Faith, Works, and Salvation


#1

Well, here’s something I’m sure none of you have ever encountered before, a question about how faith and works go together in regard to salvation! :rolleyes: I really do wonder about this, though, so I hope you’ll bear with me… :slight_smile:

Many Protestants believe that salvation comes simply by having faith in Christ. This usually means confessing that Christ is Lord and believing that God raised Him from the dead, as expressed in Romans 10:9:

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Ephesians 2:8-9 also is often cited:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Of course, as I have studied, I have discovered many more verses that speak of the importance of works. In fact, immediately after the passage I just cited, verse 10 says:

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

There are also passages about faith without deeds being dead and many more. I’m not going to list them all here, but there are a good deal of them.

So, I’ve come to see that the common Protestant view of things is overly-simplistic. What I’m wondering is how Catholics actually view works and faith. It is apparent to me that they go together, but I’m not sure exactly how. I guess there are several ways of viewing things:

  1. Salvation is purely by faith alone in Christ. Good works are a natural result of this faith, but do nothing to obtain salvation. Nothing a person does after receiving salvation can cause a person to lose it (aka “eternal security”).

  2. Salvation is by faith alone in Christ. As above, good works are a natural result of this faith, but do nothing to obtain salvation. It is possible to lose salvation by completely falling way from Christianity (another Protestant view, held by those who don’t accept the “eternal security” idea).

  3. Salvation is earned by doing good works and avoiding bad works or sins (this would be a common view of non-Christians who admit the existence of God but don’t accept organized religion).

  4. Salvation is by faith in Christ, but every time a person sins, they lose their salvation, and need to repent of their sins to be restored to a “saved” state.

  5. Salvation is by faith in Christ, but saying “yes” to Christ is not just a onetime confession. It is doing His will. So, in effect, good works are how we say “yes” to Christ in our everyday lives. Every time we sin, we are saying “no” to Christ. Certain sins (i.e. mortal sins), equate to such a violent “no” that we are no longer in the state of grace (i.e. the state we need to be in at death in order to go to Heaven).

Now, I guess I see option five as being the Catholic view, but I still don’t think I’m expressing it correctly. Could anyone give a better description of how faith and works go together in Catholicism? Thanks so very much, and thanks also for bearing with questions you’ve probably encountered many times before! :slight_smile:

God Bless!


#2

… i’ve always wondered… if your on the side of the road with a flat tire… alone your having trouble getting it changed…

…i am driving by, which would you rather have me do… say a prayer for you, maybe a tow truck or some other type of help will come by, (faith). Or, would you rather I stop and lend a hand (works)… i have often wondered WWJD…:cool:

Peace!:thumbsup:
http://www.hbshows.com/images/spaceghost.JPG


#3

hey space ghost, not seen you round for a while!


#4

Salvation is a free gift we receive by baptism. Salvation is an unearned inheritance. We can’t earn heaven, but we can earn hell. We are “saved by grace through faith working in love.” Works are a response to God’s grace, not the cause of the gift of grace; an effect, not a cause. Salvation is a process, not a one time instant. Charity helps our faith grow and makes us grow in virtue, which is part of saving us from the effects of original sin.

The cheat sheet at EWTN lists these verses:
Jas 2:14-26 … what good is faith w/o works?
Heb 10:26 … must avoid sin.
Jas 5:20 … “earning” forgiveness.
Lk 6:46; Mt 7:21; Mt 19:16-21; Jn 5:29 … must do will of God.
1 Cor 9:27 … "buffet my body …"
1 Cor 13:2 faith without love is nothing
Phil 2:12; 2 Cor 5:10; Rom 2:6-10, 13, 3:31; Mt 25:32-46; Gal 6:6-10; Rev 20:12 … works have merit.
1 Jn 2:3-4; 1 Jn 3:24; 1 Jn 5:3 Jn 14:15 … keep commandments.
Rev 2:5 repent and do the works or else…
Rev 2:23 Give each what your works deserve
Gal 5:6 Faith working through love
Mt 3:8 Good fruit is sign of repentance
Mt 7:21 Lord, Lord
Rom 2:2-8 perseverence in works
Eph 2:8-10 grace you have been saved


#5

[quote=Magicsilence]hey space ghost, not seen you round for a while!
[/quote]

trying my best to stay under the radar… you can get suspended in the place you know…:cool:

peace:cool:
http://mediasoftware.free.fr/index.1.jpg


#6

When I attended a non- denominational large mega church we were taught # 1
My conservative Lutheran Church teaches #2.


#7

Salvation is a free gift we receive by baptism. Salvation is an unearned inheritance. We can’t earn heaven, but we can earn hell. We are “saved by grace through faith working in love.” Works are a response to God’s grace, not the cause of the gift of grace; an effect, not a cause. Salvation is a process, not a one time instant. Charity helps our faith grow and makes us grow in virtue, which is part of saving us from the effects of original sin.

I think that bettyg51 has a great grip on the catholic understanding. Sometimes Protestants don’t really understand the catholic teaching. We do believe that salvation is a free gift that we receive. However we also understand that we have to live and walk our faith it is a process, Christ earned our salvation however we need to walk in that salvation. We do believe it possible to lose it because it is possible to walk away from God. We also believe just as betttyg51 said that our salvation starts at baptism with the washing of our sins, and not just a simple prayer. Scripture has an example of this when the Apostle Peter told the 3,000 in the 2nd chapter of the book of Acts to be baptized in the name of Christ so their Sins could be washed. But I think that bettyg51 did a good job covering the catholic understanding.


#8

I think there is probably more agreement between most protestants and Catholics than many realize. My sister (a Baptist) and I were talking about it the other day, and she said that she believed in salvation by faith, but that it depended on how you live your life (and it’s a contradiction of what she confesses to believe in her Baptist faith). I didn’t say so to her, but this sounds awfully like an over-simplified version of the Catholic belief. I think people should take a look at what Trent taught about justification. Most would be surprised.


#9

I don’t know if you’ve gotten to look at what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about this. Here’s some of it. I don’t know if it’s exactly what you’re looking for, because it doesn’t really look at faith and works, but it does examine how man can merit anything through works.

2007 With regard to God, there is no strict right to any merit on the part of man. Between God and us there is an immeasurable inequality, for we have received everything from him, our Creator.

2008 The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. the fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man’s free acting through his collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Man’s merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit.

2009 Filial adoption, in making us partakers by grace in the divine nature, can bestow true merit on us as a result of God’s gratuitous justice. This is our right by grace, the full right of love, making us “co-heirs” with Christ and worthy of obtaining "the promised inheritance of eternal life."60 The merits of our good works are gifts of the divine goodness.61 "Grace has gone before us; now we are given what is due… Our merits are God’s gifts."62

2010 Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life. Even temporal goods like health and friendship can be merited in accordance with God’s wisdom. These graces and goods are the object of Christian prayer. Prayer attends to the grace we need for meritorious actions.

2011 The charity of Christ is the source in us of all our merits before God. Grace, by uniting us to Christ in active love, ensures the supernatural quality of our acts and consequently their merit before God and before men. the saints have always had a lively awareness that their merits were pure grace.

After earth’s exile, I hope to go and enjoy you in the fatherland, but I do not want to lay up merits for heaven. I want to work for your love alone… In the evening of this life, I shall appear before you with empty hands, for I do not ask you, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is blemished in your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in your own justice and to receive from your love the eternal possession of yourself.63

There’s more in the Catechism that might help you. Here’s a link to it:
vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM


#10

Hello Lambic Pen,

Jesus tells us that if we wish to enter into life, obey the commandments. Jesus tells us that those who feed the poor will go to heaven and those who do not will be cast into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Obviously works weigh in on whether or not we go to heaven. Scripture tells us that love for God means obedience to God. The reason God allows free willed hatred, sin and damnation is to allow people the free willed option to choose to love Him. We know that Jesus is our Saviour who shed His blood for our salvation.

I sum it up like this: The way people go to heaven is through Jesus, the reason people go to heaven is because they love God and love for God is accomplished through free from the will of God obedience to the will of God. Jesus, What Must I Do To Share In Everlasting Life?

NAB MAR 10:17

"Good Teacher, what must I do to share in everlasting life?" Jesus answered, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments:

'You shall not kill;
You shall not commit adultery;
You shall not steal;
You shall not bear false witness;
You shall not defraud;
Honor your father and your mother.’"

NAB MAT 25:31

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

The Protestants tell us we do not have to obey the commandments and feed the poor to go to heaven through Jesus. They say that all we have to do is “believe” and have “faith”. The problem is that they create their own false definition to Jesus’ words “believe” and “faith”. The biblical terms believe and faith, as used by Jesus, mean to do and obey what He commands. Believe

NAB JOH 12:44

Jesus proclaimed aloud: “Whoever puts faith in me believes not so much in me as in him who sent me; and whoever looks on me is seeing him who sent me. I have come to the world as its light, to keep anyone who **believes **in me from remaining in the dark. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I am not the one to condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save it. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words already has his judge, namely, the word I have spoken it is that which will condemn him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own; no, the Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to speak. Since I know that his commandment means eternal life, whatever I say is spoken just as he instructed me.”


#11

Thanks for the replies, everyone! I guess I’m beginning to see that obeying God is not just suggested. Of course, I suppose I’ve always thought that. I’ve never liked the whole “pray the sinner’s prayer and then do whatever you want” philosophy. Of course, unfortunately, it does seem that many Catholics seem to have the “do whatever you want and then just go to Confession” attitude. The other day, one of the NCO’s in my platoon said, “I’m Catholic, so I’m not very religious.” He was joking around, but this attitude does seem to be common.

At any rate, I never want to judge Catholicism based on the behavior of Catholics In Name Only. It would be wonderful if every Catholic actually followed the actual teachings of the Catholic Church. Of course, to be fair, there are many nominal Protestants out there too.

Really quick: So, does my option 5 explain things fairly well?

Thanks again for the replies! God Bless! :slight_smile:


#12

[quote=The Iambic Pen]Really quick: So, does my option 5 explain things fairly well?
[/quote]

I think it does. The only real thing missing might be that our faith journey starts with Baptism.

Peace,
javelin


#13

Here is the explanation I read once that really helped me…

Salvation is a gift by grace that cannot be earned. But that gift needs to be cherised and protected. We protect the gift by responding to the promptings of the holy spirit and completing the good works that were prepared in advance for us to do.
As we respond to God’s promptings we grow spiritually and make our calling and election sure. However if we continually disregard the promptings of the holy spirit and refuse to do works (including prayer and study) we will dirft from God and the Church we will grow spiritually weak we will be vulnerable to sin and risk losing our salvation.

Let me know if this helps.


#14

javelin:

I think it does. The only real thing missing might be that our faith journey starts with Baptism.

Ah yes. Thanks!

Sugar Ray:

Let me know if this helps.

Very much. Thanks! :slight_smile:


#15

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