[quote=Lehrer]Try to convince me that this verse nullifies everthing the Roman Catholic Church teaches about man saving himself with good works.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - that not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - NOT BY WORKS , so no one can boast.” Eph 2:8-9
It doesn’t - but that is of no importance.
Provided, that is, one does not forget that the Church lives only because God is gracious. If the Church had any life but that of Christ, it would have withered a long time ago. So any Christian vision of the Saints or of merit, has to be radicalised by being seen in the perspective of the grace of Christ. Jesus is radical - all the time. Not least with notions of Messiahship - He radicalises them, just as He radicalised the Bible & the Law: there is nothing more radical and iconoclastic than being an accursed Messiah on a Cross: but He was. And He radicalises merit, by making it possible for us to have merit only if it ceases to be meritorious: He crowns His own works in us, as Augustine says - we are able to merit, not by being one party, and God another, but being intimately united with the Father in Christ through the Spirit.
IOW, merit is made safe for us, by ceasing to be separate from grace; by (so to say) dying to its own
meritoriousness, just as all things must die in the dying Christ: for it’s only by dying that they (& we) can come to the newness of the life of the Resurrection.
Which is one reason (ISTM anyway) why the CC does not understand, by “merit”, merit in the strict sense: merit for us is always founded in God’s mercy and goodness. never in our independent agency; it is always less than merit - it is always merit “in a sense”, qualified merit. It is vital that it should be.
Grace is the source of all goods - it is really just another name for God He is the first grace, and all created things are contingent upon His universal causality. IMO, what we know as grace is the same as the creativity of God’s Love as it affects limited creatures.
Good works are entirely God’s in their goodness - the faults are ours. Yet they are Christ’s through His members, part of His self-offering to the Father: for we are in Him: no praise to us