The necessity of works cheapens what Christ did on the cross

How do I respond to a “faith alone” believer who claims that works being a necessity cheapens what Jesus did on the cross?

We’ve gone through bible verses already. More so looking for a perspective, or a different way of looking at it, to get through to him.

Jesus loved us by dying on the cross. If we do no good works, we are not replying to that love, which is ingratitude and punishable by damnation.

You respond by agreeing with him. He is absolutely correct. The Catholic Church does not teach that works are necessary (and, actually, this is a heresy).

The Catholic Church teaches that we are saved by the Grace of Christian Baptism, and by nothing else (and neither by faith nor works):

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, emphasis mine]

If we forfeit our Baptismal Grace through mortal sin, works will not restore it. That’s where Sacramental Confession comes in:

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, emphasis mine]

This is the sum total of the Catholic economy of salvation. Works are not a part of this economy.

You could, perhaps, respond that **faith **is not necessary, much less faith alone. I hesitate to say that Catholics believe in “Grace alone” (sola gratias), because this is a loaded phrase. But it is one of the three solas of the protestant movement (the other two being Scripture and Faith), and is the only one that Catholics and protestants can agree upon, if the term is defined properly (ie, the Grace of Christian Baptism).

If Scripture isn’t good enough for him, what else could be?

Two things Catholics and Protestants agree on but often don’t realize they agree:

  1. Faith in Our Lord is absolutely necessary for salvation.
  2. Our Lord absolutely commands us to do good works.

But are our works done to ‘build’ on our faith or are they a ‘result’ of our faith?

I’m just proposing a starting point to clear up mistaken notions. Do you disagree with 1 or 2? Why or why not?

Does the Church actually teach that faith is not necessary? Could you lead me to where you get that idea? I believe faith is very important, but maybe you could show me why you believe it isn’t. Thanks!

sjacob7,
Why does it have to be either or? Maybe it is as Marcus Grodi from ewtn would say “both,and”. Peace and blessings

I think I read/heard this attributed to St Pope John Paul II that he once said something along the lines of the Catholic says we are saved by ‘faith and works’ while the protestant says we are saved by ‘faith alone’ but then they add St James where he says ‘faith without works is dead’ so essentially we are saying the same thing just in a different language.

I would quote for him this verse -

I hope this has helped :slight_smile:

God Bless

Thank you for reading
Josh

No, he is not: works do not cheapen Christ’s sacrifice on the cross!

The Catholic Church teaches that we are saved by the Grace of Christian Baptism, and by nothing else (and neither by faith nor works):

[quote]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, emphasis mine]

[/quote]

To quote The Princess Bride: “I don’t think that means what you think it means”. :wink: The paragraph you quote speaks only to the effects of baptism, not the entirety of the doctrine on justification and salvation. If it meant what you assert it means, then you’d be saying that “once saved always saved” is true; and that, most definitely, is not the teaching of the Church.

If you keep reading in the catechism, and get to #1274, you’d read:

The Holy Spirit has marked us with the seal of the Lord (“Dominicus character”) “for the day of redemption.” “Baptism indeed is the seal of eternal life.” 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 faith - and in the hope of resurrection.

Notice that salvation isn’t simply a matter of being baptized, but rather, having “kept the seal [of baptism] until the end, remaining faithful”.

If we forfeit our Baptismal Grace through mortal sin, works will not restore it.

Agreed; yet, who ever said that this was what the Church teaches?

You could, perhaps, respond that **faith **is not necessary, much less faith alone.

Umm… pardon??? :hmmm:

Faith – our response to God’s grace – is precisely what we must have in order to be saved! Otherwise, it’s all magic: get some water dumped on us, say some words, and abracadbra – salvation! :rolleyes:

With their theology, man cannot contribute in the slightest way to his justification, as if that would somehow be an insult to Christ. But God wants so much more from us and for us than that; He didn’t create us to be mere passive, sinful worms; He created us to be great, in fact. We just need to learn of our limitations, not of our utter worthlessness. In Eden, Adam accepted no limitations whatsoever; he wanted to be God, apart from God. But Jesus reveals in John 15:5 that “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” We cannot be saved without God; He must throw the life preserver-but we must grab onto it; and we can refuse to do so. But as we turn to God our Savior, recognizing His existence, goodness, mercy, and love, we begin to change, and we begin to cooperate and obey. He wants to stretch us. He wants justice to be restored to His creation, and even increased; His plan is not to merely forgive injustice, aka “sin”, to just ignore it IOW. Sin, after all, is what separated man from God to begin with, and separates us from Him now unless we accept His offer of forgiveness, and begin to change, with His help, not only forgiven of sin but then ‘going, and sinning no more’.

God did not create us to sin. If He did then He had no right to blame Adam for sinning, nor to hold us accountable now. Instead He means to teach us that we cannot refrain from sin, we cannot maintain our moral integrity, let alone our life, we cannot be who we were created to be, without communion with Him. That’s what we’re here to learn, ultimately coming to love Him with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves; this is what a truly justified person “looks like”; this is the work God desires to do in us, and in this obedience comes naturally, willingly. Otherwise He may as well have left Adam in Eden, forgiving or ignoring his sin to begin with, injustice continuing to reign.

100% agreed.

Good works can be either a RESULT of our faith, or evidence of our faith.

Our FAITH in Jesus Christ COMPELLS us to do good deeds and live our lives as examples of Christian charity. Faith without works is dead (James 2:17). Truthfully, I do not see how anyone could claim to have “Faith” without good deeds to show for it. Does that make any sense?

When we finally meet Christ Jesus and we recieve our judgement, what shall we be judged upon?

Revelation 22:12 ~ “Behold, I am coming soon. I bring with me the recompense I will give to each according to his deeds.”

I think that says it all.

Just remember that there IS a difference between REDEMPTION and SALVATION. Christ died to REDEEM the ENTIRE human race as a whole. It is up to each INDIVIDUAL to take advantage of that redemption by:

  1. NOT rejecting Christ; and
  2. living as Christ commands us.

.

If someone gave your friend a car, would he refuse to use it because that would cheapen the gift?

Christ gave us a wonderful gift. The best way to show our gratitude is by trying to become more like Him. That includes works, feeding the poor, clothing the naked, healing the sick, etc.

Both.

Be very careful with that point of view. It is almost as myopic as the position in the OP!

David is right, though, we are saved by grace, through faith, not of works that any man should boast.

Essentially yes, it is a semantics problem, because most people that make this claim will also affirm that God expects us to do good works, it is the position and purpose of those works that is at issue.

It might be helpful to focus on the nature of the faith. Faith that saves, as James notes, is faith that works. If it is a faith that does not work, it is not a saving faith. I prefer Paul’s style of “faith working in love” rather than “faith and works” because it confuses Protestants who have been contaminated by Calvanistic heresies (such as the one the OP describes). That way you can set this issue aside, and move on to another topic. :smiley:

Another approach is to explain that Catholics do not stop reading Ephesians 2 at verses 8 and 9 but continue to v. 10. As such, we do not separate out the grace that saves us from the grace that produces the good works in which we are expected to walk. :thumbsup:

The Church does not, nor has it ever taught that FAITH is not necessary.

Of course not!! And the Church will not baptize anyone without a profession of faith.

catholic.com/radio/shows/saved-by-faith-or-works-3680

catholic.com/quickquestions/did-the-catholic-church-come-around-to-the-lutheran-position-on-faith-justification-a

catholic.com/blog/jimmy-akin/allowing-good-works-to-get-in-the-way-of-the-gospel

I have a question for the OP. What exactly DID Christ do on the cross, and what makes any human being believe they can “cheapen” what God has done, whether by doing, or not doing anything?

Papal tweet, 17th August 2014: " It is by God’s mercy that we are saved."

Faith & Good deeds are merely our responses to God’s Grace. In that respect, both are human works. That is to say, when a protestant insists on faith alone is necessary for Salvation, he is as foolish as any other who might insist on works lead to our salvation. BOTH are secondary - very much the junior partners - to the free gift of Grace which comes from God. He alone is necessary for Salvation.

Both.

-Tim-

Yes, salvation requires grace; yet, grace alone is not what God requires for salvation. (It sounds harsh, but it stands to reason: if all that was required by God was His grace, then all would be saved, works or no, baptism or no, even faith or no.) We could delve down into a laundry list of theological terms in order to see exactly how this works, but it boils down to this: God’s grace is necessary, but He requires a response to this grace for the sake of salvation. (That response, normatively, is an explicit faith in Christ which gives rise to baptism, but God is not limited by His own sacraments, and therefore, God may choose other means for the salvation of souls. Nevertheless, the normative route to salvation is faith in Christ, leading to baptism, followed by works of supernatural virtue.)

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