Faith Alone is not the problem


There are all these debates on this forum about faith versus works and whether faith alone is true. Faith alone is not the issue. The real issue is OSAS. The doctrine of justification within Catholicism properly understood is faith alone but it also takes into account that we can loose our salvation. We constantly have the need to cultivate our faith that it will grow and not die out. Salvation is a continual process of growing in communion with God. But salvation was also an event in which we were saved from our evil ways, in which we were called by God to Himself. All our works come from our faith in God and our hope for salvation. We are called to love God and to love our neighbor because that is the fullfillment of our faith. As Eph.2;10 says, we were made that we might walk in good works. We have been baptized into the kingdom of God, the new paradise, and now we must walk by faith and love our neighbor. If we don’t cultivate our faith it will certainly grow cold and eventually die.


Right on Jimmy! :thumbsup:

John Martignoni has a great free MP3 Bible study on this that you can download here and the notes are here.

He refutes it really well.


Don’t know if this is a perfect illustration, the caffine hasn’t kicked in yet. :smiley:
It’s like this. I am married to my wife. But if I ignore her, go out with other women, move out of the house, not share in finiancial responsibilites, am I a husband? Marriage is something one has to WORK on. Are we married? Yes, and since I am married I am responsible to DO certain things.
Faith alone is more like living together than marriage.


It takes faith, at first. However it is nothing without charity and acts of good works.

Whenever faith justifies it is not faith alone, but faith made operative and replenished by charity (cf. Galatians 5:6, “fides, quae per caritatem operatur”).

Faith is the beginning of salvation, because no one can be converted to God unless he recognize Him as his supernatural end and aim, just as a mariner without an objective and without a compass wanders aimlessly over the sea at the mercy of wind and wave.


So, clearly its Faith AND Works for you.


Actually, grace is the beginning of salvation, for without grace we cannot have faith. I think Protestants and Catholics would agree to this, if only in a general way.


Yes it is faith alone. Our love is only performed through faith. It is our faith in action. Faith guides all our actions. Faith and works are not parallel. But we have free will in this. We can either let our faith die or we can cultivate it and cause it to grow by putting it into action.

That said, the concept that protestants have come up with that says that a person who falls away must have never had faith is purely false. They certainly had faith but as has been mentioned they allowed it to die.

When I started this thread I had the council of Trent’s statement in mind that faith is the beginning of salvation. This faith is not simply something that we have when we begin to believe. It is something that we have at each moment of our life. And it is continually calling us to love God.

The way I like to illustrate the concept of faith is with the idea of marriage(differently than JustaServant does though). Faith is not simply the belief that God exists and that Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead. Every relationship requires a certain trust between the two people. It requires a trust, or faith, that the person you love is who they claim to be and that their motives are true and that they love you and will always love you. Similarly, Christianity requires a faith in God that He loves us and He will always love us. It is a trust that God will have mercy on us. We must be able to go beyond ourselves to trust God. And therefore, based on this faith, we will live our lives for God. Christianity is basically a relationship. God has invited us into a relationship with Himself. We can answer the call by trusting Him and living our lives for Him.


You are correct, the issue is not strictly “faith” versus “works” but rather how each side understands terms like “grace” and “justification”.

My signature has an article that gets to the very heart of this issue.


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