Perplexed Protestant

I’m so confused!

I’m a Protestant who left the Roman Catholic Church as a teenager. Since then i’ve gotten married to my wonderful wife, became the father of two wonderful sons, & wandered from one Protestant church to another. I’m familiar with much of the Bible, especially the New Testament.

I’ve just had a long discussion with a thoughtful Roman Catholic who brought two Scriptures to my attention:

" God ‘will give to each person according to what he has done.’ To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life." (Romans 2:6)

and

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7)

I’m having trouble reconciling these passages with the following.

“Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:4-5)

and

“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.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

and

“… God … has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. …” (2 Timothy 1:8-9)

and

"… God our Savior … saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy… " (Titus 3:5)

The first two passages of Scripture seem to say that the good things we do somehow contribute to our salvation, while the last four passages seem to contradict this.

I’m a firm believer that “contradictions” in the Bible are not real but only apparent. However, i don’t know how the last four passages may be interpreted any other way than to mean that the good things we do do not contribute to our receiving eternal life.

Does anyone know the Catholic understanding of one of the last four passages quoted above?

Paul has written (I believe in Romans) that we are not saved by the works OF THE LAW. He also wrote that we are to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” In the second chapter of James, he writes that “faith without works is dead.” We are not saved by works alone, but we are also not saved by faith alone. We are saved by doing works of obedience with love. That is, the works that come out of faith.

[quote=Christy Beth]Paul has written (I believe in Romans) that we are not saved by the works OF THE LAW.
[/quote]

Works of the Law included obeying God and loving neighbors as yourself (Deuteronomy 6:5, Leviticus 19:34). What works wouldn’t be included in that?

~Matt

Thanks Christy & P90.

Yeah, i’m trying to figure out just what St. Paul meant by “works of the Law.”

Did he mean just circumcision & animal sacrifice & dietary restrictions? or did he mean all the works of the law (which included that we should love the Lord our God with all we’re worth & love our neighbors as much as we love & care for ourselves)?

[quote=p90]Works of the Law included obeying God and loving neighbors as yourself (Deuteronomy 6:5, Leviticus 19:34). What works wouldn’t be included in that?~Matt
[/quote]

Circumcision, eating only Kosher foods, doing nothing on the Sabbath, making sin offerings when they have become useless. Basically Romans is saying the old law has been abolished by Christ. It is useless to sacrifice animals for sin, Christ has been sacrificed for sin. Eat of this sacrifice, not animals. As for the faith St. Paul is talking about in Romans. You can’t believe the old Mosaic laws have been abolished if you do not believe in Christ.

Psalm45:9 & P90:

How do i know which one of you is correct?

[quote=Socrates4Jesus]Psalm45:9 & P90:How do i know which one of you is correct?
[/quote]

Before you back me in the corner and say, “faith.” Christ gave his authority to his church to bind or lose things, whatever is bound will bound in Heaven and whatever is loosed will be loosed in Heaven. People put their faith in sole fide, Catholics put their faith in the infalliable teachings of the Church, at Jesus’ command. You have given us many scripture passages. How do you know that the Bible is Divine inspired? If it gives you a warm feeling, that is not enough. How do you know what Books belong in the Bible, why aren’t all of St. Pauls letters in the Canon? How is the Bible different from the Koran or the Book of Morman, people believe they’re divine inspired too.

Hello,

Faith and Works

I think the key is that our salvation starts with faith. However, if we do not do works and live as if we truly trust in God, then we cannot claim that our faith is real. It’s really very simple.

When Scripture says faith without works is dead, this expression speaks quite well for itself and really needs little explanation. I see no point in arguing about it - I think it’s very clear what this Scripture means.

Greg

Psalm45,

Don’t worry, i left my boxing gloves in the garage. How else could i type this?

:wink:

I just want to know why you believe what you typed.

That is why Christ established His Church…

just to show you something else to add to those verses in the first post:

(James 2:14-24)
“What does it profit my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? …(v17) So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”

People often get confused with/between faith, works, believing, and grace…this is why Jesus established an infallible authority, (this is also confusing to most people - it doesn’t mean the Pope can’t make mistakes…but that he is protected from error by guidence of the Holy Spirit when divining issues of faith and morals…and another thing almost every denomination claims to be led by the Holy Spirit - but they cannot are, or even contradict each other and themselves, when speaking in this manner…so, it all goes back to when Christ gave the keys to loose and bind things of this world and the next - so I say to you, all of you, go and find out what Peter bound!)

God bless.

I thought I gave it to you, Jesus gave his authority to the Church. I do read the Bible and I have found no contradictions. Sola Fide did not come about until Martin Luther. I just think of all of those educated Monks (including St. Thomas Aquinas) for centuries copying the Bible word for word by candle light and none of them ever read Romans, until the 16th century. However I have recently read on Jimmy Akin’s webpage that Catholics have come to an agreement about Faith and Works, the wording of the definiton of this doctrine have been altared.

Greg,

Yeah, that’s a good point. If our faith does not result in good works, then that is good evidence that our faith is not genuine.

The protestant teachers to whom i’ve listened, however, point out that the good works Christians do do not cause them to receive the gift of eternal life. Rather, the good deeds are only the consequence of receiving that gift. They are not the reason for eternal life, they are only the result of it.

I’m not sure who to believe. Any ideas?

I apoligize if I sounded harsh. I find often when people are speaking via the internet, it is hard to understand what mood and tone of voice the person is speaking in. I am just tired of Protestants who think that Catholics are ignorant of the scriptures.

[quote=Psalm45:9]How is the Bible different from the Koran or the Book of Morman, people believe they’re divine inspired too.
[/quote]

God tells us through Moses how the Bible is divine, & not human, in origin. God says to the Jewish people (& also to you & me):

“You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?’ If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:21-22)

Mohammed did not make one prediction of the future in the Koran. Joseph Smith made predictions of the future that have been proven to be false. The Bible, however, contains hundreds of predictions of the future (some written hundreds, even more than 1,000 years before the events) that have come true. These predictions are specific & verifiable & often of events that have happened only one time in the history of the world, & only God knows the future before it happens (because, perhaps, He is already there?)

But this is a topic for another discussion thread. If you would like specific examples, just let me know.

[quote=Socrates4Jesus]Greg,

Yeah, that’s a good point. If our faith does not result in good works, then that is good evidence that our faith is not genuine.

The protestant teachers to whom i’ve listened, however, point out that the good works Christians do do not cause them to receive the gift of eternal life. Rather, the good deeds are only the consequence of receiving that gift. They are not the reason for eternal life, they are only the result of it.

I’m not sure who to believe. Any ideas?

[/quote]

It’s not the faith that saves us, nor is it the works…it’s by the Grace of God, and by the Grace of God alone! (It was by the Grace of God that He sent His Son to die for us…the things that we are to have, to do, or to obey are not the things that save us, but that is what we were told to do by our Lord if we want His Grace…and I know that this is not a very good theological explanation or anything, but too many people are placing the actual ‘saving point’ on faith or works or belief - they all tie in together in God’s plan for us…listen people, OBEDIENCE IS THE BOTTOM RUNG ON THE LATTER! THERE IS NOTHING BELOW IT TO HOLD ON TO, IF WE LET GO OF THAT, THEN GOD SAYS WE WILL DIE, AND GOD CANNOT BE MOCKED! Pray and study the lives of the saints to get an idea of what rungs on that latter will bring you to closer in communion with God. )

[quote=Socrates4Jesus]God tells us through Moses how the Bible is divine, & not human, in origin. God says to the Jewish people (& also to you & me):

“You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?’ If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:21-22)

Mohammed did not make one prediction of the future in the Koran. Joseph Smith made predictions of the future that have been proven to be false. The Bible, however, contains hundreds of predictions of the future (some written hundreds, even more than 1,000 years before the events) that have come true. These predictions are specific & verifiable & often of events that have happened only one time in the history of the world, & only God knows the future before it happens (because, perhaps, He is already there?)

But this is a topic for another discussion thread. If you would like specific examples, just let me know.

[/quote]

And so what about Paul’s oral teaching? It was inspired and infallible too? I want to know what he was going to teach about the Lord’s Supper; he said he would tell them in person - he didn’t write it down…he referenced many things that weren’t in the Bible - and don’t get me wrong, or Catholic teaching for that matter, we believe that the Bible IS DEFINATELY the Inspired Word of God, and so was their oral teaching however, eg:

The context of 2 Timothy 1-3 referred several times to Paul’s oral teaching. Did Paul consider his oral teaching to be merely his own ideas? No; according to 1 Thessalonians 2:13 he considered them the very words of God:

“and also we thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”

Here we see that Paul’s oral teaching was inspired by God, just as were his written words. If these words were inspired by God, then they were infallible. If the inspired oral preaching was infallible, Timothy had another infallible source from which to draw to help make him a fit man of God prepared for every good work. Therefore, by the principle of infallibility, Paul cannot be teaching the concept of sola scriptura in 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

(But this should be for another thread…and it is…)

[quote=E.E.N.S.]It’s not the faith that saves us, nor is it the works…it’s by the Grace of God, and by the Grace of God alone! …and I know that this is not a very good theological explanation or anything, but too many people are placing the actual ‘saving point’ on faith or works or belief - they all tie in together in God’s plan for us…
[/quote]

No, it is very theological! & I agree! It IS God’s grace (which means His undeserved favor) alone that saves us. The repentance & faith is only the way we receive that love we do not deserve.

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” (John 1:12)

I’m just trying to figure out if the good works we do are also the way we receive His love. Or does He love us enough to give us eternal life before we even begin to love Him in return?

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he first loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

[quote=E.E.N.S.]And so what about Paul’s oral teaching? It was inspired and infallible too?
[/quote]

Yes, i agree it would be authoritative. One might say that St. Paul’s words in Acts are a very early example of oral tradition, as they are the words he spoke which Luke recorded.

I’d want to be careful when looking to the oral tradition of St. Paul, however, because it would be much easier to make a mistake in accurately giving his words from one generation to the next. The manuscript copies of the letters he wrote, however, are so great in number that the mistakes are easily recognized & removed by scholars.

But are you making these points because the teaching that good works are required may only be found in the writings of the early church fathers & not in the New Testament?

[quote=Socrates4Jesus]No, it is very theological! & I agree! It IS God’s grace (which means His undeserved favor) alone that saves us. The repentance & faith is only the way we receive that love we do not deserve.

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” (John 1:12)

I’m just trying to figure out if the good works we do are also the way we receive His love. Or does He love us enough to give us eternal life before we even begin to love Him in return?

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he first loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)
[/quote]

I want you to know that I have been Catholic for only 4 and a half years now…and I feel as though I want to tell everyone the good news! Just in the last couple of months I feel as though I have had yet another conversion, and I see things clearer than ever, and I am IN LOVE with the Church (Mystical Body of Jesus, Bride of Jesus)…I am not a scholar, nor do I see and believe because of my own accord, but I tell you the truth - this is a gift from God!
(I prayed an searched for the truth and the truth alone - not something that fit my beliefs or opinions - and I was led to the Holy Catholic Church! And I used to be anti-catholic! (But I now realize that I knew NOTHING!)
I am telling you this, because, you are saying/asking the same things I said/asked myself shortly before becoming Catholic! Pray for the truth and that all biasness and blindness be cast aside…it will come if you are TRULY seeking the Truth!
God bless.

I am praying, EENS; pray for me too.

:slight_smile:

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