A question. If faith has an association to salvation, what exactly is that “faith” composed of? What constitutes that “faith”? And what is the mechanics of “faith” towards our salvation, ie how exactly can and does that “faith” (whatever it is defined as) become effective towards our ultimate salvation?
Have you read the book of Hebrews ? Faith is biblesprout.com/articles/salvation/saving-faith/
As I understand it, faith is the God given gift to see things which are not revealed through natural sight or law, but based on hope, trust and conviction in the moral sense.
Faith gives us a vision of spiritual realities which are from above and are revealed to creatures by the creator out of love.
Faith is saving when the creature consents with trust and willing obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit, first through the heart and then into its body.
FAITH. The acceptance of the word of another, trusting that one knows what the other is saying and is honest in telling the truth. The basic motive of all faith is the authority (or right to be believed) of someone who is speaking. This authority is an adequate knowledge of what he or she is talking about, and integrity in not wanting to deceive. It is called divine faith when the one believed is God, and human faith when the persons believed are human beings. (Etym. Latin fides, belief; habit of faith; object of faith.)
Modern Catholic Dictionary by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Hebrews 11 anyone?
Faith is a relationship with a divine person. Knowledge of the mechanics, or doctrine, is part of that, not the essence of it.
142 By his Revelation, "the invisible God, from the fullness of his love, addresses men as his friends, and moves among them, in order to invite and receive them into his own company."1 The adequate response to this invitation is faith.
Faith is a response to the living God, who is the Divine Person.
143 By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God.2 With his whole being man **gives his assent **to God the revealer. Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God, the author of revelation, “the obedience of faith”.3
Again, a relationship with God.
Faith does not lead us to exalt ourselves in Scripture or doctrines, but to submit, to assent, to obey. The Church uses classical notions of these, not the perverse modern notions. Submission, assent, trust, obedience, can only lead us to God. Faith does not enslave us.
150 Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God. At the same time, and inseparably, it is a free assent to** the whole** truth that God has revealed.
A relationship with God, that cannot be indifferent to the truth. It is no accident that the word whole (holos) is used here. The truth must be “in communion with” the whole, not a personal endeavor experienced in isolation from the Body of Christ.
151 For a Christian, believing in God cannot be separated from believing in the One he sent, his “beloved Son”,
A relationship with God incarnate, in the flesh. Christ is a person.
153 When St. Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus declared to him that this revelation did not come “from flesh and blood”, but from “my Father who is in heaven”.24 Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him. "Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and ‘makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth.’"25
Faith is a theological gift. It cannot be gained merely through knowledge. (But our reason cooperates with faith.)Through obedience, trust, assent, submission, we become docile to the working of the Holy Spirit. We become receptive to the gift.
154 Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit. But it is no less true that believing is an authentically human act. Trusting in God and cleaving to the truths he has revealed is contrary neither to human freedom nor to human reason. Even in human relations it is not contrary to our dignity to believe what other persons tell us about themselves and their intentions, or to trust their promises (for example, when a man and a woman marry) to share a communion of life with one another. If this is so, still less is it contrary to our dignity to “yield by faith the full submission of. . . intellect and will to God who reveals”,26 and to share in an interior communion with him.
155 In faith, the human intellect and will cooperate with divine grace: "Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace."27
Again, a human response to the divine invitation.
148 The Virgin Mary most perfectly embodies the obedience of faith. By faith Mary welcomes the tidings and promise brought by the angel Gabriel, believing that “with God nothing will be impossible” and so giving her assent: "Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word."12 Elizabeth greeted her: "Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."13 It is for this faith that all generations have called Mary blessed.14
Embodying all the virtues. She is literally fertile with the gift of faith that God offers her. Her perfect response reveals God’s invitation, which is Christ himself.
Yes, my friend, I have read Hebrews and am familiar with Hebrews 11. I would also view it as a comparative opposite, an “on the one hand on the other” to that of Hebrews 3-4 the “not entering the rest”. The pivotal point between the two handed argument being Melchizedek in Hebrews 7.
I am largely interested in establishing whether there is a difference between the way Catholics view “faith” and how it is efficacious, and the way Protestants view “faith” and how it is efficacious.
I would appreciate your own words on this, my friend, as rcwitness states “As I understand it …”.
My words : It doesn’t matter how any man made religion views Faith. Point being God determines who gets saving Faith. It is that predetermined grace God gives a person at some point in his lifetime. For the thief on the cross , it was given in his last hours of life. The thief on the cross never was baptized, took communion, joined a church , as you see salvation is not based on anything we do. AND we need Jesus to put that Saving Faith in us to make salvation possible.
Without pointing out the protestant point of view cause I’m not…
You can probably read between the lines to see where Protestantism disagrees.
Catholicism recognizes that faith is a gift. While it is a gift, it is an invitation that asks for a response. Clearly, for faith to be efficacious the gift must be accepted and lived. While almighty God gives us faith, it is not forced on us. We must choose to accept it. God fully respects our humanity, our choices.
This acceptance itself is a “work”. It is a human act. Faith and works are not at odds. Faith and works are frequently pitted against one another. It is a silly argument, and many protestants agree with that.
The gift of faith is embodied in Jesus Christ, who is a person, not a book.
Jesus Christ reveals himself in-carne, in the flesh. Our faith is in a person. That is the very definition of Christian faith.
The first revelation of Christ is his birth to a human mother. From the beginning of his life, Christ himself subjects himself to human obedience and submission, first of all to a young unwed Jewish woman. God does not rape Mary. He offers himself, her response of faith is fertile. This is the efficaciousness of faith embodied. From Mary’s acceptance of God’s gift, salvation comes to us. Wow.
This is a radical concept of faith that is extremely difficult to accept. God reveals himself by subjecting himself to flesh and living in a community. He continues to live in a community. This community is his Mystical Body. Faith in Christ cannot be separated from submission, trust, assent, and obedience… to the whole (cataholos) of the Body of Christ. If one has a “faith” separated from the whole of the body, he does not in fact have faith. Faith is not efficacious for salvation outside that body. (The Church accepts that there are different paths to communion with Christ’s body, and not all are explicit.)
Christian faith is only efficacious for our salvation to the degree that it unites us to Christ. Christ has a Mystical Body which is inseparable from him. Faith cannot be a personal endeavor. While Christ is our “personal” Lord and Savior, Amen, he is not our exclusively personal Lord and Savior, in an individualist way. In Christ all are one.
I think one problem we have is that modern notions of submission and obedience have been so distorted by individualism that we reject them as slavery.
Even Christ trusted his human community, right? He went to the cross, and left the bumbling disciples in charge. Is that something a wise and powerful and efficacious king would do? Yes it is, and we have a difficult example of faith to follow. But we are not greater than our Lord. We are called to follow him in faith.
Christ’s obedience of faith: ob-audiere, “to listen”. Christ listened to his Father and his disciples listened to him when he invited them. “He who hears you hears me”.
The efficacy of faith is bound up with the person of Christ with his whole body, which is truly and substantially present and alive on earth and in heaven.
As a side note, this is why our RCIA candidates do not simply learn the Creed and profess it at the altar. That would be “lip-service”.
RCIA is a process of developing trust, submission, obedience, with the Body of Christ. (or it should be anyway)
Faith is the root and foundation of our justification, as Trent puts it. It pleases God immensely (Heb 11:6) because it is the reestablishment of the relationship between Himself and man that was shattered at the Fall. We’re born without faith, meaning born without communion with God, “born dead”, so to speak, and in need of being “born from above”/“born again”. Faith is a reawakening-to the knowledge of God Who alone can impart life to us. “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Faith is the fulfillment of the New Covenant prophecy of Jeri 31, where “they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest” (31:34). Where God may truly become the God of man again so He may begin His work of justification/salvation in us, ‘placing His law on our hearts and writing it in our minds’. (Jer 31:33). Faith is restored justice in the universe, or the beginning of it; man is not meant to be independent of God. It’s a gift of grace but, like all gifts, it’s one we can refuse. It’s our response to His calling, and so our wills are involved in it. Faith is communion with God.
Does God choose for someone to reject or accept Him ?
We believe not. We believe there is a change of heart which must take place to allow Gods Holy Spirit to work in us. This Spirit stands on love and truth. We do not. There is therefore a dramatic change of heart in the believer. But that doesnt mean it all happens and is complete in one moment. Yet there is a moment of salvation and there are moments of salvation. Just like there is conversion and continual conversion.
Im really trying to do this same kind of distinction in a thread of my own. I can and do appreciate the genuine faith which can certainly exist within the Faith Alone doctrine. But I am not convinced that the Catholic Teaching has rejected Apostolic faith which clings to grace… THOUGH MANY, MANY CATHOLICS MAY! And this has been troubling my heart recently. It is truly a shame that so many Catholics are so shallow in their faith. There has become a mountain of those throughout history who receive the sacraments of the faith but do not know Jesus!!!
What does this mean???
One thing comes to mind. The Adversary. He has developed a masterfull skill in disasociating the catechist from the source of the Sacraments. This has created a multitude of men and women treating them as superstition.
Then the ones who are outside this battle over the sacraments have gathered the scraps from the masters table and are being converted!
God is good and behind, within and above every good work. This includes every aspect of our salvation.
Thief other thief had equal opportunity.
Yes he did.
Catholics believe that all are offered the gift of faith. Not all accept.
39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
40But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.d ”
43Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
The “bad” thief did not submit himself in obedience to the cross he was given, or the Cross Christ accepted. In effect he says “if you are the Messiah, assert yourself.” He cannot accept that salvation requires submission, obedience, trust in the face of hardship and doubt.
The good thief invokes reverence (fear) of God. Humility.
His efficacious confession of faith starts with the name of “Jesus”. He places himself in the hands of Jesus. He trusts that if Jesus will merely bring him present to mind, Christ’s person will be efficacious for him.
Well said !
Great point. That is why I thank God that my Church was founded by Jesus Christ; a divine institution; a mystical Body with Christ as it’s Head, guided by the Holy Spirit who leads it into all truth. How this “religion” views faith is all important, if Christ has kept his promise to remain with it until the end of time and to send the Holy Spirit to guide it. It is the Body of Christ; His presence on earth which remains to continue His work of salvation and, through His sacraments, to offer his grace and mercy to the whole world.
As for man-made religious views, I couldn’t agree more.
Speaking of man-made religious views… Do you mean we don’t have a choice in the matter? Our free will has no bearing on our eternal destiny? We’re either toast or we’re not when we take our first breath? I’ve never understood this view. What good was Christ’s sacrifice if one is predetermined to heaven or hell? I thought he died for all of us.
And what about the other thief? Did he just get past up by grace or did he make a choice to remain in his sin?
This is true. He simply has not predetermined who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. Our wills are involved, because we can reject grace. God din’t force Adam to obey, and He won’t force us now.
My friend, while rick607 may love what appears to be your disillusionment of the Catholic Church, enough in fact to find personal affirmation, I cannot assent to that. Catholics need Catholic support, Catholics need you. We can put it down to modernism, we can put it down to being in the image of an ape, rather than the image of God. But I did not go through RCIA, enter the Catholic Church last year, the true Church, the one founded by Jesus Christ, that I have searched my entire life for, the pillar of Truth, in order to just turn around give up and go back like a dog.
I know you have vented opinion based on personal observation, but I don’t quite see it that way.
This is one question I was unable to explain as a protestant. How is faith efficacious towards salvation. rcwitness explained it clem456 explained it too. They are citing Catholic teaching. Protestants seem to steer clear of this question or talk around it without actually explaining it. Are you saved? believe in Jesus Christ and that faith has saved you. How? How has it?
Sorry my friend, I should have said you too.
Lately, Ive been more convinced that there are too many issues that us Catholics need to overcome to criticize our non-Catholic friends. Even to the point that many non-Catholics are behaving more Catholic than many Catholics. Think about the issues like sex before marriage, contraception, avoiding the Sacrament of Reconciliation, using the Lords name in vain, excessive drinking, masturbation, fits of anger, neglecting to personally study Sacred Scripture, never openly praying with the family, rarely talking with our children about the life of Jesus, etc.
These things are prevalent amoung many Catholics who receive Communion. It has a huge impact on the life of the Church. It is too necessary to do in-house cleaning before we can expect others to come inside.
Now, I know there is a difference between Church Teaching and what Catholics actual apply to their lives. And I myself converted from the denominations to the Catholic faith. I actually had a very good RCIA instructor and I liked my Parish. But I experienced some better ministries in the Evangelical Free church, such as the youth ministry. But There were things which I did not feel right about either.
Our faith journey does have a very personal aspect to it, while a very corporal aspect also. One man may thrive and walk in holiness as a member of a non-Catholic Christian community MORE than a man receiving all the Sacraments and attending weekly Mass. Yet that first man is not necessarily being the best Christian HE personally can be, since he is avoiding the duties to the body of christ.
Its easy for both sides to criticize, but it takes the Holy Spirit to do the work of the Lord. There is only one Lord and one faith. Catholics need to put walking in the Holy Spirit before puffing the,selves up that they are members of the One True Church. It is nothing important to be a mere member.
We have brothers and sisters in our Church whom we dont care how they are living, or if they really have converted their heart to Jesus, yet when they decide to leave for a Christian community that is giving a stronger witness of Jesus, then we get all riled up. Im not afraid to sound ‘protestant’ when its the Truth. Im more interested in fellowshipping with brothers and sisters in the faith, and being a possitive force against the enemy within the Lord’s Church.