On Works in salvation


#1

Hello everyone. I am discussing the relations of good works with faith in salvation with a gentleman on another forum. I was hoping, if it isn’t to much of a bother, if ya’ll could look at the thread and give me some suggestions on what to say? Thanks and God bless.

cbworldview.cesbooks.co.nz/forum/viewtopic.php?t=39


#2

I think it’s useful to understand that non-Catholic Christians,
in general, would not accept Canon 24 of the VI Session
of the Council of Trent:

ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/TRENT6.HTM#2

As far as I can determine, the general Protestant
view seems to be:

-our salvation was a one-time event
-following the commands of Christ “works”]
evinces the faith held, but in no way
aids our salvation [no “merit” is “accrued"
on the part of the one following Christ’s commands]
-to say that any work of ours somehow
"increases” our justification or salvation
is to detract from the salvific act of Jesus
and is contrary to the theology of St. Paul

These beliefs - as seen in the link to Canon 24, Session VI
of Trent, given above - were rejected by the CC.

There is a verse in the letter of St. James that
refers to “and Abraham was justified” in the
sight of God etc. that I’ve seen referenced, by
Catholics, in terms of the justification/salvation
conversation.

Luther called the letter of James "an episle of straw"
and removed same from the Canon.

[My own view is that the CC reads scripture aright,
in terms of the Real Presence, and the Protestant
world reads St. Paul aright, with regard to both
justification and salvation, in terms of “works.”]

I’ll see if I can find the chapter and verse in the
epistle of James, that speaks of Abraham being
"justified" by a “work.”


Here’s the reference for St. James and works:

Letter of James 2:21-24

usccb.org/nab/bible/james/james2.htm

reen12


#3

Thanks Reen12. What would I say about the scriptures that he is using? And What should I say about what he is saying about mine? Sorry, I know this is going to be legthy but, I really want to get to this gentleman. Thanks and God Bless.

Ohh. Could everyone throw up some prayers that this gentleman is touched.


#4

In Matthew 25:31ff and Romans 2:5-8, we see that God will judge us by what we’ve done. Ask them if they have any other Bible verse which shows what God will use as basis for His Judgment.


#5

quote: Milliardo

[font=Comic Sans MS]In Matthew 25:31ff and Romans 2:5-8, we see that God will judge us by what we’ve done. Ask them if they have any other Bible verse which shows what God will use as basis for His Judgment.

My understanding is that many Protestants do accept
that God will judge them - based on whether or not
they have followed Christ’s commands. [not all
Protestants are OSAS!]

To me, “judgement” is not the critical issue. The
issue, I think, is whether or not one thinks that
following His commands constitutes “works” in
the following sense:

-my works “increase” my ‘justification’ [Trent, Canon 24,
Session VI]:

ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/TRENT6.HTM#2

-my works in no wise avail toward either my
justification or salvation. Salvation is from
Christ alone. However: If I fail to follow His
commands, I may lose my salvation, offered to
me by God - through Christ’s salvific act.
[salvation by grace, through faith. *sola gratia, sola fides.]

reen12
[/font]


#6

[quote=reen12]My understanding is that many Protestants do accept
that God will judge them
[/quote]

[font=comic sans ms]I don’t doubt at all that Protestants are aware we will all be judged; however, the point of contention is, what will God judge us by? Based on my various talks with Protestants online, it is surprising that they are not aware, or refuse to be aware, of the passages concerning Judgment.
[/font]


#7

Hi, Milliardo

quote: Milliardo

[font=Comic Sans MS]…it is surprising that they are not aware, or refuse to be aware, of the passages concerning Judgment.

[/font]
I must be missing the point, I think.

What would Christ judge us by, other than whether
or no we followed His commands?

Would you please give me an example, from scripture,
that a Catholic would cite - in terms of “passages concerning Judgment” -
that you think that others are either:
-not aware of
or
-refuse to be aware of?

Many thanks,

reen12


#8

[quote=reen12]What would Christ judge us by, other than whether
or no we followed His commands?
[/quote]

[font=comic sans ms]Correct; but tell me then, would this not in essence then mean if we follow His commands, that we’ve worked, or made a deed?[/font]

Would you please give me an example, from scripture,
that a Catholic would cite - in terms of “passages concerning Judgment” -
that you think that others are either:
-not aware of
or
-refuse to be aware of?

I am not sure what you mean, but in many of the discussions, both online and off, I have had with Protestants, the curious thing that I often read or hear is this: “When you die, and you’re in front of Christ, what will you answer when He asks you, ‘Why should I let you in?’” Now, again in the various discussions I have had, it is usually the Catholic who would cite the passages concerning Judgment, not the Protestant. That is what I mean by Protestants either not aware of them, or else refuse to be aware of them.


#9

quote: Milliardo

[font=Comic Sans MS]I am not sure what you mean, but in many of the discussions, both online and off, I have had with Protestants, the curious thing that I often read or hear is this: “When you die, and you’re in front of Christ, what will you answer when He asks you, ‘Why should I let you in?’” Now, again in the various discussions I have had, it is usually the Catholic who would cite the passages concerning Judgment, not the Protestant. That is what I mean by Protestants either not aware of them, or else refuse to be aware of them.

In terms of “why should I let you in”…this is just an
educated guess, on my part:

Many Protestants might answer:

Because I am washed in Your blood and I have done
my best, to follow Your commands.

Because, you see, the emphasis is:

I am saved by grace, through faith.
Faith means following the commands of Christ -

but this following of His commands is the outward
manifestation of my faith. Keeping His commands
does not save me…Jesus does.

If following His commands is viewed as “works”
[that is…I can be “part” of my own salvation by
my “works”] then this would be considered
to be not acknowledging the complete act of our salvation,
by Christ. [based on the letters of St. Paul.]

The Council of Trent rejected this view. It stated,
in essence, that an individual could “increase” his
justification, by his/her works.

Again, see Trent, Session VI, Canon 24 at:

ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/TRENT6.HTM#2

What is comes down to, simply, I think, is:
Many Protestants hold that salvation is by
Christ alone…obedience “merits” nothing, in
terms of either justification or salvation.
Same cannot be “increased” because the
salvific act is complete.
[Contrast this view with Trent.]

Still, a person could lose the salvation offered,
by not following the commands…that is,
through a lack of a “lively faith.”

Faith = Trust That is, I trust Christ’s promise to
me.
I’m wondering how many Protestants even think
in terms of: will I get to heaven? I dunno.

Best,

reen12

[/font]


#10

[quote=reen12]Many Protestants might answer:

Because I am washed in Your blood and I have done
my best, to follow Your commands.
[/quote]

[font=comic sans ms]Nice try, but that’s not what they actually answer. In the first place, is such a judgment scene even in the Bible? We take the Protestant notion of sola scriptura here, since they abide in that as well. Since the answer is a clear “no”, then in that alone such a notion should be discounted, since it’s not in the Bible. But then there’s more: the answer to that, if I am correct, is that Jesus should let a soul in because he put his faith in Christ. Now, that in itself wouldn’t be a problem, since as Catholics there is no real disagreement there per se, but then the underlying point of it all is that the Protestant is denying that our works have any value at all in salvation, over and above what Scripture plainly states.

I am saved by grace, through faith.
Faith means following the commands of Christ

Surprisingly again, a very Catholic notion. Some Protestants might say this, but in doing so inadvertently agree to the Catholic position then. However, Protestant notion of it by and large will not support such a statement.
[/font]


#11

Hello, Milliardo,

quote: Milliardo

[font=Comic Sans MS]…that the Protestant is denying that our works have any value at all in salvation, over and above what Scripture plainly states.

[/font]

But that’s the point! Many Protestants would quote St. Paul
and then point to Trent, Session VI, Canon 24 and say:
That goes against the teaching of St. Paul. [scripture!]

quote: reen12

[font=Comic Sans MS]If following His commands is viewed as “works”
[that is…I can be “part” of my own salvation by
my “works”] then this would be considered
to be not acknowledging the complete act of our salvation,
by Christ. [based on the letters of St. Paul.]

The Council of Trent rejected this view. It stated,
in essence, that an individual could “increase” his
justification, by his/her works. [/font]

If a Catholic maintains: the teaching of the Church is
based on both Scripture and Tradition - by the authority
given to her, by Christ - and then bases agrument on that,
then a Protestant may reply:

Circular reasoning! Using what is to* be* proved, to prove
a point.

Once Tradition and infallibility are claimed - again, based
on the authority and protection from error, given to the Church,
by Christ, [through the gift of the Holy Spirit] -any argument,
in defense of the CC position, can be easily refuted,
by those who hold that there is no scriptural basis for same.

The Church teaches that faith is a gift of grace.
No “argument”…however skillfully presented…is
going to win the day - in an exchange with a person
who does not/will not accept Tradition - as a basis for doctrine,
or acknowledge any such thing as infallibility.

It isn’t a question of “nice try”…it’s a fact, in the life of
faith, for tens of millions of Christians.

To argue for any particular doctrine, to me, is a waste
of precious time. The Keys, bind and loose, the
validity of Tradition, infallibility - all of these have to be accepted,
before the attempt to explain the theological “cogency” of
doctrines such as purgatory, treasury of grace,
“assisting” our own salvation - or dogmas, such as the
Immaculate Conception, can take place, with any
effectiveness.

If Apologetics wishes to explain the basis for a given
doctrine or dogma, that’s one thing.
But to expect that this explanation will be intellectually
or spiritually compelling - without grace given, as the Church
teaches - is hardly the case, I think, for tens of millions of Christians.

Best,

reen12


#12

Once Tradition and infallibility are claimed - again, based
on the authority and protection from error, given to the Church,
by Christ, [through the gift of the Holy Spirit] -any argument,
in defense of the CC position, can be easily refuted,
by those who hold that there is no scriptural basis for same.

There is an error in this one–the Church does not rely on Traditon alone; it holds both Scripture and Tradition to be its source.

It isn’t a question of “nice try”…it’s a fact, in the life of
faith, for tens of millions of Christians

Would this fact of life make it necessarily true then? Case in point–review the thread given by Montie here. There is one debater there, I call him hoppie, because of his user name, that insists that those who are not written in the Book of Life will be judged by their works. Now, last I checked, he has no response yet to what I pointed out–if that were so, then he believes that there must be 2 set of judgments, which is never in the Bible. But even more so, then he would have to agree that with those who have been judged by their works, then those who did good are still saved and will receive the reward. Yet in his previous post he said those not in the Book of Life will be condemned. So he’s in a predicament now, since the verses cited (Matthew 25:31ff and Romans 2:5-8) does say that those who did good are rewarded while those who did evil, or neglected their fellowmen, are condemned.

To argue for any particular doctrine, to me, is a waste
of precious time.

Would any of the threads here then be a waste of precious time? Or, would the debate between the pro-Arians and anti-Arians in Nicaea be considered a waste of time?

But to expect that this explanation will be intellectually
or spiritually compelling - without grace given, as the Church
teaches - is hardly the case, I think, for tens of millions of Christians.

This is another issue all together, and I would think worth another thread (as it will throw this one off-topic), but I will just note here that such a view would then be a poor defense for not accepting the teachings of the Church.


#13

[quote=reen12]If a Catholic maintains: the teaching of the Church is
based on both Scripture and Tradition - by the authority
given to her, by Christ - and then bases agrument on that,
then a Protestant may reply:

Circular reasoning! Using what is to* be* proved, to prove
a point.

[/quote]

Wrong! What is circular is to attempt to claim the Bible is inspired and inerrant because the Bible says so. The Catholic Church is linear in it’s approach. Christ taught the apostles and left them with the WHOLE deposit of faith. The Apostles thereby committed some of that in writing (the Bible). The WHOLE of the deposit of faith attests to what is in the Scripture, and thus the Scripture attests to what is in the deposit of faith. However, the Church does not derive her authority from either.


#14

quote: Redbandito

Wrong! What is circular is to attempt to claim the Bible is inspired and inerrant because the Bible says so. The Catholic Church is linear in it’s approach. Christ taught the apostles and left them with the WHOLE deposit of faith. The Apostles thereby committed some of that in writing (the Bible). The WHOLE of the deposit of faith attests to what is in the Scripture, and thus the Scripture attests to what is in the deposit of faith. However, the Church does not derive her authority from either.

Yes, you are presenting the teaching of the Catholic Church
accurately, I believe.

Best,

reen12


#15

Hi, Milliardo,

I am attempting to convey what many Protestants hold
to be true. And, yes, I realize that both Scripture and
Tradition are both called upon.

As to “washed in the blood of the Lamb”
“washed in Your blood”]

google.com/search?hl=en&q=Washed+in+the+Blood+of+the+Lamb

and, from Cyberhymnal:

cyberhymnal.org/htm/w/i/t/witbotla.htm

Catholics express a near-similar sentiment in
the Anima Christi.

ewtn.com/Devotionals/prayers/anima2.htm

Would you tell me what your thought is, on the
role of the Catholic apologist?

-to convey, accurately, the teachings of the Church,
when asked?
-to correct erroneous impressions, on what the Church
actually teaches?
-to present doctrine, in such a way, that others - who
hold different beliefs - will be led to acknowledge the
Church as the sole, true Church?

I assume all of the above - still, in your experience,
is there one of these that you find more often presents
itself, as the issue to be addressed?

Best,

reen12


#16

[quote=reen12]As to “washed in the blood of the Lamb”
“washed in Your blood”]
[/quote]

I don’t think any Catholic will have any problem with us being washed in His blood; the problem lies though if whether there is no need for us anymore to do good works, or that such is also needed for salvation. The answer is yes, it is needed, and Jesus is very explicit on this one. In short, then, our salvation is a continuous process, wherein we put our faith in Christ and then act on that faith, and then we are judged by God by what we’ve done as evidence of our faith.

Would you tell me what your thought is, on the
role of the Catholic apologist?

-to convey, accurately, the teachings of the Church,
when asked?
-to correct erroneous impressions, on what the Church
actually teaches?
-to present doctrine, in such a way, that others - who
hold different beliefs - will be led to acknowledge the
Church as the sole, true Church?

I assume all of the above - still, in your experience,
is there one of these that you find more often presents
itself, as the issue to be addressed?

Again, this is a separate thread or issue, not necessarily covered by what the thread starter wants conveyed. But tell us–what exactly is your point in asking the role of an apologist?


#17

[quote=Montie Claunch]Hello everyone. I am discussing the relations of good works with faith in salvation with a gentleman on another forum. I was hoping, if it isn’t to much of a bother, if ya’ll could look at the thread and give me some suggestions on what to say? Thanks and God bless.

cbworldview.cesbooks.co.nz/forum/viewtopic.php?t=39
[/quote]

If I could put in my three cents, presuming this man is a Protestant? or non-Catholic, I’d ask him “how does he know the correct method of interpreting Scripture?” In other words, where in Scripture does it say how it is to be interpreted? Since it doesn’t, then anyones best guess is the best choice, yet that position is not only epistomologically untenable it doesn’t give conclusive finality to what Scripture means.

As far as him using other translations, what he either doesn’t know nor care is that there are a plethora of translations and unless he is a Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic scholar he can’t say for sure which one is the best! And if he is, that doesn’t matter either, since other “scholars” have differing opinions as to how to translate the Scriptures. It essentially boiles down to who’s “interpretation” do we follow and who has that authority to correctly interpret the Bible. Catholicism can prove its pedigree and that it not only was established by Christ, but that it posses the sole authority to validly interpret Scripture, and one very persuasive point is that of the canon. The Catholic Church recognized through the work of the Holy Spirit, the canon which God inspired. God allowed and chose the Catholic Church to recognize what was the written word of God, wouldn’t it also logically follow that God gives it the sole authority to correctly interpret the Bible?


#18

quote: Milliardo

[font=Comic Sans MS]But tell us–what exactly is your point in asking the role of an apologist?

[/font]

I’m interested in the distinction between
evangelization and apologetics.

The third category I listed was:

quote: reen12

-to present doctrine, in such a way, that others - who
hold different beliefs - will be led to acknowledge the
Church as the sole, true Church…

I see this as part apologetics and part evangelization.

Still, as you point out:
quote: Milliardo

…this is a separate thread or issue…

Best wishes, :tiphat:

reen12


#19

[quote=reen12]I’m interested in the distinction between
evangelization and apologetics.
[/quote]

I think there’s a distinction between the two: evangelization, or maybe I should put in catechism here, involves explaining the basics of the Faith. Apologetics is actually an intellectual approach towards the Faith. Now, from what I understand about it, a catechist is not exactly an apologist. Meaning, the catechist may be able to explain the basics of the Faith, but might not exactly be able to defend it if it needs be. The apologist works on that, in that he explains the Faith in depths that a catechist might not be able to.


#20

[quote=reen12]Hi, Milliardo

quote: Milliardo

I must be missing the point, I think.

What would Christ judge us by, other than whether
or no we followed His commands?
[/quote]

Depends on what you mean by the “judgment.” Jesus Himself says:

JOH 5:24Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”

Why? Because God had His judgment Day on sin 2000 years ago at the cross of Christ. There on the cross He took my judgment in my stead, when my sins were poured out upon Him. That’s what a substitutionary sin-sacrifice is all about.

It’s sin that separates me from God, and it’s Christ who took away the sin of the world:

*“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” * (Jn. 1:29).

COL. 2:13 "*And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, *

COL. 2:14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross."

It would be unjust, indeed, to judge someone twice for the same crime, right? If God judged and condemned His Son (on the cross) for my sins in my stead, and He died, then based on His justice (His Day of Judgment on my sins 2000 years ago), Jesus is right, I will not come into judgment, and through my faith in Him, I have passed out of death into life.

God would not be honoring the Son (His work of redemption) if any true believer was ever condemned to Hell because of ANY of his sins.

No man goes to Hell because of sins. They go because of unbelief. Because they refuse to believe what Christ has done for them, in their stead. They believe God will honor their own merits. But God says otherwise:

EPH. 2:8 "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

EPH. 2:9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast."

Blessings,
Bene


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.