Faith & Works Confusion

I am having a hard time understanding why there is so much in disagreement between Catholics and other Christian denominations on the subject of works. I have read a lot of these threads and still come away confused.

Catholics believe that salvation is through Faith and Works.

Christians believe that salvation is through Faith alone.

Ok clear so far.

But then we have the passage of “without works faith is dead”. For Catholics the above still holds then. For Christians I have read on here that since they have faith they do the works because God is now in their heart but it is still the faith alone that is saving them. In the end does it really matter? I mean if you “have faith first” or “start works first” once both are true you are at the end game. For the 5 seconds that you had faith without works you weren’t there. Or the 5 seconds you had works without faith you weren’t there but now with both everyone believes the same thing. I find it hard to believe that both Faith & Works could start at the same moment in time anyways.

How could a person of Faith not do good works anyways?

Am I missing something? Do those 5 seconds really matter that much in the great grand plan?

Not so, Iorathon. Did you read the thread on “works” salvation? The Catholic church nowhere teaches that one can be saved by works. If this is the impression you got,then you have a misunderstanding of the Holy Teaching. Catholics are also Christians, by the way.

No. Saving faith is a faith that works, that produces fruit. The work and the fruit don’t save, but they are evidence that a saving faith exists.

These are not both true, Iorathon. It is not possible for one to be saved by their works, apart from faith.

Anything that does not proceed from faith is sin, so whether it is five seconds, or five decades, no works can justify one in the sight of God.

You will have to take that question to the reformers.

Yep. You are missing the basic concept of the foundation of salvation. I suggest you go back and read the works salvation thread again.

I believe you missed my simple point.

You said

Not so, Iorathon. Did you read the thread on “works” salvation? The Catholic church nowhere teaches that one can be saved by works. If this is the impression you got,then you have a misunderstanding of the Holy Teaching. Catholics are also Christians, by the way

I did not say that the Chruch teaches salvation through works. And being a Catholic myself I do understand that Catholics are Christians.

No. Saving faith is a faith that works, that produces fruit. The work and the fruit don’t save, but they are evidence that a saving faith exists.

This I understand. And this is the root of my question.

Anything that does not proceed from faith is sin, so whether it is five seconds, or five decades, no works can justify one in the sight of God.

This I find very hard to believe. If a child in Nigeria does not know Christ and saves his bother from drowning… This is a sin???

My simple point is why the arguement when both “Chrsitian” and “Catholic” believe that " as you stated" once you have “Faith” you do “Works”?

Catholics are Christians. In fact, the Catholic Church is the only Christian Church established by Jesus himself.:thumbsup:

Apparently I used the incorrect word in trying to post this thread.

When I said Christain I meant all people who believe in Christ that are not Catholic.

I DID NOT say that Catholics where not Christian.

Sorry for my error. Please inform me of a better way to describe these indivuidauls and I will use it next time.

Thank you.:confused:

Oh, I am not offended in the least bit and I am sorry if I made anyone think that. I usually refer to non-Catholic Christians are Protestants since their theology and ecclesiology usually are derived from one of the Protestant “reformeres”.

Thank you for posting this. I too feel the same way I just didnt know how to put it into words.
I am a non-catholc christian who believes in faith alone but I like your point and I think I agree with you. Either way I believe we are doing the right thing by Christ. Supposedly we all claim to have faith and we all claim to do good works so what’s a the problem then.:shrug:


If I am understanding here - and I am trying to :wink: the question is - what’s the difference if you believe in faith alone, or faith and works. Right?

Well, the basic stance of those who believe in faith alone nowadays (at least it seemed to me when I was one of those people) is that any works you do are “additional” so to speak, but not stictly necessary, because all is forgiven when you accept Christ; and you are on your way to heaven so long as you keep it that way. If you happen to find something to do that helps great - do it. God didn’t set out anything more for us t do than believe in Him, and be baptized…although exactly how that is to be accomplished is also up for debate.

However - Jesus said - “Pick up your cross and follow me, and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” Matthew 10:38, 16:24 and many, mant other things along those same lines found on this thread…

The gist of which is that we must DO the will of God, always. Not to “work our way into salvation” - because that is impossible, as we all agree. But because it is what God demands from us. The full understanding of His teachings, and subsequent revealed truths, Full compliance to those teachings, and an unerring focus upon Him while performing them. To “Be a light unto the world” and “the salt of the earth”, all of us - not just religious. Because we are saved by Grace through faith…in other words we have to do Gods will in Faith, for that he gives us Grace which sanctifies us and makes us holy - progressively.

Foe example:

We are Justified by Faith in Christ, but we recieve grace (also unearned) when we take that faith and go get baptized…baptism performed on an individual who presents himself for it in that faith then sanctifies him from all previous sins. He is then a “New Creature in Christ” you have to have the Faith true - but you also need the action that goes along wth it according to Gods will, and according to the structure he put in place for it. Otherwise it is basically useless - other than to steer you in the correct direction…which also requires that you follow the leading of the Holy Spirit who is trying to guide you.

Please also see this page - Grace, what it is and what it does:

Not that anyone who is ignorant of those things will be “left behind” (pun intended) but that those who reject those things might be. See John: 53-69

Hope this helps



My question was more on the line with…

Why the arguement?

When in the end both Protestant & Catholic have Faith and Works?

Most Protestants and Catholics don’t argue about that anymore.


Why the argument?

Because the Dark Lord wants you to suffer the final death alongside him.

If he can teach you that all one needs is faith for eternal life and nothing else and can convince you that any type of work is unnecessary then…

It is an obvious question, and one that I have asked many times myself. In the end, the life of a saved Catholic and the life of a saved non-Catholic Christian will be much more similar than different (leaving out the Catholic particulars, obviously).

The faith-alone people are always appealing to the thief on the cross, and to deathbed conversions. Fine, but that’s not their life, and that’s probably not the life of the person they’re preaching to, and that’s not the life of most Christians. So why focus so much on the 1% and ignore that in the 99% we are so similar?

I have come up with a theory - nothing more. I think it has to do with a streak in people where they just don’t want to submit. Protestants, of course, don’t want to submit to the Church, so they have already incorporated that mindset anyway. I think faith-alone is a way to avoid submitting to the fact that Christ requires something of us all. It’s a way of doing the works God calls us to do, but only if it’s our idea. “I’ll do the works, but not because I have to, only because I want to.” Like I said, it’s a theory.

This is an excellent point that both sides should honestly consider when we discuss faith and works. I have mentioned this to a few of my non-Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ but we have not had lengthy discussions about it. My point on this subject, as a Catholic, is that my non-Catholic friends live in faith the same way Catholics live and teach living by faith.

I look at Galatians 2:19-20 as the key. It says:

“I have been crucified with Christ: and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Faith and works are inseparable when it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. If I do not have Christ living in me then I will have no works. I will be living in the flesh which leads to death rather than eternal life. My non-Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ live by faith and it is Christ that lives in them. They are experiencing and living the Catholic truth, but lack the correct definition scripturally and theologically concerning the biblical teaching on faith and works.

This is unfortunate because their intellectual/theological understandings are at a variance with their experience in Christ. This holds them back from the rest of Catholic truth such as the Eucharist. The latter is something that non-Catholics cannot experience even though they experience the in dwelling of the Holy Spirit. Their “living by faith” is congruent with scripture and God’s will, but their “understanding” of what they are living and experiencing is at odds with it.

You guys might wanna have a look at verses 11-20 of Sirach HERE.

Looks very relevant to me…

The problem is that we have a responsibility to be true to the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles. They taught that one cannot be saved by works, and this is a grieveous error that causes great harm to the souls of those embracing it.

can I be saved without works? if I refuse to resist temptation, if I refuse to forgive someone, etc… NO

can I earn my salvation by doing what I think is good? NO

Everything needed for my salvation comes from Jesus, but I must accept it by faith working through love.

The apostles discussing who was greater.

Mathew 9.35-37

35 Having sat down, he called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, let him be the last of all, and the servant of all.”

36 Taking a child, he placed it in the middle of them, and having taking it in his arms , he said to them,

37 “Whoever receives one of such children in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me, but the one who sent me”.

in 35 Jesus requires us to be Servants, in fact, the more of a servant you are, the better. So what does a servant do?? They do works for others.

Receiving a child is a work.

How are these works different from any other works? These works are different because they are accompanied by faith, hence, "do in my Name or receive in my Name, as verse 37.

In Christ!

Faith in what?

and we all claim to do good works

For what reason?

so what’s a the problem then

Yeah, and why did Paul get so upset with the Galatians?

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