that precious gift.

Receiving the gift of salvation through grace is NOT a single event in time, it is a lifetime lived. I can and will say with confidence that God’s Grace is sufficient to bring me to the Kingdom of heaven. I will NOT be so presumptious as to say that I am sure they I won’t ever be such a fool as to refuse it! Gotta KEEP saying yes to God, no to sin, and keep begging for forgiveness when I fail in that (and of course asking for Grace along the way). That’s the catholic way.

1 Sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone”)
2 Sola fide (“by faith alone”)
3 Sola gratia (“by grace alone”)
4 Solus Christus or Solo Christo (“Christ alone” or “through Christ alone”)
5 Soli Deo gloria (“glory to God alone”)

Catholicism is a religion of works for salvation. Their doctrines are heresies as reflected in light of scripture. Most of all, they believe that a man (the pope) is infallible and that the church (catholic church) is the true interpreter of the mysteries of God’s Word. Before the protestant reformation, a common man (or woman) was not allowed to have a bible, much less, read one for their own edification.

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