Okay, I’m just checking on something here. When I try to explain salvation to some of my Bible Christian friends, I try to make the distinction that Catholics do NOT think that you can get to Heaven by praying the Rosary enough, “being good” enough, etc. I clarify that Jesus is the only one that can do anything to make us good enough, which He did. We ourselves cannot “earn” our way to Heaven. But I do explain that sin can be the path to us rejecting God, therefore rejecting our salvation, for however long of time – until we repent or until we die. If we repent (in confession) we then “accept” the salvation offered to us once again. I explain how the Church teaches Sanctifying Grace works, basically. I’m trying to show that the Church teaches that “works” are very much a part of the salvation plan, but that they are not what “saves” us necessarily. I kind of paint “works” as being the “rejection” part, bad works, or no works, I guess. Am I making sense here? Am I doing this the wrong way? I’ll wrap it up, “The Church teaches that Grace saves us, that it is our faith that gives us access to that Grace, and that we can reject that Grace through sin.” Am I leaving out positive works too much? In trying to get my point across that we don’t believe that works alone can save us, that we have to “earn it” or “be good enough” etc., am I sending the wrong message?
A lot of times I’ll say, “You think you become a child of God when you accept Jesus into your heart, our Church teaches that we become children of God at baptism, but our goal, to become a child of God, is the same.” Then I’ll go onto say that the other difference is that we believe we can reject salvation (I’m always careful not to say “lose”), and you believe that you’re assured of it, no matter what you do from that point on. I try to draw on the similarities, hoping it will curb some of the defensiveness against the Church. That it’s not really this battle of faith vs. works, that they both play a part. But saying that they “work together” seems to imply that our own works can still somehow make us worthy of salvation, which is not what the Church teaches, correct?
I guess what I’m trying to ask is am I oversimplifying it to them? Or am I telling them something wrong altogether? I don’t know why I’m questioning myself so much all of a sudden.