Works as a "by-product"

Hi everyone! :wave:

I’m trying to understand the idea that works is a by-product of salvation. Catholics see works as a response to grace rather than a by- product of salvation. If it’s a response it voluntary, if it’s a by-product that sounds involuntary. If works is nothing more than a by-product where does free-will fit in?

Thanks for your answers!!

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:

I fell away and attended a Southern Baptist Church for about five years before I reverted and I struggled with that concept of works being a by-product of “salvation” rather than something I had to make myself do.

For starters, I have always been uncomfortable with saying I have salvation. Certainly I have the means of salvation, but the final determination will be made by Jesus when I stand before him in judgement. I think that we should consider using “faith” instead of “salvation” for the purpose of this discussion: Is works a by-product of faith?

There are numerous passages in the New Testament which seem to indicate that good works do not always flow spontaneously from faith. The parable of the seed that fell by the wayside comes to mind as one example. Since I am not an apologist and am also somewhat confused by the connection, I am very interested in what others may post on this thread.

To my simple mind, a willed response to God’s grace is necessary to produce the works. For instance, by grace I get the feeling that I should contribute some labor to Habitat for Humanity. The question then becomes: Does grace get my aching bones out of bed on Saturday morning to go do the work or does my will enter into it? Or, the Knights are planning to paint a widow’s house. Grace moves me to help, but does grace actually climb the ladder and swing the paint brush or do I have to furnish the muscle to get it done?

I am one of those unfortunate souls who seldom “feels” God’s presence. I know intellectually that he is present but that’s about as far as it usually goes. However, it has been my experience that God rewards us for each and every one of our good works, frequently in ways that are not immediately known to us and mostly not in kind. If helping another deepens my faith in any way or makes it easier for me to do it again, I consider that a more than ample reward.

I do wish I could get a better grasp of this so I could respond more effectively when the subject is being discussed. How about it, apologists?

The Bible tells us that each of us has a path lain out for us as a Christian that God wishes for us to follow. Do you know what your path of Good Works is?… no, not any more than I do. The only way that one knows what those works are is when the Holy Spirit compels us to do the works that God wishes.

So the impetuous for doing good works comes from the Holy Spirit through our faith, else we wouldn’t know what Good Works are being asked of us in the first place. Do we have a choice in the matter… sure we can say, ‘I do not want to do these good works’ – and that would be a sin because we are rejecting that which God is encouraging us to do through our faith. Love working through faith, works working through faith… this is all spoken of in Hebrews.

We can choose to do good things on our own but these are not good works as viewed by God – in fact as Scripture points out all of our acts of righteousness are but filthy rags (or garments) to God when they are done by our own sinful selves and not from him.

We are also told in the Bible that a good follower of Jesus will inevitably bear good fruit. In other words if one has faith they will bear good fruit.

If we carry God in our hearts it’ll show in our decisions, even though we might not give it much thought.

It will definately affect our choices.

If we are so full of ourselves that there is little room for God that will show in our choices too. Society today is full of that.

"Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, *** ** **** or a snake when he asks for a fish?*** *** ** **** If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.*** **Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This **is the law and the prophets." Matt 7:9-12
I don’t see good works as a by product of salvation. I have known a lot of people who “knew” that they were saved, yet in the daylight were judgmental and uncharitable.

Jesus also said:

*** “Stop judging, that you may not be judged.*** ******* For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.”*** Matt 7:1-2

Simply put it is our willingness to open ourselves to the Love of God that will bring Good Works. Goodness will flow through us from God to the world and we will become blessings to the world around us.

Faith, (after all) is living in belief. It is acting out our belief. The good works will come naturally if we let it happen.

*** Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers:****** all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.****** He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.****** Know this, my dear brothers: everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath,****** for the wrath of a man does not accomplish the righteousness of God.****** Therefore, put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls.*** *** Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.*** James 1:16-22
+T+
Michael

All of these points are directly from the Bible -

We are saved by the grace of God, through our faith.

God’s plan for salvation is so that we can glorify Him and live like Jesus in doing good works.

Our faith grows through the Word of God (scripture, prayer, and overcoming the challenges in our life [which points us to the Word and prayer]).

BECAUSE we have faith, we do good works, hence fulfilling God’s plan for us.

If you don’t do good works, it’s an indication you don’t have faith or it’s weak.

[quote=awalt]All of these points are directly from the Bible -

We are saved by the grace of God, through our faith.

God’s plan for salvation is so that we can glorify Him and live like Jesus in doing good works.

Our faith grows through the Word of God (scripture, prayer, and overcoming the challenges in our life [which points us to the Word and prayer]).

BECAUSE we have faith, we do good works, hence fulfilling God’s plan for us.

If you don’t do good works, it’s an indication you don’t have faith or it’s weak.
[/quote]

Agreed. With a minor nit:
BECAUSE we have grace, we do good works, hence fulfilling God’s plan for us.

In addition for non-Catholics to help understand.

“Faith” in the Catholic sense, and "Faith’ in the Protestant sense are not the word.

In Catholic terminology “faith” is the intellectual belief that God exists.

Protestants tend to mush the Catholic terminology “faith, hope, and love” all into one jar and label it “faith”.

That is why the “faith alone” argument vs. “faith, hope, and charity” is bunk. Bickering about the same thing.

Think of a triangle. Label the sides “faith”, “hope”, “love”.
Write “Faith” in the middle.

Same thing.

Truly faith without works is dead, you take away the charity, and your triangle is no longer there.

Everyone agrees we are saved by grace alone. I’ts only by grace we can do anything.

[quote=Shibboleth]We are also told in the Bible that a good follower of Jesus will inevitably bear good fruit. In other words if one has faith they will bear good fruit.
[/quote]

Hi Shibboleth! :wave:

When scripture says that those with faith “will” bear good fruit is this volunatary such as one chooses to obey God, or involuntary such as gears in a moter where one will turn because the other made it turn?

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:

[quote=awalt]All of these points are directly from the Bible -

We are saved by the grace of God, through our faith.

God’s plan for salvation is so that we can glorify Him and live like Jesus in doing good works.

Our faith grows through the Word of God (scripture, prayer, and overcoming the challenges in our life [which points us to the Word and prayer]).

BECAUSE we have faith, we do good works, hence fulfilling God’s plan for us.

If you don’t do good works, it’s an indication you don’t have faith or it’s weak.
[/quote]

Hi awalt! :wave:

Where does free will fit in?

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:

By our free will, we choose to participate in the sacraments, and wholy accept the supernatural gifts we recieve through them.

From these supernatural gifts, we can develop stronger

Hope
Love > FAITH
Charity /

It naturally follows that with stronger Hope Love and Charity (FAITH) we are more receptive to the guidance of God in our lives.

The manifestation of the stronger sense of Hope Love and Charity (FAITH) is Works.

The original choice to accept this chain of events is OURS. God offers it freely to those who CHOOSE to accept it.

It also stands to reason that though we have FAITH and have been doing good Works, our FAITH may waiver. We might be tempted by something, or we may just become complacent. So we also must continuously choose to accept God’s hand in our life- and continuously ASK for those Graces (through the sacraments) so as to better battle temptation and complacency.

Rather this being a linear philosophy, I find it easier to think of it more circular. For fallible humans, it is probable that we wax and wane in our FAITH like the cycle of the moon. Sometimes we have darkened our hearts to God’s hand in our lives, and sometimes we shine as a near perfect reflection of his perfect Love; only to fall again into temptation and darken our hearts.

It is the goal of every Christian to never wane, to be, that near perfect reflection of God’s Love, until the day we die. But the common deonominator is that we must choose to be forever open to God’s Love, and we must choose to do our part in recieving those Sacraments which are so detrimental to our Faithful health.

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