Saved vs. Justified

Currently, I am debating a Protestant on Sola Fide. When I showed him James 2, he said that, “Yes Abraham was justified through his works, but he wasn’t SAVED by works.” He is using similar logic on James 2:24. “We are not JUSTIFIED though faith alone but we are SAVED by faith alone.” Any help is much appreciated.

What kind of protestant is he? His ideas seem quite the opposite of sola fide, which states that we are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

Jon

Thank you for your reply. I am not aware. This “debate”, if it be even called that, is over the Internet. The second I know, I shall talk you. My guess is Baptist and or non denominational. He is a King James Onlyist.

Maybe Abraham was not capable of “calling on the name of Jesus Christ” and thus he was therefore provided an alternate condition. He achieved a pre-Christ status through justification that could only wait for Christ to achieve salvation. A condition that is now no longer applicable post-Christ.

So Abraham was saved by faith alone in Jesus Christ, but only once the object of his faith could produce the condition of salvation.:shrug:

I agree with JonNC and DarrylB.

There’s a problem here with terms, however.

In protestantism justification IS salvation. We are made just before God, we are saved.
No difference.

Abraham was NOT justified through his works. He was justified and saved through faith.
Hebrews 11:8 but really the whole chapter.

There’s a misunderstanding between you and him or he’s confused himself since he’s not expressing the protestant viewpoint.

With James you’re getting justification mixed up with sanctification.

We are both justified and saved through faith alone. But then come works as a result of that faith. We want to do good works even though they don’t save us.

This could be categorized under sanctification although both justification and sanctification work very closely together so don’t get too hung up on these two terms.
They are both ongoing throughout one’s life - as long as one is serving God.

Sola Fide, which you probably know, just means that we are saved by faith. NOT by works. We’re in agreement with that.

Fran

Thank you for your reply. I would, however, have to disagree with you. The area of disagreement is over the word “alone.” The Council of Trent proclaims, “If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification and that it is not in any way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will, let him be anathema” (Session 6: can. 9). There is also some disagreement over James. “James 2:24 is remarkably clear: ‘You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.’” (Catholic Answers “We Can Work It Out”) You are correct in that there is some agreement with us and Protestants. We are not Pelagian; we do not earn our salvation. Faith plays a very important role in our salvation. “If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or by the teaching of the Law, without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema” (Council of Trent Session 6; can. 1).

I think you’re going to have to make up your mind.

First you quote:
“If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification and that it is not in any way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will, let him be anathema”

Then you quote:
“If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or by the teaching of the Law, without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema”

Which is it?

Nothing else is required for salvation other than the belief in Christ and His finished work on the cross. He did say “It Is Finished.” What was finsihed?

Works is a MANIFESTATION of salvation. They do not add to salvation.

This is what the church teaches. Trent was a long time ago. Vatican II is much closer. The CCC is much closer.

The necessity of faith

161 Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation.42 "Since “without faith it is impossible to please [God]” and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘But he who endures to the end.’"43

The necessity of faith

161 Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation.42 "Since “without faith it is impossible to please [God]” and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘But he who endures to the end.’"43

162 Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man. We can lose this priceless gift, as St. Paul indicated to St. Timothy: "Wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith."44 To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase our faith;45 it must be “working through charity,” abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church.46

Faith - the beginning of eternal life

163 Faith makes us taste in advance the light of the beatific vision, the goal of our journey here below. Then we shall see God “face to face”, “as he is”.47 So faith is already the beginning of eternal life:
When we contemplate the blessings of faith even now, as if gazing at a reflection in a mirror, it is as if we already possessed the wonderful things which our faith assures us we shall one day enjoy.48

164 Now, however, “we walk by faith, not by sight”;49 we perceive God as “in a mirror, dimly” and only “in part”.50 Even though enlightened by him in whom it believes, faith is often lived in darkness and can be put to the test. the world we live in often seems very far from the one promised us by faith. Our experiences of evil and suffering, injustice and death, seem to contradict the Good News; they can shake our faith and become a temptation against it.

165 It is then we must turn to the witnesses of faith: to Abraham, who “in hope… believed against hope”;51 to the Virgin Mary, who, in “her pilgrimage of faith”, walked into the "night of faith"52 in sharing the darkness of her son’s suffering and death; and to so many others: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith."53

166 Faith is a personal act - the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself. But faith is not an isolated act. No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone.
You have not given yourself faith as you have not given yourself life. the believer has received faith from others and should hand it on to others. Our love for Jesus and for our neighbour impels us to speak to others about our faith. Each believer is thus a link in the great chain of believers. I cannot believe without being carried by the faith of others, and by my faith I help support others in the faith.

There’s a lot more. You could look it up.

I only think it’s important because your statements seem to me to cause confusion. I know what salvation is and I can’t understand your post. What about someone who doesn’t??

I should add that you don’t have to convince me.

You could go ahead and use your own arguments regarding the question you ask as O.P.

Fran

Fran, you seem to doubt the Council of Trent. The two quotes from the Council of Trent are not in opposition to each other. The Church has not changed her teachings on salvation. The Council of Trent is still very much valid. You seem to think that I do not see faith as a necessity. Faith is very much so. However, faith ALONE does nothing. I suggest you read Tim Staples. He wrote a very good article. catholic.com/blog/tim-staples/are-good-works-necessary-for-salvation

I don’t read links or other people’s opinions anymore because I know what the church teaches.

However, I did take a look at Mr. Staples.

I think you need to read that article again. Romans 2:7 is speaking to people who are already saved. Different rewards will be given for different works.

We’re under the New Covenant not the Old, or Mosaic Covenanat. The article also speaks to this.

I cannot go thru the whole article. You’re understanding of salvation as our church teaches it seems a bit off to me.

I think you’re getting the term salvation mixed up with sanctification.

Haven’r read your other posts yet and will do so, but could you SIMPLY state what it is that you believe saves you?

Fran
People use all sorts of docs for support: Church fathers, encyclicals, saint’s writings. I like to stick to the bible and to the CCC which was expressly written for this purpose and encompasses all church teachings. Your two quotes are in opposition to each other and are not clear. If you use them for your friend, you’re in trouble already!

Sorry. I thought there were other posts.

What does “faith alone does nothing” mean?

And what do you see as the difference, or the sameness of the two Trent statements?
I guess we could spend some time on this…

Fran

Okay. Let us clarify what “faith alone” means. Faith alone means that we only need faith to be saved. That is just faith. No fruit need to be produced. No investments made. The Church does NOT teach this. While it is great to have faith, it cannot stand alone. It needs to be supported by works. Both the faith and works do not come from us, but by the grace of God. Trent does not contradict itself. It is physically impossible for the Church to do that. Her teaching is always sound and unchanging. Examine both quotes. Faith cannot stand alone and works need divine grace that comes from Jesus Christ. These do not contradict. Think about Baptism. The water does not save. The action of water being poured out does not save. But, the grace received through Baptism saves. There is no contradiction at all.

I agree about the baptism.

I still think there’s a confusion re salvation. I’ve made it clear what I believe the church teaches.

It’s dinner time here and I have to go till later.

What EXACTLY gets you saved?

Lata…

Grace from Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross gets us saved. Trent makes this very clear.

Not what it means

Okay. You’re a bit confused. You have terms but they’re a bit jumbled up.
I’m going to say what our church teaches and also what the rest of christianity teaches. You could take it or leave it. I don’t like to debate back and forth.

We’re saved from Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
Okay.
But not by grace. Grace is given to all. Even to non-believers. God’s grace falls on all. If it didn’t, no one could ever come to believe in Him. It’s just that if you accept the grace, it works in you - you could think of it as getting more, but that’s not theologically correct. We get all we need - God gives His grace freely.

What we ARE saved by is faith. Like you said originally.

Ephesians 2:8-9

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

The word “grace” comes first but it’s faith that saves. We are saved THROUGH faith, by grace. It’s always God’s grace that saves and does everything else, but it’s through faith that we are saved.

We are NOT saved by works. We are no longer under the Law or the Old Covenant or the Mosaic Covenant. We are under the New Covenant. All that’s required to be in the New Covenant is to believe in Jesus.

Now, regarding the fruit and works. You Shall Know A Tree by It’s Fruit.
Mathew 7:15 and on
Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16"You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17"So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.…

Just as you can know false prophets by their fruit, you can also know true believers by their fruit - or by their works.

See James 2:14
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?

This is referring to people who say they have faith, but they don’t act like it. So do they really have faith? Faith produces good fruit - or works.

So faith, through God’s grace, saves you. The result of that faith is good works. If you truly love God, you will want to do good works.

You can’t mix anything in with faith to be saved otherwise Jesus’ sacrifice is null and void.

Fran

It actually depends on the denomination. He is a Baptist and sees faith alone different than Lutherans. For example, Luther called for a necessity of the sacrament of Baptism. He, on the other hand, sees Baptism as a bonus and not needed. It all comes down to the denomination. It is harder for Baptists especially because most churches are autonomous. I once met another person who had very Baptist ideas, but completely rejected the notion of faith alone. It all comes down to how one defines “faith.” Luther, in my opinion, would disagree with this individual and call him an antinomianist. As a Lutheran, you and I are on common ground through the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. Horribly sorry for any confusion. I was expressing his viewpoints and not that of all Protestants.

I believe we were on common ground to begin with. It all just comes through what you meant by “faith alone.” Various people and denominations understand faith differently. Some people, like the person I am debating, are antinomianist and extreme followers of faith alone. What I wanted to clarify is that you were not arguing that faith cannot stand alone and be completely alone as in antinomianist views. I think we are on the same page. Merry Christmas and may God bless you abundantly!

Yes. I know what you mean.

There has to be some visible change or transformation.

Faith alone in the sense you bring up is not biblical.

Have a joyous Christmas!
Fran

You shouldn’t really bother with James 2 when talking with Protestants. If you want to really get through to them, you have to use Paul Alone (see the link in my signature for a good blog on how to use Paul Alone to easily outdo a Protestant on Salvation).

There is certainly a problem with terminology when talking with Protestants. The terms “saved” and “justified” can mean the same thing, depending on the context. For example, Ephesians 2:8 does not use the term “justified” but it does use the term “saved,” yet Protestants would say this verse is speaking of Justification. Similarly, Paul does speak of being justified by faith, but this refers to being saved by faith.

The main error that Protestants run into is confusing getting Saved/Justified with a different concept of attaining Eternal Life. The two are not the same. To get Saved/Justified means you’ve left your life of sin and become reconciled to God as an adopted child. But you don’t actually become worthy of Eternal Life unless you are Judged worthy of it after you live a life of Christian love and faithfulness. This is why Paul doesn’t speak of “eternal life” in places where he speaks of “justification,” but Paul does speak of “eternal life” in places where it refers to a Christian being judged by their lifestyle (e.g. Rom 2:5-8; Gal 6:7-9).

Also, it’s important to know that James 2:24 does NOT actually say “not by faith alone,” because it was actually Protestants who added the word “alone” to this verse! See THIS ARTICLE showing how adding the word “alone” to James 2:24 was a sneaky way that Protestants used to get around James’ clear teaching which refutes the Protestant error of Faith Alone.

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