[quote=Sugar Ray]I was reading another thread on faith and works and it leads me to this question. Would this be an accurate way to explain our belief to a non-Catholic friend?
God initiates the relationship, we accept his grace similar to the way Mary accepted God’s will that she bear his son. Once we have accepted and been saved by grace the holy spirit will prompt us to do the good works he has prepared in advance for us to do.
If we accept God’s promptings and follow through with works of charity and service we will grow spiritualy and our relationship with God will be strengthened.
If we continually reject God’s promptings our faith, without works, will slowly weaken making us vulnerable to temptation and sin and putting us in danger of falling away.
In this way we are saved by faith and works.
All suggestions for improvement are eagerly accepted.
That’s true in part. I think it slightly underemphasizes how important works are and possibly very slightly turns it into a faith alone relationship. In other words, it sortof says that the only thing works are for is to grow us in Grace so we don’t lose faith. The truth is you need both.
I look at it this way. If I wanted to go to a club, I would need to bring two things: cash to pay the cover charge, and an ID to prove I was old enough. The cash actually gets me into the club, just like faith actually gets us into God’s Grace and eventually Heaven. The ID, just like the works, doesn’t really do anything to get me into the club, but if I don’t have it, they won’t let me in. If I show up with just cash, I can’t get in. I’ll be have what it takes to get in, but they will bar me because I don’t have the ID so it’s not that I haven’t brought what I need to get in so much that I’m not allowed in. If I show up to God with just faith, He won’t let me in even though I’ve given the only thing that can actually actively get me in. If I show up with just the ID, they won’t let me into the club either. They’ll say, yes you are allowed in, but you don’t have what it takes to get in (the faith).
Now think about a person who has both faith and works. The works don’t do a single thing to get him in to Heaven. Compare this to if I show up to the club with both the cash and the ID, but I show the ID first. They’ll say that I am allowed in, but won’t say I have what I need to get in until I show them the cash. This is how it works with faith and works. The faith gets the person in, but if he can’t show the works he won’t be allowed in.
I also like to give this example to explain why salvation is still a gift. Imagine a father (God) and his constantly misbehaving son (us) are at the toy store. The boy says, “Daddy, if I clean the kitchen will you buy me this toy?” The father replies, “No, son, you cannot earn a toy simply by doing good and by doing what you ought to be doing anyways.” The son then says, “Ok Daddy, but will you give it to me as a gift for my birthday?” The father says to the son, “Yes, son, I will, but only if you keep your room clean and behave and do what I tell you.” The boy does so, and the father gives him the gift on his birthday. It’s still a gift, but if the boy had not done what he was supposed to, he would not have gotten it.