How do you reconcile Faith Alone with the bible?


#1

There are many versus and passages in the bible that say that without works you will not be saved. Yet many protestants believe that works are unimportant in the salvation process. i don’t understand how you can reconcile that theology with all of the passages in the bible against it. Also, where is the personal accountability for how you lived your life in that?


#2

The answer is, you cannot. usccb.org/nab/bible/2corinthians/2corinthians5.htm#v10

also see members.cox.net/humurabi/Catholic_Apologia.pdf


#3

If faith alone is all we need, then why does Paul put love above faith?

if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

1 Cor 13:2

Faith that moves mountains? That’s some powerful faith, but if you don’t have love, you are nothing!!!

So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love

1 Cor. 13:13

If faith alone is all we need, why does Paul again say that love is greater than faith?


#4

biblechristiansociety.com John has a great debate you can download as an MP3 on this topic. You can hear both sides of the story. I personaly thin John Whooped the Dr.'s tail at the end but it is a great debate!


#5

The average person has an entirely erroneous idea of the Catholic Church’s position on the question of good works. No Catholic has ever taught that a person can be SAVED by good works. Certainly he can be JUSTIFIED by faith, but not by faith alone.

"We are justified by a faith that worketh by charity. Gal. 5:6 We believe that the human race was redeemed by the death of Christ on the cross, but that more than the acceptance of this is necessary. It is necessary for each individual to personalize this atonement of our Lord by his own co-operation, i.e., by faith, baptism, the keeping of the commandments and observing all things that Christ has taught.
Please read ALL of James chapter 2 and Herbrew 6 :10
God bless.


#6

i listened to the debate. it was pretty good. very good arguments on both sides. John was coming straight out of the bible and the other guy was coming straight from his heart. the Faith alone guy had a good point. that our actions without love are meaningless, but that if you do it out of love, not in hopes of meriting heaven then it is more meaningful.

In the end i think we all agree that what ever you choose to call it, if someone says they are faithful but have not actions to prove it, their faith is questionable.


#7

Even in protestant theology true faith leads to action. It is just that we like you are not depending on our good works done in our own power to gain salvation. We see salvation as a gift that one can not earn. And, I do not think you believe that you earn your salvation on your own merits apart from a loving God.

You may want to explain what you believe concerning “merits”


#8

I think you may be confusing

  1. Entrance into the life of faith, which is by justification by faith in Christ the Saviour

with

  1. Living out the life of faith that comes after that entrance.

  2. comes about through justification by faith and not by any works done previously, or to be done thereafter -

  3. is a life of obedience & discipleship during which Christians bring forth fruit for the Glory of Christ their Saviour; which involves doing His works, which He has prepared for them to do.

So: works play no part at all in justification, nor can they - faith can, and only faith can

But - works are a sign of Christian obedience thereafter; they are evidence of genuine faith. In Protestant teaching our works after justification are not in any way meritorious (but that is another story).

Hope that helps :slight_smile:

BTW - for Luther at least, faith includes hope and charity as elements in faith. This is extremely important, and needs to be made explicit, otherwise we shall misunderstand each other seriously. It has a lot of consequences ##


#9

But James says you are also justified by faith. So yes it does. Charity is not merely a belief but also an action. Justification and Sanctification are not one time things, at least what I believe. The main part happen at the Crucifixtion yes but we are constantly being justified and sanctified by faith and good works from grace.
The fact that works justify with faith is in the bible. Believe it!
Good works are meritous for it says in the Bible over and over that people will be judge according to their works.


#10

Works are not “unimportant” to God. Faith Alone simply says that good works are the result of our justification rather than part of the cause of it. It dosn’t say that good works are unimportant or that they can be dispensed with.

Also the slogan faith alone didn’t mean without Love. It didn’t mean “Faith all by itself without grace ot Jesus or anything.” The five solas were not ment to be seperated. the “Alone” parts each exculded something in particular as opposed to everything. “… justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone.” Is it faith alone without grace then? or grace without faith? No? Well then, “alone” can’t mean ‘completely alone’ or this slogan is just random words strung together.

Protestants do not deny that we will be judged by God. We do not deny that God will reward those who sought Him. But if we are Judged on our own works we will all fail the test and go to hell. The punishment for all sin is death. We didn’t justify ourselves. Jesus did that. It not about who can do the best works, It’s about who has the most Faith and Love for God. The person who has the most faith and love will also have the most works because God made people to naturally work to please those they Love. If you love your spouse do you purposely ignore them all your lives? Of course not! if you make a mistake will your spouse immeadiately divorce you and then consent to remarry you when you say you are sorry? No but it does cause serious problems in the relationship. Jesus and His church are portrayed as the Bride and Bridegroom. Protestants don’t see that church as an organization of high ranking officials but as the true followers of Christ. Christ is not going to divorce and remarry us over and over again every time we make a mistake and then repent of it. Consequences do not necessarily equal total rejection.

I think both Catholics and protestants agree that works and faith cannot be seperated, they go hand in hand. Faith without works is dead. The disagreement is in what came first, the chicken or the egg.


#11

:twocents:

I don’t think that I was confused that much. I believe that Faith in Christ means that you are forgiven your sins. However, if your faith bears no fruit you will be cut off.

James2:14 “see how someone is justified by works and not by faith alone?”

We are saved by Grace through Faith. Our works do not save us because they are as filthy rags compared to what christ did on the cross. But after your recieve your free gift, you will be called to action. If you do not bear your cross, die to self daily in cooperation with the spirit you will be cut off. So what you do in cooperation with the spirit is considered at judgement. So then Faith alone is not enough.

:twocents:


#12

The biggest difference I have experienced is that when I was Southern Baptist, the church service was all about fellowship and talking about Jesus. With the Catholic Mass it is all about Jesus. For that hour we are in the true presence of Jesus. Giving him praise with all of our brothers and sisters who have already gone before us. For that hour we are in fellowship with all who are in Heaven. It does not get any better then that. I praise God that by his grace alone, he led back to the Catholic Church.

God Bless!
Stephen


#13

I understand that. For I know that we cannot merit justification. However, we are not agreeing on the thing about works being meritous for in fact they are. It is said over again in the bible that people will be rendered judgement according to their works. Doing the Will of God is in fact meritous in the fact that if you do not do them how will one make it to heaven? For we know that goodworks do not cause God to save us but his mercy. This “faith alone” doctrine to some people may mean that they do not need to do good works in order to get to heaven for we are continually being justified by the Grace of God. We mus bear good fruit and then Our Father will reward us according to that work. Good works are meritous all though they are really God’s own works. For works are not the main reason God saves us.

We have come to terms on some things but the fact is in the Pauline letters says we are justified by faith. The James letter says we are justified by works and not by faith alone. It is no contradicting so it must mean that a person is justified by both faith and works. We should read the letter of James and understand. Justification is not a one time thing. We are continually justified by grace through faith, but also through works. We are not saved by good works, but we are not justified by dead faith. We are not saved by good works but we are jusified by them. This is what some Protestants mistake about the Catholic Church. She has never taught that a person is saved by just good works.


#14

Exactly. They cannot possibly bring us peace with God, because those who do them are (by the very nature of the case) not at peace with God. To suppose they could be, would be like thinking that a murderer could be at peace with those he has bereaved. he can be: but only if he has been reconciled with them first.

Matters are further muddied by the fact that Catholics & Protestants relate justification to regeneration in different ways; when they use the same words, they are expressing different meanings by them. This goes far beyond actual misunderstandings about works and faith - it is the root and cause of those misunderstandings. People don;t notice this difference, so they end up talking at cross-purposes, and that leads to wild caricatures of each other’s beliefs. ##

Also the slogan faith alone didn’t mean without Love. It didn’t mean “Faith all by itself without grace ot Jesus or anything.” The five solas were not ment to be seperated. the “Alone” parts each exculded something in particular as opposed to everything. “… justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone.” Is it faith alone without grace then? or grace without faith? No? Well then, “alone” can’t mean ‘completely alone’ or this slogan is just random words strung together.

[FONT=Arial]Excellently stated :slight_smile: “Alone” is not always an absolute term in every respect. Besides, people’s understanding of views they don’t hold can’t always be formulated in terms familiar to those who do hold such views. A political example: it makes no sense for me to to insist on being told who is the Queen of the USA, even though the UK is ruled by a Queen; because although both are sovereign states, their political sovereignty does not imply that they must have identical types of constitution. Equally, there is no UK President, for the same reason. [/FONT]

Theologically: there can be Christian approaches to thinking about the Christian life which do not use the same categories - Scholastic theology is not the same as the theology of the Fathers (as Oriental Catholics & the Orthodox are quick to point out); & just as Orthodox & OCs have different theological approaches from RCs, so do Calvinists. That’s why Catholics and Protestants, though both Christian, can’t always assume that if they decant the other’s understanding of the Christian life into their own concepts and categories, it will make as much sense to them in those categories as it does to those from whose categories it has been decanted. Indulgences (for instance) are perfectly intelligible to RCs - but Oriental Christians seem to have as much difficulty understanding what the doctrine is about as Protestants do. So restatement in categories that will help Orientals & Protestants to see what’s involved becomes necessary.

[FONT=Arial]These things are obvious to those whose beliefs they are, but they neeed to be spelt out to those who don’t believe them. The same applies to Catholic beliefs. ##[/FONT]


#15

It doesn’t follow that good works are meritorious. If they were, we would not need Christ.

The Catholic position is is that good works done in a state of grace, and from a supernatural motive, are meritorious.
That is very close to denying they can be meritorious - because the character of merit is defined by the character of the motive from which it comes. That life depends wholly on grace - which means that our very ability to merit, like our very existence, is wholly dependent on God’s undeservable favour. So grace is the atmosphere in which we move, not just a starting point to leave behind; grace is that atmosphere, & not our nature independently of Christ’s reconciling and atoning mercy.

Good works are of no lasting value if they come from unredeemed ungraced nature; & as we are members of Christ’s Body, what we call “our” good works, are far more His than ours. They are meritorious as done by Him - but their merit flows entirely from grace. How far they are meritorious as done by us, who cannot do them outside of Him, depends on the degree of our union with Him - which depends ultimately (like everything else in creation) on His sovereign good pleasure, who works as He pleases to His greater Glory - and never to ours.

IOW, the merit of Christians flows wholly from the undeservable grace of God, for the honour & glory of Jesus Christ. To Him Alone be all the Glory ! “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Thy Name give the Glory” - the Psalmist could teach Christians who rest upon their good works - and not upon the God Who graciously worksx through them - a few lessons in humility & self-forgetfulness.

Unless the notion of merit is undercut and redefined by an emphasis on its source in grace alone through Christ alone, it becomes a deadly poison which eats away at grace & props up our innate egotism. We are not entitled to any merit but that which comes from Him - if we don’t want merit on the basis of grace, but as a matter of strict right, the only thing we have a right to is damnation. Either we can have mercy we could not deserve - or we can have the wrath of God against those who prefer themselves to Him. We cannot glorify ourselves, because we do not even belong to ourselves - we bel;ong to Christ Our Sovereign Lord & Saviour, and to nobody else, ourselves least of all. If we had created ourselves & saved ourselves, then we could merit without having to be justified first. We didn’t - so we can’t. ##

Doing the Will of God is in fact meritous in the fact that if you do not do them how will one make it to heaven?

By the all-sufficient omnipotent grace of Christ , of course. To be saved by good works without Him is like pulling ourselves up by tugging at our shoe-laces - it can’t work. Since He is Sovereign over all creation, it is impossible to be saved except by a salvation of which He is totally, universally & eternally the Cause. There is nothing in salvation for which the glory is not wholly His.

That is the only possible basis for the CC’s understanding of merit - otherwise, merit becomes anti-Christian & prideful. ##

For we know that goodworks do not cause God to save us but his mercy. This “faith alone” doctrine to some people may mean that they do not need to do good works

They misunderstand “faith alone” - God has prepared good works, for us to do them. St. Paul says this.

in order to get to heaven for we are continually being justified by the Grace of God. We must bear good fruit and then Our Father will reward us according to that work. Good works are meritous all though they are really God’s own works. For works are not the main reason God saves us.

We have come to terms on some things but the fact is in the Pauline letters says we are justified by faith. The James letter says we are justified by works and not by faith alone.

They may have different perspectives.

It is no contradicting so it must mean that a person is justified by both faith and works. We should read the letter of James and understand. Justification is not a one time thing. We are continually justified by grace through faith, but also through works. We are not saved by good works, but we are not justified by dead faith. We are not saved by good works but we are jusified by them. This is what some Protestants mistake about the Catholic Church. She has never taught that a person is saved by just good works.


#16

Nonsense. Read James2

21 Was not Abraham our father** justified by works**, offering up Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou, that faith did co-operate with his works; and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled, saying: Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him to justice, and he was called the friend of God. 24 Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only? 25 And in like manner also Rahab the harlot, was not she justified by works, receiving the messengers, and sending them out another way?

It clearly says you are justified by works. Therefore that idea that works do not justifly is false.


#17

And also Jesus said that if we do not

Clothe the naked
Feed the poor
Give drink to the thirsty

We will be thrown into the everlasting fire.(The thought scare me!)

Are these not works?


#18

“And behold, one came up to him saying,“Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?” And he said to him…If you would enter life, keep the commandments” (Matt 19:16,17).

Do Protestants assume that this young man who asks Jesus what he must do to have eternal life has already been “saved”?

Obedience to the commandments (God’s will) cannot be separated from belief in God. Belief in, trust in, and obedience to God all determine whether someone’s faith is “saving faith”. To merely believe in God in one’s heart isn’t going to cut it as St. James points out. However, if one believes in their heart and obeys the commandments of God, he will see eternal life.

“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him” (John 3:36). Believing and obeying go hand in hand according to this passage.

Protestants claim that it is only after professing their faith (i.e. after they’ve been ‘saved’) that works are of any importance (i.e. they help sanctify them). My question is…Isn’t making a profession of faith a ‘good work’ that you do?


#19

Professing Faith is not what saves you, Having the Faith is. We profess it because the Bible says we should confess with out mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord. It is not the profession that saves us. God saves us by His grace through our faith. Faith is not simple belief. Works are a result of true faith.


#20

Hi,

Wow, all I have to say to that is :clapping: :dancing: :love:


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