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


I will wait for something more substantial to the “liar, liar, pants on fire response.” Do you have anything from the text that doesn’t contradict the argumentation of Paul when he says none are righteous, no not one, but now a righteousness apart from the law has come? (That would be two emphatic statements in one ten verse section that contradicts your argument.)

Speaking of untenable explanations, I am not the one who attempted to use Paul’s condemnation of the Jews as lawbreakers to somehow support the conclusion that we are saved by works.


This is why I asked you to present the Catholic position as charitably as you could. The Catholic position is not that Christians are righteous and prove their righteousness through works, thereby earning their salvation.


Tell you what, if you agree not to use a brickbat to misrepresent my explanation I will respond in kind to yours.


Respectfully, Hodos; I disagree. We are saved by faith and works. As Christians, we are charged to perform works of spiritual and corporal mercy.

Excellent post Michael16.

God bless.



Michael16 . . .

Her point is: “ Why can’t we just believe? “

Because St. Paul says we cannot just believe.

He warned us in 1st Corinthians 13 if we have faith to move mountains (that is a LOT of faith), but have nit “love” or some translations say “charity” we are nothing and we GAIN . . . What? . . . Heaven? Because we have “faith”?

No ! We gain “NOTHING”.

We must have faith AND love.

And for that matter we need a supernatural “hope” as well.

That’s why St. Paul can matter of factly remind us that in “this hope we are saved” in Romans 8.

And even St. Paul’s context of “faith” in Romans has to do with “faith” in the sense of FIDELITY.

Not a mere intellectual assent.

If your spouse commits “infidelity” you pretty much know, they are talking to you about MORE than an intellectual infidelity.

Fides. Faith. Fidelity.

That is WHY, the very FIRST TIME in the Letter to the Romans and the very LAST TIME in Romans when St. Paul mentions the word “faith” he uses it in the context of OBEDIENCE of faith.

THAT is how we should think of part of a saving faith.


Hodos . . .

I would disagree. Paul makes clear that we are saved by faith apart from works.

Those “works” are works apart from New Covenant grace.

Works done under the power of grace is different than works done on your own accord (such as people who are in the Old Covenant and tring to be saved by works such as circumcision that could never save you).

St. Paul differentiates between these two differing types of works.

GALATIANS 6:7-8 7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For
he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption;
but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Notice there is some sewing that you can do reap unto eternal life st. Paul.

NOT GALATIANS 6:7-8 (but a phantom verse) 7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will still reap corruption because “reaping” never matters for salvation. Only if you have faith wull you be saved. You SHOULD have works, but they are not needed for salvation.

Not all works are the same.

  • Old Testament works not salvific.

  • New Testament works APART from the Holy Spirit not salvific.

  • New Covenant works united to Christ CAN BE salvific.

But even pretend if it were “all works” were worthless in salvation, you still cannot be justified by faith ALONE.

Why not?

Because you need HOPE too. A supernatural hope. Already this is out of the realm of the error of faith ALONE for salvation.


I would disagree with this assessment, in that Paul here isn’t saying that our works justify us, which was the whole point of the conversation. Paul is actually saying in Chapter 2 to the Jews that by our works we are condemned. He is not making the case that somehow we are a good, moral, people abiding by the law of God. He is saying that we are law-breakers and are justly condemned by God under the law, and that by works no man will be justified. It is by faith that we are justified. Now, I agree with you that Paul later addresses the life of the Christian, who has already been justified by this point in his argument through faith, that the Christian should walk in the Spirit, and by doing so, the law is fulfilled by Christ’s righteousness, not my own. If this is what you are alluding to, then we are in complete agreement. However, I still stand in alignment with Paul that we are justified by grace apart from works.

Here again, in Galatians you skip the first four chapters where Paul makes it eminently clear that we are saved by grace through faith, and jumped to chapter 6 where Paul describes good works as the fruit of faith and walking in the Spirit.

I contest this point as well. Paul makes clear in both Romans and Galatians that there isn’t a dichotomy between “OT” works and “NT” works. Paul uses the example of Abraham extensively to demonstrate that we have ALWAYS been justified by grace through faith.

Here we are 50% aligned. We do need hope, and that hope is found in Jesus Christ ALONE for salvation, not in me. It is Christ who justifies me, it is the Holy Spirit who calls me to faith, and it is the Holy Spirit through faith that gives me the ability to follow God. Notice however, even in Paul’s argument in Romans he builds the case that we are equally and justly condemned under the law (Romans 1-3.5), that we are justified by faith in Christ (Romans 3.5-6), then he talks about even in his justified state he is still subject to sin (Romans 7), but that even though he fails, is it God who justifies him so no one can lay a charge against him (Romans 8), he then speaks of God’s grace applied to Israel who rejected it and the grace given to Gentiles who responded to faith (Romans 9-10), and then starts talking about our life in responding to God’s grace (Chapters 10-15). There is a flow to the argument that Paul makes in his letters that you can’t just ignore.


Hodos, give it up. Your position has been refuted. If Saint Paul was teaching sola fide, and we have sufficiently established that he wasn’t; he would have said alone, not apart.

What it boils down to is faith and works, as we work out our salvation; with God’s grace.

Thus; the Lutheran position falls apart.

Now, I charge you that you love contention and you seek to convert; not engage in ecumenical dialogue. And if anyone disagrees with you; you rail at them as sophists.

So, Hodos: Please stop arguing and disturbing the peace of our community. We are happy Catholics and will remain Catholic and wish to be left in peace.


I have not seen anything refuted thus far. The only thing I have seen from your side is an appeal to authority divorced from actually looking at the scriptures. Claiming that a point has been refuted by fiat, and actually doing so using the evidence at hand are two very different things.

I am not “disturbing the peace.” You brought up the subject and I responded on topic. If discussing scripture in a scripture thread is somehow disturbing to you, please, feel free to join a new forum thread. And again, as I told you before, by all means, remain Catholic. No one has suggested that you do otherwise.

I would also point out that I have merely been responding to your posts which were specifically addressed to me. I have not initiated new dialogue changing subject. If anyone has been argumentative it was you in response to our private conversation via PM. You chose to carry that here.


No, Hodos. I read the Sacred Scripture clearly and it refutes your position. You simply refuse to see it and give up.

I’m not going to repeat myself to someone who doesn’t want to listen; so I’ll say this one last time.

Leave us alone. We do not subscribe to your errors that are clearly refuted by Sacred Scripture.


Hodos . . .

I still stand in alignment with Paul that we are justified by grace apart from works.

This is a partial truth Hodos.

I am not saying we are justified by works of law in the context of circumcision or other Mosaic Law.

I am not saying we are justified ON OUR OWN with our works.

We bring nothing to the proverbial table when we are drawn to God. Not even “faith”.

Semi-Pelagians think THEY make the first move toward God. They are wrong.

God makes the first move.

Then we COOPERATE and are “born again” (that’d be baptized).

This is the entrance ramp or gateway to the Christian Life.

In this UNDESERVED GIFT of baptism, we receive among other things, supernatural faith, hope, and charity (love).

That is the MOMENT of our salvation.

And it includes MORE than mere imputing or “covering with the righteousness of Christ.”

We ARE covered but we are ALSO transformed.

But this transformation is just the beginning.

He who is justified, let him be justified further still.

The LIFE of GRACE includes WORKS at this point or at least it can include grace now (if you do not reject the grace given you).

Our hope is a grace too. That is WHY it is called SUPERNATURAL faith, HOPE, and charity.

And our FAITH now becomes supernaturalized as well.

So if by “standing with Paul” you INCLUDE grace workings (in addition to faith and hope), I am all in. That is Scriptural.

But if you mean you SHOULD have hope and charity but you do not NEED this for salvation, I am going to take issue with such an unbiblical assertion.


Hodos . . .

Here again, in Galatians you skip the first four chapters where Paul makes it eminently clear that we are saved by grace through faith, and jumped to chapter 6 where Paul describes good works as the fruit of faith and walking in the Spirit.

Chapter 6 IS a culmination of earlier chapters. I agree.

And we ARE saved by grace through faith. I agree with that too.

But St. Paul, or “Paul” as you refer to him as, NEVER says faith ALONE.

You do not believe (it seems) that you can sew to ETERNAL LIFE.

Do you? I hope you do.

I sure do.

Earlier chapters about works in the context of circumcision not saving us are irrelevant (as far as THIS discussion goes).

I already affirm that works of law such as circumcision are not salvific.

I affirm too what Ephesians 2:8-9 teach. Works on our own (boastable) cannot get us to DESERVE justification.

But once you have the Divine life IN YOU (not merely “covering” you) things change.

Jesus said “Apart from me, you can do NOTHING!”

But WITH Jesus you CAN “do some stuff” as Jimmy Akin has said.

For the purposes of THIS discussion, the earlier chapters of Galatians are inconsequential.


Hodos . . .

Paul uses the example of Abraham extensively to demonstrate that we have ALWAYS been justified by grace through faith.

We will deal with that issue, when I get by a computer in the next day or two.


Hodos . . .

Here we are 50% aligned. We do need hope

Well this is great!

Then you are at least admitting you are NOT justified by faith ALONE.

You are now at least affirming you NEED faith plus hope.



Michael16 . . .

Hodos, give it up. Your position has been refuted.

I agree with you Michael16. His position has been refuted.

But may I respectfully disagree here with Hodos “giving it up”?

I think the discussion CAN be very fruitful.

Hodos. I WANT to have the discussion with you on the justification issue.

And let’s go into great depth.

I’m good with it all.

I KNOW there is nowhere in Scripture saying you are justified by faith ALONE.

You know it.

Everybody reading here knows it.

Yet you hold to it in some sense.

Let’s move deeper into this topic and see what develops.


We do not deny that by the Holy Spirit we are transformed, I said as much in my answers above if you scroll up. However, this transformation is brought about not by my merit but by the Holy Spirit, apart from which there would be no transformation. This is what Paul calls the process of sanctification (and he is careful to distinguish sanctification from justification). In other words, God gets all the credit. Hopefully this clarifies.


This is irrelevant as it ignores the background and definition of what Sola Fide means. Our definition of Sola Fide is essentially a rejection of justification by works, it affirms that we are saved by grace apart from works, which is specifically stated by Paul emphatically several times. To quote you, you know it, we all know it.

By the way, your teaching of the doctrine of justification leads to questions like this: If a person attempted reconciliation but the priest failed to show up?

Not a whole lot of peace in this understanding of justification.


Hi Hodos I enter this argument for the first. Unlike others, I am glad for your contributions to these discussions as they provide viewpoints (without being aggressive about it) we would otherwise miss.

I disagree though that Paul emphatically said we are justified by grace apart from works. Paul doesn’t say that, and Jesus especially doesn’t say that.

See Gal 5:6 the first part of which sums up Romans and Galations (not justified by works of law) but the second part of which directly speaks to good works (i.e. not of the law):
“For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.”

BOTH Faith and good works are necessary. Faith - **working through love **.

But most importantly, see Mt 25:31-46. Jesus is emphatic that lack of charity means no entry to heaven, “as what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me”.


I figure that I will address this first. The Lutheran Confessions state that works are necessary to the Christian life. So just keep that in mind as I address what you said about Paul’s declaration of what justifies us before God.

Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Now, by my count Paul (I do not make a distinction between what the Holy Spirit inspired through Paul and what Jesus says, I do not know what your view is on the Trinity, but we don’t do that) states explicitly twice that we are justified by faith apart from the law, once stating that we are not justified by the law, and several other times saying that we are justified through Christ by faith. If you are saying this level of repetition is not emphatic, then I don’t know what is. This doesn’t even go into the Greek grammar where there are several times where Paul places the sections about faith in the emphatic position of the sentence.

Again, to summarize my position, your works do not justify you before God (as Paul explicitly stated above), but they are necessary for the Christian life because God has never revoked our obligation to exercise dominion over his creation and to love our neighbor.


You keep quoting from Paul where he is railing against works of the LAW. Not all works, simply works of the law. Paul is simply saying that works of the law do not get you anywhere. Elsewhere he is clear that good works (fruit of the spirit, working through love, etc…) are still necessary, as does James say, and as does Jesus especially says. Paul in this place is addressing Jews who think do to the old covenants and ceremonial laws believe they have a special place (boasting) in relationship to Jesus as the Son of God. They don’t. That is his point.


I think there is a failure here to distinguish between what is meant by the word “justified.” In Lutheran soteriology, it means “to account just.” It is that action whereby God acquits and accepts us. In Catholic soteriology, it means “to make just.” It is that process whereby God makes us just.

@edward_george1 used an analogy I really liked on here once, that we can imagine a soul as a plank and sin as a nail being driven in that plank. Protestants and Catholics alike seek the repair of that plank. What Protestants call “justification” is the removal of the nails, removal of the sins themselves. Then the repair of the holes they call “sanctification.” Catholics call that whole process “justification.” Either way, both groups believe that it is nothing from us that carries out that process; a damaged plank cannot expel nails from itself any more than it can repair holes in itself. As the joint declaration concluded, their views really aren’t that different. They largely say the same thing with different terminology, which is why Protestants tend to accuse Catholics of believing that we can earn salvation (which they don’t believe) and why Catholics tend to accuse Protestants of believing that having faith is enough for salvation (which they don’t believe under the Catholic definition of “faith”).


I would go back and read my answers above to this as well. This was already addressed. Paul condemns both the Jews and Gentiles by the law in the same passage, and tells both audiences in the same passage that we uphold the law because they demonstrate our sin. Clearly, you are mistaking what Paul means by trying to make this distinction between works and works of the law, because that is what both are being held accountable to. Paul’s point is that we are all condemned by the law (God’s righteous command) and that because of this we are guilty before him. Our justification according to Paul is that we are justified by faith apart from this very same law. That said, we both agree that Paul doesn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. We are still obligated as Christians to God’s righteous decree of the law. However, the law condemns as Paul states in this passage, it doesn’t justify.

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