"Good Works" if you're "Truly Saved"?


Hello Everybody!

Question: So last night I was talking with one of my Protestant friends on religion… and the whole “faith/works” debate got brought up (Oy vey… I know, I know :stuck_out_tongue: ).

So I explained the Catholic side of things (faith and works… you know, not “and/or” but “both/and”), but when he started explaining his stance on the matter, his response really perplexed me:

Rather than stating the ‘traditional’ Protestant “faith alone” arguments I have encountered in the past (like the typical Lutheran quotes, “Be a sinner and sin boldly”… “No sin will separate us from the lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day”, yada yada)… my friend’s response was:

“No, you have to do act like a Christian, (not just talk the talk, but walk the walk)… but a ‘truly saved’ person will do these ‘good works’ no matter what.”

So, essentially, I thought, (besides the ‘saved’ talk), “Well, we’re on the same page here! Welcome aboard, buddy!”… but, he vehemently insisted and denied that he didn’t believe in “works” and went on ranting for the rest of the evening about how a “truly saved” person would do good Christian works regardless, etc etc. Anyone else ever encountered a scenario like this before? What’s with this “truly saved” jargon?? (It seems to go against the ‘once saved, always saved’ philiosophy many of them hold so dear to).

Any ideas on what he’s talking about or where to take the discussion from here? Thanks in advance, friends! :thumbsup:


I’ve encountered this before as well. What is tricky is this is the Catholic position, but using different terminology to confuse the poor soul. The Catholic teaching I’ve been taught (I’m sure others can provide sources) is that there is a loop between grace and us cooperating. Grace acts in us and we cooperate and believe; Grace enables us to do good works and we cooperate and do them. Grace is a free gift, but we have to get up and do something.

The example a priest I know used:
Gal 3:6: Thus Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” God gave Abraham the free gift of a land, but he still had to get up and go there. God said Abraham would be the father of a nation, but he still had to have relations with his wife. He couldn’t just sit back and allow the land and kids to come running toward him.

The “Truly Saved” is the only way to reconcile the “Once saved/Always Saved” with the reality that there are some not so good people out there who “say” they believe in Jesus but obviously don’t act it. Unfortunately it means that if the person ever sins then he is not “Truly Saved” and must be “resaved”. I much prefer the Catholic position and the blessing of confession.


The apparent contradiction lies in the following:

quote: reen12

For a sola scriptura, sola gratia, sola fides Christian,
the emphasis is placed on the fact that Christ is our
justification, salvation and righteousness.

That nothing a man/woman can do will “effect” their
salvation: Christ has wrought our salvation.

And, when “faith” is spoken of, in these communities,
it connotes “lively faith” = obedience to Christ’s

So, following this, some non-Catholic Christians
see RC sacraments as “works” …that is, if you
do this, you will be saved.

This, of course, is not RC theology, but it is
seen to be the case, by some Christians.

It helps, I think, to keep in mind that for some
Christians, “faith” =“lively faith”= keeping Christ’s
commands. But, keeping His commands is
not seen as “works” - in the sense of securing
our salvation, which has already been wrought,
by Christ.

Then, it’s not a case of faith + works, but of
"faith alone."

[And, BTW, Once Saved, Always saved is not
the same as Blessed Assurance.]



since most that i’ve talked to believe all sin is the same. ask them how do you know if their acting like a christian or not, since all sin is the same.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.