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)
“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)
“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)
“… 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)
"… 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?