I’ve been posting on another forum. There are only two of us Catholics on there. I keep going around and around with these kids about faith and works, how you have to have both. Here’s what the guy says:
Alright then, let’s suppose you’re right. A certain amount or number of works is required for salvation. What is that number? If I give $10 a week to the church, but the person next to me only gives $9, will I be saved and they damned? If ‘works’ are required to save us, how much ‘works’ is sufficient? Are we demanded to keep the whole law? Because humanity has proven time and time again that we’re incapable of doing that. Are there certain sections of the Law that have to be kept to be saved? What if we break them? Can we be forgiven by grace? Or is grace insufficient to overcome our lack of works?
This was in response to my saying this:
Here is the message that I am getting from you…
Works alone will not save you.
Is that what you are trying to say?
Because if it is then we are in complete agreement. Catholics believe we are only saved through grace which is a free gift from God, like you said. However, we are justified not by faith alone but by faith AND our good works.
Just as our actions and disbelief (or mistaken belief) will earn us eternal damnation, our faith and actions can also save us through the grace of God.
“By grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eph. 2:8-9
If you go on to v. 11 you will see that Paul was speaking about works of the Jewish law (the Torah), specifically in this instance about circumcision. Because there were some adult converts of Christianity who were gentiles and therefore, uncircumcised, some in the Church thought these converts needed to be circumcised according to Jewish law. Paul was saying they were justified apart from Jewish law. Baptism is the replacement for circumcision.
SBT p. 233: Salvation is in a sense a completed action in the life of all who have been baptised (Mat. 16:16, Rom. 6:3, Gal. 3:270. But salvation is also spoken about in the present tense, for example, Paul says, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of Gad” (1 CCor. 1:18). Salvation is also described as a future event: “He who endures to the end will be saved” (Mat. 10:22).
So, I responded with this:
You are putting words in my mouth. I never said you must achieve a certain number of works or you will be condemned. You still seem to be separating faith from work, which cannot be done.
Why are the works that Catholics do through faith different from the works that protestants do through their faith? It’s prejudiced and hypocritical to say that it’s okay for a Presbyterian to show their faith by donating their time in a soup kitchen, but if a Catholic does it they are not doing it out of faith in Christ.
Here’s what I’ve been saying:
Yes, our actions and good works are key in our salvation. You can see in Mat. 25: 31-46 that Jesus separated the sheep who did the good works through faith “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundations of the world.” But the goats who did not do any good deeds (although they had full faith in Christ), “these will go off to eternal punishment”. Rom. 2:5-10 “By your stubbornness and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself for the day wrath and revelation of the just judgment of God, who will repay everyone according to his works: eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immorality through perseverance in good works, but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness. Yes, affliction and distress will come upon every human being who does evil, Jew first and then Greek. But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good, Jew first and then Greek.”
Does anyone have any really good way to get it throught to people’s heads?? These are just kids and already their minds have been sooo molded into thinking that Catholicism is just a works based religion. It’s almost like they aren’t even reading what I’m saying. :o