Help refuting sola fide using scripture?


I knew as soon as I saw James that I knew something was up with protestantism. But then I saw Titus 3:5 and Romans 5:1, that seem to say works dont matter. Can anyone help me find scriptural passages that prove works are needed for salvation?


Titus 3: 5 is simply saying that because God is merciful, He saved us…not because we first did something but out of His mercy.Titus 3:5 isn’t addressing “works”

Titus 3:5 is also speaking about being regenerated, born again, through water baptism which is not a work of man but a work of God. It is in water baptism that we receive the grace that justifies.

Romans 5:1 doesn’t rule out works. It simply says we are justified by faith but we have to define Paul’s understanding of faith. Did Paul mean we simply have to believe and that’s it? Of course not. Paul understood that a saving faith includes the works given to us by God

Put it this way. We are saved by grace and not by faith alone. Grace is what saves and we receive God’s grace through all the sacraments which are works of God.

God’s grace manifests itself through our faith AND our works because “our” works are actually God’s grace working in us which is exactly why James can say we are justified by works and not only by faith.

Faith that does not include works of grace is not a saving faith but a dead faith therefore works (of grace, given to us by God) are necessary for salvation. To reject the works God gives us is a rejection of His grace.

As Paul says in Romans 2:6-7 God will give eternal life according to our works( done by the grace of God) for it is those who obey the moral law ( obedience is a work of grace) who will be justified. (Romans 2:13)


But what about ephesians 2?


Well, you might check Matthew 25 and all that business about sheep, goats, works, who gets into heaven, and who doesn’t. I’ve read it many, many times and nowhere does it mention faith at all.

This doesn’t mean faith isn’t necessary. But works seem to have something to do with salvation, at least according to Jesus Himself. :slight_smile:


I assume you are referring to Epheseans 2:8. Where in Epheseans 2:8 does it say by grace through faith alone? If faith alone were only necessary, why would Paul stress so often in Epheasans not to fall into the pitfalls of the Devil? To act like good, Christisn people?


There is nothing in Ephesians that says that works are not necessary for salvation when you understand that works are simply grace in action.

Ephesians 2:8-13
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast"

This is saying the same thing Titus 3:5 is saying. There is nothing we can do to earn grace which is a supernatural gift. Grace is the gift OF God. No man can boast that he somehow earned a SUPERnatural gift by his own power.

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

We were created for good works which can only come because of our cooperation with grace.

11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Scripture needs to be read in a first century context. Paul is writing to Jewish Christians and non-Jews who have become Christian. The question in the first century was this: Does a Gentile have to become a Jew and be circumcised, follow the Mosaic Law BEFORE he can become a Christian? This is why Paul says elsewhere that man is NOT justified by “works of the law” referring to the law of Moses.

Nowhere does Paul say the supernatural works of grace are not necessary because he knows they are because grace is necessary. That’s what good works are…grace filled acts given to us by God.

Romans 2:6-7 and Romans 2:13 specifically say that the reward for supernatural works is eternal life and justification and Paul is preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ who states explicitly that keeping the commandments (which is a work of grace) is necessary for eternal life. ( Matthew 19:16-18)

While Paul excludes the law of Moses as a means for justification, he tells us that the law of Moses (which included the Ten Commandments) had moral requirements ( Romans 2:15 and Romans 8: 4) which even the pagans were required to keep because they are written on the heart of every man.

The moral requirements of the law are still binding on all men for their salvation and keeping them is a work of grace.

Reading Acts 15 should help where we see this controversy over the law of Moses, specifically circumcision, and salvation by grace being decided by the Council of Jerusalem.


Hello DeusExMachina. You asked:

I knew as soon as I saw James that I knew something was up with protestantism. But then I saw Titus 3:5 and Romans 5:1, that seem to say works dont matter. Can anyone help me find scriptural passages that prove works are needed for salvation?

You are right. Something IS up with the “justification by faith ALONE” claim.

Our works (or anything else) is not a precondition for INITIAL salvation.

God Leading Us To Justification

God proverbially “taps us on the shoulder and helps us toward Him”. This is called** “God’s prevenient Grace”**. But even then we are MOVED toward Him. But we have not received all the graces we need for salvation.

God Initiating Us Into Justification

When we COOPERATE with this phenomenon of God “tapping us on the shoulder and helping us toward Him”, we receive BAPTISM.

In Baptism, we receive the Holy Spirit. We also receive SUPERNATURAL faith, hope, and charity (this goes beyond a NATURAL faith, hope, and charity). We are now “sons IN the Son” or sons and daughters of God. Then we are saved.

Now, As People IN CHRIST, We MUST Work According To Our State In Life

Now when we are IN Jesus, when we have the Divine life of God prompting us, animating our lives, and completing what God calls us to do, THEN WE MUST WORK.

But it is NOT our mere works any more is it? It isn’t even our NATURAL faith anymore (even our faith has been SUPERNATURALIZED by grace).

Now, as children of God, we are called, according to our state in life (i.e. a baby is not going to be called to the same standards as a healthy adult), to ALLOW God to work IN and THROUGH US.

And this IS Salvific. But it is NOT our mere “work” on our own is it? It is Jesus working IN and THROUGH you. It is “grace”. The Church calls the “participation in the life of God”.

What About “Non serviam!” or “I Will NOT Serve”?

If you do NOT WORK, it is a refusal of participating in “the life of God”.

And thus, this refusal to COOPERATE with God’s grace, amounts to accepting the grace of God to no benefit or “in vain”.

God bless.


PS I realize my post raises certain questions too. If you want, please ask them so I can go into more detail tailored to what YOU want.

I will also try to give you a little more insight into the Titus 3 objection against works here (that I will borrow heavily from a prior post of mine). (Later if you want, we can touch on Romans 5:1 as well).

(Someone) cited Titus 3:5, apparently to allege justification by faith alone. Yet it does no such thing.

Titus 3:5 tells us we can do nothing to earn Jesus’ work on our behalf (and HOW He saved us)

This verse explains to us WHY Jesus saved us . . . and . . . in a sense HOW Jesus saves us.

**TITUS 3:5 ** 5 he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit . . .

God the Father did NOT say:

NOT TITUS 3:5 (Phantom Verse) He saved us, as God the Father said, “Well Jesus, people are just so deserving down there on earth, therefore I am sending you down to earth as a man to save them “BECAUSE of deeds done by them in righteousness.

That’s all Titus 3:5 means—just what it says it means.

And the “faith alone” proponents of Titus 3:5 almost always deny the “washing” or the Baptismal dimension of the verse too.

**TITUS 3:5 ** 5 he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit . . .

This is what being born of water (washing of regeneration) AND the Spirit (renewal in the Holy Spirit) means in John 3:5 concerning being “born again” or being “born anew”.

JOHN 3:3-4a, 5, 22 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? . . . 5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. . . . . 22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the land of Judea; there he remained with them and baptized.

As Steve Wood says, “think John 3:5/Titus 3:5, John 3:5/Titus 3:5, John 3:5/Titus 3:5, John 3:5/Titus 3:5, etc.”

Titus 3:5 doesn’t say anything about justification of faith ALONE.

Should we think it means (?) . . . .

God the Father did saying to Jesus: “Well Jesus, people are just so deserving down there on earth, therefore I am sending you down to earth as a man to save them “BECAUSE of their FAITH by them in righteousness?”

Should we think THIS (above) is what Titus 3:5 means? No. Of course not.

All the verse means, is just what it says.

We all agree there is NOTHING that we can do to strictly “earn” our salvation.

That’s WHY God sent His only begotten Son “in virtue of his own mercy”.



You might find some helpful verses here**




Legalism matters, or thinking we can earn our way into heaven on our own, as per Pelagianism. But to strive, to persevere, to invest one’s talents, to do works of love, to be holy, to be perfect, to refrain from sin, to obey the commandments, to love, as necessary to obtain eternal life, are all 1) clearly prescribed by Scripture, 2) a matter of the involvement of our wills, and 3) are impossible to attain without grace, without the help of God.

The main difference between the Old and New Covenant is that, in the New, complete redemption and subsequent reconciliation with God are acknowledged as necessary, and accomplished by Christ, and from there we’re to walk in newness of life with the help of grace available as we come into communion with God. This communion is essential; we either attempt to achieve righteousness on our own, presuming we may be obedient to His commands by our own efforts,* apart from Him*, or we recognize that, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” John 15:5.


Thank you all


=DeusExMachina;13476643]I knew as soon as I saw James that I knew something was up with protestantism. But then I saw Titus 3:5 and Romans 5:1, that seem to say works dont matter. Can anyone help me find scriptural passages that prove works are needed for salvation?

I will, BUT first another Lesson for you:)

Did you know that their are 2 Infallible rules for Right Understanding of the Bible?

They are:

  1. If one’s understanding does not fully align with the the RCC Teachesl It a wrong understanding

2 . Never Ever, cam. may or DOES

One bible verse, passage or teaching have the Power or Authority

To Void, invalidate or Override another

verse, passage or teaching.

Where this even the slightest possibility [IT’S NOT] it would render the entire bible worthless for teaching or learning the Faith.:thumbsup:

Now to you’re WORKS Question:

Heb.6: 10 “For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.”

Rev.2: 23 “and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart,** and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.”
1 Peter 1: 17 “Now if you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one’s works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, “

“ Matt.19: 17 “And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”

Rom.2: 13 “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”

John 3:5 “Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

Heb. 5: 9 “and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,”

James 2: 16-20

"And one of you say to them: Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; yet give them not those things that are necessary for the body, what shall it profit? So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself. [18] But some man will say: Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without works; and I will shew thee, by works, my faith. [19] Thou believest that there is one God. Thou dost well: the devils also believe and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Don’t my friend permit others to [especailly non-Catholics] to convience you that our beliefs are in error. Peter alone was given THEE Key to Heaven; not their minister:thumbsup:

God Bless you,



Others have presented the answer quite well. I just wanted to add when I was on my way back to Catholicism, I made an 8 year stop in Protestantism (Presbyterian).

Like you, once I read James 2 (especially 2:24) I knew that I either had to reject Sola Fide or Sola Scriptura. I could not, in an honest assessment, hold on to both. I rejected Sola Fide. Then I read 2 Thes 2:15; 1 Tim 3:15 and Mt 18:15-18 and knew if I held to Sola Scriptura I had to find the right Tradition and the Church.

Sola Scriptura eventually led me back to the Catholic Church…

Keep reading. Keep praying. You’re in my, and my family’s, prayers. Please pray for me as well.

God Bless, :signofcross:
Poor Knight for Christ and His Church



The account in Matthew of Jesus description of the final judgment is very interesting. Because it centers on sins of omission, the people Christ refers to as ‘goats’ aren’t condemned for the evil they’ve done, they are condemned for all the opportunities they had to do good- but didn’t. For not showing their love for Jesus in the way they treat others.
(Greatest commandment- Love God with all your heart, soul, etc.) If you love God you will treat others well. Conversely, do you truly love God if you treat His children poorly or with indifference?

Christ did not preach a passive faith. He preached an active one ‘if you love me you will obey my commandments’, ’ love your enemy as yourself’, ‘forgive others’, etc. He constantly told parables referring to the non-productive being burned or cast away.


Thank you, I will pray for you as well


As an ex-Lutheran I’ve never quite believed in Sola Fide. It is very easy to get those who believe in it, in a twist. Protestants will want you to use Holy Scripture because they can then state we are justified by faith, the difference here is ‘alone’. Usually my refutation goes something like this:

Protestant: “Scripture states we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ!”
Me: “Catholics also believe we are justified by faith in Christ”
Protestant: “But you also believe in works salvation”
Me: “Show me in Scripture where it states ‘alone’”
Protestant shows same Bible verse with a smug smile.
Me: “Again, I completely agree that we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ. Works are a natural result of the faith we have in Christ. For you, does this mean you can have faith in Jesus Christ but sit at home and not help anyone, but still have complete faith in Christ?”
Protestant: “Well… no, if you had faith you would do good things”
Me: “So you also count works?”
Protestant: “But it does not ensure our salvation, only faith does”
Me: “So if you have faith but don’t do good things, you don’t have faith and thus are not saved?”

Protestant usually starts scrambling for Bible verses and conversation swiftly changes to a new topic. James was correct when stating ‘Faith without works is dead’ (James 2:14). Why would we not want to help our neighbour?

The verses get tossed around so much they become meaningless is conversations sometimes. We all know we shouldn’t do good things ‘just to get saved’, it is that impulse, the uncontrollable urge to help when needed, that is the faith working in us to help our neighbour.



In addition to passages that other posters have already quoted, here’s one more, in which Paul tells Timothy that there is, indeed, something he can do to merit salvation, despite what the faith-aloners claim:

*Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you. *(1 Tim. 4:16)


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