Faith Alone?

I know this comes up all the time on here, and honestly I don’t understand it. This thread is for me to hopefully understand this position better. In reading other threads and websites this is what how I understand it. Saving Grace comes by Faith Alone. This saving Faith must be a Lived Faith. So here is my problem…

Faith Alone=Lived Faith
Lived Faith=faith and good works

therefore

faith and good works=Faith Alone

This makes the phrase and concept of Faith Alone meaningless. I’m assuming I am misunderstanding this position but this is how it is coming across to me. I’m not talking about the OSAS position, that at least is logically consistent within itself: Faith Alone=Faith Alone. My difficulty is with the non-Catholics that say works are necessary but still ascribe to Faith Alone as above. I’m just trying to have a better understanding of this position.

I can only speak for my faith tradition. We are saved by Grace through faith in Jesus Christ. I do not believe in the OSAS, however I do believe that my salvation is secure by my continued faith in Jesus Christ and my call to be Holy.

My actions as a Christian can either increase my faith and compliment or my inaction can lead to my decreased faith.

We are all commanded by Jesus to perform certain acts of love. Romans 12 is a wonderful example of that.

If one is not transformed after they have been saved or born again, then were the ever really to begin with?

Our walk with Christ demands that we are to become like our Savior.

My faith in Jesus by the Grace of God is what saved me. It was nothing of my doing or any work that I performed.

Hope this helps

Actually, you answered your own question, where I bolded. The “alone” in faith alone means exactly what you said. It is only by faith, itself a gift of grace, that we access grace.

Jon

The way I make this concept make sense is that we are saved by faith, are given grace by that faith and through this grace we want to do good works.

Faith alone saves us and because we gain graces through faith we are moved to do good. The Holy Spirit gives us gifts (time, talent, and treasures) and we are called by God to use those gifts. I know it sounds a a bit circular but that is the nature of grace. We get grace, use said grace to God’s glory, and get more grace. :smiley:

I suspect the inventor of the phrase meant alone, but his later spiritual descendants realized the destruction that this wrecked on praxis and then backtracked. The phrase today, as you stated, is meaningless except for the extreme fundamentalist “faith aloner” who doesn’t believe salvation can be lost once “faithed”.

The Catholic position is grace alone. That’s it. Both Faith and Good works are originated in God’s Grace and in turn a reciprocation of God’s Grace.

Ok, I think I grasp what’s been said above.

So do good works increase faith, grace, or both? I have no difficulty with it increasing faith.

If it can increase grace, is it an increase in saving grace merited by Christ, or is it storing up treasures in heaven, or both? Or something different?

How can what I do increase a gift, an unearned, unmerited, undeserved gift? A gift is a gift.
Yes? If we must earn a gift, or even work to increase it, it is no longer a gift.
What is the purpose, God’s intention, of our doing good works? It seems to me Christ tells us, to help the least of His children, to love our fellowman.

Council of Orange, 529

Canon 5. If anyone says that not only the increase of faith but also its beginning and the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly and comes to the regeneration of holy baptism — if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, it is proof that he is opposed to the teaching of the Apostles, for blessed Paul says, “And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). And again, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). For those who state that the faith by which we believe in God is natural make all who are separated from the Church of Christ by definition in some measure believers.

Jon

I agree and understand this. I have several difficulties in grasping the non-Catholic view though. For instance Christ died for all men, therefore all men are redeemed. What’s the difference between the redeemed and unsaved and the redeemed and the saved? Is it possible to have faith which is not saving faith leading to saving grace? How do you know the difference?

At what point is saving grace freely given to a person? Is it when they first believe in Jesus? Is it when they first repent for sins? Is it when they are born or conceived? Baptized? Can a person have saving grace and at the same time be unrepentant of sins? What constitutes repentance? When/how is forgiveness of sins given. Are those sins just covered over, or taken away?

I know these are a lot of questions and I don’t expect them all to be answered at once. I’m not trying to argue with anyone, I’m just trying to get a better understanding of non-Catholic viewpoints recognizing that they may differ from each other.

:thumbsup:

That is how I understand it too. For Catholics we are saved by grace alone and our response to that grace is faith working through love.

Saving Grace starts at Baptism even for Protestants. For Catholics, that grace can be lost through mortal sin. I dont see how a person with unrepentant mortal sin can have saving grace. For Catholics, the sacrament of confession forgives mortal sin. For someone who is not Catholic, they may have contrition and could be forgiven from what I understand.

These days I have been reading about faith, good works, grace, and i got these following verses

Hebrews 11:33
Who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouth of the lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in the battle, turned to flight the armied of the aliens.

Salvation by grace (Titus 3:4-7)

  • He saved us according to His mercy
  • Not by works of righteousness
  • Through the washing of regeneration (i.e. baptism)
  • The renewing of the Holy Spirit
  • Justified by grace
  • Become heirs according to the hope of eternal life

But in Matthew 25:31-45, compare Matthew 7:20-23:
All works will be rewarded: all men will be judged on their works, not on their faith per se.

Revelation 20:12-13 says:
And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged according to their works.

We are not saved by faith, we are saved by God. Once we focus on us and ourselves, there will of course be dispute. But God is Salvation. Or in other words “Jesus”.

And therein lies the Catholic Church.

Yes!! That is how I understand it, too!! :thumbsup:

I was a child when I began believing in God and His redemption for us through Christ. I was not baptized until I was an adult and I truly believe that the Spirit was with me from the time I was a child. How else could I have come to faith?

As a protestant, I understand that my forgiveness is linked to my contrition and a change in my behavior (or a meaningful attempt to change). I may do this directly through Jesus, speak with a friend, or, if I have something that is so bad I need help with it I can go to my pastor which I have done many times in my life.

(I hope my attempt at the various quotes worked out)

So your faith tradition teaches that you will go to heaven, no matter what, right? It’s pretty much guaranteed, is that correct?

Nope. We believe that one can fall out of faith and walk away from God due to unrepentant and habitual sin. We are not a OSAS camp.

Hi Jon not poking a stick at you, I have read many of your posts and respect a lot of what you have to say. however when i do a search of the Bible on the term “Faith Alone” I come up with only one reference / results

James 2:24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

:thumbsup: Amen to this. I got into a discussion with my mom about this, and she couldn’t believe that this was the only place in the bible where the words “faith” and “alone” were used together. She is still convinced that we are saved by faith alone. But, in order for that to be true, then this verse means nothing. Which means that the bible isn’t the infallible word of God. Some people are going to be mightily confused by this. What is said in the bible is that we are not saved by faith alone. To say otherwise would be to argue against the bible. And I’ve had enough of that in my life.

Hi Spider,

=spiderweb;12827428]I agree and understand this. I have several difficulties in grasping the non-Catholic view though. For instance Christ died for all men, therefore all men are redeemed. What’s the difference between the redeemed and unsaved and the redeemed and the saved? Is it possible to have faith which is not saving faith leading to saving grace? How do you know the difference?

Certainly scripture says, not all who call Lord Lord, etc. And Paul describes saving faith as a faith that works through love.

At what point is saving grace freely given to a person?

Maybe I’m thinking too much, but it seems grace was given to all people on the cross.

Is it when they first believe in Jesus?

One can’t come to faith without grace in the first place.

Is it when they first repent for sins?

Same as previous.

Is it when they are born or conceived?

In the womb He knows us.

Baptized?

We certainly receive forgiveness of sins at Baptism. We are indeed regenerated there.

Can a person have saving grace and at the same time be unrepentant of sins?

One can reject grace.

What constitutes repentance? When/how is forgiveness of sins given. Are those sins just covered over, or taken away?

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins…
Then there is the Power of the Keys, to bind and loose.

I know these are a lot of questions and I don’t expect them all to be answered at once. I’m not trying to argue with anyone, I’m just trying to get a better understanding of non-Catholic viewpoints recognizing that they may differ from each other.

As you say, it depends on the communion you’re talking about. I certainly do not speak for all non-Catholic Christians, but I hope what I said helps.

Hi Wm,
Thanks for the kind words. I have high regard for you, as well.

I understand what you are saying. I guess the problem resides in the shorthand statement, sola fide, more of a slogan a than anything. When I refer to Faith Alone, I am thinking only of how we access grace, itself a gift. That means faith is a gift, as well. I quoted the Council of Orange earlier, and I think more and more that it could be a center of mutual understanding regarding justification.
James is correct, and does not contradict Paul, but is looking at justification in a different way. Works cannot be ignored, nor can Christ’s call that we participate in them.

Jon

:thumbsup:

What does your tradition believe as to what happens to one’s soul after death if they walk away from God due to unrepentant and habitual sin?

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