Justified by Faith Alone cf. James 2:24


I do think redemption can (like justified and saved) depend on how one is using the term. Pope Francis, for example, was using it in the general sense. All mankind has been redeemed by Christ’s forgiveness, since He became our sacrifice as opposed to calling down the power of God and His angels to destroy us.


I know this subject is “spent” for me, and for others on this site, but I have consistently said, we will be judged by works. The disagreement, as you know, is not whether or not we will, but WHY we are judged by works… for what purpose.

I think we both agree saved and unsaved will be judged. The disagreement is tied in to this progressive justification you and others insist on embracing. The idea of being judged by God who will render to each person a personal verdict based on what He finds in His sin-review, (A review not found in the New Testament.) This so-called judgment determines whether or not this person will stay in the family or be cast out. It is the old St. Peter standing at the door judgment. The problem is, somebody made it all up.

Finding the Roman Catholic purpose for judgment is problematic. I cannot find a judgment in scripture where God will Judge us in the way you say He will, where the subject is about OUR SIN.

I find the Bema Seat Judgment where Christ is passing judgment over all of his children. The purpose of this judgment is NOT to determine where they will go, but to issue a reward for faithfulness or a relinquishment of reward for faithlessness and all the in-betweens. This judgment is called the “terror of the Lord” rightfully so, because not everyone will be found faithful.

Consider Paul’s small metaphor speaking about how we are judged in 1st. Cor. 3:12-17. He offers 6 kinds of material that when placed under the fire of testing will be consumed. You go and study it. … If anyone’s work is burned up he will suffer loss but he himself will be saved (through the test) yet so as through fire.” Couple that together with Rom. 14:10 and 2nd. Cor. 5:10 where God will judge us based on our works, not our sin. If you are standing at the Bema Seat of the Lord, it is a given that you are His and your gift of justification will not be touched.



Back to my point: The Hebrew writer reassured us that when Christ came back “He will appear a second time APART FROM SIN, for salvation.” Why? two verses up gives us the answer, “He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; BUT NOW, ONCE, at the end of the ages, he has appeared to PUT AWAY sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

The interpretation is elementary. Christ has taken all of our sin debt, in terms of its eternal penalty and absorbed it. There is no Penalty on YOUR sin. I didn’t say you do not sin, nor did I say there is no power in your sin, nor did I say there is not a consequence for your sin. I only said there is no eternal penalty on your sin. Why? Christ took it all!!!

This is what every reasonable Roman Catholic wants to hear but afraid of hearing.

Moving on: You mentioned the Great White Throne judgment in the book of Revelation. This too is a judgment NOT about one’s personal sin but about those who are eternally lost. God will judge their works to determine what kind of reward in hell they will have. If you are standing at this judgment waiting to be judged, it is a given that you are going to hell. What kind of experience you have there will be based on what God reveals about your works.

You also mentioned judgment found in the Psalms.
The Psalms 62 passage you quoted was written to Israel who were covenant people. They were “in” the family of God. Therefore, when the Psalmist wrote, “You will render to a man according to his works,”… he was referencing the only judgment found in scripture for God’s people. See Rom.14:10; 2nd. Cor. 5:10

The Proverbs 24:12 passage is also talking about people who were in the family of God. Thus the future judgment will be the judgment seat of Christ. This is a judgment of the saved. Ro. 14:10; 2nd. Cor. 5:10

The Romans 2:6-8 passage show both the saved and the lost together in Paul’s argument. Since the larger context of this chapter included the unsaved, he creates a couplet showing the result of both. I will deal with what seems to be a plea for good works as a means to eternal salvation in this verse in my next post.

The Revelation 20:12 passage (I just mentioned above) is a direct reference to the Great White Throne judgment where the lost will be judged according to their works. (as mentioned before, this judgment, chronologically is 1000 years after the coming of Christ.)

The sowing and reaping passage of Galatians 6 should be obvious that Paul is addressing the family of God not the lost, These will answer for what they have sown, at the Judgment seat of Christ. Ro. 14, 2nd. Cor. 5 The Law of the harvest applies to all of us.
The Galatians 5:19-21 passage needs special treatment. I will deal with it on other post.


I am not “afraid” of any Protestant doctrine.

Your interpretation is unfounded until 1500 years after Our Lord’s ascension. You are confusing universal redemption with individual salvation. Our Lord died and rose for every single sin of every single person that has lived and will live on this Earth, providing an infinite amount of grace for everyone to repent of their sins and receive forgiveness of their sins coming to the knowledge of the Truth. Your interpretation falls under the 16th century man-made doctrine of ‘objective justification’.

Notice: “IF we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 ESV

Did you notice the ‘if’ in that verse? That is a very vital and incumbent ‘if’ upon receiving forgiveness of sins. Jesus Christ did not forgive anyone’s sins on the cross, rather he paid for them, i.e. paying the penalty and providing sufficient graces for us to confess our sins with true contrition and receive the benefits of the Cross, namely the forgiveness of sins. As Our Lord was being nailed by his executioners on the Cross, notice, He had the ability to forgive His accusers, but instead pleaded and petitioned His Father for their forgiveness which would be futile if they were receiving the supposed objective forgiveness Protestants claim was won on the Cross.

Furthermore, if you do not repent of your sins, you will die in them: “So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin.” John 8:21

Deadly sin, left without repentance, leads to eternal damnation. Faith alone does not supersede dying in a state of deadly sin. And that, my friend, is what makes many Protestants very ‘afraid’.


This is a nice opinion, but has fallen short. If we, who are in Christ, fail to confess our sins, then He will not forgive them and will take it up at the judgment seat in terms of Loss. Secondly this person will be cut off in fellowship. But nothing more because sins penalty was quenched at the cross. iPhone


Consider the most evangelistic gospel in the Bible, st. John. Out of the many calls to believe in Christ for eternal life, none of them are accompanied by a call to repent.


What do you mean by “nothing more”? Are you implying that a baptized Christian who fails to confess his sins will only be cut off temporarily, and not eternally?


You may well think that… (House of Cards, Br. version) But no, faith doesn’t have to be in the equation, because that would restrict salvation to Catholics, or Christians as a whole. Vatican II clearly said (it’s been quoted above somewhere) that non-Christians could go to Heaven as well.


Do you honestly believe a rebellious son, standing in heaven, seeing things from God’s perspective probably for the first time, will not melt in his presence? we serve the God of restoration. Satan’s influence will not reach heaven not to mention that this rebellious son will be physically transformed. He will be weeping and gnashing his teeth because he now realizes his poor investment. But it’s too late.


Atheism = not believing in God.

Let’s flip your question. No question “belief” is a good, recommended thing. But to go beyond that and say “if you do not believe (in what? God? Jesus = a prophet? Jesus = God?) you will go to Hell” is quite a leap. Where is the justification for that? (And since we have a lot of literalists out there, let’s not quote the Bible, let’s quote church councils, encyclicals, etc.)


Interesting opinion, but this is not Catholic doctrine.
Depends on what you mean by “confess our sins”–remember it’s not necessary to confess even mortal sins to a priest. An act of perfect contrition before death does quite nicely.

Christ’s death on the cross opened the gates of Heaven; it had nothing to do with eliminating any “penalty” or “punishment.” That’s why we have Purgatory.

Of course you can believe what you want, but just don’t imply something is Catholic doctrine that is not.



Christ’s death on the Cross, along with His resurrection, has everything to do with eliminating punishment. His sacrifice eliminates and atones for eternal punishment.

"The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains. While patiently bearing sufferings and trials of all kinds and, when the day comes, serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace. He should strive by works of mercy and charity, as well as by prayer and the various practices of penance, to put off completely the “old man” and to put on the “new man.” - 1473 , CCC


Oh, dear. It is very necessary to confess mortal sins to a priest, especially right before death.


Erikaspirit16. You discussed faith, salvation, and atheism.

Rcwitness talked about the necessity of faith.

You said to rcwitness . . . .

But to go beyond that and say “if you do not believe (in what? God? Jesus = a prophet? Jesus = God?) you will go to Hell” is quite a leap. Where is the justification for that?

OK. I think I know what is going on here (correct me if I am wrong).

You think because rcwitness is affirming the need for faith, that this would negate the possibility of a death-bed conversion.

But remember. Supernatural faith is a grace.

If an atheist were to be graced with a death-bed conversion, and we know that death-bed conversations MAY be granted, but we also know faith is necessary for salvation . . . .

. . . . Then in this syllogism, we can conclude God GIFTS this atheist, on his/her deathbed with graces that include faith, hope, and charity.


HEBREWS 11:6 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.


CCC 161 Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation.42 "Since “without faith it is impossible to please [God]” and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘But he who endures to the end.’"43

Does this make sense to you?


You can’t just take a quotation from the catechism out of context to prove a point. Well, you can (and did), but it is, to be charitable, “misleading.”

Where does that #1473 quotation come from? The chapter on indulgences. Just for fun, let’s read part of #1472–“Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the “eternal punishment” of sin.” Whoops…nothing to do with the death of Jeus on the cross. “Eternal punishment” is what you get if you deliberately separate yourself from God–in other words, commit a mortal sin. Could you commit a mortal sin in 500 BC? Yes. Could you commit a mortal sin the day after Christ died on the cross? Yes. Now you are interpreting this as Christ’s death on the cross saved mankind from the “eternal punishment” of sin–but if you read the sentence in #1472 clearly it’s not talking about the separation of mankind from God that occurred because of the sin of Adam and Eve; it’s talking about “grave sin” that is committed by individuals .


Desirable, but not necessary. In my original post I qualified it: "especially right before death."
For example, you commit a mortal sin. Then you are in a serious car accident. You are still conscious, and you say / think an act of perfect contrition. Then you die. You are forgiven.

I’ll refer you to the Baltimore Catechism:

"Q. 766. When will perfect contrition obtain pardon for mortal sin without the Sacrament of Penance?

A. Perfect contrition will obtain pardon for mortal sin without the Sacrament of Penance when we cannot go to confession, but with the perfect contrition we must have the intention of going to confession as soon as possible, if we again have the opportunity."


Sorry, that’s not what I meant. I’m not thinking of death bed conversions at all. Clearly then an atheist would no longer be an atheist.

Since everyone wants to quote the catechism, great, I can do that too:

“50 By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of his works.” Note that it says “can” = is able to; it doesn’t say “must” or “will.” But certainly we can see all around us good, rational, thoughtful people who look at the world around them and come to the conclusion that there is no God. If it were not otherwise, we would not have free will.

Yes. That’s in the chapter about faith. Elsewhere it also says baptism is necessary for salvation. However…

Let’s turn to #839-848, which talks about “The Church and Non-Christians.”
#842: “All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city. . .” Note: “extend to all,” not just those who believe in God or those who are baptized.

#847, in its entirety: "This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation."

And #848: “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”

Now, does it specifically use the word “atheist”? No. But atheists who “…try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.” It certainly seems to me that if one is a sincere atheist–you could probably write a book on what that means, but for our purposes here I would suggest “either someone who has never given serious thought about religion or someone who has considered religion and a belief in God, but has sincerely rejected the idea”…a sincere atheist could certainly go to Heaven. I just had lunch with two of them yesterday, and I am confident that if I go to Heaven, they will be there. In fact, from the actions, I would say they’re more likely to end up there then I am!


You said, “it’s not necessary to confess even mortal sins to a priest.” Deliberately waiting until your deathbed to perform an act of contrition is nowhere suggested in Catholic teaching, and that in of itself is a grave sin of pride and assurance. The exceptionally rare example you used should not be anticipated to procrastinate reconciliation until your deathbed, as your comments suggested.


Please, may I ask you not to put words in my mouth, so to speak? I did not, with any remote hint of inference imply “Christ’s death on the cross saved mankind from the ‘eternal punishment’ of sin”; I said, “His sacrifice eliminates and atones for eternal punishment” - Notice, your inference suggests a past verb tense, i.e. ‘saved’, whereas mine suggests a present verb tense, i.e. ‘eliminates and atones’. And yes, Christ’s eternal and living sacrifice of His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity as Eternal High Priest to His Eternal Father absolutely eliminates and atones for the eternal punishment that every mortal sin deserves!



I think many of us, here, are speaking past each other.

Let me try to sum up what I believe.

To those who do not know the Gospel about Jesus, but by faith follow the natural laws, do what is right, even though they do not know God as Jesus has made known, can receive eternal life.

This does not imply they can deny we have a creator. It means that they do not know God in the sense of hearing and accepting the God of Abraham, David, or Moses and especially the Gospel of Christ. They are ready to receive God through what they know as creatures who have been given the ability to know right and wrong.

Some may have heard a disorder message from false teachers, and therefore do not believe in this God. Yet they would not deny there is a deity who has created them and is good, because we ought to know this through natural law.

These may be ignorant of the Revelation of God, and so may obtain eternal life through what they know by nature and creation. Yet they are not excused from what nature and creation give witness to. And that is that they are created by a deity Whom they have a duty to acknowledge and seek. They do not know Him, but have a hope and faith that He exists and has purpose and love for us.

These act as though He exists by faith! And that is not Atheism, in the common use of the term.

They may be “an Atheist” in the sense that they confess to “not know” God. And that is where I would agree with what the Church recognizes as “Invincible Ignorance”.

This is a dimness of knowing and “believing in” God, yet nevertheless, they have faith and follow their conscience. They uphold the commandments of God, even though they do not have the commandments given through Moses. And they do not know how God has given grace through His Son, Jesus.

For those who know the faith of Israel and the commandments given through Moses, and then hear the message of Christ, they are able to accept or reject the Shepherd’s voice and call! If they act with faith, they will believe and follow Jesus.

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