Faith or work can save us?


Hi, Ian!

By this description you sound quite Catholic.

If not for the vocabulary (the understanding/presentation) many non-Catholics would actually be quite in-tune with Catholic Doctrine.

The greatest variation in vocabulary (I personally find) is that when the Catholic Church expresses Salvation by Faith she means everything that you’ve stated above–just add the Sacraments and Apostolic Succession; while (from my personal encounters) non-Catholics single out Faith as the ‘believe in Christ, and you are Saved’ formula (where the variation rules out almost everything but the individual and Christ).

Maran atha!



Hi, Jcrichton

It probably has to do with them finding out your Catholic and wanting to impress you or show you how you “are wrong”. I’m sure I could find examples going the other way. And some of them have been expressed by non-Catholics on this board. I don’t have any personal examples because we only have one Catholic diocese in my city and no one has ever invited me to attend.

And there is no doubt that American Evangelicalism is, in many ways, an out of control plant. That is to be expected in a country that values freedom of religion. We can believe whatever we want to believe for whatever reason we want to believe. In my opinion, it is freedom of religion that is the primary reason for so many denominations in the USA. In the end we must all be like the Bereans and test the teachings to see if they are of God or just the opinions of men. In America, we have lots of of opinions.

Also, the fact that folks listen to sermons once a week and they suddenly think they are experts in Theology probably had to do with your experiences. Participating on this board has done for me is really get into studying theology and helped me realize how much I don’t know. I’ve come to realize how much deeper and nuanced both Catholic and Evangelical Theology are, in particular Reformed Theology. I’ve been studying Reformed theology along with Catholicism and strangely enough, the more I understand Catholicism the more Reformed Theology makes sense to me. Who knows, maybe I’ll be a Presbyterian before long :grinning:

Tulips aren’t my favorite flower but they are looking better all the time. :smirk:


I agree that Catholics are poor ambassadors of Christ as they tend to buy the land where the treasure is hidden and not openly share the treasure; however, I can fully understand why Catholics are so reserved (anti-Catholic propaganda extends farther than tracts and ‘the whore of Babylon’); so it is not surprising that Catholics are wary of non-Catholics.

However, I cannot agree with your conclusion about “Freedom of Religion.” The tenet of the law was to keep England/government from forcing a “state” religion upon its citizens (remember England was their place of birth and it ceased being Catholics for years under the penalty of death/incarceration.)

The problem with the myriads of splintering of the Body of Christ lies in the very first schism:

3:1 Brothers, I myself was unable to speak to you as people of the Spirit: I treated you as sensual men, still infants in Christ. 3:2 What I fed you with was milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it; and indeed, you are still not ready for it 3:3 since you are still unspiritual. Isn’t that obvious from all the jealousy and wrangling that there is among you, from the way that you go on behaving like ordinary people? 3:4 What could be more unspiritual than your slogans, ‘I am for Paul’ and ‘I am for Apollos’? (1 Corinthians)

It is man’s preoccupation with autonomy that keeps the schisms alive and flourishing.

I know very little about most non-Catholics; my knowledge is from personal experiences or the Journey Home program, so Bereans or Masons means very little.

I cannot counsel you to go one way or the other; that is your personal quest and obligation to figure out; I can only pray that the Holy Spirit Lead you to the Truth (Jesus).

Maran atha!



The tradition I grew up in is Southern Baptist, which teach OSAS. I heard Romans 6:1-2 preached on many times in my life as well as Romans 6:12-14. The teaching of OSAS is not a teaching that you have a “license to sin” as some portray it.


Ian, but that’s what is being claimed by those non-Catholics that I’ve encountered.

Look at how easily this is done… “divorce and remarriage is not a sin.”
’…well if that’s not a sin what is it, is it Christ’s Teaching? Did Christ Teach that it is for man and woman to marry and remarry and remarry?’

“You’re Catholic, you don’t have the right understanding.”

Now, take the sin of “xyz” and that is basically the same scenario. Somehow only pagans are held to accountability for their sins–well, and Catholics. :wink:

Maran atha!




You act like Evangelicals don’t preach obedience to God.

No lanman87.

My Evangelical friends all preach obedience to God.

But none of them preach the NECESSITY of obedience in the realm of their justification.

Nor do the Pentecostal. Nor do the Fundamentalists.

They do NOT affirm those verses (many of which I have already brought up here at CAF).


[quote=“lanman87, post:259, topic:451313, full:true”]
I think what gets lost in this debate is the fact that Evangelicals believe that works are a critical and important part of being a Christian. Those who love Jesus will obey Jesus and display the Love of Christ to those around them. They will seek to do everything for the Glory of God. The difference is that evangelicals believe that those works are not what makes someone “saved” but what someone does because they have been "saved’.

Another thing that gets lost is that Evangelicals think that Catholics believe that their works save them. But we don’t. We believe that GOD saves those who obey His WILL.

First fact. God does not save those who do not do His will. Read Matt 7:21-27.

Second fact. It doesn’t matter how many good things you think you have done, it is God who decides whether your deeds are good or bad. God is the Judge. Therefore, Catholics never claim they are saved. It is the sin of presumption.

1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

So, we don’t save ourselves and our works don’t save us. But God saves only those who do His will.

Is that so hard to understand?


Yes faith is the bridge that one crosses from unbelief to belief. To have belief is to have eternal life.



To have belief is to have eternal life.

This is often the case TgGodsway. But only when belief has hope and charity too.

People can have belief to move mountains, but if they lack charity they do NOT gain Heaven TgGodsway.


James 2:19 You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble.


[quote=“tgGodsway, post:18, topic:451313, full:true”]Until then, may God’s richest blessings be yours.

And you, too.

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 tomorrow then.


Okay. But James’ objector was not speaking to the issue of how one receives eternal life. I was.


Is Jesus speaking of eternal life?

Matthew 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

There’s a fundamental difference between the Protestant and Catholic mindset.

You believe you can judge yourself. Therefore, when someone told you about Christ and said that once you believe, you were saved. You said to yourself, “I believe, therefore I’m saved.” But that’s not in Scripture. You won’t find anyone in Scripture running around saying, “I believe, therefore I’m saved!”

The reason being that Scripture Teaches that God is the Judge of who is saved and who isn’t. And THAT is the Catholic Teaching.


The rich young ruler came to Jesus asking him how can he have eternal life. Jesus never gave him a simple John 3:16 kind of answer. Why not? Because this man came with a very specific belief that obeying the law would save him, AND, that he was capable of keeping it. So Jesus gave him the very answer he wanted. Keep the law and you will live. But was unable to answer the most crucial question, why do you call Me good, only God is good? The ruler could not see Jesus as God. Since he could not, all he had left was the law. John’s gospel repeats itself with the condition to believe in the Son and you will have eternal life.


tgGodsway (emphasis mine):

The rich young ruler came to Jesus asking him how can he have eternal life. Jesus never gave him a simple John 3:16 kind of answer. Why not? Because this man came with a very specific belief that obeying the law would save him, AND, that he was capable of keeping it. So Jesus gave him the very answer he wanted.


tgGodsway. Are you saying Jesus told the man an untruth??


Hi, T!

…are we thinking about the same passage? Jesus asked why do you call Me good, Only One is Good.

This was reflective–since you know that I’m Good; you must accept that I AM God.

But it did not end there, did it?

Jesus also Commanded that he sold his possessions and that he give to the poor–easy enough right? But Jesus also Taught that where our treasure is that is also where our heart is.

And still it did not end there!

Jesus Commanded, after you divest yourself (if anyone does not hate… cannot be My Disciple) and give to the poor, Follow Me!

You, see? Having Eternal Life is not about a qui pro quo (done that, I’m Eternally Saved); it is about Fellowship (Abiding) in Christ.

Maran atha!



Hey jcrichton, it’s good to hear from you. I haven’t been on this channel in a while. I got your point on the Rich young Ruler. But wow… I think you totally missed the point in your interpretation.

The rich young ruler was schooled in the Jewish theology of his day. he believed that by keeping the Law he could be saved. He also believed that he had kept all of the Law since his youth. But perhaps he had doubts about the whole thing. I don’t know. But he ask a pivotal question, one that is rare for the synoptic gospels. Good teacher what must I DO, to have eternal life?

Before Jesus answers with a John 3:15 or 16, or a John 3:36, or a John 5:24 kind of answer, He seems to probe. Why do you call me good, only God is good?..

It is as if He was changing the subject, but actually He was setting the man up. Well… YOU KNOW THE COMMANDMENTS… GO AND DO THEM!

Let’s stop and analyze His approach. If keeping the Law of Moses was the means to obtaining eternal life, then Jesus’ point is clear, but confusing in light of the concept of a free gift and the many passages in John’s gospel where we are to only believe as the condition. But actually keeping the law is a way to eternal life, if one can actually keep it. By keeping it, of course, it means that you keep it 24/7 all the days of your life. Was that possible?.. the Ruler thought so. But actually it was impossible. Keeping the Law is impossible to keep every moment of your life. If you sin just one time, you become a law breaker needing mercy and grace. This ruler’s theology was flawed but he didn’t know it.

So why did Jesus go along with it by saying… go ahead and keep the law!
Because he was setting the man up, not to destroy the man, but to disarm his flawed theology.

When the man boasted that he had kept the law since his youth, Jesus said, okay… then let me add more weight on the cart!.. You still lack one thing, sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, and come follow Me."

Notice what Jesus did not say, He did not say and you will have eternal life… He never actually answered that specific question.

In other words, he was giving the man the benefit of the doubt, even though He knew this man clearly was lying.

Jesus used the power of the Law to hopefully help this man realize how eternal life cannot be earned at any level or by any means other that a holy sacrifice.

But he apparently didn’t learn that lesson on this day… he went away sorrowful. Why did he go away sorrowful? because he never had the revelation others had about Jesus. Jesus was good because Jesus was God. He knew why others called Him good, but He wanted to know why this man did so. The ruler called Jesus good because he thought He was a keeper of the Law. But the Law was for sinners and Jesus was no sinner.


Hi, T!

That is the thing. The Law points to sin and what God requires; only Jesus is the source of Eternal Salvation. The young man remained in his understanding of observing the Law–which none of us can keep 100% of the times, every single day… this young man could not see that only in Jesus was the freedom he sought: Eternal Life.

Yet, Jesus did give him an answer, ‘Come and Follow Me.’

Maran atha!



“He replied, ‘I have kept all these since my youth’.” Luke 18:21

“Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.” Deuteronomy 30:11-14

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

“With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord.
I will keep your statutes.
I cry to you; save me,
that I may observe your decrees.” Psalm 119:145

“I hope for your salvation, O Lord,
and I fulfill your commandments.
My soul keeps your decrees;
I love them exceedingly.
I keep your precepts and decrees,
for all my ways are before you.” Psalm 119: 166-168


“You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” James 2:24 (Really all of James 2:14-26 will do)

Also the Parable of the Sheep and the goats. Both had Faith, but the goats were cast into Hell for their lack of good works (namely service to those in need in the case of this parable)

“You must work out your own salvation in fear and trembling” Philippians 2:12

How Christ commanded the Blind man to wash in the pool of Siloam— alluding to Baptism

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