What is the use of good works if Jesus Died for us?


A protestant said that we don’t need good works because Christ died for us. He said it with a Bible passage: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” - John 15.13

What is the truth?


Umm … laying down one’s life IS a work, actually. In the sense that it’s something you do, rather than something you just think, feel or believe. That’s how we Catholics define works :shrug:

In any event Jesus clearly defined what is necessary for our salvation - ‘if you love me you will keep my commandments’. He told the rich young man what is necessary to have eternal life and be perfect as we all must be - ‘keep the commandments … sell all you possess, give it to the poor, and come follow me’. He said upon what basis we will be judged on the last day - ‘when I was hungry you fed me, when I was thirsty you gave me to drink … what you do to the least of these you do to me’.

There’s an awful lot of things need doing, rather than simple belief, involved in being saved based on those verses, wouldn’t you say?


Gee… Thanx!!

God Bless


I’m often struck by people who read John 3:16, For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life, and then gloss over John 3:36 - Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him**.

Oh, hey, Jesus. I love you, and I know you died for me, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I have to OBEY you, does it?!?


TI 3:8b (Paul to Titus) I** want you to insist on these points, that those who have believed in God be careful to devote themselves to good works; these are excellent and beneficial to others.**

TI 3:14 But let our people, too, learn to devote themselves to good works to supply urgent needs, so that they may not be unproductive.

JMS 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have** works**? Can that faith save him?

JMS 2:17 So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

JMS 2:18 Indeed someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.

JMS 2:20 Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? [ouch]

JMS 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar?

JMS 2:22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works.

JMS 2:24 See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

JMS 2:25-26 And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also **justified by works **when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a different route? For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

JMS 3:13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show his works by a good life in the humility that comes from wisdom.

New American Bible


The Truth is what Jesus told us. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Who are you going to believe, Jesus or the Protestants?


Here’s the way to understand the value in our works:

1 Cor 3:16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

Galatians 6:18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren.

Romans 8:16-17 When we cry, “Abba, Father!” it is the Spirit Himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.You see, when we do works IN HIM, in cooperation with His Spirit, there is tremendous power at work. Those who deny the salvific power of our works done IN HIM are actually denying the power of the Spirit. Where our works draw their power is from the Cross, flowing through us. The power is all His. And we apply it by cooperating our spirit with His.

Again, those who deny the power of works done in Him actually deny Him. :eek:


We do not need good works to get to heaven. In fact, Paul warned about this kind of thinking in his letter to the Romans. Romans 3:20 says, “No one will be declared righteous in His (God’s) sight by observing the law.” And in Romans 3:28, he says, “a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.” The bible is clear that all a person needs to do to be saved is have faith in Jesus as their Savior.

To answer your question, though, we do good works to show thanks and praise to God for everything that He has done for us. Good works are fruits of faith. Since Jesus died for us, we want to thank Him for it and one of the ways we do that is to obey His law. Therefore good works come about as a result of true faith.


Yes there are two kinds of faith; a true faith and a said faith. A true faith is a saving faith and must be full of love. See Galatians 5:6. If therefore your faith is shown by your works and thus becomes a true faith then works must accompany faith for salvation. See 1 Cor 13:13. The Bible is very clear that the demons believe and shudder. In the letter of James we see a very clear exhortation to do good works. In fact he explicitly states that faith without works is dead. I call that a said faith, James calls it a dead faith, neither of which save.

To accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and to pray the sinners prayer, as many Protestants do, is an assent of the will and therefore becomes a “work”. It is something that you “do”. Also you “do” something everytime you go to church or say "I love you " to Jesus. Could you really say that you can have a saving faith that is disembodied of love? Don’t the two, like body and soul, need to be united for a fullness of faith?? Just a thought…teachccd


Oh and read Matthew 25: 31-46 if you believe that we needn’t do anything but have faith. Sola fide or faith alone is not only unbiblical it is anti- biblical. You must throw out the second chapter of James. Oh and by the way, Martin Luther really tried his darndest to do just that. But, as we see, God is in charge…


And, since Faith without works is dead, one would assume that a lack of good works would mean one is not faithful.


BTW, welcome to the Forums, Angie!!!


“Take up your cross and follow me.” :slight_smile:


Paul is clearly discussing the Works of the Law - old covenant - not the works that bring faith to life - works of love for God & neighbor… as James and Matthew so clearly teach.

The bible is clear that all a person needs to do to be saved is have faith in Jesus as their Savior.

A better way to say it … “the bible teaches a person needs faith to be saved” … Because the bible also clearly teaches

  1. that a faith without works is dead, and
  2. a dead faith is not salvific

Use the whole bible, not just bits and pieces that fit a preferred theology.


I’d like to reinforce quasimodo’s point by pointing out what Paul says right before those Romans passages:Romans 2:5-6 the righteous judgment of God, who** will render to each person according to his deeds.**


Well lets see.close down all the soup kitchens,not a bad idea thats a good work,dont help any neighbor out if he/she needs help…thats a good work! Maybe sitting on a small rug sipping tea and meditating on the life of a turnip would also be showing love for Jesus and what He did…instead of getting up off of that rug and helping to build a new barn for ones neighbor since his burned down last week…green tea is good for what ails ya!..like those three monks…see,hear and speak no evil…and a banana split for dinner!!!


This is and has always been a circular argument. Protestants believe that good works are a fruit of your faith and demonstrate your faith and Catholics believe that a saving faith INCLUDES good works. So…

We have two theologies ultimately performing the same outcome. One says that only your faith saves you and the other says that faith and works saves. But both agree that love is central to the message of Jesus Christ since His divine nature is love.

There is NOTHING that we can do to earn our way into heaven. We are not saved by works. Christ’s death redeemed mankind and only through Him may we merit heaven. BUT Jesus commands us in many biblical texts to love and to follow Him. “They will know that you are my disciples by your love” says Jesus.

Post reformation theology went to great lengths to destroy the understanding of the sacraments and the papacy. By doing so they had to concoct a theology whereby “doing” any of these things was not necessary for salvation. Why?? So that their followers would leave the Catholic Church. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater…Good Grief!!


for good measure, we should throw in here what the Catholic Church teaches about Justification and “Merit.”

This discussion starts in the Catechism of the Catholic Church at paragraph 1987 and especially about Merit at paragraph 2006.

“2007 With regard to God, there is no strict right to any merit on the part of man. Between God and us there is an immeasurable inequality, for we have received everything from him, our Creator.”

As usual, the CCC is very technical and philosophical, and it doesn’t easily condense into slogans like sola fide or other things that roll off your tongue.

I’m a bit disturbed here in this thread about the apparent confusion between “works of the Law” and “works in general.”

For someone who is genuinely converted in heart and soul and mind, every work is a blessing and gift and a self-less sacrifice. Every good work is done almost mindlessly as an act of worship of God and without regard to the cost.


There are many Protestants who believe false things about what it takes to get to heaven; don’t try to lump them all together. By the way, it isn’t belonging to a certain church that saves somebody; a true faith is one that believes the bible is the inspired word of God and everything in it is true. Of course then you have the problem of how to interpret the bible which is another point altogether. But we should stop all these attacks on certain churches and try to interpret the bible in the correct way.

But back to the point. Faith is a gift from God; it takes no effort on the part of the person. It is completely an act of God. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.” So we can do nothing to get faith; it is all from God. In order to have faith, there is no action on our part involved.

Yes we do want to do good works and a true faith will produce those, but they are not necessary to get to heaven. Only what Jesus has done can accomplish that.


Our God-given faith enables us to believe in the Gospel and act in accordance with God’s will. By doing so–as well as by partaking in the sacraments–we unite our own actions to those of Christ, and thus come to share in his divine life.

Hence, our own good works do not undermine or contradict Christ’s salvific work–they are continuations of it.


It would be hard to clump over 33000 different denominations all together. My bad. It isn’t belonging to a certain Church that saves someone. Well, o.k. except maybe if it is the Church that Christ Himself founded. You state that interpreting the Bible is a problem but you skip the solution. How do we know that the Bible is the inspired Word of God?? Because it says so??? So does the Koran and the Book of Mormon. Without an inspired Church to interpret Scripture, how do we ever know what it says?? Why are there so many denominations within Christianity all claiming Bible only inspiration. Do we have a confused Holy Spirit or a confused bunch of people?? How do you know that 27 books belong in the New Testament?? The Old Testament never said how many books belong in the New Testament. Who determined that out of all of the acclaimed apostolic writings only 27 were to be considered inspired??

I am not attacking anyone. If my observations seem like attacks then perhaps there are many unanswered questions that I cannot get from any non- Catholic Christian…

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