Faith and Works


#1

Hello,

I believe firmly that "faith without works is dead" and that "sola fide" is an unbiblical doctrine but, I was wanting to read the interpretation of James 2:14-26 in the Protestant ESV Study Bible and this is what it said,

...Although it may seem as if James is contradicting Paul's "by grace you have been saved through faith ... not a result of works" (Eph. 2:8-9), in reality there is no dichotomy between faith and works, for Paul and James would agree that the basis of salvation is grace alone through faith, with works not the basis but the necessary result thereof (Eph. 2:10)

This Bible then says in its footnotes for,

2:22 faith was completed by his works. James does not disagree that faith alone saves (Rom. 3:28). "Completed" (Gk. eteleiōthē often means "bring to maturity." Full-grown and genuine faith is seen in the good deeds it produces

Any comments? It seems almost like accepting the Catholic view that faith and works are necessary but still putting a Protestant twist to works to fit them into sola fide.


#2

Landon, please know that I am no apologist. Just a regular Catholic.

My understanding of the Faith/works discussion is that we are saved by Faith alone. There is nothing we can do to gain heaven except to accept the Grace that God wants to give us through Jesus Christ. Out of that acceptance and gratitude for it, in allowing it to inform our lives, we come to conform more closely to the Will of God for us. To love God with our whole whole heart, mind and soul, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Loving our neighbor as ourselves can be viewed as performing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. That action is fueled/supported by the Mercy that God has extended to us.


#3

history.hanover.edu/texts/trent/ct06.html

The Council of Trent

The Sixth Session

DECREE ON JUSTIFICATION

CHAPTER VIII.

In what manner it is to be understood, that the impious is justified by faith, and gratuitously.

And whereas the Apostle saith, that man is justified by faith and freely, those words are to be understood in that sense which the perpetual consent of the Catholic Church hath held and expressed; to wit, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation, and the root of all Justification; without which it is impossible to please God, and to come unto the fellowship of His sons: but we are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which precede justification-whether faith or works-merit the grace itself of justification. For, if it be a grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the same Apostle says, grace is no more grace.

CHAPTER IX.

Against the vain confidence of Heretics.

But, although it is necessary to believe that sins neither are remitted, nor ever were remitted save gratuitously by the mercy of God for Christ's sake; yet is it not to be said, that sins are forgiven, or have been forgiven, to any one who boasts of his confidence and certainty of the remission of his sins, and rests on that alone; seeing that it may exist, yea does in our day exist, amongst heretics and schismatics; and with great vehemence is this vain confidence, and one alien from all godliness, preached up in opposition to the Catholic Church. But neither [Page 37] is this to be asserted,-that they who are truly justified must needs, without any doubting whatever, settle within themselves that they are justified, and that no one is absolved from sins and justified, but he that believes for certain that he is absolved and justified; and that absolution and justification are effected by this faith alone: as though whoso has not this belief, doubts of the promises of God, and of the efficacy of the death and resurrection of Christ. For even as no pious person ought to doubt of the mercy of God, of the merit of Christ, and of the virtue and efficacy of the sacraments, even so each one, when he regards himself, and his own weakness and indisposition, may have fear and apprehension touching his own grace; seeing that no one can know with a certainty of faith, which cannot be subject to error, that he has obtained the grace of God.


#4

catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0097.html

Why Only Catholicism Can Make Protestantism Work: Louis Bouyer on the Reformation
MARK BRUMLEY

. Sola Fide. So much for sola gratia. But what about the other half of the Reformation principle regarding salvation, the claim that justification by grace comes through faith alone (sola fide) ?

n a sense, the Reformation debate was over the nature of saving faith, not over whether faith saves. St. Thomas Aquinas, following St. Augustine and the patristic understanding of faith and salvation, said that saving faith was faith “formed by charity.” In other words, saving faith involves at least the beginnings of the love of God. In this way, Catholics could speak of “justification by grace alone, through faith alone,” if the “alone” was meant to distinguish the gift of God (faith) from any purely human contribution apart from grace; but not if “alone” was meant to offset faith from grace-enabled, grace-inspired, grace-accomplished love of God or charity.

Thus, Bouyer’s point is that the doctrine of justification by faith alone (sola fide) was initially seen by the Reformers as a way of upholding justification by grace alone (sola gratia), which is also a fundamental Catholic truth. Only later, as a result of controversy, did the Reformers insist on identifying justification by faith alone with a negative principle that denied any form of cooperation, even grace-enabled cooperation.

chnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/salvation.pdf

NOT By Faith Alone
By James Akin

Someone can indeed go around boasting that he intellectually assents to God’s truth (v. 14), prompting James’s need to show that intellectual assent without works is dead and barren (vv. 17, 20, 26). James could indeed offer to show intellectual assent by his works (v. 18) and he could commend a person for having intellectual assent (v. 19a), while saying that even the demons have it but it doesn’t stop them from shuddering at the prospect of God’s wrath (v. 19b).
James can speak of how Abraham’s intellectual assent was active with and completed by his works (v. 22). And he can draw his conclusion in verses 24 that man is not justified by intellectual assent
alone. What James is saying is that intellectual assent is a good thing (“you do well,” v. 19a), just not a complete thing if you want to be saved (vv. 14, 17, 20, 24, 26).
One could say that a person is justified by faith alone if one meant what Catholics have historically called formed faith—faith formed by charity (cf. Gal.5:6)—but not by intellectual faith alone. In any event, if one wishes to use the language the Bible uses, one would say that one is justified by faith apart from
“works of the Law” (Rom. 3:28), but not by “faith alone,” apart from works (Jas.


#5

In other words, to put what the others said above, "Faith saves; however, true faith in Jesus compels one to do the works Jesus has called the person to do in order to build the Kingdom of God, with the works done in love through the power of the Holy Spirit."


#6

[quote="landon13, post:1, topic:331876"]
Hello,

I believe firmly that "faith without works is dead" and that "sola fide" is an unbiblical doctrine but, I was wanting to read the interpretation of James 2:14-26 in the Protestant ESV Study Bible and this is what it said,

This Bible then says in its footnotes for,

Any comments? It seems almost like accepting the Catholic view that faith and works are necessary but still putting a Protestant twist to works to fit them into sola fide.

[/quote]

We're judged by what we do with what grace we're given. This begins with faith, the first response to grace, which should lead to our justification, meaning justification is a process in which our wills are involved. IOW, we're justified via faith, but faith is not the equivalent of justice for man, rather love is what man's justice consists of and so faith must lead to this virtue, and love expresses itself in acts of charity for others. Both Paul and James knew this.

Paul:
"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." Gal 5:6
"...if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing." 1Cor 13:2

James:
You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. James 2:24

Also read the Parable of the Talents to see how we're judged based on what we do with what we're given as well as Matt 25:31-46 to see how we're judged based on expressions of love.

As Augustine said, "The God who created you without your consent doesn't save you without your consent." We can't be saved without grace, without God, but He won't force it; He won't save us without us.


#7

[quote="landon13, post:1, topic:331876"]
Hello,

I believe firmly that "faith without works is dead" and that "sola fide" is an unbiblical doctrine but, I was wanting to read the interpretation of James 2:14-26 in the Protestant ESV Study Bible and this is what it said,

This Bible then says in its footnotes for,

Any comments? It seems almost like accepting the Catholic view that faith and works are necessary but still putting a Protestant twist to works to fit them into sola fide.

[/quote]

There is actually little difference in what we Catholics believe and what Protestants believe on this issue.

We say faith plus works, they say faith alone but it's really the same belief


#8

[quote="Steveabrous, post:7, topic:331876"]
There is actually little difference in what we Catholics believe and what Protestants believe on this issue.

We say faith plus works, they say faith alone but it's really the same belief

[/quote]

Yup! Tempest in a teapot for 4-500 Years! It is time we put this one to rest!


#9

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