salvation

Hi! I’m a practicing Catholic, and I have been having an ongoing debate with my Christian, yet non-Catholic housemates, about the concept of salvation. As Catholics, I know we believe that it is faith in Jesus as our Savior plus good works that earns us salvation. My non-Catholic housemates argue that it is faith alone that saves us, using Ephesians 2:8-9 to support their argument. As Catholics, James 2:14-26 and Romans 2:1-16 supports the concept that it is both faith and good works that save us. However, this still does not explain the seeming “conflict” in the Bible-what is exactly meant in Ephesians 2:8-9-when it state that it is by grace, not by works, which one has been saved?-Please help!
Thanks!

[quote=orange_blossoms]Hi! I’m a practicing Catholic, and I have been having an ongoing debate with my Christian, yet non-Catholic housemates, about the concept of salvation. As Catholics, I know we believe that it is faith in Jesus as our Savior plus good works that earns us salvation. My non-Catholic housemates argue that it is faith alone that saves us, using Ephesians 2:8-9 to support their argument. As Catholics, James 2:14-26 and Romans 2:1-16 supports the concept that it is both faith and good works that save us. However, this still does not explain the seeming “conflict” in the Bible-what is exactly meant in Ephesians 2:8-9-when it state that it is by grace, not by works, which one has been saved?-Please help!
Thanks!
[/quote]

We are saved by grace through faith–and our good works are the fruit of that faith.:slight_smile:

[quote=orange_blossoms]Hi! I’m a practicing Catholic, and I have been having an ongoing debate with my Christian, yet non-Catholic housemates, about the concept of salvation. As Catholics, I know we believe that it is faith in Jesus as our Savior plus good works that earns us salvation. My non-Catholic housemates argue that it is faith alone that saves us, using Ephesians 2:8-9 to support their argument. As Catholics, James 2:14-26 and Romans 2:1-16 supports the concept that it is both faith and good works that save us. However, this still does not explain the seeming “conflict” in the Bible-what is exactly meant in Ephesians 2:8-9-when it state that it is by grace, not by works, which one has been saved?-Please help!
Thanks!
[/quote]

The fact is, ALL the verses you cited above are correct. Your confusion stems from thinking one has to pit one verse against another, when in reality, they complement each other. The verse from Ephesians is simply pointing out that it isn’t by works alone, done under our our power, that saves us. You can’t “work your way to heaven.” In fact, we are only able to perform good works by the grace of God. When Catholics say that works play a role in our salvation, then, we are saying we are saved because of our obedience to the prompting of God’s grace out of faith in him. Conversely, you risk falling into sin if you disobey God and not respond to his clear promptings, i.e., “for what we have done and what we have failed to do.”

If you read the whole Scripture, as the Catholic Church does, and not lean on verses taken in isolation, we see that everything fits together. :slight_smile:

For more info, check out this Catholic Answers tract:
Grace: What It Is and What It Does
catholic.com/library/Grace_What_It_Is.asp

For a fuller treatment, get Jimmy Akins terrific book:
**The Salvation Controversy **
shop.catholic.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/online-store/scstore/p-CB258.html?L+scstore+btfz7556ffdb58db+1116968352

[quote=Fidelis]The fact is, ALL the verses you cited above are correct. Your confusion stems from thinking one has to pit one verse against another, when in reality, they complement each other. The verse from Ephesians is simply pointing out that it isn’t by works alone, done under our our power, that saves us. You can’t “work your way to heaven.” In fact, we are only able to perform good works by the grace of God. When Catholics say that works play a role in our salvation, then, we are saying we are saved because of our obedience to the prompting of God’s grace out of faith in him. Conversely, you risk falling into sin if you disobey God and not respond to his clear promptings, i.e., “for what we have done and what we have failed to do.”

If you read the whole Scripture, as the Catholic Church does, and not lean on verses taken in isolation, we see that everything fits together. :slight_smile:

For more info, check out this Catholic Answers tract:
Grace: What It Is and What It Does
catholic.com/library/Grace_What_It_Is.asp

For a fuller treatment, get Jimmy Akins terrific book:
**The Salvation Controversy **
shop.catholic.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/online-store/scstore/p-CB258.html?L+scstore+btfz7556ffdb58db+1116968352
[/quote]

Very well put!

The Grace of God redeems not only we as persons, but our actions as well. The actions of a pagan amount to nothing because he rejects Grace, and so no amount of works will get him into heaven. We are required to act, and our actions work in accordance with our salvation, but they are only merited by Grace.

[quote=Sgt Sweaters]The Grace of God redeems not only we as persons, but our actions as well. The actions of a pagan amount to nothing because he rejects Grace, and so no amount of works will get him into heaven. We are required to act, and our actions work in accordance with our salvation, but they are only merited by Grace.
[/quote]

God’s Grace is our Salvation, but I would caution against the sweeping generalization on the actions of atheists amount to nothing. While I agree that it is mostly true, an atheist can still cooperate with God’s Grace unawares. While rare in the realm of time, honest atheists have lived who tried to live a virtuous life (I am not saying atheism is right). I would hesitate to say that God played no part in the good deeds done in less than perfect intentions. Thanks and God Bless.

since you mentioned atheism, ill throw this in, most people are confused as well on that there is no salvation outside the catholic church. main response: if your not catholic, your going straight to hell. not true. as in Jews are like the older brother, still in the same family, just not up to speed on things; protestants are like a runaway, trying to make it on their own; atheists(and any who just dont konw about God,or Jesus, for each their own reasons), because of the natural laws written on their hearts are like a kid lost at birth, still part of the same family, just never knew they had a father; and any who straight out reject God are like a kid who leaves home, after disowning his family, and rejects any inheritance the father has to give; the catholic would be the “suck up” who lives at home for the rest of his lifehttp://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon10.gif… we are all part of the same family, some just dont choose to see it like thati dont know if that analogy is actually worth anything, but i just thought about it at work, and figured id throw it out there…

slavation is like a pyramid… Grace at the top, needing both Faith and Works to get up enough to get to the Grace…
im just full of stupid analogys tongiht… i think i need sleephttp://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon6.gif

Thanks for all your input and help everyone-I really appreciate it! All the replies helped me to get a clearer understanding on this topic…I’m a practicing Catholic, but I think what I’ve been missing is the understanding behind all of our beliefs…I want to read the entire Catholic Bible-(which contains all the books of the Old Testament,)-just so I can get a better understanding of where our beliefs and apostilistic traditions come from…I just want to be able to defend what we as Catholics believe-I know our beliefs have a Biblical basis, and I’m tired of some Protestants challenging that our beliefs don’t.-I don’t mean to offend any non-Catholics on here, but I do want to start correcting the misrepresentations that some people have of Catholicism.
Thanks again, everyone!:slight_smile:

The main difference for Catholics and Protestants regarding salvation relates to how both groups define the term. Salvation, to a Protestant, is a one time event that occurred sometime in the past. Salvation, to a Catholic, is a life-long process culminating finally when we enter heaven. The question then becomes, especially when conversing with Protestants, which view is more biblical?

Eph 2:8: Salvation is a past event, gained by faith and baptism (1 Pet 3:21), at which point a person goes from being “in Adam” to “in Christ”. Thus they attain to the state of grace.

Phil 2:12: Salvation has a present dimension, which we work out with fear and trembling. This is also what James speaks of when he says faith alone is insufficient (James 2). And what Paul speaks of when he says our works are a gift from God (Eph 2:10). As Christians who have freely received the state of grace in the past, we now cooperate with God’s grace for justification/sanctification/salvation.

Rom 13:11: Salvation has a future dimension. We are called to work out our salvation (Phil 2:12) tomorrow also, not just today.

Funny how Protestants always like to quote Eph 2:8-9 as if we are somehow supposed to ignore verse 10. I do believe Paul wanted us to read verse 10 (and the rest of Eph) as well. It says:

Eph 2:8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift-- 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His making, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

Interesting, isn’t it, that in the words of Paul, we are created for good works! That is why the Catholic concept of salvation is grace working in love.

Gal 5:6 - For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision accomplishes anything; what matters is faith working through love.

1 Cor 13:2 - If I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so that I can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

Scripture is quite clear, you have to do something with your faith, or it is dead (as James points out). While you can’t “work” your way to heaven, neither can you get to heaven without good works. So how can good works not be part of the equation?

MBS1

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