Salvation: Grace or Earned?

When I belonged to an Independent Fundamental Baptist church, I was told Catholics believe salvation grace is not free but must be earned.
What is the truth of this?
Thanks in advance for your answers!!

Grace is free. We don’t merit it by our actions, and we can’t be saved without it. But we can throw it away if we turn our backs on Christ through sin, and it can only be gotten back through repentence. We also must cooperate with this freely given grace to do good works. It’s not in a legalistic sense; we don’t imagine Christ standing their with a checklist.

It’s as Jesus says in Matthew, he will separate the sheep from the goats. He will cast out those who come to the wedding not dressed appropriately. We are adopted sons of God through Christ. We are not worthy to be his sons, we did not merit being his sons, that was given to us freely, but we have responsibilities as part of this family, and if we fail to keep these responsibilities and come before him on Judgment Day shouting “Lord, Lord!,” the Lord may say that he doesn’t know us. A father may disinherit a disobedient son who shows no remorse because he is just. But this same father will also welcome any disobedient son back who repents, because he is merciful. He is both merciful and just.

Catholics don’t see God as a slave master. He isn’t our boss in the workplace. We aren’t slaves following a list of tasks, or workers doing a job to get paid. God is our Father. We are in a loving family, and we follow our Father because we love him, and he is perfect.

I’ve only recently returned to the RCC, so if more experienced Catholics say otherwise, take their word over mine.

What interpretation do the Independent Fundamental Baptists place upon Matt 25:31-46?

“Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me. … What you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.”

Catholics don’t presume or assume.
We know that Jesus redeemed us. But we have to cooperate with God’s grace.
We don’t merit the grace, but we receive it through the Sacraments, which promote holiness, and we are then inspired to do good work in the vineyard. We’re called to be the hands and feet of Christ. That’s the “work” that we do. And we ask for mercy for ourselves and others.
God bless.

But if I die in a state of mortal sin, I go to hell. Isn’t that what the Church teaches? So, I have to be sure that I’m not in that state. I need the sacrament of confession. In other words, I AM responsible and I DO have to do something in order to obtain salvation.

There is no truth to it. Grace is unmerited and free.

This is part of what we mean by cooperation. We do not merit forgiveness or the return of grace. But just because we don’t deserve it doesn’t lead to the conclusion that God expects nothing of us. Catholics profess that we must ACTIVELY cooperate with God’s grace. The normative way God restores it to us is if we make an honest confession. This is a sacrament set up by God the father for his children. We are in his family. Of course we have responsibilities and must take an active part in the family.

If you want to argue that going to confession isn’t free in the extreme sense of the word, then neither is the once saved, always saved viewpoint. If I must confess Jesus Christ in my heart as my Lord and savior, then that is something I must DO. If you believe repentence is necessary for the forgiveness of sins, that is something you must DO. If you want to nitpick about the word “free” and what we have to do, then ultimately if it’s that extreme freedom, we shouldn’t need to know God at all. If it’s free, we shouldn’t have to do anything.

I don’t think most Christians understand “freely given” as meaning you don’t have to do anything at all.

The Catechism on Grace and Justification:

The notion that a Christian can be saved in a single moment and thereafter have no fear of hell no matter how he or she lives is not universal even among Protestants. So merely believing that one can lose salvation by one’s actions does not mean that one is teaching a works-based gospel. Otherwise the Lutherans and other mainline Protestants would be replacing one (allegedly) works-based system with another. Undoubtedly some groups do believe that, but the common view among Protestants seems to be that denominational differences within the general Protestant umbrella are of little import when it comes to salvation and teaching the true gospel. It’s only we Catholics (and, I guess, the Orthodox, among those who recall that they exist) who get accused of having our own “system” of salvation.

In Catholic thinking, all the sacraments are manifestations of God’s grace. That I can receive His grace after confessing my sins in Reconciliation is no more “saving myself” than the fact that I initially received His grace in Baptism (also a ceremony in which humans actually do things, but the power of which comes entirely from God).

If saying some form of “sinner’s prayer” and “accepting Jesus into my heart” (which I have done, when I was a Baptist) don’t count as works I have to perform to be saved, then neither does submitting myself to the sacraments ordained by Jesus.

As for responsibility, that’s kind of the point. If I go to Heaven, it is entirely God’s doing. The absolute most I can contribute is by getting my own will out of the way and letting Him work, and even my ability to do that is His gift. But if I go to Hell, it’s not because God decided independently of my actions to damn me (which would make Him unjust). I go to Hell entirely and only because of my unrepented sins.


Grace, 100%.

But it does not absolve us of our responsibility to follow our Lord’s commandments, and those who claim to be “saved” but ignore our Lord’s commandments may be deluding themselves. True salvation comes with a true change of heart and mind and a desire to follow our Lord’s commandments and teachings and true contrition when one fails to do so.

Maybe we could say that we can not merit God’s grace and that was accomplished for us by Christ, but if God sends us grace we need to grab it and do something with it or it will just keep going and we will show up before God having let His gift to us pass us by?

Your post called to mind the Parable of Talents, and the man who buried the Talent given to him until his master returned.

I like your visual; who can refuse a gift from God? :thumbsup:

+The Thoughts of God from **Sacred :bible1: Scripture **on the subject clearly answer the question that is the subject of this thread

[INDENT] [8] “For by GRACE you are saved THROUGH FAITH, and that NOT of yourselves, for it is the gift of God; [9] NOT of works, that NO man may glory. [10] For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works, which God hath prepared that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10 [/INDENT]

[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+
. . . thank You Dear Lord for Thy Wonderful Holy Bible

Jesus_123, is your post intended to contradict what other Catholics said in the preceding posts or add to them?

Your post sounds a bit off the beaten Catholic Church doctrine path. Are you advocating the sola scriptura position as well as the position that some Protestant denominations advocate (sola fide)? :confused:

+The Catholic perspective on **Sacred :bible1: Scripture **. . .
. . . :coffeeread: . . .


Sacred :bible1: Scripture is the **speech of God **as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit.

Article 3 - SACRED :bible1: SCRIPTURE
In Sacred :bible1: Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it NOT as human word, "but as what it really is, the Word of God.

In the sacred books,
the Father Who is in heaven
comes lovingly to meet
His children,
and talks with them. [/INDENT]

[INDENT][INDENT] "How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me,** O God! **how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand …" Psalms 139:17-18b[/INDENT][/INDENT]
[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+
. . . thank you Sweet Spirit of our Holy God+[/RIGHT]

Seems kind of hard to reconcile this passage with the need for works to maintain oneself in the state of sanctifying grace. But here goes.

Note the pronoun “that”, in “and that not of yourself”, is of neuter gender. What does that mean, you might say. Well it means that it refers neither back to the word grace, or to the word faith, but the process of having been saved.

“You are saved”, means here, “you are in a saved condition”.

Thus what is not of ourselves is being in a saved condition…NOT maintaining our salvation by cooperating with sanctifying grace AFTER baptism. A full set of works, for us to walk in, accompanies our salvation. They are a gift of God. Our refusal to do them endangers our salvation. These works maintain salvation by keeping us open to the Holy Spirit, and because they are not ours, we cannot glory in them.


Grace is free, but we can resist it; we can refuse the gift. To the extent that we accept, respond to and cooperate with it instead, grace grows, or more is given. Read the Parable of the Talents to see how this dynamic works out.

This is what I’m starting to think of as The Gospel of Ephesians 2:8-10, and the Gospel of John 3:16, and the Gospel of Romans 10:8-9.

I may do the same:

The Thoughts of God from Sacred Scripture in the subject clearly answer the question.

“When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. 34 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? 38 And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? 39 And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ 46 And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46)

The above is very clear. But I can go on.

And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.’ 5 But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment;[a] 12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

A man who is invited to the wedding feast, accepts the invitation and comes to the feast, but is found to have arrived inappropriately dressed. A man can be asked to confess Jesus. A man can confess Jesus and proclaim to be a Christian. This Christian can go to judgment and be found wanting due to not appearing in a proper state. Catholics see this referring to sanctification brought about by proper Christian living and actions.

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