Saved by faith and more

Is my understanding of faith correct? When we embrace through personal belief the Gospel of Jesus we are saved. The act of embracing the Gospel of Jesus is an act of saving faith. Thus we are saved by faith. However, it is a faith that demands a continuing element in that we also need baptism, confession, Eucharist and ect. In addition, it is also a faith that needs continuing validation through good works. Good works are a post not a pre element to Justification. Am I correct with the above observations?

Sounds like a pretty good understanding to me.

Peace
James

Scripture says that we are saved by Grace, through faith.

vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c3a2.htm

georgemiller #1
Is my understanding of faith correct? When we embrace through personal belief the Gospel of Jesus we are saved.

What is needed is to “remain faithful to the demands of baptism”, for the CCC 1274 emphasises that it is “the faithful Christian who has ’kept the seal’ until the end, remaining faithful to the demands of his Baptism, will be able to depart this life ‘marked with the sign of faith,’ with his baptismal faith in expectation of the blessed vision of God – the consummation of the faith – and in the hope of resurrection.”

**What do Catholics teach about being saved?
Answer by Fr. John Echert on 09-02-2007 (EWTN): **
You are getting closer to the truth, but I must make further distinctions. The Catholic Church teaches that faith is necessary for salvation but not of itself sufficient. Our Lord Himself commanded that the disciples go forth and baptise the nations, which confers a particular grace of sanctification. This grace of sanctification is necessary for salvation – at least in the case of those who have access to baptism. The good works and repentance which you cite in James are essential, but we say that they proceed from supernatural charity as a motive, and not simply faith. In other words, someone can truly have faith in Christ by which they are drawn to Him and accept Him, but would not necessarily do acts of charity for the motive of faith alone – which is why we typically call them acts of charity, that is, supernatural love.
tinyurl.com/k27zdzs

So be heartened by this:
faith and works
Answer by Bill Bilton on 04-16-2002 (EWTN):

Excerpts:
**‘Catholics believe that faith and good works are both necessary for salvation, because such is the teaching of Jesus Christ. What Our Lord demands is ``faith that worketh by charity .’’ (**Gal. 5 :6). Read Matthew 25:31-46, which describes the Last Judgment as being based on works of charity.’

‘The Catholic Church does not teach that purely human good works are meritorious for salvation; such works are not meritorious for salvation, according to her teaching. Only those good works performed when a person is in the state of grace – that is, as a branch drawing its spiritual life from the Vine which is Christ (John 15:4-6)–only these good deeds work toward our salvation, and they do so only by the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ. These good works, offered to God by a soul in the state of grace (i.e., free of mortal sin, with the Blessed Trinity dwelling in the soul), are thereby supernaturally meritorious because they share in the work and in the merits of Christ. Such supernatural good works will not only be rewarded by God, but are necessary for salvation.’

‘St. Paul shows how the neglect of certain good works will send even a Christian believer to damnation: But if any man have not care of his own, and especially of those of his house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.'' (1 Tim. 5:8). Our Lord tells us that if the Master (God) returns and finds His servant sinning, rather than performing works of obedience, Heshall separate him, and shall appoint him his portion with unbelievers.’’ (Luke 12:46).’

We are saved by the Grace of Christian Baptism and by nothing else:

By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God. [CCC 1263]

“Nothing remains” once we are Baptized. This is why I say we are saved by the Grace of Christian Baptism and by nothing else. Nothing else remains.

“Baptism is the Sacrament of Faith” [CCC 1236] but most Catholics (and many protestants) are Baptized as infants. The Faith of Baptism usually comes from our parents, our Godparents, and the Christian community at large (CCC 1255), and not by any personal faith on our part.

If we avoid (post-Baptismal, obviously) mortal sin, we are assured of salvation. Nothing else is required of us as a condition of salvation - not (personal) faith nor good works (meaning acts of charity) nor belief in God or Jesus. Nothing remains.

We can speculate that, absent these values, we are unlikely to retain our Baptismal Grace into adulthood. Surely, without these values, mortal sin becomes more likely. But, just how likely is something that the Church has never taught. Some theologians speculate that it is pretty much inevitable for a person of good will to commit mortal sin absent these values while others take the opposite view (for the sake of Baptized protestants, let’s hope those guys are right).

Mortal sin requires two conditions (some will say three, and the Catechism will agree, but the first condition (grave matter) is unnecessary (redundant), as ANY sin could constitute grave matter given the right circumstances).

We must have full knowledge of the sinful nature of the act at the time the act is committed, and we must give complete freewill consent to the sin. It is possible that failure to act, when it would be reasonably expected, could constitute mortal sin, given sufficient knowledge and consent at the time (this would be a sin of omission).

Works cannot save us (only the Grace of Christian Baptism can do that). Failure to perform a reasonably expected work, given sufficient knowledge and consent, could condemn us, but no good work can save us.

Should we fall into mortal sin, the only way to restore our Baptismal Grace is through the Grace of Sacramental Confession:

Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as “the second plank [of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace.” [CCC 1446]

Should we fall into mortal sin, faith will not restore us, nor works, nor belief.

Works cannot save us (only the Grace of Christian Baptism can do that). Failure to perform a reasonably expected work, given sufficient knowledge and consent, could condemn us, but no good work can save us.

Wow! I never knew that good works, once a person is saved through baptism are not necessary for salvation. Is it your position that the failure to do good works could end up in one being comdemned but good works apart from that are not necessary for salvation? That sounds a lot like living one’s life without any manifestation of love for God or neighbor. Are you quite sure these are Catholic teachings?

Catholic teaching maintains that one (and only one) thing can remove us from a State of Grace (meaning Baptismal Grace), and that one thing is mortal sin.

And the one (and only) thing that can restore our lost Baptismal Grace is the Grace of Sacramental Confession.

Sins are either mortal or venial, and they are either sins of commission (things we do that we ought not do) or sins of omission (things we do not do that we ought to do). Here are two similar but different truths of the Catholic Faith:

If we fail to perform an act of charity which would be reasonably expected, and we do so with full knowledge of the sinful nature of the omission at the time, AND with complete freewill consent to the sin, then the omission becomes morally sinful, and failure to perform this work will lead to a loss of our Baptismal Grace.

The next paragraph is almost exactly the same as the first - I have highlighted the different bits:

If we fail to perform ten million acts of charity which would be reasonably expected, and we do so without full knowledge of the sinful nature of the omission at the time, and/or without complete freewill consent to the sin, then the omission is venially sinful (all ten million of them) and does NOT result in the loss of our Baptismal Grace.

A million good works will not save us, or restore us if we loose our Baptismal Grace. But just one mortally sinful sin of omission can condemn us. But it’s gotta be mortally sinful. No amount of venial sins equals one mortal sin.

And, yes, I am quite sure these are Catholic teachings.

There is a common misconception that we need to keep our Baptismal Grace somehow continuously “recharged” in order to not loose it, and we do this by ongoing works and/or faith. There is some truth to this, but how it applies is often misunderstood.

Good works (as well as faith, prayer, etc) edify us and decrease our disposition to sin, making it less likely that we will fall into mortal sin. But they do not make us, in any way, impervious to sin. A person who lives a righteous life (full of prayer and charity) may commit a mortal sin the hour before he dies and yet be condemned. Whereas a wretched sinner who never did a good thing in his life may repent on his deathbed and yet be saved.

Faith and works are immeasurably important, but are not strictly necessary. The only thing that ultimately matters is whether we die with our Baptismal Grace intact.

My friend David Filmer, you stated it very well. - Rob Powell in Beaverton

DavidFilmer #7
Faith and works are immeasurably important, but are not strictly necessary.

The real Catholic follows genuine Catholic doctrine with the Church through Her Sacred Scriptures, Her Magisterium and Her faithful apologists.

Works
The Church teaches we are saved by faith and works, not by faith alone. What are “works”? Are these things that we should morally do? Thanks.
**Answer by Fr.Stephen F. Torraco on 01-15-2008 (EWTN): **
“Works” refers to human actions by which we grow in faith, hope, and charity. Such “works” are made possible only by the grace of God.
tinyurl.com/ogahmzf

**Salvation
Answer by David Gregson on 09-19-2007 (EWTN) **
A mistake that Protestants often make is that they interpret what Christ says by what St. Paul says, rather than interpreting St. Paul by what Christ says. For example, Christ, in his simile of the sheep and goats, lists a number of charitable works on which our salvation depends (Matt 25:31-46). Reading St. Paul in light of the gospels helps us to realize that when he says “works of the law” won’t save us, he’s not talking about good works in general, but the (513 statutes of) the Mosaic Law. Good works in general are necessary. See Romans 2:6-11.
It’s not that works are added to faith, but that faith, in the light of Christ’s teaching, implies faithfulness, taking up our cross and following Him. That means obedience.
tinyurl.com/mxgglrk

‘The Catholic Church does not now, nor has it ever, taught a doctrine of salvation by works…that we can “work” our way into Heaven. Additionally, nowhere in the Bible does it teach that we are saved by “faith alone.” The only place in all of Scripture where the phrase “faith alone” appears is in James 2:24, where it says that we are not justified (or saved) by faith alone. The Bible says very clearly that we are not saved by faith alone.

‘Works do have something to do with our salvation. Numerous passages in the New Testament that I know of about judgment says we will be judged by our works, not by whether or not we have faith alone. We see this in Romans 2, Matthew 15 and 16, 1 Peter 1, Revelation 20 and 22, 2 Corinthians 5, and many, many more verses.

‘If we are saved by faith alone, why does 1 Corinthians 13:13 say that love is greater than faith? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

‘As Catholics we believe that we are saved by God’s grace alone. We can do nothing, apart from God’s grace, to receive the free gift of salvation. We also believe, however, that we have to respond to God’s grace.’
catholicscomehome.org/salvation/

Oh, really? That’s what a “real” Catholic does?

A “real Catholic follows genuine Catholic doctrine with the Church through Her Sacred Scriptures”

So, sola Scriptura is really correct. Catholic style (I didn’t know there was a Catholic style of sola Scriptura).

Her Magisterium

OK, fine.

and Her faithful apologists

And who might those be? What Church authority defines which “apologists” are “faithful?” And how are “real Catholics” to know the difference?

I don’t understand what exactly Abu disagrees on with David Filmer.
Could someone explain, please?

Because to me, this -

is saying in effect in roundabout the same as the following, under the condition that the above is talking about people who are already baptized -

except that the latter is much clearer to me.

Just feel the need to comment on this one point above…the part that I bolded.

One must be careful with this. While it might be technically true that no amount of venial sins equals one mortal sin - it is equally true that many similar venial sins can be signals of a deeper, more serious sin - one that very well could be deadly (Mortal).

Thus, one should not construe your comment above with the ability to venially sin with impunity (which in itself would be a serious sin of presumption).

Just wanted to get that out there.

Peace
James

“1876 The repetition of sins - even venial ones - engenders vices, among which are the capital sins.”
vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a8.htm

Lucy107 #11
I don’t understand what exactly Abu disagrees on with David Filmer.
Could someone explain, please?

The real question is: why does David Filmer continue to feel that his views trump Catholic doctrine?

His error is expressed by him in the thread “Are we saved by baptism alone” in the Apologetics Forum in the latter half of September, 2014, as follows:

DavidFilmer #6
No Catholic is ever required, as a condition of his salvation, to perform good works.

However, the **CCC 1273 **teaches that baptism **“enables and commits Christians to serve God….by the witness of holy lives and practical charity.” **[See *Lumen Gentium #10].

What is needed is to “remain faithful to the demands of baptism”, for the **CCC 1274 **emphasises that it is “the faithful Christian who has ’kept the seal’ until the end, remaining faithful to the demands of his Baptism, will be able to depart this life ‘marked with the sign of faith,’ with his baptismal faith in expectation of the blessed vision of God – the consummation of the faith – and in the hope of resurrection.”

**“Faith without works is dead.” **[Jam 2:26]

The errors have crept in from Luther:
**Salvation
Answer by David Gregson on 09-19-2007 (EWTN): **
A mistake that Protestants often make is that they interpret what Christ says by what St. Paul says, rather than interpreting St. Paul by what Christ says. For example, Christ, in his simile of the sheep and goats, lists a number of charitable works on which our salvation depends (Matt 25:31-46). Reading St. Paul in light of the gospels helps us to realize that when he says “works of the law” won’t save us, he’s not talking about good works in general, but the (513 statutes of) the Mosaic Law. Good works in general are necessary. See Romans 2:6-11.
It’s not that works are added to faith, but that faith, in the light of Christ’s teaching, implies faithfulness, taking up our cross and following Him. That means obedience.
tinyurl.com/mxgglrk

“St Paul upheld the indispensable role of good works: ‘to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, He will give eternal life.’ ” (Rom 2:7).

“St James says: ‘a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.’ ” [Jam 2:24].
Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine, Archbishop Michael Sheehan, revised by Fr Peter Joseph, The Saint Austin Press, 2001, p 446]

Does he feel that?

His error is expressed by him in the thread “Are we saved by baptism alone” in the Apologetics Forum in the latter half of September, 2014, as follows:

However, the **CCC 1273 **teaches that baptism **“enables and commits Christians to serve God….by the witness of holy lives and practical charity.” **[See *Lumen Gentium

#10].
It is conceivable that a person can keep their Baptismal Grace even if they never do any good works, nor have faith.

For example, a person is baptized as an infant, but then falls ill with a grave illness that kills them or incapacitates them, leaving them to live in a vegetative state for the rest of their life. Such a person is unable to perform any good works or have faith. Should they therefore go to hell?

With ordinary, able-bodied people, it is indeed harder to imagine that without any effort on their own part, they could refrain from committing a mortal sin.

What is needed is to “remain faithful to the demands of baptism”, for the **CCC 1274 **emphasises that it is “the faithful Christian who has ’kept the seal’ until the end, remaining faithful to the demands of his Baptism, will be able to depart this life ‘marked with the sign of faith,’ with his baptismal faith in expectation of the blessed vision of God – the consummation of the faith – and in the hope of resurrection.”

**“Faith without works is dead.” **[Jam 2:26]

Whom is this addressed at? In what scenarios does it apply?

It’s not that works are added to faith, but that faith, in the light of Christ’s teaching, implies faithfulness, taking up our cross and following Him. That means obedience.

Again, this doesn’t seem to apply to all people, in all situations.

“St Paul upheld the indispensable role of good works: ‘to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, He will give eternal life.’ ” (Rom 2:7).

“St James says: ‘a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.’ ” [Jam 2:24].
Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine, Archbishop Michael Sheehan, revised by Fr Peter Joseph, The Saint Austin Press, 2001, p 446]

It seems to me that you view the position that David Filmer is presenting here as being a kind of free ticket for being mean and lazy but getting to go to heaven anyway.

I don’t think this is the aim of that position.

I’d like to see how he replies.

As Abu has mentioned, we have quarreled before on the topic of the necessity of works (meaning acts of charity - the usual understanding) as a condition of salvation.

I have always maintained that the only thing that is required as a condition of salvation is that we die in a State of Grace, meaning our Baptismal Grace has been preserved (or restored through Sacramental Confession) at the time of our death.

A person who lives a long and righteous life, filled with good works, may yet commit just ONE mortal sin an hour before he dies and be condemned. Whereas a wretched sinner, who has never done a single good thing in his entire life, may repent on his deathbed and yet be saved (without ever performing even one single good work).

I’m not sure why Abu seems to think that this is some novel theology of my own invention. It is the clear and unequivocal teaching of the Catholic Church.

Abu may argue (correctly, in my opinion) that the righteous person is far less likely to sin mortally, and the wretched sinner is far less likely to repent (although I think this is more likely than the righteous person sinning mortally). But I think that Abu confuses “likely” with “certain,” and Catholic Doctrine is a matter of certainty, not probability.

Technically, this could mean that, especially when formulated as “No Catholic is ever required, as a condition of his salvation, to perform good works,” that even someone like Hitler is fit to go to heaven. While on the other hand, someone who has their whole life seemed like a nice, decent person, could nevertheless hold a deep grudge against God inside, hiding this grudge from other people, and eventually commit a mortal sin for which they would not repent, and thus end up in hell.

The way you have formulated things certainly turns on its head humanist and common-sense notions of goodness entirely.

Hitler was a Baptized (as an infant) Catholic. He, at some point, was in a State of Grace.

The way you have formulated things turns on its head humanist and common-sense notions of goodness entirely.

In what way?

It appears that as I was editing my post, you were already replying. I provided another example, in order to clarify.

Usually, many people tend to think that people who are good in some worldly, humanist sense, are or should also be seen as good in God’s eyes (ie. deserving heaven); while the people who are bad in some worldly, humanist sense, are or should also be seen as bad in God’s eyes (ie. deserving hell).

Many atheist arguments against God or belief in God follow just this kind of reasoning.

“No Catholic is ever required, as a condition of his salvation, to perform good works” goes against this kind of reasoning.

DavidFilmer #16
I have always maintained that the only thing that is required as a condition of salvation is that we die in a State of Grace, meaning our Baptismal Grace has been preserved (or restored through Sacramental Confession) at the time of our death.

A person who lives a long and righteous life, filled with good works, may yet commit just ONE mortal sin an hour before he dies and be condemned. Whereas a wretched sinner, who has never done a single good thing in his entire life, may repent on his deathbed and yet be saved (without ever performing even one single good work).

That is the problem – while those statements are true – as individual possibilities – the Catholic Church teaches that the normal way of salvation is as She teaches which is:
**Salvation
Answer by David Gregson on 09-19-2007 (EWTN): **
It’s not that works are added to faith, but that faith, in the light of Christ’s teaching, implies faithfulness, taking up our cross and following Him. That means obedience.
tinyurl.com/mxgglrk

The great saints teach:
“St Paul upheld the indispensable role of good works: ‘to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, He will give eternal life.’ ” (Rom 2:7).

“St James says: ‘a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.’ ” [Jam 2:24].
Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine, Archbishop Michael Sheehan, revised by Fr Peter Joseph, The Saint Austin Press, 2001, p 446]

Thus, “sacramental grace” may be restored at the moment of death through final repentance, which everyone is allowed, at that moment. With the refusal of final repentance there is no salvation for the grave sinner.

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