How exactly does grace save someone?


#21

I mentioned in the other thread that **there is a difference in meaning between “works are necessary” and “works save”. **Catholics believe works are necessary, but they are not what saves us. Grace on the other hand is both necessary and what saves us.

I’ll give an analogy in hopes that it may help convey that distinction. The key issues in this thread’s discussion are the relationship between eternal life, grace, and works. I’ll use physical life for the comparison:
*eternal life = physical life
*grace = food
*works = activities in connection with obtaining and digesting food

Food is both necessary for physical life and actually contains the nutrients that provide for life.
(Just as grace is necessary for eternal life and is the actual gift that accomplishes it).

Activities: obtaining food, putting it in our mouth, chewing, swallowing, retaining and not vomiting it out, not mixing it with poison, etc.
All these are necessary; but the activity itself (for example, swallowing) has NO capability of nourishing us. Swallowing will not ensure physical health and life; but it is necessary.
(Just as doing the things Jesus’ commanded for receiving grace and retaining it are necessary)

That is the sense of the Catholic teaching that good works are necessary.

Catholicism has never taught that our works save us. It is Protestants who say that’s what we teach - because that is how they mistakenly interpret the teaching that “good works are necessary”.

Nita


#22

By the way, I’m not sure what your definition of “works” is.
Works are all the acts we humans do - whether acts of thought, word, or deed. Except for when we’re sleeping, we are always doing “works”. Our works are either good or evil, depending on whether they are in conformity with God’s will or contrary to it… .

Choosing to accept Jesus as Saviour, confessing our belief, loving Him, being baptized, - these are works that we do - acts that we perform with the help of God’s grace.

Nita


#23

Man initiated works or works of the law do not save.

God willed works do save.

In God willed works faith is made complete.

Faith alone only saves if death comes immediately after faith.

In all other situations faith must continue through God willed works for us to be remain in a state of grace and be saved when God calls for us at death.


#24

Whatever yours or my definition of “works” may be, Eph. 2:8-9 tells us that it is “not by works, so that no one can boast.” From this, we can be certain that the faith by which we are found righteous comes only by grace; not by anything in ourselves.


#25

If I understand you, you’re saying that:

  1. Grace can be received and lost.

  2. When grace is lost, it is because of insufficient “God willed works” which are required in order to hold onto grace (remain in a state of grace).

But that places the full burden for righteousness on the sinner, who is unrighteous by definition! So your speculation about how our own bad works can result in losing grace and our “God willed works” regaining lost grace seems completely contrary to this:

**For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. **

Notice that “you have been saved” is in past tense. If salvation can be gained and lost by our good and bad deeds then the gift of faith is worthless. It will not save anyone. All of us are sinners. If we could somehow stop sinning and do what God wills every time He wills it, why would we need grace?


#26

I agree. Grace alone justifies and saves us. We receive it through faith - a faith as you described in your earlier post:

For the nature of faith (how we might recognize saving faith in a person), I think James Chapter two (verses 14-24) shows us what saving faith would look like, since James is dealing with the nature of faith in that passage.

vs 17 “So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself.”

So, would you agree that the proper definition of saving faith is one that includes/incorporates the necessity of doing good works in its meaning - otherwise it is not a saving faith?
Do you agree that such a faith is necessary for salvation?
Do you agree also that, tho necessary, it is not our faith which actually saves us? – rather, that it is grace alone (saving life of God poured into us through the Holy Spirit) that saves us?

If you agree with the above, then we believe the same things.

Perhaps the only difference that would remain is Catholics hold that having received saving grace it is possible to lose it through refusal to confess and repent of serious sins we may commit.

Nita


#27

Grace is not lost by insufficient God willed works–it is lost by the sinner MORTALLY sinning and short-circuiting the process so that no other God willed works happen.

Man can only do a God wiolled work if God is in him and initiates it.

When a man Mortaly sins God does leave that person.

The burden is not on the sinner to Choose For God–the only burden is to not choose against God.

The sinner doesn’t have a choice of + or - the sinner only has a choice of minus or Neutrality.

If a person is neutral–sanctifying grace continues and God does all of the saving.

If a person Mortaly sins and choose against God then man damns himself.

So it isn’t the either/or choice that Protestants make it out to be it is only a neutral or against God choice!

You can’t boast about doing a God willed work but if you do one it is because you are neutral and have not opposed God who does all the doing!

Any man intitated work is against the will of God.

To be against the will of God is to mortaly sin!

The only place in the whole bible that the words “Faith” and “Alone” are used together is James 2:24 where it says that wea are saved by Works and not by “Faith Alone”.

The Bible does not lie!

Since it doesn’ty there must be a difference between the works that Paul refers to such as “works of the law” and God willed works that James is talking about!

And works don’t always necessarily follow faith because we Always have freedom of will–not to choose for or against God but to do nothing and let God do all the saving or Choose against God–it’s not an either/or choice!

That is the way around the either/or false dilema and Mortal and venial sin being different as far as salvation is concerned shows why Confession is necessary and why Jesus After His sacrifice on the Cross Bereathed on the disciples and gave them the power to forgive and retain sin!

That wouldn’t be necessary if Instantateous only one time event only justification was true!


#28

I disagree here too. Grace (as it pertains to salvation) is the free gift of faith to those who were faithless–those who had rejected God. Faith in Jesus is what justifies us. Through faith we are credited with righteousness, even the righteousness of Christ. It is not possible for anyone to come to Jesus for salvation (the trusting faith that saves) without being drawn supernaturally by God. That is how saving grace operates.

vs 17 “So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself.”

So, would you agree that the proper definition of saving faith is one that includes/incorporates the necessity of doing good works in its meaning - otherwise it is not a saving faith?

As long as “the necessity of doing good works” isn’t taken to mean that our own good works are any part of the cause of what makes us saved. Instead, the good works that saved people do is the effect of their faith. In other words, faith and good works are very compatible with each other. Grace and works are not.

Do you agree that such a faith is necessary for salvation?

Yes, as long as “the necessity of doing good works” isn’t taken to mean that our own good works are any part of the cause of what makes us saved.

Do you agree also that, tho necessary, it is not our faith which actually saves us? – rather, that it is grace alone (saving life of God poured into us through the Holy Spirit) that saves us?

No. In terms of what makes us saved, it is not possible to isolate or separate grace from faith. We have been saved “by grace, through faith.”

If you agree with the above, then we believe the same things.

Perhaps the only difference that would remain is Catholics hold that having received saving grace it is possible to lose it through refusal to confess and repent of serious sins we may commit.
Nita

If, by faith, we are “in Christ” there is no force in the entire universe that can separate us from God, not even our serious sins. See Rom. 8:28-39

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


#29

I think I finally understand where our differences lie - it is in our understanding of what constitutes saving grace (called sanctifying grace in Catholicism).

If I’m understanding your above post, saving grace and faith are different names for one and the same thing. In other words, if I asked you to define “saving grace”, you would say the “gift of faith”. Saving Grace=Faith
Is this a common belief held by most Protestant faiths? If so, I just never realized that was what you/they believed - what they meant by saving grace. This is so new to me that I’ll have to give it some thought. Will probably be back with some questions if you don’t mind.

We do believe that one comes to faith only with the help of God’s grace. But we don’t consider either that “helping” grace or the faith that results from to be saving grace. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that we believe what saves us is the presence of God’s supernatural life present in our soul through the workings of the Holy Spirit. (cf John 1:33; 7:38-39; 2 Pet 1:4) It is something distinct/separate from us, that is, from what we think, say or do. (But the power of this life aids and strengthens us to live as Jesus wishes in our thoughts, words, and acts.) That is why it is particularly strange when we are accused of believing we save ourselves, since the very thing that we believe saves us (sanctifying grace) is something that is not even part of our human nature. (Catholicism believes God gives many other graces/gifts also, but distinguishes between sanctifying grace and those other graces.)

I apologize if I’ve repeated myself. Did not reread all my posts first. Have decided I will never again start posting on two separate threads that are about the same thing! :slight_smile:

Nita


#30

Whoops. Spoke too soon. Can see you don’t mean Grace=Faith.

I am still confused as to what it (this grace) actually is that you believe saves us; that is the “cause of what makes us saved”. Is it essentially a decision by God to grant you eternal life in heaven. (I know that some Protestants have that belief.)

  1. Lots of people who never wanted grace will receive it and thus become saved by grace, through faith. I was once an atheist who never wanted anything to do with God, or His grace. I was given His grace even though I hated God. It was by grace that I finally began to see that I was a lost and miserable sinner that needed Jesus.

Praise God.
I received my faith back through God’s grace and know absolutely it was total gift. Am so glad we are fellow Christians.

As I read the above paragraph I thought maybe, maybe this is what you mean.

Grace (gift of God’s help) **brought you to faith/belief **in Jesus as your God and Saviour. This faith is the cause of your being saved. Is that accurate? Or is there some other grace besides God’s help that led you to faith?

If you lost this faith, ceased to believe in Jesus, would you also lose your salvation?

Nita


#31

They’re not the same thing. Faith (the faith that saves) is a trusting belief in what Jesus has done–His suffering, death, and resurrection, that by these acts of obedience done by Jesus, we have been cleansed from our sins and we are saved. The grace by which we obtain faith is saving grace in that, without God’s supernatural intervention in causing the elect to trust in Jesus for their salvation, no one would seek refuge in Him. No one would seek Him, no one would care about Him.

Is this a common belief held by most Protestant faiths?

It was the commonly held belief of the early reformers but unfortunately, it is not quite as commonly held by Protestants nowadays. It is sad that many people have no idea how saving grace manifests itself in making sinners saved. It seems that most Protestants think that the difference between a saved person and one who is not saved, is that the saved person has used his “free will” to accept Christ. But they don’t generally give much thought to WHY their “free will” was able to make the good and right choice, while all the unsaved were not. My will was just as fallen as the rest of me. Scripture calls the unregenerate “DEAD IN SIN.” Like Saul, who was supernaturally regenerated while on the road to Damascus, I was supernaturally regenerated when I least expected it, and I was transformed from an atheist into an adopted child of God!

If so, I just never realized that was what you/they believed - what they meant by saving grace. This is so new to me that I’ll have to give it some thought. Will probably be back with some questions if you don’t mind.

I don’t mind. It is a real pleasure to discuss these things with you!

We do believe that one comes to faith only with the help of God’s grace. But we don’t consider either that “helping” grace or the faith that results from to be saving grace. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that we believe what saves us is the presence of God’s supernatural life present in our soul through the workings of the Holy Spirit. (cf John 1:33; 7:38-39; 2 Pet 1:4) It is something distinct/separate from us, that is, from what we think, say or do. (But the power of this life aids and strengthens us to live as Jesus wishes in our thoughts, words, and acts.) That is why it is particularly strange when we are accused of believing we save ourselves, since the very thing that we believe saves us (sanctifying grace) is something that is not even part of our human nature. (Catholicism believes God gives many other graces/gifts also, but distinguishes between sanctifying grace and those other graces.)

I apologize if I’ve repeated myself. Did not reread all my posts first. Have decided I will never again start posting on two separate threads that are about the same thing! :slight_smile:

Nita

You haven’t repeated yourself and I’m happy that you’re open to discuss these things with me.


#32

I think we posted at the same time!!

Have to go now tho, so will have to leave reading your response till later.

Nita


#33

Passage Ephesians 2:8-10:
8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God;
9 Not of works, that no man may glory.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works, which God hath prepared that we should walk in them.

What True Catholic goes around bragging about all the good things they do to belittle people? Do Catholics run around saying look at me I’ve done good things? I havn’t seen any Catholic do this… what I have seen are Protestants going around Braggins and belittling because they are saved be cause they have “Faith”.
Would Faith not be a Work here? Or is it ok to boast about your “Faith”?

Catholics use the term works for the commandments and charity that our Lord Jesus has left for us to do while we are on Earth until his return.

Faith is the first part of entering into a relationship with the Lord, but not the Only step. We are all called to walk in the life of our Lord we are called to care for the poor, the oppressed, ect. Not of our own Glory, but for the Glory of God.

If we simply just believe in God through Faith, but do not hold true to his commandments and the plan he has laid out for us we will go to hell. Satan has faith there is a God, but does faith save him?

My personal Favorite book/chapter is 1 Corinthians 13 to sum it up Love > Faith.

If Love is greater then Faith and Faith gives you salvation then what does Love get for you?


#34

Yes. God is sovereign in salvation, just as He is sovereign in all things. God could have given everyone the grace that saves. But God, being sovereign, is free to have mercy on those whom He has chosen for His mercy. Eph. 1:3-14 says:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.


The whole of creation is for God’s own glory!


#35

Quote:

[quote]Originally Posted by Nita
I am still confused as to what it (this grace) actually is that you believe saves us; that is the “cause of what makes us saved”. Is it essentially a decision by God to grant you eternal life in heaven. (I know that some Protestants have that belief.)

Yes. God is sovereign in salvation, just as He is sovereign in all things. God could have given everyone the grace that saves. But God, being sovereign, is free to have mercy on those whom He has chosen for His mercy.
[/quote]

Thanks. At last I understand.

The only question I still have is the one I ended my last post with.
If you were to lose your belief and trust in Jesus, that He is your Lord and Saviour, would you still be saved?

Nita


#36

I believe that the gift of faith that God gives to those whom He has chosen to save is never withdrawn. Jesus is the good shepherd who watches over His sheep. The sheep will wander away, but He always brings His sheep back to Himself. All of God’s sheep are safe. They persevere in their faith because God’s sovereign will (that they be saved) cannot be frustrated by our will. John 6:35-40

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”


So, I believe that saved people can, and do, lose their assurance of salvation, but no one who has been given saving faith ever completely and permanently loses their faith in Jesus.


#37

God’s grace is God’s life within you. And it is God’s life within us which saves us from both physical and spirit death.


#38

Then I must respectfully disagree with your assertion as well. I would also suggest that the Scriptures, taken as whole, respectfully disagree with your assertion too. :slight_smile:

For example, Colossians 3:4 says that when Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Jesus is our life. And the grace that we have by the presense of God himself living within us – as temples of the Holy Spirit – and acting through us.

As I’ve said elsewhere, we know, for example, that 1 Corinthians 12:3 says that no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 10:19-21 goes even further and says, “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

This is exactly the same kind of spiritual dynamic understood within the Christian Scriptures to be at work within the Hebrew Scriptures too.

For example, 2 Peter 1:21 says, “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, **but men spoke from God **as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

In other words, when someone is truthfully speaking truth in regards to God’s revelation, they are not speaking. God is speaking through them. Therefore, the words they speak are a manifestation of God acting though them to reveal his will.

As I pointed out before, the Scriptures are exceptionally clear about how this dynamic works.

1 Peter 1:23 say that you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

1 John 2:14 says I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

Colossians 3:16 says to let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Romans 8:9 says that you are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:16 asks. “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”

2 Corinthians 13:4 says he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him to serve you.

Galatians 2:20 says I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Ephesians 2:22 says in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

2 Timothy 1:14 says to guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

1 John 4:12 says if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1 John 4:15 says if anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.

1 John 4:16 says and so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

Colossians 1:29 says to this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 asks, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”

There is simply a tremendous amount of Scriptural writings which display this interaction between God and man, with God acting through those who believe.

In fact, this seems to be one of the most clearly stated principles in the Scriptural record-- and yet it seems to be one of the most misunderstood dynamics within most Christian theologies I’ve read.

God’s grace really is God’s life within you. And it is God’s life within us, something which Christ freely offered for all people when he died on the cross, which saves us from both physical and spirit death. :slight_smile:


#39

What always "frosts"me about these threads of being saved or receiving Grace through Faith alone is the assumption that somehow accepting faith in the first place is not an action or a work. Its like "I did not want Faith, but God forced it on me without my having done anything at all. Did you pray “The Sinners Prayer?” Was that an action or wasn’t it? Even then God did not have to give you the Grace of salvation. When He did, did you accept it with thanksgiving? Another action. It isn’t magic, God’s gift is freely given, but it requires a response. It requires a life of Faith which if you don’t live it, you reject God’s freely given gift. No ability to reject it once its given? Then God has not given you freedom, he has made you a slave that can do none other than the Master’s will. Oh, you do occasionally still sin? That is not a rejection of the Lord’s free gift? As they say,“Give me a break.”

This once saved always saved business flys both in the face of reason and Scripture. To believe it demands a narrow acceptance of only those parts of God’s Word that support that position and disregarding those parts I don’t want to accept…


#40

For all the Faith Alone people: why is it that in James 2:24 the only time in the Bible that the words “Faith” and “Alone” are used together that the scriptures tell us that “Faith Alone” does not save and “works” do save?

Is the Holy Spirit lying to us in James 2:24?

Do you believe the truth of James 2:24?


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