Protestants believe that we are saved by faith only. They quote many Bible verses to approve their point. So how do we Catholics respond their arguments? Thank you very much. I’m bewildered.
Well, I suppose they don’t realize that Christ Himself instituted the Church, and a large part of that is the Mass, which btw, is nearly 100% comprised of Scripture.
Faith keeps us on track.
Mass, and the other Sacraments give us the grace to fight sin.
Yes, we have to do good work, but we also have to worship, guard our souls, and educate ourselves.
We wouldn’t want to marry someone who said “well, he knows I love him, I never need to say it, show, it live it, he should just know”. Not a great basis for a relationship.
Christ hung on that cross for a long agonizing time. We dare not reduce His sacrifice to less by simply believing it’s done and over with.
Here we have to understand what is happening… they come from a history of separation from the Church so they will attempt to adapt their theology accordingly–even when Scriptures do not support them:
7:21 ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord”, who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. 7:22 When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?” 7:23 Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, you evil men!’ (St. Matthew)
Here we have Jesus (the God that Saves) rejecting those who seem to have been fully immersed in “faith.” The Immanuel (God-with-us) not only rejects those who purport to have used His Name to perform wondrous signs but He denies them and rebukes them as “evil.”
Here is the test of Faith:
25:34 Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; 25:36 naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” 25:37 Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? 25:38 When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; 25:39 sick or in prison and go to see you?” 25:40 And the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me”. (St. Matthew)
The Apostles Understood and Taught as Christ did:
13:1 If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all its fulness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all. 13:3 If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever. (1 Corinthians)
…and the only place in Scriptures where the terms “faith” and “alone” exist is in St. James where it states:
2:24 You see now that it is by doing something good, and not only by believing, that a man is justified
24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
24 Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only?
(St. James–JB; NI; DR)
God opening up heaven for mankind is a free gift, but your degree of glory there is determine by your good works.
…actually, Christ tells us that good works must follow our “profession” of Faith or our Faith is not valid (St. Matthew 7:21) and the Will of the Father is that we Obey Jesus; Jesus Commands that we Love and Unite to Him (St. Matthew 5-7; 25; St. John 15:1-10).
The Call is to Be Holy and to Produce Good Fruits!
Protestants believe in salvation by faith alone but for the wrong reasons. In their mind, getting to heaven is about living a life of perfect obedience (i.e. works alone) but since we are sinners we must look to Jesus to keep the commandments in our place. Thus, their “faith alone” is really “believing that Jesus did the works you needed to do”. So the irony is, Protestants do believe in salvation by works alone, they just hide this by saying someone else did those works in their place.
On the other hand, Catholics believe getting to heaven is about being in relationship with the Trinity. If Heaven is a wedding, then your invitation depends on being friends, not about how many works you have done. To be in relationship isn’t a matter of works, but a matter of state-of-being. You are saved while you are in a relationship. Your works don’t get you into the relationship, nor do they cause it, but just like in any relationship how you act will affect the quality of that relationship. Are you living like you want to spend your life with that other person, or are you living as if you are expecting a divorce with this person? For Catholics, faith in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit brings us into relationship. It is a serious misunderstanding to think “Catholics are saved by works”.
A true christian, living a faith-filled life, will inherently do works. It would be impossible not to. Right?
Instead of hearing indirectly what protestants believe about this, you can hear it directly. Many Christians believe that when Jesus said His final words, “it is finished!” His short time on the cross paid a sin-debt for all of humanity. He paid for all of sin, and it’s repercussions effected every generation in time. How much was the debt? … a cobillion dollars!
When Jesus comes back again to call the living and the dead, He will not gather us to deal with sin’s debt. There is no judgment over sin for the believer. He will gather us, but not for that reason. Sin’s judgment is passed. See. John 5:24. This is why we can shout with great joy because we didn’t have the cobilliion dollars to pay our way to eternal life.
Roman Catholics believe that the sin debt is not quite settled at conversion. There needs to be another judgment to finish the sin problem. This is why for you guys, justification is pending one’ s final outcome in life. It is said that in one sense you are justified by faith plus works (all in grace) but in another sense you are still waiting for the final tally.
The gavel hasn’t slammed with the judge declaring your innocence or guilt. The gavel is waiting for you to live out your life and then die, so that there can be one last assessment to determine whether or not you have enough repentance, works, faith etc. If you are found with enough spiritual life, then the gavel can finally slam down and God can make his final pronouncement over you. “You are innocent of all charges, enter the joy of your salvation.”
I’ve learned that this justification is called progressive justification.
Here’s the bottom line… the new testament offers no such thing. Catholics decreed it centuries after the apostles lived and died and today it tramples on the precious doctrine of justification offered by the founders and framers of the Christian faith.
In other words, this decree uprooted what was settled by the apostles and planted a new way to justify. I call it the probation period. scary if you believe in it.
Faith alone will not get to Heaven, nor good thoughts. One must love others and forgive for salvation in my opinion. Which is exactly why the Golden Rule is so perfect, “love they neighbor as thyself” / Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.
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Protestants believe that we are saved by faith only. They quote many Bible verses to approve their point. So how do we Catholics respond their arguments?
I do it by pointing to two Bible verses. The first is Titus 3:5:
Titus 3:5 not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the holy Spirit,
When I point to this verse, they get really happy because they think, “Gotcha! That says not because of our works!” And it does say that. As you can see, this is a Catholic interpretation of the verse and it says the same thing. But, if you read the entire thing, perhaps you have already seen the problem. The problem is that they stop reading too soon. There’s a lot more. Let me break it down and unpack it.
5 not because of any righteous deeds we had done
Read it carefully. It doesn’t say, “You don’t need to do any works”. Nor, “not because of works at all”. Nor, “don’t do any works.” It says, “not because of any righteous deeds which WE HAVE DONE”. What does that tell you?
That tells me that Jesus is not saving those who have not done any good works. Do you see what I’m saying? The set of people who are being saved is clearly, those who have done good works. Those people who have not done any good works are not even being considered for salvation.
And that takes me to the other Bible verse. Matt 25:31-46. Remember the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats? Who were the Sheep? They were the people who did good deeds. Who were the Goats? They were the people who did not do good works. Ask your friends, which group was saved? Answer: The Sheep, because they did good works.
I hope that helps!
When the apostle Paul says, we are justified apart from the works of the Law, meaning doing righteous things… notice that justification is not pending. Eternal Salvation is not a journey to discover over time… eternal life is something received in a moment of time. The judge has already slammed the gavel with your name on his lips. He saw your faith, before you even had a chance to do good works, and when He saw your faith in Christ, the gavel dropped and you were declared innocent. The guilt of your sin was realized to be on Christ at His cross. You entered eternal life in that moment. This is why Jesus always spoke of eternal life as something to be possessed in the moment, not at the end of a journey.
The judgment of the nations is a judgment over WORKS to which Christ will perform. But it does not depict one’s personal judgment. That was taken care of at the cross. In other words, the Matt. 25 passage is used out of it s context.
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Instead of hearing indirectly what protestants believe about this, you can hear it directly.
We do. We listen to the Church. Have you ever read this in Scripture?
Ephesians 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
Many Christians believe that when Jesus said His final words, “it is finished!” His short time on the cross paid a sin-debt for all of humanity…
That is what you believe. But, is it better to believe a beautiful lie? Or a hard truth? Scripture tells us what died for:
Hebrews 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
And this is proven because even you don’t believe that the wicked will go to heaven, do you? So, if Jesus had died to save the wicked from their debt of sin, then they would be saved, wouldn’t they?
Roman Catholics believe that the sin debt is not quite settled at conversion. …
Uh-uh. You’re not Catholic, so you don’t get to pretend to instruct anyone on anyone on that which you don’t know. Have you ever heard that you can’t give that which you don’t have? You don’t have an understanding of the Catholic Faith. Therefore, you can’t give anyone an understanding of the Catholic Faith.
Now, let’s go back to that verse to which you are making reference:
John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
Notice that Jesus didn’t say, it is finished therefore you don’t have to do anything. He simply said, “it is finished.” What is finished? The part He had to play in our salvation.
John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
He sacrificed Himself so that we could offer up the once for all sacrifice:
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
Notice how anyone who refuses to offer up this sacrifice becomes God’s enemy?
So many errors, its hard to know where to begin.
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When the apostle Paul says, we are justified apart from the works of the Law, meaning doing righteous things… notice that justification is not pending.
That’s because he’s referring to the Sacraments. It is in the Sacraments that those who have done good deeds are justified by making a proclamation of faith.
Eternal Salvation is not a journey to discover over time… eternal life is something received in a moment of time.
True. But eternal salvation is something in which we must persist, or it can be lost:
Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
The judge has already slammed the gavel with your name on his lips.
That’s not true. Scripture says thats in the future:
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
He saw your faith, before you even had a chance to do good works,
On the contrary, He saw your faith displayed by your works…:
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done,
You see, those who did not do any good works, are not even being considered for salvation.
This is why Jesus always spoke of eternal life as something to be possessed in the moment, not at the end of a journey.
On the contrary, Jesus said:
Matthew 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
The judgment of the nations is a judgment over WORKS to which Christ will perform.
But it does not depict one’s personal judgment.
Yes, it does. Nations are composed of individuals.
That was taken care of at the cross. In other words, the Matt. 25 passage is used out of it s context.
You are the one using it out of context. Any reasonable person will see that the entire Scriptures Teaches that anyone who refuses to do good, will be cast out of God’s house:
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Except “doing righteous things” is not what “works of the law” are. I presume you refer to the declaration in Romans 3, 28 For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law. But here, as elsewhere, the context provides the key to understanding what Paul means by “works of the law.”
Proceeding from Romans 2:17
17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely upon the law and boast of your relation to God 18 and know his will and approve what is excellent,
25 Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law; but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For he is not a real Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. 29 He is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart, spiritual and not literal. His praise is not from men but from God.
3:1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?
9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all; for I have already charged that all men, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin,
27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On the principle of works? No, but on the principle of faith. 28 For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of their faith and the uncircumcised through their faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
The entire context of this passage is in response to whether the Gentiles need to uphold the Jewish laws: circumcision, the sabbaths, the new moons, the Mosaic Law. It is to rebut one of the earliest heresies the Church faced, that of the Judaizers, those who preached that the Gentiles who did not accept circumcision and observe the Jewish laws were either not part of the new covenant or did not receive the fullness of it. This theme is repeated elsewhere throughout Paul. He’s not speaking of preaching the faith, clothing and feeding the homeless, tending the sick, visiting those in prison, and such.
The early Christian Church never taught the assurance of salvation or once saved always saved. That’s a gross and modern distortion.
1 Cor :4: 4 I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes,
1 Cor 9: 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; 27 but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
Phil 2: 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
2 Tim 4:6 For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
That Christians could lose their inheritance:
1 Cor 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral,[b] nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[ 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. . . . Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two shall become one.” 17 But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Shun immorality.[h] Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought with a price.
And some very early Patristics.
Clement of Rome - 80ish AD
We must, then, be eager to do good; for everything comes from Him. For he warns us: ‘See, the Lord is coming. He is bringing his reward with him, to pay each one according to his work’ (Epistle to the Corinthians, ch. 34:2,3).
Ignatius of Antoich 107 AD
Let your baptism be ever your shield, your faith a helmet, your charity a spear, your patience a panoply. Let your works be deposits, so that you may receive the sum that is due you” (Letter to St. Polycarp, 6).
Therefore, let us not be ungrateful for His kindness. For if He were to reward us according to our works, we would cease to be (Epistle to the Magnesians, Ch. 5).
Those who profess to be Christ’s will be recognized by their actions. For what matters is not a momentary act of professing, but being persistently motivated by faith (The Letter of Ignatius to the Ephesians, ch. 14:2).
Polycarp of Smyrna
“For ‘he who raised him from the dead will raise us also’ (2 Cor. 4:14; 1 Cor. 6:14; Rom 8:11), if we do his will and follow his commandments, and love what he loved (1 John 4:11,12), refraining from all wrongdoing” (Letter to the Philippians, ch. 2:2,3).
Irenaeus of Lyons
But to the righteous and holy, and those who have kept his commandments and have remained in his love…he will by his grace give life incorrupt, and will clothe them with eternal glory (Against Heresies, Book 1, ch.10:1).
I think you also miss the point that Catholics believe that we were saved, are being saved, and will be saved (if we finish the race). We can even know be in the heavenly heights with Christ. It’s not just about “being saved” and being scooped up, it’s about actual participation in Christ and Christ in us, if you wish to really delve into this whole “in the moment” thing. It’s about Christ living in us, not just symbolically or as a pithy saying, but truly, in a real and mysterious way.
Anyway, this whole faith versus works misses the actual point of dissent between Catholics and many Protestants. Catholics don’t believe works are some type of checklist for attaining salvation. Catholics believe all good works are impossible without God providing the grace to do so. The difference between Catholics and many Protestants has to do with whether we believe grace is imputed or infused and about what our role is in responding to God’s grace.
Okay I’m on my cell phone now and to respond properly tonight is not going to happen. But I will kick it off by commenting a little. No… My depiction of the cross is correct. Jesus was the lamb who took away all our sin penalty. You can spin all you want but it is finished. Tomorrow I will supply the scriptures you avoid De Mara. And no, I do not believe in universal salvation, even though all sin was paid for, not all sin is appropriated and applied.
Until then, may God’s richest blessings be yours.
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Okay I’m on my cell phone now and to respond properly tonight is not going to happen.
But I will kick it off by commenting a little. No… My depiction of the cross is correct. Jesus was the lamb who took away all our sin penalty. You can spin all you want but it is finished.
There’s no spin in this quarter. The fact is that you don’t understand the biblical understanding of sacrifice. Perhaps you never wondered why Jesus Christ is called the Lamb of God?
Exodus 12:4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.
This is the first Passover, when God commanded that the Hebrews eat the Lamb and put the blood on the doorposts or their first born would die.
Jesus has replaced the Hebrew Passover with His Passover:
1 Corinthians 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
This is why He says in John 6:
John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
And why St. Paul said:
1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
This is why those who reject the once for all sacrifice are considered God’s enemies (Heb 10:25-31).
Tomorrow I will supply the scriptures you avoid De Mara. And no, I do not believe in universal salvation, even though all sin was paid for, not all sin is appropriated and applied.
Until then, may God’s richest blessings be yours.
And yours as well.
Col 1: 24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church
Rom 12: 1 I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Jam 1: 12 Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him.
Jam 1: 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing.
Jam 2: 14 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
18 But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish fellow, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.
Matthew 7: 21 “Not every one 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.
We are piles of dung, to use Luther’s analogy. But Luther was wrong when He said that God covers us up to hide the filth underneath. God desires not just to “save” us from punishment, but to transform us until we are perfect. An interior transformation in which He asks us to take an active, not passive, part. God’s goal is to make us truly perfect human beings, not just to make us look the part, and for a rational creature such as us, He asks us to follow.