Which Gospel is your favorite? / Justification by faith and/or works?


I believe the Gospel of James was a Gnostic work. However; I do agree with you, GospelOfMatthew. Saint James is a greatly important Letter.


Me too. I never tire if reading James or the other Catholic letters. Great concise summations of the faith.


Might well be, I have never really researched those Gospels much. Only the Gospel of Thomas I have explored a bit


I’ve explored the Nag Hammadi Gnostic writings. Ugh, they were dense and dry reading. As well as dreadful heresies. I’ve read some of the Gospel of Thomas. I’m not sure what to think of it. In some ways, the text reads like a Far Eastern spiritual treatise and smacks to me of Gnosticism.


Right, we believe that we are saved by grace through faith, just as Paul says. However, just as Paul says, we believe that we are saved for a purpose (for good works - See Ephesians 2:10). We believe that our works do not determine our righteousness before God, only faith in Christ does. However, we still have the same obligations and duties to our neighbor out of love. Faith spurs us to works, but works do not save. We make a distinction between justification and sanctification as Paul does. I hope that clarifies. I too like the book of James, I just get irritated at its frequent misuse.


”But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”

  • James 2:18

The way I like to think about it is we are saved by faith but without good works we don’t have faith (James 2:26). So we equally need both. Good works without faith we are not saved, because then we are like any other philanthropist atheist. Does that make sense?


We would draw a distinction between righteousness before God and righteousness before our neighbor, and I think James is doing just this. When you look at how he gets to that statement, he is concerned with demonstrating our faith to our neighbor through our actions. Our faith should be spurring our actions. So if I say I don’t believe in abortion, but then ask my girlfriend to have an abortion, my professed faith and my actions are out of alignment, and says something profound about your faith. The word that James uses when relating faith and works is that they are synergw (working with one another), and that works bring faith to completion (eteleiwthn). This word carries the basic idea of making something fuller, more substantial. I hope that helps. This site used to let me type in greek font, for some reason I can’t do it anymore.


Respectfully, Hodos; I disagree. We are saved by faith and works. As Christians, we are charged to perform works of spiritual and corporal mercy. Works. We are charged to perform works; works that please God as if the were done to Christ. To deny that is to deny half of the Gospels. If we are charged to perform works; that is part of our duties to God and add to our righteousness before God.

Remember: Abraham was righteous, not by faith alone ( An interpolation made by Luther ); but because he also acted on that faith.


Also just faith without works is a bit like the Pharisees knowing tradition and the law but not practicing it and living a moral life. We need both equally, I think it’s interesting to see how different denominations view this, how we have some similarity but also some difference


True that.


Protestants often misunderstand or less charitably distort the Catholic position on justification. They will claim that we Catholics believe we can merit our initial justification, which isn’t true. It is only by God’s grace that we are justified and sanctified. And it is only by God’s grace that we have faith or perform works. It is our free will that enables us to choose faith and works. We either accept the free gift or reject it. We all agree that it is only by grace that we are justified and sancictified and gain salvation, and we agree that both faith and works are Important… I’d say the difference is that Catholics believe both faith and works effect salvation while Protestants believe only faith is necessary for salvation yet works will naturally flow from faith. I realize there are many Protestants sects with different beliefs and am generalizing but this is how I understand it broadly without getting into detail about the different beliefs among denominations.


Mark has one of my all time favorite verses in Scripture:

“Immediately the father of the child cried out, ‘I believe, help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)


I probably get the most enjoyment out of Matthew but they all serve a divine purpose by God and they preach the same message of salvation.

Matthew was the most venerated in the 1st century and you can tell it was written for a heavily Jewish audience. It hits the deepest into Christ’s preaching and teaching.

Mark was written by a very youthful man during his exposure to Christ and it is the most straightforward and succinct.

Luke has the strongest message towards works of mercy, healing, women, vulnerable, outcasts, and the downtrodden.

John is the theological and poetic summit of the New Testament.


I love Saint Matthew. I do agree that Saint Matthew had to have been written for a Jewish audience. It struck me the most; because I have to admit that I’m a Pharisee at heart. I love debate and exegesis. That’s one of the many reasons that I became Catholic. I love talking doctrine.

I recently spoke with a ELCA pastor. When I addressed the question of sola fide; he was stumped when I mentioned faith and works. He admitted to me that one of the problems in his tradition is that there’s difficulty in interpreting this passage and still preserving the sola fide principle.

I found out that in his tradition, when difficulties in exegesis arise; they rely on faith when inconsistency arises.

I spoke with mother after talking with the Pastor and she wants me to say I disagree with her instead of saying Luther was wrong in several points. However; she still says that Catholicism is wrong and has no remorse for calling the True Faith “ that &$@* religion. “ Her point is: “ Why can’t we just believe? “



Quite surprising at this point that in a Catholic forum, Matthew comes in at the bottom of the poll so far.


Hahahaha; that’s funny


I would disagree. Paul makes clear that we are saved by faith apart from works. However, as you stated we ARE charged to perform good works. This is an essential part of the Christian life, that Luther affirmed in his writings (A Treatise On Good Works, On Christian Freedom, The Small Catechism (Table of Duties and explanation of the Ten Commandments)) and Lutherans affirm in the Lutheran Confessions (Augsburg Confession, Article VI, Article XX).

With regard to Abraham, Paul discusses this at length in Romans and Galatians saying that Abraham was righteous by faith (righteousness was credited to him by faith first, and his actions followed). James’ example affirms this understanding that Abraham’s actions demonstrate his faith bringing it to visible completion.

With regard to Luther saying we are saved by faith alone, this isn’t an interpolation, but is exactly what St. Paul writes in Romans 3, we are saved by faith apart from works. Paul sets up a dichotomy between faith and works, making justification entirely dependent on faith in the work of Christ. I would be glad to go through Romans 1-4 with you in private if you have an interest.


I agree. We both agree that works are necessary to the Christian life. The big difference between us is the means by which we are declared righteous before God.


Based on this statement, I would say that this pastor is poorly educated in his doctrine, or has abandoned it because this subject has been thoroughly discussed and explored by many, many, Lutheran and other Protestant writings that provide sound exegetical basis for the doctrine of justification.


Respectfully thanks for the reply…Opinion in asking this question.

Titled in our Bible as …The Letter of James, who was widely known as the Brother of the Lord…I am not talking about Gospels ones has mention found 11,000 scrolls… Gnostic writings…

This James and calling in our Bible… The Letter of James …is the one St Peter, St Paul, other Apostles, Jerusalem Assembly, all meet with this James (Yaakov) on the issue of …Circumcision and what to do with the… God fearer’s and the gentles gathering on their weekly Sabbath who wanted to enter the fold of Faith?

One will find all mentioned above in the writings of St Paul’s own letters or Epistle who mentions this James and this James is found also in Act and dies not to long before the Temple is destroyed…Even Joseph Flavius mentions in his Historical writings James martyed death… might of been a cause which lead to the Temple destruction…

…and this James known as the …Brother of the Lord, who immed after Jesus death. heads the Jerusalem Assembly for 30 years, whom St Peter, St Paul meet with…

…The Temple was not destroyed till 70 AD…James Letter seems like a beautiful Homily… beautiful Gospel teaching of Jesus does it not??..show me your Faith without works and I will show you my Faith by my works…and there is so much more within also?.

Just asking why James Letter is not called a Gospel, for he knew Jesus, all the Apostles was alive and historically known also was greatly loved by all the Community even Roman Soldiers, for he kept the peace even around the surrounding area and they say he lived on his knees within the Temple…James is mentioned many times a high points within the NT right? Was a very Holy man who drank no strong drink and was a vegan…there is much much on this James is there not?

This James is even mentioned and found withing the writings of Gnostic Scriptures found…interesting is all.

This James his name in Hebrew… James =.Yaakov…is even mention in Joseph Flavius own writings also…Historically

Thanks Peace :slightly_smiling_face:

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