Most Protestants believe in SOLA FIDE but what about........???

My husband and I decided to do an Alpha Course because we cannot know enough about our Christian Faith and it is good to reflect and exchange our thoughts with others and learn through them as we do on these forums.

We attend different groups. Last night we were given a blank cheque from Jesus Christ and we were told to fill our names in the blank. This morning as we awoke my husband (ex atheist) said. We owe a HUGE debt to Jesus. We owe Him so much - everything in fact - how can people say that he has paid for our sins and all we need for our salvation is to believe that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour. We need to show Jesus our gratitude through our obediance and that includes our LOVE for Him and for our neighbour. Our whole lives must be dedicated to “repaying” this debt through our behaviour, through good works. If our Faith is true we need to use the Grace we are given through the Sacraments to follow the precepts of our Lord.

I knew a Protestant who used to talk about his Faith all the time and he was fornicating and committing adultary openly! Jesus paid for his sins in advance so he had nothing to worry about!

Surely an intelligent person cannot embrace SOLA FIDE!!!


I knew a Protestant who used to talk about his Faith all the time and he was fornicating and committing adultary openly! Jesus paid for his sins in advance so he had nothing to worry about!

Most of my Protestant friends would tell you this is an indication they were never saved in the first place or else there is something fundamentally wrong with this individual’s beliefs. What would we say about a Catholic who behaved the same way and talked about his faith all the time? I think most people can recognize that there is a disconnect, a defect in a person who speaks one way and lives another. That, I don’t think, truly reflects on the faith but rather on the individual, though that kind of behavior does make the faith appear somewhat worthless to others on the outside looking in. Perhaps that is why the way we should live our lives as a true reflection of the faith is stressed so often in the NT.

I knew a Protestant who used to talk about his Faith all the time and he was fornicating and committing adultary openly!

I have often reflected that when Christ said ‘let your yes mean yes and your no mean no’ (Mt 5:37) He was saying - don’t just say you mean it with your words: say you mean it with your actions too.


Perhaps the example I gave did not illustrate what I wanted to say.

SOLA FIDE makes no sense. There are many Protestants who believe that all you need is faith and your actions/good works are irrelevant. In fact they are always attacking us for claiming that we believe in good works whereas we say that our good works are necessary and are as a result of Grace. The person to whom I was referring believed in SOLA FIDE - he was saved, Jesus paid for his sins so he could go ahead because no matter what he was guaranteed his place in Heaven!

I was reflecting on our debt to Jesus for the great gift of his life. We should contemplate that daily. That God should have become man to die for us on the Cross and his suffering and sacrifice is awsome. Eternal life is something we cannot conceive, we cannot imagine.

We have a duty to eleviate the suffering of others - we have a duty to feed the hungry (Mat 25-14-30) etc. To say that all that is required is to believe that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour is being like those Jesus was referring to when he said "Not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who “does the will of my father in Heaven” (Mt 7:21).

The more I reflect on Jesus and his teachings the more I realise how important is the role of suffering. Suffering helps us to see things clearly. Without suffering we forget Jesus.

We have a debt to Jesus.


SOLA FIDE makes no sense. There are many Protestants who believe that all you need is faith and your actions/good works are irrelevant. In fact they are always attacking us for claiming that we believe in good works whereas we say that our good works are necessary and are as a result of Grace. The person to whom I was referring believed in SOLA FIDE - he was saved, Jesus paid for his sins so he could go ahead because no matter what he was guaranteed his place in Heaven!

Actually, to me, it does make sense; I just choose not to believe in it. By sense, here I am not speaking to the validity of it, but I mean sense in a systematic way. In other words, I can understand, at least in a limited way, why many Protestants believe as they do, even though I don’t believe what they do.

Not to defend Sole Fide, which I believe to be false, but I don’t think it’s as simple as saying all you need is faith and good works are irrelevant. Most of the Protestants I speak with would make a distinction here to say good works are irrelevant for salvation, but they are not irrelevant in terms of living a Christian life on the model given us, even commanded of us, by Jesus. This is something that took me a LONG time to grasp, and I still don’t claim to grasp it in an entirely cogent way. Works seem to me to be important in some way to Protestants or else why would they put such effort into evangelizing, teaching, studying, and social works?

The real mystery for me, speaking as a Catholic, is that we are supposed to know each other (Christians) by our fruits. What then am I supposed to make of it when I see good fruits coming from what is supposed to be the false tree? Some of my Protestant friends are some of the finest, most decent, charitable people I know. While I realize fully that earthly measurements like my assessment aren’t what counts to God in terms of justice and mercy, it is still a struggle for me to figure out what to make of them. All I think I can do is respect them for who they are and acknowledge God gave us all free wills to make our own choices. It’s His job to make 'em, my job to love 'em.

The problem is that you don’t understand “sola fide.” Sola fide means simply that we are *justified *by faith alone. That then raises the question: what is the role of good works? And different Protestants would give different answers to that (aside from the fact that some don’t believe in sola fide at all). You have apparently encountered what are called “antinomian” Protestants–in my experience Southern Baptists in particular often tend that way, though by no means all Southern Baptists are antinomians. They would say that yes, a believer has free will to sin and could conceivably sin persistently and unrepentantly and still go to heaven.

The more classical Protestant position (also held by many Southern Baptists, so I don’t want to overgeneralize about them) is the Reformed view. In this view we are justified by faith alone, but we are *sanctified *by good works. Both justification and sanctification are the work of God’s sovereign grace. If God justifies us through faith, we can be confident that He is also about the job of sanctifying us through good works, and that He will not stop doing this job!

What this means in practice (a position held by many Protestants who are not Reformed) is that (as others have pointed out) if you have true faith you *will *show that faith by your works. So while works are unnecessary for *justification, *they will always be present in the life of a true believer.

If you think this is complicated, try explaining transubstantiation sometime!


What do you mean exactly by we are justified by faith and sanctified by works?

Not to mention good fruits coming from pagan, atheist, budhist, muslim trees?

This fact disproves their claim that we are saved by faith alone but that once we are saved then we are able to do good works.

Just goes to show that the theology of salvation is a bit more involved than this simplistic formulation.

Dear Contarini -

In response to your first question I await first your response to Benedictus.

Insofar as transsubstatiation is concerned I refer you to John 6. It is as Jesus said. Do we understand it? Not really. It is a mystery and we acknowledge that we need Faith through our belief and trust in Jesus Christ. It is recommended that you read John 6 slowly and prayerfully.

I notice you say you are episcopalian. I know a number of Anglicans who also believe in transsubstantiation. But then there are different levels of Anglicanism are there not?


That’s not what sola fide is about:

From the Joint Declaration on Justification signed 10 years ago this month by the Lutheran and Catholic Churches -

On justification:

25.We confess together that sinners are justified by faith in the saving action of God in Christ. By the action of the Holy Spirit in baptism, they are granted the gift of salvation, which lays the basis for the whole Christian life. They place their trust in God’s gracious promise by justifying faith, which includes hope in God and love for him. Such a faith is active in love and thus the Christian cannot and should not remain without works. But whatever in the justified precedes or follows the free gift of faith is neither the basis of justification nor merits it.

On sanctification and good works:

37.We confess together that good works - a Christian life lived in faith, hope and love - follow justification and are its fruits. When the justified live in Christ and act in the grace they receive, they bring forth, in biblical terms, good fruit. Since Christians struggle against sin their entire lives, this consequence of justification is also for them an obligation they must fulfill. Thus both Jesus and the apostolic Scriptures admonish Christians to bring forth the works of love.

Thank you for that clarification. However, this is a declartion signed just ten years ago. Is this is reshaping of Lutheran (Protestant) theology after 400 years or is this essentially what Luther held to from the beginning?

From Luther’s Preface to to the Book of Romans:

   Instead, faith is God's work in us, that changes us and gives 
   new birth from God. (John 1:13). It kills the Old Adam and makes us
   completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits,
   our thoughts and all our powers. It brings the Holy Spirit with
   it. Yes, it is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this
   faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn't
   stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone
   asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without
   ceasing.  Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an

I think just because someone is in sin does not nullify sola fide. All Christians sin in this lifetime. And not all who profess Christ are born from above. Jesus clearly teaches that in the church we have a mix of sheep and goats. James also confirms that some who profess faith actually has a dead demonic faith which is not from God. Sola Fide is a doctrine based on the gospel in regards to the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Progressive obedience and personal holiness, and our love for God are evidences of possessing true saving faith. I think you have brought the debate of the truth of sola fide to an emotional non-doctrinal way which is unfair to both Protestants and Catholics alike. If you owe everything to Jesus Christ in what He has done in our behalf, you do need to defend the truth of the gospel of grace which the doctrine of faith alone is at the center of justification by faith alone. Please read both of my signatures on the subject which is by the Pope and a college Professor of this very topic. I can assure you that your Protestant friend do not represent historic Protestants in what he stated. The Apostle Paul addresses your friend’s perspective in the book of Romans and Galatians too.

I don’t think you have a good understanding in what the Protesant Reformers believed in regards to sola fide. We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies a sinner is not alone from a progressive love and affection of God and fellow man, and walking in the works that God prepared for him to do. I think Catholics need to understand that there is a difference between true saving faith from the Spirit (John 3) which justifies the sinner which results in transformation, and a dead faith which is demonic and from the flesh of man (James 2)

Ephesians 2:8-10

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Anthony N. S. Lane from Justification by Faith in Catholic-Protestant Dialogue: An Evangelical Assessment

Justification refers to my status; sanctification to my state.

Justification is about God’s attitude to me changing; sanctification is about God changing me.

Justification is about how God looks on me; sanctification is about what he does in me.

Justification is about Christ dying for my sins on the cross; sanctification is about Christ at work in me by the Holy Spirit changing my life.

The Reformers were careful to distinguish the two—but not to separate them One cannot have the one without the other—as with the heat and light of the sun. The sun gives out heat and light. These two cannot be separated. When the sun shines there is both heat and light; yet they are distinct and not to be confused. We are not warmed by the sun’s light nor illuminated by its heat. To use a modern illustration, justification and sanctification are like the two legs of a pair of trousers, not like socks which may well become separated and, in the author’s experience, too often do become separated.

Are good works by non-Christians pleasing to God according to Scripture?

ll of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away - Isaiah 64:6

Life in the Spirit

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. - Rom 8

Really? Please provide the verse(s) where James states that: “…some who profess faith actually has a dead demonic faith which is not from God”?

Fai****th Without Works Is Dead

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. - James

I Never Knew You

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them,** ‘I never knew you**; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ - Jesus

Nowhere in these verses does James equate someone having faith without works with “…a dead demonic faith which is not from God”. He is simply stating the obvious – that even demons have faith and shudder. (I.e. that faith alone will not save you.) :rolleyes:

I think you need to consider all of Scripture to see that many who profess Jesus Christ are not actually united to Him, or still remain in the flesh (dead in sins and treaspasses). Do you understand what Jesus meant that the church is a mix or wheat and tares, and sheep and goats? The goats and tares and the bastards in the church (Hebrews 12) have a demonic dead faith until they become sheeps by the will and grace of God. To understand James 2 correctly, you have to understand it in context of the entire Scirptures. There is a remnant chosen by grace throughout redemptive history. Not all who belonged to the OT Church or NT Church are actually converted and in Christ. Do you see saving faith to be a gift from God, or do you see saving faith coming from self? Here is a good challenge for you to grow in faith: does God make you a sheep or do you make yourself into a sheep? Please answer this within the context of John chapter 3 and the words of Jesus Christ.

Dear 2nd Adam -

Thank you for your response. I think it deserves reflection which I will do tomorrow when I have the time. You have obviously given it much thought and I will do likewise.


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