Saved by His Grace alone or Religion?


#1

Most religions of our planet present a plan of salvation. Certainly the big 3 do. Buddhism, Hinduism with it’s scores of Yogis or Holy Men, the teachings of the Hare Krishna, Islam and on and on. I once had a little green book, which had a basic summary of all the major world religions and their beliefs. With the gypsy life style of my youth, it either was just lost or borrowed or the worst senario ‘stolen’. Who knows, maybe one day I will find another copy, but all I remember is the green cover and the really useful summary for each religion.

In our modern age, where no one wants to upset the magic ship of harmony, everyone is trying to ‘get along’, show understanding and acceptance, but very often this is at the expense of truth. So many leading speakers in the field of apologetics have spoken on the matter of truth. I remember Os Guiness ending a lecture with these words, which Jesus said, ‘And the truth shall set you free.’ Everyone who has ever lived long enough will testify to the deep value of truth in relationships. Now when it comes to salvation, truth is of paramount importance.

So is salvation by His grace alone, or is it a combination of religious ideas as referred to above ? In other words; is salvation something that is based on say the universal misconception that ‘one’s good deeds will eventually outweigh one’s bad deeds’, or salvation what is taught in the Bible, namely that ‘[God] loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins’ (I John 4:10)

Obviously ‘faith’ or ‘complete trust’ in either would be the secondary consideration here. The primary one is establishing if salvation is determined by His Grace alone or Religion. (as discussed above.)

Pophead.


#2

Living so as to attain to eternal life is the most important thing any of us can do. It is our duty on earth.

So wouldn’t it make the most sense to study and follow the teachings of the church that is linked to Christ himself? Why take a chance that splinter groups have the answer and path?

Eternity is at stake.


#3

Pophead,

Prayer is the elevation of mind and heart to God, the conversation which faith enables a man to hold with God. Prayer is not the work of man alone but the combined work of God and man, the initiative always being with God. The first grace to an adult is the grace to pray or ask for help; hence prayer is man’s first reaction to God drawing him to Himself. While a man can pray in order to adore, thank, and placate God, the chief reason for it is to ask for blessings. The bases of prayer are the nothingness of man and the unbounded benevolence of God. For the fulfillment of his needs man must go to the source of his good, which he does spiritually, by prayer. Since prayer is the unavoidable declaration of man’s complete dependence on God, it comes easily to the faithful and is the most familiar act of the virtue of religion. While God, who is so liberal, can and does give many things unasked, yet the supreme thing, salvation, and most of the graces necessary for salvation, He gives on condition that we ask.


#4

Relatively few religions teach this. I think maybe Muslims do. Hindus believe that good and bad deeds affect your future reincarnations, but most Hindus think that “salvation” means escaping the cycle of rebirth altogether, and simply accumulating good karma will not do that. Buddhists do by and large teach salvation by works, but again not simply by accumulating good deeds, but rather by detaching oneself from selfish desire. And many “Pure Land” Buddhists understand salvation as rebirth in the “Buddha field” of Amidabha, which can be attained only by grace received through faith. Karl Barth has some good remarks about the way that Pure Land Buddhism demolishes the misconception you are evincing, that the difference between “true Christianity” and “religion” is the soteriological question of faith vs. works. Barth points out, rightly, that in itself sola fide is just another form of “religion.”

Edwin


#5

We’re Catholic, so the answer is always both.

All salvation comes from the unmerited gift of God’s grace. In His wisdom He has chosen to use His Church as a means to convey that grace. Other religions contain parts of the truth and may hopefully serve to lead people into the true Church. The point you bring up is a good illustration of this. Religions that stress works as a means to salvation are wrong in believing that the works have merit in and of themselves, but are right in that there is merit in accomplishing the works that God has intended for us.


#6

Semitic, theistic religions like Judaism; Christianty and Islam require faith to be saved, you have to believe and have a relationship with God, know his revelations and to avoid sin. Is always a combination of faith and actions. But the teaching of grace is mostly Christian.
Indian, monistic religions change that. Doing good deeds might better your karma for the next reincantations but will not reunite your soul with the Ultimate reality. Hinduism have several differents strategies for breaking the cycle of reincanations, some faith based, some works based. Buddism has a simpler one works based. But Buddism is almost an agnostic religion.


#7

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.