Luther said we are saved by grace?

im in a world history class and were at the reformation period and my teacher insists that the luther taught justification through grace that calvin taught justification through faith alone and that the Catholic Church taught justification through the Church. I thought luther taught faith alone didnt he? my teachers says calvin did. Also i told him that the Catholic Church taught Faith and Works but he said only after the Counter Reformation they did sorta. Please help!!!

Jesus Loves His Church

I’m not too familiar with the Reformation, but I believe that Luther did say that but he had a different concept of grace than the one that is taught by the Church.

Luther taught justification through “grace”, but grace is something we cannot do anything to earn and one must believe in Jesus Christ to receive grace. Calvin taught that only chosen people are justified, so there is nothing whatsoever anyone can do about whether they are saved or not.

I’m in RCIA so I’m way far away from being an apologist but my understanding so far is that through baptism, all previous sins are washed away. After that, we can’t just jollily stroll through this life, confident in our salvation unless we continue to do our best to avoid sin. This is different from trying to be justified through works… it’s allowing our works to match our faith… because otherwise, faith without works is dead. (Someone told me this is in James and that Martin Luther despised this idea so much he wanted to remove the book of James from the Bible, but in the end, he did not, thankfully!)

I hope I got that right! (Please help correct and tweak what I might misunderstand) Thanks.

Ya that sounds right. Thanks for the clear up.

This explains grace, sanctification, justification and their relationship as well as the
teaching according to the CC and Fundamentalists.

I believe Luther had a different view on the effect of baptism. Didn’t he think that the soul was wrapped in some sort of blanket of goodness and that the soul remained in sin? Sort of like a spiritual M&M, sugar coated with chocalate inside, or a wrapping of cleanness with sin still inside. That made the person still evil although justified by goodness with which it was wrapped.

The catholic has quite a different view on the effect of baptism. The soul receives the light and life of Jesus which then eliminates sin all together. And now the person is an adopted child of God, beautiful to God, in which the Father can now say “this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” The person is holy as God is holy, because of the divine life it received.

The differences above are quite great.

In the Catholic view, the person is holy and now performs works which are pleasing and acceptable to the Father from a son who offers them to Him. And all things are pleasing to the Father because he sees the divine life of Christ beating in this person. Now works do sanctify and do merit a growth in sanctifying grace(divine life) in the soul. These works
now contribute to the growth in holiness of the person, that is, more like Christ.

In the Luthern view, the person is not holy because of sin still in the soul, even tho justified by the white blanket of God. Therefore every work is actually done in sin, tho the person is justified to go to heaven. Now works are of little, if any, value. The doctrine of faith only masks the need for good works which the person is not qualified to do because of the state of sin. So therefore, works get very little of their actual importance.

In true communion let us gather, may all divisions cease,
and in their place be Christ the Lord, Our risen Prince of Peace. (hymn)

I’ve been thinking about this since yesterday and I read the tract that was linked from this thread. It was helpful, but I’m still a little haunted by how Matthewmatt posted that he was told Catholics are justified “through the Church.”

Isn’t this kind of right, actually? I learned in RCIA class that the new covenant of Christ left us with the signs of baptism and communion. I learned in Baptist sunday school that the new covenant of Christ left us with eternal life because we believed in Him. (There is a Bible verse that actually says that, word for word).

If the signs Jesus left are these two sacraments (and confession too, I guess?) than justification IS through the Church because without the Church you don’t get the sacraments that are the signs of the new covenant.

Did Jesus really want this? Please help me understand.

Um im not 100% sure but that sounds like an interesting idea. But the Doctrine of the Catholic Church is Faith and Works save. So being a part of the Church is part of having a True Faith and many Works can be done within the Church. But you dont need to be physically in the Church. Lets say your on a stranded island in the middle of the ocean and there is no Church then you could still be saved with Faith and Works. The Church though helps us to live by Faith and Works and Jesus did want to help us by leaving the Church. So that is why the Church plays such a large role in Justification. *Christ * knew we were physical beings with a Spirit. So He leaves a physical Church with His Spiritual Help. The Church even teaches that their is no salvation outside the Church which means you must be in Christ’s True Church to be saved because than in a sense you wouldnt have a complete Faith in Jesus becuase you would ignore His Church that He founded but people through ignorance of the Truth have a non physical memebership in the Church and can still be saved granted they have Faith and Works to the best of their ability and follow the natrual law in their hearts.
Please if i said something wrong please correct me!!!

Ya krackatoa im pretty sure Salvation does not directly come from the Church (But you must be a part of Christ’s True Church) because you can be saved even if your not physically in the Church but we will be judged on our Faith and Works which to get the graces we need to have strong Faith and Works and the support we need to do good we should receive the * Sacraments *which are Christ’s way of leaving us a physical link to Him and His Grace.

This is correct- Lutherism and Calvinism see the sin being removed as part of a legal/judicial process (our punishment is transferred to Christ and we are viewed by God as sinless because of this) whereas the RCC says that sin is eliminated all together through the various Graces given to us.

Luther most certainly did teach that justification was by faith alone.

He even inserts the work alone into his translation of the German Bible.

the difference between that and Catholic theology goes back to Augustine, from whom Luther adapted his theology. Calvin in in this sense similar, he picked up justification by faith alone from Luther and formed it from the transcendant being of God, thus his emphasis (also in Augustine) on predestination. God’s preordained grace.

The church distributed the means of grace, in this sense one does have to be inside the church to be saved, Christ commanded baptism.

The Reformers always acknowledged that the faith that saves is never alone, it is accompanyied by sanctifying grace and baptism as the seal of God’s covenantal promise.

The Church is necessary for us to be in just as Noah was saved by being in the Ark which is a symbol of the church. Without the Ark we perish. How do we board the Ark? Thru
baptism which makes us a part of the body of Christ, or the image of the vine and branches.

Just as Circumcision in the Old made the person a part of the chosen people of God,
so the new Circumcision of the New which is baptism, makes us part of the chosen people of God. In both instances, the people are led into the promised land, Canan and Paradise. Each has its own covenant, one thru Moses, and one thru Jesus the new moses. Apart from being incorporated into this holy group, there is no entrance to the promise land.

Faith and good works

Take the case, my brothers of someone who has never done a single good act but claims that he has faith. Will that faith save him? If one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on, and one of you says to them, ‘I wish you well; keep yourself warm and eat plenty’, without giving them these bare necessities of llife, then what good is that?: if good works do not go with it, it is quite dead.

This is the way to talk to people of that kind:'You say you have faith and I have good deeds; I will prove to you that I have faith by showing you my good deeds–now you prove to me that you have faith without any good deeds to show.

You believe in one God–that is creditable enough, but the demons have the same belief, and they tremble with fear. Do realise, you senseless man, that faith without works is useless. You surely know that Abraham our Father was justified by his deed, because he offered Isaac on the altar? There you see it; faith and good deeds were working together; his faith became perfect by what he did This is what scripture really means when it says: Abraham put his faith in God, and this was counted as making him justified; and that is why he was called the friend of God
You see now that it is by doing something good, and not only by believing, that a man is justified." [James 2: 14-24]

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence,** work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you,** both to will and to work for his good pleasure.Philippians 2:12-13

Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. **And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.Galatians 6:7-9

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