Help with faith alone

I know this has been debated to death but I need some help. Some people believe if you have faith alone then by God’s Grace you are saved. Others believe you have to have good works to go along with faith in order to be saved. While others say that good works is just a reflection of faith and go together.

I guess what I am trying to figure out is does there have to be good works to go with faith to be saved or not. “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17) Is one thing that comes up. Also many verses on faith alone. I also hear people say Salvation is a gift from God lest any man should boast.

Thanks for any help you can provide. I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and God bless.

Ephesians 2:8-10 grace + faith + good works

" by FAITH ALONE" does appear once in the bible. There is an important word in front of it. **NOT **James 2:24

It is only through God’s grace that we are saved. (Man is incapable of saving himself through his efforts alone.)

We receive God’s saving grace in the sacrament of Baptism, which is sought because we (or our parents if we were a baby) have faith in God/Jesus.

Having received God’s sanctifying grace into our soul’s in Baptism, we must cooperate with it by obeying Our Lord’s teaching. We can lose God’s saving grace by knowingly committing serious sin and refusing to repent (confess and try to change).

If you would like Scripture passages to go with my above post, you’ll find many at the following links:


Here’s EWTN’s apologetic’s cheat sheet.

Sola fide…Faith alone. :wink:

Every person ought to believe, he believes in something Right or Wrong. There is a type of person who say he doesn’t believe. He says that I don’t believe there is God, He says I’m an atheist or the guy say I’m an agnostic. Now each and everyone according to religion weather any religion… you ought to believe. If you don’t believe than you are a non believer, you are against the laws and the commandments of God.

So as such you will perish that person who says there is no God he is gonna perish, One who says I don’t care weather there is or isn’t he will perish or you have wrong concept of God also you will be punished. According to your understanding your capacities your opportunities.

There is a type of person who might not have heard the name Jesus. Will God questioned him? No, is unjust, unfair. The lunatic or child will God questioned him why didn’t you believe my son Jesus? NO… Why didn’t you believe in Muhammad? NO…

You see each person will be judged according to his understanding, according to his opportunity. He’s know how and the message having reached him or her, so as soon as the message is delivered to you and you can see the truth but for some worldly reasons maybe to please the family, please my people, please this, please that you say I will not accept the truth in other word the person has already been judged in that case.

There is no hope for such a person but there is a type of person who might be ignorant and have never had an opportunity like a south sea islander let say he never heard about Jesus, he didn’t hear about Muhammad, he didn’t hear about anything but he was leading a life according to his standards. God will judge him according to his standards not according to the Bible not according to the Quran.

So every person will be judges according to his understanding his standards and his opportunities.

Exactly! If we receive valid Christian Baptism, we are saved. The ONLY thing that can change that is mortal sin. If we avoid (or confess) all mortal sin, we are guaranteed salvation. We have no moral obligation to work in a soup kitchen or any such thing as a condition of salvation (which is the type of “work” that most people think of).

This is the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

Best summary I’ve seen here :thumbsup:

Saved by faith? Saved by works? Or a combination? Let’s put it this way: Our Lord, by His suffering, death and resurrection has won for us eternal life if we should accept this gift. But when we face Him as our Judge, as all of us will, “saved” or not, we will be judged on our works.

******** * *And I saw the dead, great and small, standing in the presence of the throne, and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged by those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and hell gave up their dead that were in them; and they were judged every one according to their works. **

An analogy: Our Lord, by His death, says to us, “I love you. Do you love me?” By accepting Jesus as our Savior, we reply, “Yes, I love you”. To which Our Lord says, “Prove it!”. Our works matter very, very much. Don’t let the “faith alone” crowd fool you. Our works will determine whether we will be among the sheep on the right, or the goats on the left. ** *** **

*********** And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats:

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.
Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.
Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee?

And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.

Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me.

Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee?

Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me. And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting. **

Faith is only the beginning-the entranceway-to justification. It must lead on to love, which produces works by its nature, or else it’s worthless, dead.

“Faith Alone” was started by Martin Luther when he ADDED the German word “allein” (alone),
and it’s not that I don’t believe in “Faith Alone,” but sometimes it is used the wrong way, like I
can save myself just by having faith in Jesus, no Church, no religion, just me and God, but it’s
not what God has in mind. God doesn’t want you to grow alone all by yourself but rather in his
Garden, Vineyard, (whatever metaphor you want to use). Jesus Christ established his Church,
which is an “assembly,” one community, one body in Christ Jesus. In having Faith we receive
Grace. And as far as works, Paul tells the Philippians that it is God working in you to will and
to do his good pleasures. Worship is also called for, respect for sacred things, etc.

When you have the correct Faith, then everything else falls into place.

James 4:17- Whoever knows what is right to do and does not do it, to him it is a sin.

We have an obligation to accept God’s grace, through faith, so that He might move us to perform beneficial good works.

May I offer James Akin’s approach?

One will note, in the definitions of the virtues offered above, the similarity between hope and the way Protestants normally define faith; that is, as an unconditional placing our trust in Christs promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. The definition Protestants normally give to faith is the definition Catholics use for hope.

However, the Protestant idea of faith by no means excludes what Catholics refer to as faith, since every Evangelical would (or should) say that a person with saving faith will believe whatever God says because God is absolutely truthful and incapable of making an error. Thus the Protestant concept of faith normally includes both the Catholic concept of faith and the Catholic concept of hope.

Thus if a Protestant further specifies that saving faith is a faith which works by charity then the two soteriological slogans become equivalents. The reason is that a faith which works by charity is a faith which produces acts of love. But a faith which produces acts of love is a faith which includes the virtue of charity, the virtue of charity is the thing that enables us to perform acts of supernatural love in the first place. So a Protestant who says saving faith is a faith which works by charity, as per Galatians 5:6, is saying the same thing as a Catholic when a Catholic says that we are saved by faith, hope, and charity.

We may put the relationship between the two concepts as follows:

Protestant idea of faith = Catholic idea of faith + Catholic idea of hope + Catholic idea of charity

The three theological virtues of Catholic theology are thus summed up in the (good) Protestants idea of the virtue of faith. And the Protestant slogan salvation by faith alone becomes the Catholic slogan salvation by faith, hope, and charity (alone).

and the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of justification?

15.In faith we together hold the conviction that justification is the work of the triune God. The Father sent his Son into the world to save sinners. The foundation and presupposition of justification is the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ. Justification thus means that Christ himself is our righteousness, in which we share through the Holy Spirit in accord with the will of the Father. Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works.[11]

16.All people are called by God to salvation in Christ. Through Christ alone are we justified, when we receive this salvation in faith. Faith is itself God’s gift through the Holy Spirit who works through word and sacrament in the community of believers and who, at the same time, leads believers into that renewal of life which God will bring to completion in eternal life.

17.We also share the conviction that the message of justification directs us in a special way towards the heart of the New Testament witness to God’s saving action in Christ: it tells us that as sinners our new life is solely due to the forgiving and renewing mercy that God imparts as a gift and we receive in faith, and never can merit in any way.


Except for the misrepresentation of Luther in the first sentence, I can give a :thumbsup: to the rest.


When asked to address why his translation had “alone” in Romans 3:28 when the manuscripts he was using didn’t, Luther said:

If your papist wishes to make a great fuss about the word sola (alone), say this to him: “Dr. Martin Luther will have it so, and he says that a papist and a donkey are the same thing.” Sic volo, sic iubeo, sit pro ratione voluntas. For we are not going to be students and disciples of the papists. Rather, we will become their teachers and judges. For once, we also are going to be proud and brag, with these blockheads; and just as Paul brags against his mad raving saints, I will brag against these donkeys of mine! Are they doctors? So am I. Are they scholars? So am I. Are they preachers? So am I. Are they theologians? So am I. Are they debaters? So am I. Are they philosophers? So am I. Are they logicians? So am I. Do they lecture? So do I. Do they write books? So do I.

Translated from “Ein sendbrief D. M. Luthers. Von Dolmetzschen und Fürbit der heiligenn” in Dr. Martin Luthers Werke, (Weimar: Hermann Boehlaus Nachfolger, 1909), Band 30, Teil II, pp. 632-646.
Revised and annotated by Michael D. Marlowe, June 2003.

Must give a then, because the word “alone” was not present in the original
Greek, so Luther *added *it. It’s an irrefutable fact (but oh dear, I forgot to mention
where the word “allein” was added :blushing:: Romans 3:28).

Give the full quote, James. Don’t forget the background context, that a Catholic translator was using Luther’s and claiming it for his own. Luther was angry, and as was typical, he resorted to sarcasm and hyperbole, which you present here.

“We have seen that scribbler from Dresden play the master to my New Testament. I will not mention his name again in my books, as he has his Judge now, and is already well-known. He admits that my German is sweet and good. He saw that he could not improve upon it. Yet, eager to dishonor it, he took my New Testament nearly word for word as it was written, and removed my prefaces and notes, replaced them with his own, and thus published my New Testament under his name!”

Luther follows with the real reason:

“I know very well that in Romans 3 the word solum is not in the Greek or Latin text — the papists did not have to teach me that. It is fact that the letters s-o-l-a are not there. And these blockheads stare at them like cows at a new gate, while at the same time they do not recognize that it conveys the sense of the text – if the translation is to be clear and vigorous [klar und gewaltiglich], it belongs there. I wanted to speak German, not Latin or Greek, since it was German I had set about to speak in the translation. But it is the nature of our language that in speaking about two things, one which is affirmed, the other denied, we use the word allein [only] along with the word nicht [not] or kein [no]. For example, we say “the farmer brings allein grain and kein money”; or “No, I really have nicht money, but allein grain”; I have allein eaten and nicht yet drunk"; “Did you write it allein and nicht read it over?” There are countless cases like this in daily usage.

In all these phrases, this is a German usage, even though it is not the Latin or
Greek usage. It is the nature of the German language to add allein in order that
nicht or kein may be clearer and more complete. To be sure, I can also say, “The
farmer brings grain and kein money,” but the words “kein money” do not sound as
full and clear as if I were to say, “the farmer brings allein grain and kein money.”
Here the word allein helps the word kein so much that it becomes a completely
clear German expression. We do not have to ask the literal Latin how we are to
speak German, as these donkeys do. Rather we must ask the mother in the home,
the children on the street, the common man in the marketplace. We must be guided
by their language, by the way they speak, and do our translating accordingly. Then
they will understand it and recognize that we are speaking German to them. ”

That is the reason. It has to do with translation into German. In the English, “alone” is not there, because it is not necessary in the nature of English as it is in German.


Then you must insist that every word, phrase, paragraph, even punctuation that is not in the Latin or Greek but is in the German was :eek: added. The simple fact is that words and usage do not always line up from one language to another.


True, but it was clearly disapproved by the Church, which means it was a no-no. It doesn’t
matter what Luther’s "real reason"s were, “apart from works” was enough of a clarification,
he did not need to AND should not have added “allein,” but no-o-o, he just had to disturb a
perfectly balanced formula in the Bible, and in turn, Christianity itself.

Why do you think there’s so much trouble with the King James Version? It added
words that were not only unnecessary, but brought on radical changes to the text.

And there’s the point. His writing does not disturb the balance. It clarifies it for the 16th century German.

It may have been a “no-no” for a member of the Catholic Church, but Luther was no longer one. From the Open Letter:

For another example, the traitor Judas says in Matthew 26: Ut quid perditio haec?
and in Mark 14, Ut quid perditio iste unguenti facta est? According to these
literalist donkeys I would have to translate it, “Warumb ist dise verlierung der
salben geschehen?” [Why has this loss of ointment occurred?] But what kind of
German is this? What German says “loss of the ointment occurred”? And if he
understands it at all, he would think that the ointment is lost and must be looked for
and found again, though even that is obscure and uncertain enough. Now if that is
good German why do they not come out and make us a fine, new German
Testament and let Luther’s Testament alone?
I think that would really bring out
their talents. But a German would say Ut quid, etc., this way: “Was sol doch
solcher unrat?” [What is the reason for this waste?] or “Why this extravagance?”
Perhaps even, “it is a shame about the ointment.” That is good German, in which
one can understand that Magdalene had wasted the ointment she poured out and
had been wasteful. That was what Judas meant, because he thought he could have
used it better.

If you don’t like his Translation, leave it alone, and don’t misrepresent his reasons.


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