Faith Alone: One for the files


This isn’t the greatest apologetics argument every made for Catholicism, but I thought it might be useful in some of your debates:

**Can you be saved if you have this kind of conversation with Jesus? **

Jesus: Keep the commandments.

Sola Fide Guy (SFG): No, Lord, all I need is faith.

Jesus: Love your neighbor.

SFG: No, Lord, all I need is faith.

Jesus: Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

SFG: No, Lord, my faith is sufficient. I don’t need to do your will.

Jesus: Why do you call me “Lord, Lord,” and not do what I tell you?

SFG: Because I have faith, Lord.

Jesus: For he will render every man according to his works . . .

SFG: I have no works, Lord, but my faith is sufficient for me to obtain eternal glory.

Jesus: For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

SFG: I disagree, Lord. I am required to do nothing. My faith is sufficient. I am justified by my faith alone.

I don’t think so.



Usually what Protestants call faith is what they call accepting Jesus as their personal Savior. But what does this mean? It seems to boil down to acknowledging that Jesus is God and God exists. But this is not enough. Satan acknowledges the existence of God, and we all know where he is.

But for Catholics, faith is so much more. To a Catholic faith means:

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

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.”(DV 5.) 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.”(Rom 1:17; Gal 5:6.)

1815 The gift of faith remains in one who has not sinned against it.(Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1545.) But “faith apart from works is dead”: (Jas 2:26.) 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.”(LG 42; cf. DH 14.) 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.”(Mt 10:32-33.)


I think this works for those doing ‘Christianity Light’, but for those Protestants in organized churches, such as Anglican, Methodist, etc…they typically do more than just ‘have faith’. I know several people that aren’t ‘real religious’ as they say, and the above convo does apply…


I love your post. I can’t talk to some of my Evangelical friends about Catholicism without getting a Bible verse with every sentence. I wonder what they would say if I told them about this…



Youre right to you own thought, without a bible your logic is right. When one has repented of his sins and receive Jesus heartily by faith,he can do good works. take a look on Eph 2:8-10 For by grace are ye save thru faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God.Not of works lest any man should boast.For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. All save by faith are unto good works…


Hi Earlyhope, I have a few questions based on this statement.
You seem to suggest that grace and faith have an equivalence so I wanted to explore that idea.

Is grace a synonym for faith? Does one automatically have full grace as a condition of having faith? If the two are different which comes first? Where does faith come from? Do we have a chicken and egg paradox? Is faith a black and white concept where we either have faith fully or we do not have it at all? Is grace a black and white concept where we either have grace fully or we do not have it at all? :shrug:



Paul answered that.
Romans 6:1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

In other words.
If are a truly saved.
Your nature is changed.
You don’t use ‘grace’ as an ‘excuse’ for sin.
On the contrary.
You don’t sin because of what God did for you, by His power, not yours.


No one is justified by the law.

Acts 13:38"Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. 40Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:

Romans 3:27Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. 29Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too,

Galations 3:10All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”[a] 11Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.”** 12The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, "The man who does these things will live by them.

Galations 3:24
So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.

Galations 5:4
You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

There are many more.


Not only does Paul describe the central place of works in the life of a Christian, he actually writes that one cannot be saved WITHOUT good works:

“The righteous judgment of God, Who will render to every man according to his WORKS (‘erga’): eternal life to those who, by endurance in GOOD WORKS (‘ergou agathou’), are seeking glory and honor and immortality” (Ro. 2:6-7).

“Let them do good, that they be rich in GOOD WORKS (‘ergois kalois’) … storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Tim. 6:18-19).

“They profess to know God, but in WORKS (‘ergois’) they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every GOOD WORK (‘ergon agathon’)” (Tit. 1:16).

“For if a man thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let every man prove his own WORK (‘ergon’), and then he shall have rejoicing in himself alone and not another” (Gal. 6:3-4).

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their WORKS (‘erga’)" (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

“Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every GOOD WORK (‘ergon agathon’)” (2 Tim. 2:19-21).


Your taking thse scripture out of context.
And I may add a fatal error of the Pharisees.

Romans 9:30What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. 32Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling stone.” 33As it is written:
“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

Faith produces works…not works produce faith.

James16 2:16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

It is clear that Paul preached ‘faith’ not works for salvation.

Ephesian 2:7-9
7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.

The Bible never contridicts itself.
It you find a dogma that contridicts scripture, it is error.

2 Timothy 3 15:17
15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

One may also cosider that Moses never entered the promise land because of one transgression.

Abraham’s rightousness was by faith.


I love Father’s answer in the Ask an Apologist to the question about works and the Thief on the cross.

If being crucified isn’t a work, I don’t know what is! As he hung there, he repented and asked Jesus to remember him in His kingdom. His purgatory was right there on Calvary.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

I have used a variation of this many times in my religion classes I teach at two local colleges.



Matthew 19:16-17 - if you wish to enter into life, keep my commandments
John 14:15 - if you love me, keep my commandments
1 Corinthians 13:2 - faith without love is nothing
Galatians 5:6 - the only thing that counts is faith working in love
James 2:24 - a man is justified by works and not by faith alone
James 2:26 - faith without works is dead


I like to ask “faith alone” people if they, themselves, personally, can be saved without obedience.


Let’s see what happened…

A criminal was dieing from execution by sentence of government authorities.
He was a criminal.
He had not been baptized.
Never taken communion.
He had a ‘knowledge’ of God.
A man was dieing next to Him called Yeshua (Jesus).

Luke 23:40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

The man reconized his sin.
The man called on Jesus through faith, to remember him in Paradise.
Jesus ‘assured’ the criminal he would be with Him…

This is probably one of the best examples of one who is literally a ‘dead man’ (Knows he is going to die), and is saved by faith and grace of God.

There is no ‘works’ here.
The man is receiving his just punishment for his crime by government authorities (not God)…not a ‘good work’ to work his way to salvation.

He just just exercising simple faith and reconized Yeshua (Jesus), the Messiah, and placing his trust in him.

Ephesians 2:4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 2:8or it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.



You list his works and then you deny that he committed his works. You can’t have it both ways. He did "works mete for repentance.’ That is what God requires. The man who begins his work at the end of life is just as rewarded as the man who began his work “early in the day.”



The thief did NO works.
He repented, reconized Yeshua (Jesus) and place his faith in Him.
It was by ‘faith’ he was saved and the grace of God…nothing more.
If the thief did this by ‘works’ than Ephesians is in error or you are.

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

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith”**** “not from yourselves”

I’d say that was pretty straight forward with not alot of room for interpretation.

Galations 2:
15We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,

16Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them."

The Galations was experiencing the same ‘theogy’ introduced by ‘legalists’ or ‘judizers’.
Those who though works or the law, even circumcision was necessary for salvation.
Paul rebukes them.

Gal 3:
1O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

2This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

3Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

4Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.

5He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

6Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

7Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

9So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

10For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

11But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

12And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

14That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

15Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.

16Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

17And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

18For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

19Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

20Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

21Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

22But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Paul further rebukes Peter for being hipocritical first living by faith and grace and even eating with the gentiles (non kosher) and then returning to the law when his legalistic friends are present.

It is by faith you are saved, not of works.
Either Paul, a former Pharisee and Jew, was correct…or he was a liar and apostate…
You can’t have it both ways.



You should not be so dishonest.



We are gracefully saved only by that faith which continues through
God willed works unto death.



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