Works necessary for salvation?!

hey all,

I’m talking to my brother about faith and works. He finally has it through his head that Catholics believe that ALL faith and ALL works come from the Holy Spirit, and NOT from ourselves. We do not believe that we can save ourselves by our own merits; but rather, Jesus saves us through the Holy Spirit, and our free will cooperates with the grace given.

My brother still insists that Catholics believe you MUST do good works to be saved.

I said that if a person were baptized and received the Holy Spirit, but died 2 seconds later, they would be saved without doing any good works. But if the person lives for another 40 years, they must continue cooperating with God’s grace, which includes the faith and love given to us by the Holy Spirit.

He keeps trying to say that’s not true, because the person dying seconds after baptism needs to have good works in addition to their faith.

Who’s right?

You are correct.

Random verse on the topic…
Romans 2: 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”[a] 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

You are. The Catechism says, “By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God.” (CCC, 1263)

You’re right. If someone were to die immediately after baptism, they would go straight to heaven (providing they didn’t commit a mortal sin in those few seconds :))

When he makes claims like this, insist that he show you in the Catholic Catechism where the Church teaches whatever he claims.

Do you really care who’s right? Why don’t both of you go out this weekend and find a homeless man on the street. If it’s cold, go buy a jacket or blanket for him. If he’s hungry, go buy three hot cups of coffee and a three sandwich and have a sit-down lunch with him. Talk with him and hear his story.

To me, works is a result of faith. Have you ever gone to Mass and the homily/experience was so perfect you leave the church feeling empowered to “do something”? To me that is the HOLY SPIRIT working in us. Your faith in GOD encourages you to work for GOD. So while someone may die after being baptized and go to heaven, what about you? Are you just content with going to Church and believing in GOD and believing you’ll go to heaven to be with GOD? Or do you feel like…man I love GOD, I gotta go do something to show him I love him. He tells me to feed the poor, okay I’m gonna try that today!

Just like a two year old that says “Mama, I lobe you” and her four year old brother also says “Mommy, I love you” but goes to draw a stick figure of him and Mommy with a giant heart on a piece of paper to give to Mommy. Do we care who right and who loves Mommy more? Be the four year old if you can draw…or be the two year old if you can’t. :slight_smile:

Strongly agree!

Strongly agree! There is great value in this answer.

This reply should completely answer the question and close the thread. The ONLY work that is necessary for salvation is Baptism itself.

You’re correct. Do you think your brother is just giving you the business. :wink:

If he was here on this forum, here’s how I would answer him Re: faith and good works

Eph 2:8-10
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God— 9 not because of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I venture to say when your brother quotes Ephesians he leaves out v 10

Being created to do good works, means that when we don’t do what we are created to do we are just like the fig tree or the grape vine, that didn’t produce what it was created by God to produce. It gets cut down, and thrown in the fire… because it’s wasting good space

Matthew 7:18-20 , Luke 13:7** , **Luke 13:9

The only place in scripture where “by faith alone” appears. The problem is **“NOT” **is in front of it. James 2:24

“If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or by the teaching of the Law, without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema”

(Council of Trent; Session 6; can. 1).

Council of Trent, Session 6

CHAPTER V
THE NECESSITY OF PREPARATION FOR JUSTIFICATION IN ADULTS, AND WHENCE IT PROCEEDS

It is furthermore declared that in adults the beginning of that justification must proceed from the predisposing grace of God through Jesus Christ, that is, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits on their part, they are called; that they who by sin had been cut off from God, may be disposed through His quickening and helping grace to convert themselves to their own justification by freely assenting to and cooperating with that grace; so that, while God touches the heart of man through the illumination of the Holy Ghost, man himself neither does absolutely nothing while receiving that inspiration, since he can also reject it, nor yet is he able by his own free will and without the grace of God to move himself to justice in His sight.

Hence, when it is said in the sacred writings:
Turn ye to me, and I will turn to you,[19] we are reminded of our liberty; and when we reply:
Convert us, O Lord, to thee, and we shall be converted,[20] we confess that we need the grace of God.

Chapter VII

The causes of this justification are:
the final cause is the glory of God and of Christ and life everlasting; the efficient cause is the merciful God who washes and sanctifies[31] gratuitously, signing and anointing with the holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance,[32] the meritorious cause is His most beloved only begotten, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when we were enemies,[33] for the exceeding charity wherewith he loved us,[34] merited for us justification by His most holy passion on the wood of the cross and made satisfaction for us to God the Father, the instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism, which is the sacrament of faith,[35] without which no man was ever justified finally, the single formal cause is the justice of God, not that by which He Himself is just, but that by which He makes us just, that, namely, with which we being endowed by Him, are renewed in the spirit of our mind,[36] and not only are we reputed but we are truly called and are just, receiving justice within us, each one according to his own measure, which the Holy Ghost distributes to everyone as He wills,[37] and according to each one’s disposition and cooperation.

Faith Alone doesn’t save just as Works Alone doesn’t save.

Funny when we see actual Catholic teaching.

Have him point out exactly where we a teaching one thing or another.

Well… I wouldn’t go that far! :wink:

If we live more than 10 minutes following baptism, then we are still expected to cooperate with God’s grace present in us, and do good works that are the result of His grace (but also are the result of our cooperation in it).

Yes, we do care. The reason is that the question isn’t between two children who are showing love for their parents; rather, this is like one child who tells the other, “Mommy only loves you because you clean up your toys. Stop doing that, and she’ll hate you!” In that case, we really do care deeply about the answer, because in the absence of a good answer, there’s confusion about what the basis of Mom’s love really is… :wink:

Ask him if he can say what good works these folks did, who are clearly in heaven, and even have a feast day dedicated to them.

I think that this might be a counter-productive question to ask: if he believes that all must be baptized and come to explicit faith in Jesus to be saved, his answer would be, “they’re not in heaven!” … :shrug:

The question posed, though, was what Catholics believe.

Clearly, the CC professes that some folks are in heaven who haven’t done a single work.

Greetings in Christ Gorgias,

HOW TO READ THE NEW TESTAMENT By Etienne Charpentier

Nihil obstate: Father Anton Cowan
Imprimatur: Monsignor John Crowley, VG Westminster, 28 May 1985

Quote: “There is ONE CENTRAL QUESTION here: how can we become righteous and be saved?

We are NOT justified by what we do (works, observing law) but by FAITH IN CHRIST.
Salvation is NOT a matter of achieving but RECEIVING IT FREELY from God hands, in faith.” End quote. Emphasize mine.

JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ALONE by James Akin
Quote: “In fact, in TRADITIONAL WORKS OF CATHOLIC THEOLOGY, one regularly encounters the statement that FORMED FAITH IS JUSTIFYING FAITH. If one has formed faith, one is justified. Period. End quote. Emphasize mine.

JOINT DECLARATION ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION by the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church

3/17 Justification is SOLELY due to the forgiving and renewing mercy that God imparts as a gift and we RECEIVE IN FAITH, and NEVER CAN MERIT IT ANY WAY.

4/25 We confess together that sinners are JUSTIFIED BY FAITH in the saving action of God in Christ. WHATEVER in the JUSTIFIED PRECEDES or FOLLOWS the free gift of FAITH is NEITHER THE BASIS of justification NOR MERITS it.

4/27.The Catholic understanding also sees FAITH as FUNDAMENTAL in justification. FOR WITHOUT FAITH, NO JUSTIFICATION CAN TAKE PLACE. Thus justifying grace never becomes a human possession. While Catholic teaching emphasizes the RENEWAL OF LIFE by justifying grace, this RENEWAL in FAITH, HOPE, LOVE is always dependent on God’s unfathomable grace and CONTRIBUTES NOTHING TO JUSTIFICATION

CONDITIONS THAT OUR WORKS COUNT FOR ANYTHING:

The Catholic Church clearly teaches that one MUST be in a STATE OF GRACE, MUST be a member of the BODY OF CHRIST, MUST be SAVED, MUST be JUSTIFIED before we do a SINGLE WORK that counts for anything.

Further conditions MUST BE PRESENT to make SUPERNATURAL merit possible:

“The meritorious work must be morally good, that is, in accordance with the moral law in its object, intent, and circumstances.

It MUST be done FREELY, WITHOUT any EXTERNAL COERCION or INTERNAL NECESSITY.

It MUST be SUPERNATURAL, that is, AROUSED and ACCOMPANIED by ACTUAL GRACE, and proceeding from a SUPERNATURAL motive.

Strictly speaking only a person in the STATE OF GRACE can merit, as defined by the Church.” (Denzinger 1576, 1582)

JUSTIFICATION IN CATHOLIC TEACHING by Jimmy Akin

Quote: “The essence of supernatural love is unselfishness—doing something NOT BECAUSE IT WILL HELP US SOMEHOW, but because we want to do it out of SHEER LOVE for the other person, whether that person is God or one of our fellow human beings out of the love of God.

This is THE ONLY KIND of love that ultimately pleases God and therefore the ONLY KIND that ultimately gets us a reward IN heaven.” End quote. Emphasis mine.

If we believe: Work is condition of our salvation, then our works can NEVER BE UP TO THE ABOVE STANDARDS because we do it for ourselves to purchase salvation not for love and for the Glory of God, and ALL our work goes up in smoke at the judgment. In reference 1 Cor.3:11-15.

CANNOT BE OVER EMPHASIZE: This is THE KEY to do supernatural merit that God accepts and recognize!!! – There is NO other way to achieve supernatural merit which is the only good works.

The doctrines of salvation of the Catholic Church not only proves:- DavidFilmer’s, statement is correct, but also proves, those who disagree with it, all their life time hard works goes up in smoke at the judgment of their works, because they did it to purchase their salvation and NOT for the GLORY OF GOD.

With love in Christ,
LH.

Umm… notice that your quotations are talking about justification, not salvation? Yes, justification is not merited, it is a solely a gift from God. :wink:

The Catholic Church clearly teaches that one MUST be in a STATE OF GRACE, MUST be a member of the BODY OF CHRIST, MUST be SAVED, MUST be JUSTIFIED before we do a SINGLE WORK that counts for anything.

No – salvation is an end state, not a precondition. But, it is true that it is through baptism that we are able to do works of supernatural virtue.

If we believe: Work is condition of our salvation, then our works can NEVER BE UP TO THE ABOVE STANDARDS because we do it for ourselves to purchase salvation not for love and for the Glory of God, and ALL our work goes up in smoke at the judgment.

Umm… whoever said that “we do it for ourselves to purchase salvation”? Not me…

The doctrines of salvation of the Catholic Church not only proves:- DavidFilmer’s, statement is correct, but also proves, those who disagree with it, all their life time hard works goes up in smoke at the judgment of their works, because they did it to purchase their salvation and NOT for the GLORY OF GOD.

You’re contradicting yourself: either there are no works (as David posited), or there are works that are done for the glory of God (as you posit). Either David is right and you’re wrong, or vice-versa. Which, then? :wink:

Greetings in Christ Gorgias,

HOW TO READ THE NEW TESTAMENT By Etienne Charpentier

Nihil obstate: Father Anton Cowan
Imprimatur: Monsignor John Crowley, VG Westminster, 28 May 1985

Quote: “There is ONE CENTRAL QUESTION here: how can we become righteous and be SAVED?

We are NOT justified by what we do (works, observing law) but by FAITH IN CHRIST.
Salvation is NOT a matter of achieving but RECEIVING IT FREELY from God hands, in faith.” End quote. Emphasize mine.

Practically what David and I have stated: Work is not a condition of our salvation.
Salvation is a FREE GIFT OF GOD by Christ’s merit.

Summed up in the above quote: “Salvation is NOT a matter of achieving but RECEIVING IT FREELY from God hands, in faith.”

Justification and salvation is ONE COMPOSITE. We cannot have one, without the other. It is true, by losing faith etc. can be lost.

With love in Christ,
LH

Lion Heart,

I appreciate that you really like this book, and that it has a nihil obstat and an imprimatur. I don’t have a copy of it, so I can’t verify the context of the quote you’ve provided. Twice. :rolleyes:

Here’s the thing, though… this is what the Catechism says:

Quoting St Augustine, #2001 states, “Indeed we also work, but we are only collaborating with God who works, for his mercy has gone before us.”

#2007-2009 state, “With regard to God, there is no strict right to any merit on the part of man. … The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man’s free acting through his collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Man’s merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit. Filial adoption, in making us partakers by grace in the divine nature, can bestow true merit on us as a result of God’s gratuitous justice. … The merits of our good works are gifts of the divine goodness.”

So, the Catechism states that there is work, and there is merit attached to it (although it flows first from the Father, then to us). Is justification a free gift? Yep. Is salvation likewise a gift of God? Yep. Does it require in us a free response in works of supernatural virtue? Yep. :wink:

Practically what David and I have stated: Work is not a condition of our salvation.

But… it is! Our response to God’s grace is necessary for salvation!

Justification and salvation is ONE COMPOSITE. We cannot have one, without the other.

Not true. Unless I’m mistaking you, it seems that your claim is that all who are justified (i.e., baptized) are also saved. That’s not what the Church teaches.

Blessings,
G.

Yep. A pithy way to summarize the Church’s teaching on works and salvation: “We can’t be saved without Him, and He won’t save us without US.”

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.