Point me in the right direction please

I have happend to get in this debate with a protestant regarding “faith alone”, yet I have come to a stopping point… Can someone please help point me in the right direction in where to go from there… here is the debate:

its a little lengthy and has last about 2 weeks…

7 hours ago
@CatholicApologia … PS

What are your thoughts about Abraham in Romans 4:9-12? Do you still believe he was saved by works (circumcision)?
7 hours ago
@CatholicApologia A of C

Do you believe your faith comes from yourself? If so, then you have something to boast about (Eph 2:9)!

However, I believe faith comes from God, not us, as Paul says in Eph 2:1, “And you He made alive…” Also, Jesus said in John 6:44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him…”

So what part of this indicates that our faith comes within?
7 hours ago
@CatholicApologia B of C

Remember, “For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:21). So under what conditions then, is redemption preserved? By one’s good works? Think about that. If the preservation of salvation depends on what believers themselves do or do not do, their salvation is only as secure as their faithfulness, which provides no security at all (Romans 5:1 and 8:1).
7 hours ago
@CatholicApologia C of C

According to that view, believers must protect by their own human power what Christ began by His divine power. Although faith is necessary for salvation, it is God’s grace - not the believer’s faith - that has the power to save and to keep one saved. We are not saved by divine grace and then preserved by human efforts. (See John 10:28-29)
1 week ago
“For by GRACE you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, NOT OF WORKS, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

“For there is one God and ONE Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5).

@CatholicApologia 2 of 2

Also see Romans 4:4-5 in which Paul writes, “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt *. But to him who DOES NOT work but BELIEVES on Him who justifies the ungodly, his FAITH is accounted for righteousness…”

And that was the entire point of his epistle to the Galatians.

Ofcourse my Alias is CatholicApologia

Please help.*

Understanding Paul:





“Not every one that says Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven but only those who do the will of the Father (Matthew 7:21).”

debate ended

faith is very important. but as Jesus said it is not the only thing thats important,

SOLA FIDES is heresy

You can agree with your Protestant friend that Abraham was not saved by works of the law like circumcision—because that is not a “work of grace.” But as James clarified, Abraham was not saved by “faith alone” (James 2:20-24). James finishes that chapter by emphatically stating faith and works go together like a body and soul. Both components make up a person. You see also in Hebrews 11:17 that Abraham’s faith was necessarily active.

Protestants often call any works that men do “human works.” This is where such Protestants err. Works done in grace are properly considered the works of the person and ultimately as well as the work of Christ through the person. If our good works done by grace do not affect our salvation, then grace doesn’t affect our salvation, which is nonsense.

Remember the parable of the talents? In it, three men are given gifts according to their abilities. The first two utilize the gifts to produce even more. The third guy does nothing and is thrown into the pit! The first two receive reward. You see how when we receive the gift of grace, we are empowered to do efficacious works that merit reward. Such works done are not “human work” in opposition to Christ, but rather Christ’s gift flowing through the individual.

Think of the parable of the vine and branches. If the branches cannot do good that justifies, then what from the vine is flowing into them? Worthless grace? Of course not.

Strict faith alone ultimately is an affront to Christ’s grace. It says Christ’s grace has no power to work through us to do actual good. That concept is in opposition to James saying faith and works go together like a body and soul.

AMEN!! Thank you!!

This was a big help, I really appreciate your insight, I did apply it, and haven’t had response yet… but we will see…

Try showing him this thread.

Doggg in Christ,

Simply read James Chapters 1 and 2. Then read Romans Chapters 6, 7, and 8.

James chapters 1 and 2 are quite clear about the relationship of justification to faith and works, and not “faith alone.” Nowhere in scripture does it say that we are justified by faith alone. Scripture specifically says, however, that we are “not justified by faith alone” in James 2:24.

Starting in Romans 6, Paul makes it very explicit that we cannot engage in sin and expect to be saved. We are now alive in Christ and we have put away sin. At the end of Chapter six Paul reminds us that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life”[see Rom 6:23]. Sin is what we do and sin will bring death and condemnation. God’s grace is the great enabler that helps us to overcome sin. The gift of God’s grace to have faith and to overcome sin is an important component of God’s gift for eternal life.

Romans 8 reinforces the points made in Romans 6 and 7 and there are some pithy verses in that chapter that sum it all up rather well.

Romans 8:5-8 says:

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. 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; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8:29 says:

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren.

To live in the flesh is death and damnation. Sin is living in the flesh. We are to live in the Spirit and walk in the light by grace. We are to be “conformed to the image of his son.”

Ephesians 2:8-10 perfectly expresses the Catholic position and is the perfect bridge between Paul and James on justification vis-a-vis faith and works. It reads as follows:

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God–not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

So what do we learn from this passage:

  1. We are saved by grace. There is nothing that we have done in advance of God’s grace that saves/justifies us. Everything is by grace and we cannot brag that this is somehow of ourselves. None of us died on the cross for the salvation of man. Only one person can render that perfect sacrifice and that is Jesus because he is both man and God.

  2. We are God’s workmanship. We are** not** our own workmanship. Our faith and our works are God’s workmanship, and it is God’s grace that enables us to overcome sin and to be conformed to the image of his son. All the credit and glory go to God.

  3. When we are justified by God’s grace we are thus a new creation and “created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” These good works are not of our doing. God prepared these good works beforehand(i.e. even before he gave us the grace of justification and faith). Not only that but we were justified and made a new creation for the express purpose of good works, and that we are to walk in the good works that God prepared for us.

In other words grace, justification, salvation, faith, and works are all inextricably intertwined and cannot be separated from one another as is the fashion within non-Catholic theology. Scripture precludes any such understanding and it is for that reason that it is improper to even suggest that we are saved by faith alone.

I hope this helps.

If faith alone doesn’t justify anyone, then what does?

If I understand you, you’re saying that a man is justified by his faith AND his good works. Is this what you are saying?

I simply quote James 2:24 which says:

You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

I then indicate that both faith and works come from God to us by way of God’s grace. All of it is by way of God’s grace. Faith without works is simply dead[James 2:17], for faith is completed by works[James 2:22].

This simply precludes the term “justification/salvation by faith alone.” There is much more that can be said on this topic, but that is the best summary that I can give. I’ve spent many hours discussing this issue with my non-Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ, so rest assured that much more can be brought to the discussion, and it is often necessary to do so. I prefer, however, to keep things as succinct as possible using only the words of scripture where possible.

God bless.

Doggg in Christ,

I just noticed that you are new to CAF. Welcome aboard…I hope you enjoy your stay here and that you find it profitable for better understanding Catholic teaching. We are blessed to have sincere and prayerful non-Catholic Christians participating.

God bless.

Thanks, Pax! It’s great to be here!

I agree with you that where there is genuine saving faith there will also be works of charity, but it seems to me that the passage in James Chapter Two is not dealing with what it is that makes a sinner righteous (justified). If James is teaching a doctrine of justification that is directly opposite from that of the apostle Paul, then the bible teaches contradictory doctrines on justification…and no Christian should endorse such a view.

Doggg in Christ,

Perhaps we are not terribly far apart if we were to further explore the idea of “saving” faith. There may be more common ground on that one then meets the eye.

Catholics would agree that it would be an error to endorse a view that contradicts scripture. The problem on this score is that non-Catholics might contend that we Catholics misunderstand James. From our point of view the non-Catholic misunderstands Paul. We do not believe that Paul teaches justification/salvation by faith alone. Paul simply never says such a thing. Instead, Paul speaks of salvation by faith “apart from works of law.” He specifically points to “circumcision” which was hugely important to the OT law. The OT law had no power to save. Paul tells us that the OT law only “gives knowledge of sin”[Rom 3:20]. In and of itself, the law was and is powerless to save us. Paul even points out why the Jews could not accomplish what the law called for. He does so in Rom 9:31-32 when he says:

Israel who pursued the righteousness which is based on law did not succeed in fulfilling that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it through faith, but as if it were based on works.

This is where grace comes in. Grace is the great enabler. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the word of truth changes everything. We are “a new creation in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand.” Paul condemns works righteousness as understood by the Judaizers. Likewise, Paul condemns the works of the gentiles in their pagan systems of religion. Neither the works of the old law or the works of the gentiles are of any value. None of them are done by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. It is no accident that Paul never once says anything negative about good works in Christ performed by believers. His attacks are against the Judaizers and pagans.

Paul himself tells us that we are God’s workmanship and that we are a new creation in Christ Jesus for good works. We can also summarize the Catholic position by another of Paul’s statements taken from the book of Galatians.

In Galatians 5:6 Paul says:

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.

By the way…faith is not only a gift but it is a “work” as well. I can give the scriptures to support that point if you need them. And, if faith is a work then the non-Catholic position becomes self contradictory.

Does this help?

What is the “will of the Father”?

“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40

In what sense is faith a work that makes the non-Catholic position self contradictory?

Doggg in Christ,

The non-Catholic position is that works have nothing to do with justification/salvation. But faith is a work…it is something we do. Therefore, a basic contradiction exists in the doctrine of salvation by faith alone. Most non-Catholics never consider the fact that faith is a work. If faith qualifies as fundamental to salvation then it is contradictory to claim that works have nothing to do with salvation.

Does that make sense?

While it is true that believing in Jesus is, in some sense, something that I’m doing (or more accurately, something that God has caused me to do), I don’t see how that, by itself, makes the non-Catholic viewpoint self contradictory.

Therefore, a basic contradiction exists in the doctrine of salvation by faith alone. Most non-Catholics never consider the fact that faith is a work. If faith qualifies as fundamental to salvation then it is contradictory to claim that works have nothing to do with salvation.

Does that make sense?

Is it work to dream while sleeping? Is it work to love good music? There are lots of things that people DO that don’t really entail any conscious effort. So, I’m not disagreeing with you that belief in Jesus (faith) is, in some sense, a work that we do, I’m just not understanding how any of this makes the non-Catholic view self contradictory.

Of course James is referring to justification. We know this because he says, "See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. But he is not contradicting Paul.

Here is what the New American Bible says in the footnotes (this is an awesome Bible):

“It has been argued that the teaching here contradicts that of Paul (see especially Rom 4, 5-6). The problem can only be understood if the different viewpoints of the two authors are seen. Paul argues against those who claim to participate in God’s salvation because of their good deeds as as because they have committed themselves to trust in God through Jesus Christ (Paul’s concept of faith). Paul certainly understands, however, the implications of true faith for a life of love and generosity (see Gal 5, 6 13-15). The author of James is well aware that proper conduct can only come about with authentic commitment to God in faith (18:26). Many think he was seeking to correct a misunderstanding of Paul’s view.”

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