Ephesians 2:8-10 help?

I recently came across an argument for Protestantism that justified salvation by faith alone with Ephesians chapter 2 verses 8-10. It says "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God-not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

I didn't really know how to respond to this so I came here. Thanks

[quote="bibleguy180, post:1, topic:204812"]
I recently came across an argument for Protestantism that justified salvation by faith alone with Ephesians chapter 2 verses 8-10. It says "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God-not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

I didn't really know how to respond to this so I came here. Thanks

[/quote]

If we are saved by faith alone, then why did God bother creating good works for us to walk in? What happens if we don't walk in them, will we still get into heaven?

St Paul is refering to works of the law, not good works in Christ Jesus, when he says not of works. He constantly links faith and charity. He says that our faith should be rooted and founded in charity and that without charity, even with all faith to move mountains, we are nothing.

St James says a similar thing, noting that faith without works is dead, pointing out the we are "justified by works" and "not by faith alone."

St John says if we don't love we don't know God. Jesus says not everyone who says Lord, Lord, will get into heaven. When asked how to get eternal life, Jesus didn't say just have faith, he said keep the commandmants, above all love of neighbour.

St James 2:24 "Do you see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith alone.

St Matthew 25:42 For I was hungry and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty and you gave me not to drink.
43 I was a stranger and you took me not in: naked and you covered me not: sick and in prison and you did not visit me.
44 Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to thee?
45 Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen: I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.
46 And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.

Faith is the first step, but it must be nourished with love or it will die. We love and do good, not to buy our way into heaven, but because we love God, we wan't to serve him, follow his will, live out the gospel and become one with him.

Colossians 3:17 Whatever you do, in word or in work, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him

+[INDENT][INDENT]. . . :coffeeread: . . . :bible1: James 2:14
What shall it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him?

:bible1: James 2:17
So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself.

:bible1: James 2:18
But some man will say: Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without works; and I will shew thee, by works, my faith.

:bible1: James 2:19-26
19 Thou believest that there is one** God**. Thou dost well: the devils also believe and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, offering up Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou, that faith did co-operate with his works; and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled, saying: Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him to justice, and he was called the friend of God. 24 Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only? 25 And in like manner also Rahab the harlot, was not she justified by works, receiving the messengers, and sending them out another way? 26 For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead. [/INDENT][/INDENT]+[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+
. . . thank You Sweet Spirit of our Holy God+
:signofcross:[/RIGHT]

This article shows why Eph 2:8, read in context, can only support the Catholic side:
sites.google.com/site/catholicdefense/eph2

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

Ephesians 2:9 it is not from works, so no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.

vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/__P109.HTM

These are verses that I myself have been confronted with when discussing justification with Christians who hold to the faith alone belief promulgated by the Protestant reformers. I believe in Catholic theology myself, and the verse in question can be explained to our Protestant brothers and sisters in Christ in the context of the infallable teachings of the Magesterium of the Catholic Church as well as the divine public revelation of Sacred Tradition.

A good way to start is to explain that the first verse starts out saying that we are saved by grace, it doesn't say that we are saved by faith alone. We cannot be saved by faith alone as James 2:24 tells us:

James 2:24 See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/__P11W.HTM

The first verse in Ephesians continues by saying that it is through faith that we are saved by grace. This is an important detail not to be overlooked. Everything is by God's grace, our birth, our death, our good works, our salvation, everything. But this does not mean that we do not have our own part as well, we have to actually make the decision whether or not to go along with God's grace. Therefor it is true that it is through our faith that God's grace saves us, but what is faith? Here we can turn to the Catechism of the Catholic Church for the answer:

Faith

1814 Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself. By faith "man freely commits his entire self to God."78 For this reason the believer seeks to know and do God's will. "The righteous shall live by faith." Living faith "work(s) through charity."79

1815 The gift of faith remains in one who has not sinned against it.80 But "faith apart from works is dead":81 when it is deprived of hope and love, faith does not fully unite the believer to Christ and does not make him a living member of his Body.

1816 The disciple of Christ must not only keep the faith and live on it, but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it: "All however must be prepared to confess Christ before men and to follow him along the way of the Cross, amidst the persecutions which the Church never lacks."82 Service of and witness to the faith are necessary for salvation: "So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven."83

79 ⇒ Rom 1:17; ⇒ Gal 5:6.

80 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1545.

81 ⇒ Jas 2:26.

82 LG 42; cf. DH 14.

83 ⇒ Mt 10:32-33

vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P66.HTM

So we see that faith is not only believing in God but also believing all that He has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief. This would include the necessity of works for our salvation, baptism and the other sacraments also being necessary for salvation as well etc.

Also, we must remember not to read any verse(s) of Sacred Scripture out of context, and also that all of the Bible needs to be read and understood as a totalitarian book, that is to say the Bible is one single part of God's public revelation, and is to be studied as such. This means we as Christians must study Bible verses within the context of the entire Bible, not just within the context of individual books or the just the verses themselves.

When we read chapter 2 of Ephesians we see that Saint Paul is speaking about circumcision, and how we no longer need to be circumcised in order to be Christians. He is also trying to point out that we cannot be justified before God on our own, that is by works alone, we need faith as well. Saint Paul was combating one heretical extreme, justification by works alone, Saint James combated another heretical extreme, justification by faith alone.

So we can see that when we understand what exactly faith means, as well as the overall context of the verses in question, we can understand what exactly Saint Paul was trying to convey to the readers of the letter to the Ephesians and how it applies to us today.

The verses in Ephesians in no way contradict Sacred Tradition or the Magesterium's teaching of Faith plus Works, and do not support the Protestant belief in Faith Alone when studied and interpreted correctly, according to the way God had originally intended them to be understood.

I hope that helps.

May God bless you and Mary keep you in her prayers always.

YinandYang

I would say to your protestant friend Amen! We believe St. Paul. However St. Paul never says that we are saved by faith alone. I would then ask your protestant friend this question. Did you know that those are not the only verses in the bible? I would then ask him or her to show you where it says that we are saved by faith alone, because know where does it say that you are saved by faith alone. As a matter of fact it says we are not saved by faith alone, James chp. 2. Just because he or she is trying to make something say something it is not, does not make it so. I would check out the Catechisms take on Grace. It also gives scripture versus for what the Church teaches. Share with your protestant friend what the Church teaches through the catechism and ask them if they agree. Show them the scripture versus that back up the Churches teaching. Again the catechism gives scripture versus at the bottom of each page for the topic on that page. Tell him that you will pray for him or her and that you love them. Thats what I would say.:slight_smile:

Remember, the Bible is a Catholic book, put together by the Catholic Church.:thumbsup:

I pray the Holy Spirit guide you and give you strenght courage and wisdom. Amen.

Hi Bibleguy

The first thing to do when confronted with this verse is to say, Amen, this verse is actually more catholic that you think, First thing to do is to say, lets back up to verse 1 and get the context

Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
Ephesians 2:3 and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead in our trespasses made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved
Ephesians 2:6 and raised us up with him

This Context is talking about the state of the soul before Baptism, Dead in tresspasses is the language Paul uses elswhere to describe the soul before Baptism.

Colossians 2:11-13
having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,

As ! peter 3:21 says Baptism now saves you

so ephesians 2:1-7 = soul before baptism
Ephesians 2:8-9 = Baptism
Ephesians 2:10 created unto good works

You see Justification is a process, we enter into Christ through Faith and Baptism, as romans 6:3 says we baptized into his death, Gal 3:27 says by baptism we have Put on christ.

Once we are in christ we do good works because as romans 2:6-7 says Good rewards our good works with eternal life, Not because he has to, not because he owes us, but because he wants to reward us out of his love for his children,

None of this however is possible without the free gift of Grace which God pours out on us our faith, our good works and anything else we do is only possible through the Grace of God.

Hope that helps, its late and im tired haha :)

I think something else we should remember, no matter how confident, elequent, or persuasive a protestant may sound, if he teaches something that is contrary to the Catholic Churches teaching on scripture, faith, morals, etc. He is in the wrong even if we don't understand it. If we as Catholics believe that the Catholic Church is the One Holy Apostolic Church Christ established 2000 years ago, and that He gave Her the Holy Spirit to guide her, then we should believe that the Catholic Church has the truth in regards to scripture.

If we have faith but do not forgive others their trespasses against us, are we saved? No of course not.
Jam 2:17 So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself.

Hey Bibleguy. I’ll do my best to explain this clearly. I’ll try and explain each and every part of this verse.

“For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God; Not of works, that no man may glory.”

Let’s look at the first sentence. “For by grace you are saved…”. First things first, we are saved by grace. We need the grace of God infused in our souls in order to be justified and saved. Protestants think we just need to be declared righteous by God, not actually have grace infused, in order to be saved.

Secondly “…through faith…” We Catholics believe that we are justified by faith. We are just not justified by faith alone. This presents no problem.

“…and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God”. Our saving faith does not come from ourselves. We can’t make ourselves have saving faith. It is just because God gives it to us, for no other reason than His holy and loving will. Your turn to conversion (or your being baptized as an infant) was really all God’s doing by grace. Then, in Baptism God gave you the infused virtue of faith, not because you deserved it, but as a gift.

“Not of works, that no man may glory.” The gift of grace through faith is not owed to you because of your works. No way ever can you earn your faith. If you could, then you’d have something to boast about before God. But since everything is done by the grace of God, you have nothing to be proud of, even if you are holy, since it’s all God’s work.

All in all, I don’t know why everyone seems to think that this Scripture hurts the Catholic teaching. Ultimately, it just reaffirms what the Church has taught, that we are justified by grace, through faith, and that it is a gift of God which we cannot earn by works.

This is James[Bishop of the Jews and Jerusalem] who was acceptable to the Jews because he was accepting that salvation was by good works.It was only at the very end of his life it seems that he accepted that Jesus was the way[the door].For this proclamation he was pushed off the temple pinnacle to his death and as he fell battered to death with a fuller’s staff - we are not and cannot be rewarded with heaven because of our good works but we will be rewarded in heaven or hell even it seems where there are many who did not get to heaven because of good works - twinc

Very well said. I’m going to print this out and stick it in my apologetics notebook.

At the risk of sounding like Bill Clinton (arguing about what the definition of “is” is), I’d like to zero in on the meaning of the “that” in the quotation above. In Greek, as in English, a pronoun must agree with its antecedent in gender and number. In the Ephesians passage, the immediate antecedents of “that” appear to be either “faith,” or “grace,” or the two together. However, both “faith” and “grace” are feminine nouns. If “that” referred to either one of them, it would have to be feminine singular, and if it referred to both together, it would have to be “those,” feminine plural. In fact, “that” is neuter singular, which indicates to me that Paul may have been talking indefinitely about the whole topic of salvation.

This analysis came about as a result of my being a language geek. I don’t claim to be an expert on theology. But a grammatical analysis of the passage seems to mitigate against using this passage as a sola fide proof text.

DaveBj

[quote="twinc, post:11, topic:204812"]
This is James[Bishop of the Jews and Jerusalem] who was acceptable to the Jews because he was accepting that salvation was by good works.It was only at the very end of his life it seems that he accepted that Jesus was the way[the door].For this proclamation he was pushed off the temple pinnacle to his death and as he fell battered to death with a fuller's staff - we are not and cannot be rewarded with heaven because of our good works but we will be rewarded in heaven or hell even it seems where there are many who did not get to heaven because of good works - twinc

[/quote]

+James clearly teaches that faith and good works go hand in hand . . . faith being the seeds which in a good soul will produce the natural fruit of good works in due season . . . and as our Holy Mother Church teaches . . . the Book of James **in **Sacred Scripture **is **not the teaching of a man . . . it is the teaching of the . . . Holy Spirit of our God . . . using James . . . in all his humility. . . as His instrument to share the . . . *Truths of God *. . . ***not **the ideas of men . . . *

[size=]. . . :coffeeread: . . .**[/size]
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
**PART ONE: THE PROFESSION OF FAITH

Article 2 - THE TRANSMISSION OF DIVINE REVELATION
81
Sacred Scripture is the speech of God **as it is put down in writing under the breath of the **Holy Spirit.

Article 3 - SACRED SCRIPTURE

104
In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it ** not** as human word, "but as what it really is, the **Word of God."
[quote]In the **sacred

books,
the Father who is in heaven
comes lovingly :heart: to meet his children,
and talks with them.
[/quote]

[INDENT]:bible1: "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand ..." Psalms 139:17-18b[/INDENT]

[INDENT]:bible1: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord." Isaiah 55:8[/INDENT]

[INDENT]:bible1: "So shall my word **be that goeth forth out of **my **mouth: it shall not return unto **me void, but it shall accomplish that which I *please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto **I **sent it." **Isaiah 55:11*[/INDENT]

[INDENT]:bible1: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words **shall **not pass away." Matthew 24:35[/INDENT]

[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+
. . . thank You Blessed Lord+
. . . thank You Sweet Spirit of our Holy God+
. . . thank you Holy Mother Mary+
. . . thank you Holy Mother Church+
. . . our *
"Father** Who Art in Heaven"
we love Thee+
. . . thank You Dear Father+*[/RIGHT]

Good analysis that I wouldn’t have thought up even in my dreams. Thank God we have linguists such as yourself who can carefully expound the Word.

[quote="awatkins69, post:14, topic:204812"]
Good analysis that I wouldn't have thought up even in my dreams. Thank God we have linguists such as yourself who can carefully expound the Word.

[/quote]

Aww, shucks! :o

DaveBj

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