Created in Christ Jesus for good works


#1

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Eph 2:8-10

Why is it that some people fail to understand that sinners become a new creation in Christ Jesus because of His finished work on the cross.

Why is it that some people fail to understand that those who are created in Christ Jesus do good works as a result of being a new creation in Christ Jesus and not to become a new creation in Christ Jesus.

.


#2

Protestants often point out the following:

For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. --John 3:16 (KJV)

What do Catholics say to that? We say: “Amen!” like we say to everything in the Bible. But what does Jesus mean here by “believe”? Go down further in this chapter, and you will find out:

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him. --John 3:36 (KJV)

Disobeying God is not following his commandments. Both faith AND works (by God’s grace, not our own power) are necessary.

*“Yeah, but what about…" *

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. --Ephesians 2:8,9 (KJV)

Keep in mind that St. Paul is speaking here, not about good works in the sense of fulfilling the Ten Commandments and avoiding evil, but about the works of the (Levitical) Law. Please read the entire chapter in context and you’ll see that it concerns St. Paul’s ongoing disputes with the “Judaizers” or “circumcision party” (see Acts 15). Same for the other famous “faith alone” proof-text, Romans 3:28.

Consider this: *If good works sprang up “naturally” out of faith, as some Protestants like to claim, almost the entire New Testament (which, recall, was addressed to “saved” believers) would be almost superfluous, since it **constantly **commands believers to do certain good actions and avoid certain evil ones. *

**It bears repeating: **Works are not the direct cause of our salvation; we aren’t saved by the works themselves, even those done as a response to and under the power of God’s grace.

But we ARE saved by works in the sense that if we don’t do the good works that God has set before us to do, or do evil works (mortal sins) in defiance of God’s clear prescription, this is disobedience and, as Jesus said in the passage above, the disobedient (including disobedient Christians) cannot be saved.

Also:

[God] will repay everyone according to his works: eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works, but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness. (Romans 2:6-8)

Another, secondary, way doing good works saves you is that when you occupy yourself with walking in God’s ways, you leave less room to fall into sins. When you head off even venial sin, it is harder for it to become habitual and lead you into serious sin:

No one experiencing temptation should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God is not subject to temptation to evil, and he himself tempts no one. Rather, each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire conceives and brings forth sin, and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death. (James 1:13-15)

Occupy your minds with good thoughts, or the enemy will fill them with bad ones. Unoccupied, they cannot be. -St. Thomas More

Hope that helps. :slight_smile:


#3

Who is it that you think don’t understand that?
Why is it that some people obsess on one or two verses of the Bible and think they can ignore the rest? The entire bible is the Word of God, not just your favorite verses.

Now I have a scripture and a question for you:
John 6:53-56 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can bear it?
When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Do you believe Jesus here, or will you walk away also?


#4

Though I might bicker (perhaps unnecessarily) with the precision of the language you are using.

This pretty much sounds right to me.

So I give, who is arguing with you?

Chuck


#5

So you agree that all who are created in Christ Jesus are saved by grace through faith.

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Eph 2:8-10


#6

Absolutely - it’s in the Catechism. But there is no faith without works, the two must go together as James says - ‘I will show you my faith through my works’. And we certainly are JUDGED based on our works, as Our Lord says ‘for when I was hungry you gave me to eat, thirsty you gave me to drink …’


#7

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, **and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, **lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Eph 2:8-10

.


#8

Of course.

Chuck


#9

Is that all you can come up with? I didn’t say our works were necessarily of ourselves, but we WILL be judged by them nonetheless, or are you cherrypicking which scripture verses tickle your ears the most?


#10

That is a good question to ask Protestants who believe that nothing in their unrighteous soul changed at the moment of justification yet they are still declared to be righteous.

Why is it that some people fail to understand that those who are created in Christ Jesus do good works as a result of being a new creation in Christ Jesus and not to become a new creation in Christ Jesus.

Protestants simply fail to read the plain teaching of Scripture on this point, many of them think good works are guaranteed. What they dont realize is that half of Paul’s work was spent yelling at Christians who not only were not doing good works but turning to lives of sin (1&2 Corinthians, Galatians) as well as other passages like Rev 2-4 and 2 Pt 1:7-9.


#11

Are you belittling the Scriptures and Gods ability to explain His Truth to us in His written word?

The title of this thread is, “created in Christ Jesus for good works”.

.


#12

emeraldisle,

It is apparent to us all that you arguing from a presumption that is erroneous. What appears to you as a beacon of light to guide “Catholics” out of their darkness is basic Catholic doctrine. The caricature is irrelevant.

Now let me ask sincerely, if you feel you are tempted to sin or fail to do some good deed you know you had the power to do and might well have done, however simple, must you not deny the authenticity of your calling?

Christ has freed us from our bondage to sin, not to be hapless automatons of His Will, but to merit the gratuitous reward of His Grace. For the least good deed we may do, even if it be to keep silence, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost in accordance with His Will manifesting the fruits of the Spirit, we receive in kind a reward that far outshines our deeds–that is, to abide in the treasury of mercies that come with His friendship. Again, if it is not clear, we did nothing to deserve His friendship save accept the grace He gives us to believe, from there, faith demands we be faithful.


#13

I wonder, when is a person ‘saved’?
Logically it should be when they are dead. They are judged ‘saved’ or ‘unsaved’, then they enter their eternal state. Sheep and goats and so on.

Some people may think they are zapped by God - POOF YOU’RE SAVED.
They are unable to sin again - opps, thats not quite right, even if they do sin again its not really a sin - because they cannot be snatched out of His hand.
But then if you sin it may also mean you were never ‘saved’ in the first place. Soo… can I be sure that I Myself am ‘saved’ right now? apparently not because if I did sin then I must still have free will, and I must not have been zapped if I still have free will, and even if I think God does’nt see my sin, I myself will Know I’ve sinned, and thats strange because I’m not supposed to be able to sin anymore, I’ve been POOF ‘saved already’ for crying out loud and I can only do good works now even against my will… which somehow is still free because I still Know when I sin and I Know that I do…
Then I stop thinking… …and come tothe part where no sin can enter heaven, but I keep all my old sins… I keep them covered up, and I try to enter heaven like that… ha… as if God won’t notice.
Golly, no wonder I’m confused.

I better become Catholic, confess all my sins, have them obliterated entirely from existence.
Then I’d better ‘persevere to the end’ and grow in faith and Love, freely responding and growing more Christlike, picking up my cross daily as commanded. Christianity is a journey, a pilgrimage, the seeds of Life are sown in our hearts but through our own freedom we choose if to respond and how to respond and if we will persevere in our response to the end.
Some seeds fall on rocks, some fall in briars and grow a bit and then die.
Our free choice always to keep the ground free and fertile.


#14

:thumbsup: :thumbsup:


#15

The old Protestant “either/or” raises its head again. :slight_smile:

You say we are a new creation in Christ, which is true. But are we such a new creation that we could enter heaven this very moment, the way we are now, with our sin and our inclination to sin? Or must we become perfected as that new creation in Christ before we can enter heaven?

Another question about works (and it never ceases to amaze me how obsessed Protestantism is on the question - why is that?!). Do these good works we do, as new creations in Christ, require any effort of will on our part? Do we take any part in choosing if we will do a particular good work or not, or have we just become works puppets with God pulling the strings and over which we have no say?

I know it feels like it takes an effort of will on my part. Every single time I choose to do a good work (or choose not to), it feels as though I am exercising my own will in the matter. Am I deluding myself? Is God just pulling my strings and I am nothing but a works puppet?


#16

Every heresy supports itself with scripture, so perhaps you shouldn’t be so sanguine about people’s ability to understand God’s Truth outside of the structure he left us for that purpose, the Church.

I repeat, every heresy supports itself with scripture.


#17

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Eph 2:8-10

Those who have been saved through faith are created in Christ Jesus for(not by) good works.

.


#18

Are you saying that God is able to make people a new creation in Christ Jesus but that He is unable to bring His new creation into heaven at any moment.

.


#19

*If good works sprang up “naturally” out of faith, as some Protestants like to claim, almost the entire New Testament (which, recall, was addressed to “saved” believers) would be almost superfluous, since it **constantly **commands believers to do certain good actions and avoid certain evil ones. *

**It bears repeating: **Works are not the direct cause of our salvation; we aren’t saved by the works themselves, even those done as a response to and under the power of God’s grace.

But we ARE saved by works in the sense that if we don’t do the good works that God has set before us to do, or do evil works (mortal sins) in defiance of God’s clear prescription, this is disobedience and, as Jesus said in the passage above, the disobedient (including disobedient Christians) cannot be saved.

Also:

Another, secondary, way doing good works saves you is that when you occupy yourself with walking in God’s ways, you leave less room to fall into sins. When you head off even venial sin, it is harder for it to become habitual and lead you into serious sin:

Hope that helps. :slight_smile:

The word disobeys does not appear in John 3:36 KJV, You have changed what the verse say and means. You replaced “he that believeth not” with disobeys


#20

I guess you missed the part where I wrote “as we are now”. When a person becomes a new creation in Christ, that person does not immediately lose the inclination to sin, and every Christian knows that. So there is more to be done before these new creations in Christ are ready for heaven, and I don’t see how you could possibly disagree with that.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.