RyanL's Wife and others - Faith/Works


Hey. I wrote this for my girlfriend. I took many direct sentences from some of you. (Pax, mosh, NotWorthy and others). So don’t get mad if you see it and say “hey! I said that!”. I am merely trying to explain faith and works. If I am wrong, someone please correct me.

What Faith and Works Means

A Catholic would say we are saved by grace alone, or “sola gratia”. We all agree that it is God’s grace that saves us, but where do Faith and Works come into play?

Good works, in and of themselves, will not “earn” salvation. Salvation cannot be earned. Most Protestants think Catholics believe we must earn, or merit, our salvation by having faith plus doing this or that. That is heresy. In fact, it is a heresy called Pelagianism that the early church fought against.

Where works enter the equation is as the “result” of faith and love of God. When one truly has faith, it is the result of grace from God. The only response to that grace is gratitude toward God. Our gratitude and love of God will manifest itself in works that demonstrate faith and love.

For example, if someone gave you a new car, when they dropped it off would you just hop in and never speak to them again? No. You would thank them, and then ask “How can I ever repay you?” Salvation is the gift given here. (Of course, nothing we have can ever repay God, but the point is still valid)

Another example. If you told your wife you loved her, but never did a single thing for her, would that be love? Would she believe that you really loved her? But, if you tried every day to show her how much she means to you, wouldn’t she then see your love? The same applies with our love for the Lord. Remember this – words speak, but actions scream.

Read Matthew 25:31-46. This is the parable of the sheep and the goats. This kinda sums up the Catholic belief. Finished reading? Good. Read verse 40 again. We do not do good works for ourselves, we do them for God. It is nothing we do, so we cannot boast. (Eph 2:9). It is through the grace of God that we do them. After all, we were created for good works. (Eph 2:10). If I was feeding the hungry expecting a reward, that would be one thing. But we feed the hungry to praise and glorify the Lord.

But what is a work? Prayer and praising God are works. Could we do these things without the grace of God? No. Just like feeding the hungry. It is only through the grace of God that we do these things.

Read John 6:29. Even belief is a work of God! ALL good things come through Him. Works are a good thing!

As we pray with out lips (faith), we also pray with our actions (works). See now how Catholics cannot separate faith and works?

We are saved by faith, through grace, just as Paul teaches in Eph 2:8-9. Remember, all works are the result of God, they do not come from us.

But what is faith? If it is faith alone that saves us, why does Jesus tell us we must do things, like forgiving others, to be forgiven ourselves? (Matt 6:14-15) After all, we must be forgiven to be saved, right? If faith is just something we have, then a lot of passages cease to make sense. If faith is an action, something we do, then everything is just a subset of our faith. (works)

Here is what it looks like. I would encourage you to look up all of these passages.

How are we saved?
(Faith? Grace? Baptism? Hope? Works? Obedience? Love?)

(Eph 2:8-9, Rom 3:24, Eph 2:4-6)
(1 Cor 1:21, Rom 3:28, Rom 10:10)

(That looked better in word. The point is they are all in a pyramid underneath faith)

(All of the passages for Works-Endurance can be found elsewhere. I have them written, but there is not space here.)



cont and finished.

We are not saved by faith alone any more than we are saved by hope alone. Faith is an action – a salvation process – and it is made up of our works, hope, love, etc. These things are unified as elements of our faith. You must have them all, not just one portion.

Read 1 Cor 13:2. He has some pretty AWESOME faith. He can move mountains with his faith. But if he doesn’t also have love, he is nothing. He must also have love.

Read James 2:26. Works are just an element of our faith. Without an element, our faith collapses.

Imagine a card pyramid. Kinda like the one I drew, except made of playing cards. What would happen if I pulled out the “love” card or the “hope” card? It would all fall down.

In that way, I guess you could say Catholics believe in a “Faith and Works” gospel. But what it really comes down to is that you must be a good Christian to enter Heaven. A Christian who loves and serves our Lord Jesus Christ.

(Comments? Concerns?)



Good thread.

10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
11 Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; 12 the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13 let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.-Rom13


Grace is not enough, because we have to respond to that grace. Adam and Eve had grace and lost it. It takes an act of our will to correspond with grace, whereby we “merit” an undeserved reward for cooperating with God and overcoming ourselves.

Romans 12:21 Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good.

Apocalypse 2:26 And he that shall overcome, and keep my works unto the end, I will give him power over the nations.

But good actions without grace do not merit anything, because we can’t save ourselves without God.

This “demonstration” is not merely to “prove” one has faith. It is to reach the goal.

1 Cor 9:24 Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run that you may obtain.

But then you would get in that car and drive to your destination.
In like manner, we receive because we believe, but then we must use that to obtain the prize. If you just sit there you will be punished.

Matthew 25:25 And being afraid I went and hid thy talent in the earth: behold here thou hast that which is thine. 26 And his lord answering, said to him: Wicked and slothful servant, … 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have committed my money to the bankers, … 28 Take ye away therefore the talent from him, and give it to him that hath ten talents. 29 For to every one that hath shall be given, and he shall abound: but from him that hath not, that also which he seemeth to have shall be taken away.

If you do not “work” with the faith you have, then even the small amount of grace you seem to have shall be taken away.

My point is that the works done in faith are not merely tokens to prove you have faith. Faith is not an end in itself. It is the beginning of Hope. And from Faith and Hope come the motivation for Love. And from Love comes good works that propel us toward the beloved. We need to run the race to obtain!



[quote=Unfinished]…We do not do good works for ourselves, we do them for God. … If I was feeding the hungry expecting a reward, that would be one thing. But we feed the hungry to praise and glorify the Lord.


But there is also a reward for everything done with grace. Not everyone in heaven has the same glory. The only similarity is that they all have eternal life.

2 Timothy 4:8 As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day

By “crown of justice” he refers to something owed. Yet, salvation is not owed, so he must be referring to supplementary glory. And that is scriptural.

Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels: and then will he render to every man according to his works.

We should be doing these things to acquire merit. Not the merit of salvation, but the merit of graces for the salvation of others and the glory of God!

Matthew 5:16 So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 13:43 Then shall the just shine as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed to thyself and to doctrine: be earnest in them. For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.

Luke 19:13 And calling his ten servants, he gave them ten pounds, and said to them: Trade till I come. … 16 And the first came, saying: Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. 17 And he said to him: Well done, thou good servant, because thou hast been faithful in a little, thou shalt have power over ten cities. 18 And the second came, saying: Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. 19 And he said to him: Be thou also over five cities.

Grace comes from God, works only happen by our cooperation. Salvation is a cooperation with God. Most Protestants deny this.

I think faith is an ability we have to open the eye of our intellect to the light of grace. And in seeing, we are enlightened. And in this light we must work, and we must cling to it and follow it.

John 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, whilst it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

John 3:21 But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God.

John 12:35 Jesus therefore said to them: Yet a little while, the light is among you. Walk whilst you have the light, that the darkness overtake you not. …

1 Corinthians 15:2 By which also you are saved, if you hold fast after what manner I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain.

Hebrews 3:6 But Christ as the Son in his own house: which house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and glory of hope unto the end.

It is a Protestant notion that God does everything apart from man’s will, and that all in heaven have the same glory. But the Catholic notion is that God does everything according to our response, requiring our willing cooperation at every level, and that those in heaven have unequal glory. That is why Catholics honor saints and Protestants don’t.

Apocalypse 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven, saying to me: Write: Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord. From henceforth now, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; for their works follow them.



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