Is Faith Alone Enough?

🌺  Written by Brittany Ann

Is Faith Alone Enough?

This post is post 4 in a series entitled Letting God Lead: My Journey Through Protestant and Catholic Beliefs. While you certainly can read this post by itself, I highly encourage you to check out the rest of the series as well. You can also find more about this series and a list of all of posts here. *This post contains affiliate links.

Of all of the issues I’ve been researching during My Journey Through Protestant and Catholic Beliefs, I think the issue of Faith vs. Works or Sola Fide is the one I’ve had to grapple with the most. Not because I have a hard time understanding or accepting the teachings of either side, but because it’s such a huge, messy and complex issue–it’s hard to really nail down.

 

What I mean is, with the Eucharist–it either is or is not the real Body and Blood. But with faith and works, figuring out exactly how the two mix together… and how much you need of both and why… well… it can get pretty tricky!

 

Protestant View: Faith Alone (Sola Fide)

 

Traditional Protestant belief (the way I was raised) would state that we are saved by faith ALONE. That while good works are nice and all, they have absolutely no bearing on our salvation. That we should do them, but if we don’t, it won’t affect our salvation at all.

 

As an analogy: When you get married, it is saying the words and signing the paper that actually make you married. Whether you are a good spouse or a bad spouse after the fact, it doesn’t change the fact that you are married. Being a good spouse will make your life happier and easier, but it won’t make you any more married than you were before.

 

Protestants base this belief off of Ephesians 2:8-9, which clearly states that we are saved by faith, not works.

 

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

 

Growing up, I never questioned this belief. After all, the verse is pretty clear and my analogy makes pretty good sense. But then I started on this journey, and I began to question everything.

 

Searching the Bible for Myself

 

So, in my questioning, I set out to search the Scriptures and see what the Bible REALLY says. At first I found a few verses that seemed to support the “faith alone” argument…

 

“For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” –Romans 3:28

 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” –John 3:16

 

But then as I kept reading, I started to find more and more verses where some type of work or good deed was an integral part of the equation. The number was almost overwhelming.

 

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life…For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.” –Romans 2:6-7, 13

 

“And behold, a man came up to him, saying, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’ And he said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.‘” –Matthew 19:16-17

 

“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” –Matthew 19:29

 

And my favorite one of all…

 

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?… So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead… You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” –James 2:14, 17, 19, 21-26″

 

It’s easy to look at one verse of the Bible and come up with one conclusion, but when you look at the rest in context, another picture begins to emerge. And I’d say these verses make it pretty clear–works have to be a part of the equation somehow.

 

So, I set out to find out how.

 

The Truth About “Faith Alone” (Sola Fide)

 

You may be surprised to hear… nowhere in the original translation of the Bible do any of the writers teach “faith alone.” Rightly or wrongly, Martin Luther actually ADDED the word “alone” in his German translation of the Bible. It’s not in the original language. The verses say we need faith, but they do NOT say that faith is all we need, and they do not say what type of faith we need.

 

The devil’s in the details, right?

 

Clarification on Ephesians 2

 

What many people do not realize or understand about the text in Ephesians 2 is that Paul was NOT saying that NO works are necessary for salvation, but that you can’t earn your salvation yourself by being a “good person.”

 

If you start in verse 4, you read:

 

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” –Ephesians 2:4-5

 

Paul isn’t talking about earning our ticket to heaven after we are already “saved;” he’s talking about our ability to make the decision to follow Christ in the very first place. We don’t choose Christ because we earned it through doing all the right things. God chose us and raised us up while we were still sinners. The fact that we are able to believe AT ALL and in the first place are both acts of grace–not things we earn.

 

But that doesn’t mean we don’t need to live up to our calling after the fact.

 

 

For an absolutely FANTASTIC explanation on this topic, I highly, highly recommend listening to this video clip of Francis Chan. He’s non-denominational by the way, not Catholic, so I can’t say that for sure that it is 100% Catholic-approved, but it seems spot-on to me.

 

(Fast Forward to 29 min, 30 seconds. The first half an hour is all internal budget stuff. Very interesting, but not really relevant)

 

So it IS faith that saves us, but not just any kind of faith. It’s an active, living faith that goes on to produce good works. The works themselves don’t save you, but they do show what kind of faith you have.

 

Clarification on Catholic Beliefs

 

Many people mistakenly believe that the Catholic Church teaches that people are saved by their works. This is not true. The Catholic church expressly denounces the idea that people can be saved by works, apart from faith. (They also denounce the idea that people can be saved by faith alone, apart from works.)

 

Because this is such a complex issue, I met with a Catholic priest to discuss the matter further, and we came to an agreement that was pretty much in line with what the video above states. That faith IS what saves us, but not just any kind of faith. It has to be an active, living faith that naturally results in good works. It doesn’t matter for our salvation if we produce one or one hundred (or even zero) good works over the course of our lifetime, as long as we have the kind of faith that is growing and bearing fruit in our lives. It’s not the number that matters, but the direction.

 

(We spoke about purgatory and indulgences briefly too, but I’ll cover that in the post on purgatory, coming March 18th.)

 

And really, doesn’t that just make sense? If you REALLY, TRULY believed in Jesus, wouldn’t you naturally WANT to follow him? And of course, by follow Him, I mean keep his commandments and teachings.

 

After all, even the demons believe in God, so clearly just believing can’t be enough. Or all the demons would be Christians and go to Heaven too–and that doesn’t make any sense at all!

 

 

So at the end of the day it turns out that my original beliefs weren’t so far off after all. Works don’t save us–faith does–but that doesn’t mean that works don’t matter. Instead, our works are a really great indication of what kind of faith we have–and if we even have faith at all.

 

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions!! Leave me a note (or a book 🙂 ) in the comments section below!

 

 

10 Common Catholic Myths that Critics Believe

 

Enjoyed this post? Don’t miss the rest of the posts in the series!

 

The Day I Realized My Religion Got it Wrong

10 Common Catholic Church Myths that Critics Believe

Is the Eucharist Really Just a Symbol?

Is Faith Alone Enough?

Who has the Ultimate Authority? A Biblical Look at Sola Scriptura

A Brief Look at the History of Christianity

What All Christians Should Know About Priests, the Pope and Confession

What Do Catholics Really Believe About Mary, Saints and Statues?

Infant Baptism or Believer’s Baptism? Which is Correct?

What is Purgatory? What are Indulgences?

Why Do Catholics….? Honest Answers to Your Burning Questions

Protestant and Catholic Beliefs Series Conclusion

 

Resources

 

I’m not asking you to believe because I say so. Please DON’T take my word for it! The purpose of this series is only to share what I’ve learned on my journey in order to inspire you to begin a journey of your own. Here are a few helpful resources to get you started.

*This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

The New Catholic Answer Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Surprised by Truth: 11 Converts Give Biblical and Historical Reasons for Becoming Catholic by Patrick Madrid

About the author

Brittany Ann is an author, speaker, and founder of EquippingGodlyWomen.com, a popular Christian-living website dedicated to helping women be “all in” in faith and family.

      1. Brittany, I hope you don’t mind a guy responding. I am a retired pastor and chaplain and I found your blog interesting. I can tell that you have a sincere heart with good noble intentions. However, when we study God’s Word, we look at it as a whole and also study the context carefully.

        First, you’re correct that the words “faith alone” are not stringed together but once. However, there are at least 166 New Testament passages that say we’re saved by faith. The concept is there, even though these two words are not strung together. Also it was Jesus Himself who made it abundantly clear not only in John 3:16, but also John 5:24 that we are just saved by faith. In John 6:40 the “work of God,” is for us to believe in the One whom He has sent.

        You brought up Romans 2. Again, we have to read in context. Paul is addressing those who think they can get into the Kingdom by the Law and right living. He is basically saying that you have to live a perfect life. Then in the following chapter, he says, no one can do it. Paul is showing the contrast. In fact in John 5:24, Jesus says that all those who trust or believe in Him will not be judged!

        You quote: “And behold, a man came up to him, saying, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’ And he said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.‘” –Matthew 19:16-17. What is the context here? No one can keep the commandments perfectly. In fact, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said if you even think these evils in your heart, you are already guilty. Jesus knew that this rich young ruler would never be saved by trying to keep the law. Jesus’ purpose was to show this man how sinful he really was. This young ruler was a religious and moral man. He was good enough to deceive himself and bad enough to damn himself. His “goodness” prevented him from knowing his badness.

        Before a person is ready to be saved, he first must become lost. That is, he must recognize the lost condition of his soul (Romans 3:10-23). Before a man is ready for a cure, he must recognize how desperately sick he really is (Luke 5:30-32). The rich young ruler needed to understand the plague of his own heart (1 Kings 8:38). If Jesus was saying that everyone needed to keep all the law to be saved, He would have totally contradicted Himself and Paul in many passages of Scripture.

        You mention: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” –Matthew 19:29. Of course this follows up the “rich young ruler.” “And shall inherit everlasting life”: The other evangelists add, “in the world to come”, which is infinitely best of all. For this is an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, which fades not away, reserved in the heavens, when all other inheritances are corruptible, defiled, fading and perishing. This passage is teaching reward in the coming life.

        Then you refer to probably the most debate passage in the New Testament, in James chapter two. What people fail to realize is that this passage has to be understood in the context in which it was written. First James calls them “brethren” at least 19 times. He believes in their salvation. Also the demons believe and tremble because there is nothing they can do about their fate. Jesus didn’t die for them. James two is a “get to work” passage. James speaks of a “dead faith.” This doesn’t mean the faith doesn’t exist, just that it is useless. In fact, in Romans, Paul says Abraham was justified by faith but if it had been works, he would have something to brag about: “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.”

        Going back to James chapter two, James is saying that it’s one thing to be justified before God, but we also need to be justified before men by our good witness. We need a faith that works! I know that this passage is extremely easy to get confused about.

        You made this comment at the end of your article: “Works don’t save us–faith does–but that doesn’t mean that works don’t matter. Instead, our works are a really great indication of what kind of faith we have–and if we even have faith at all.” I partially agree: works do matter but not in regard to salvation, but in regard to rewards. However, to judge someone as lost because their works don’t reflect salvation is condemned in Scripture (Matthew 7:1-2).

        I guess the influencing factor was rereading the Gospel of John. He writes in chapter 20:20-21, “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” So this Gospel was written to lead folks to “eternal life.” In this twenty-one chapter book, there is no mention of Christian baptism, repentance of sins, just belief! After reading the Gospel of John, a light switch went off in my spirit. I began to realize that all glory goes to Jesus for our salvation! If I had any part in my salvation (works), then both Jesus and I could receive credit for eternal life! However, all glory, honor and power goes to Jesus alone! And yes, the teaching of “faith alone,” is threaded throughout the Gospel of John.

        I don’t think we should teach anything that would take away His complete glory in saving us. As a matter of fact, if we believe works save us too, where is the peace that passes all understanding? We will never know if we’re saved because we’ll never know if we’ve done enough in this life to make the cut! God Bless!

      2. Hi, Lee! I totally get what you are saying and I do welcome and appreciate your kind and in-depth response! I definitely agree that we have to read the Bible as a whole, and that all glory goes to God alone. I too was raised to believe in “faith alone” (whether those two words are actually strung together or not).

        Once I really dug into the Bible though, there are just SO many verses that talk about the things we need to DO. Not to earn our salvation – not at all – but to walk in it …? I honestly don’t know. I don’t know where the line is or how the “formula” works — I just know that God has done His part, but we have a part to play too. We can’t just sit back and let Him do everything while we just go on sinning and doing whatever we want like nothing has changed. That’s not the gospel either. Where the line is — I don’t know.

        And I’d venture to say even people who believe in “faith alone” believe we have a part to play too. After all, don’t we have to “accept” or “believe” or “trust?” Those are all verbs – things we DO. God doesn’t force us to be saved. He offers it to us and we have to – at the BARE minimum – take the action of accepting. And hopefully repenting and on down the line. The question is just where the line is — and that, honestly, I don’t know.

      3. Hi to both and all of you,
        When I read the Bible all along the stories of the old and new testaments… I can see one message: “faith and action” goes together. And it seems to me it is an unchangeable aspect of God and humbly I think that I could be right or wrong, but what I read, what I see and what I believe is that works are a requirement once believing.

        Lee, you said: “We will never know if we’re saved because we’ll never know if we’ve done enough in this life to make the cut!”… by the same token, if such thinking is applied to the faith alone approach then one could also ask: If it is by faith only, then how much faith will be enough to be saved?

        It seems to me that is neither extreme. it does require both. We are saved by Grace – through faith – that require works/deeds or action. not by any amounts but by a sincere heart, honest intentions and with a desire to “do” our Lords will.

      4. That’s a really good question. And while I do not believe we can earn our salvation AT ALL, the more I read the Bible, the more I see that action has to be a part of it somehow. I have no idea how, but simply believing alone can’t possibly be enough. I keep finding more and more Scripture verses that indicate otherwise.

  1. great article again. I have not yet watched the video but will this evening. I was just explaining this to a non-catholic friend of mine. I see it that we are initially saved by our faith through the grace of God. But to maintain that salvation we will grow in our faith in Him and in doing so be led to do wonderful things in His name.

    1. Thanks, Chelsea! And you should definitely, definitely watch the video. I love all of Francis Chan’s sermons and can’t recommend them highly enough.

  2. Not through works. It is a gift, you can not work for a gift. Romans 5:12-21, Romans 6:23, Romans 8:24, Romans 10:9-13 Before Jesus was crucified salvation was through works, but after his death it is THROUGH FAITH ALONE that you can be saved. The Bible makes that plain. As far as works, it is for a testimony to others that you are a changed creature (which God will bless and when you get to heaven expect crowns for it). But yes, I believe that a thief, murderer etc can still be saved (before & after crime). Look at the prisoner on the cross, he believed and Jesus accepted him into heaven, no good works, but he had faith. If it’s through works, why would Jesus have had to die? His sacrifice was enough. His blood is what covers our sins, we are all sinners, no matter how much “works” we do. His gift is given, we just have to accept with faith. There is no price for salvation, it was paid on the cross.

    1. As Brittany wrote in her post: Martin Luther added the word “alone”. It’s not a conspiracy theory, but a fact that Luther himself wasn’t trying to hide. He just added it, it can’t be found in first translations. So the Bible doesn’t make that plain, Luther adds it.

      There would be no salvation had Christ not died for us, that’s true. But it doesn’t guarantee automatical salvation to anyone who believes. His sacrifice is what makes salvation possible, but we have to be worthy of it.
      Some people were not born into Christian families, some never had the oportunity to learn about Jesus. So what would happen to them if we were saved by faith ALONE? (it’s not a hypothetical question, I’m really interested in what Protestants think about this)

      Also, the man on the cross next to Jesus says: “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” He recognizes in that moment that his works were evil, but he doesn’t have a chance to change that. Had he lived, I believe he would stop what ever wrong things he was doing. Jesus also says on multiple occasions when people ask him for forgivness: “Now go, and sin no more!”

      Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go your way; from now on sin no more”

      1. Ever noticed that EVERY time Christ has told someone to go, and sin no more, or to not tell of what has happened, what has everyone done? They went and told! Christ knew that would happen, but he still has forgiven them.

      2. My point was that Jesus, after he forgives them, tells them to sin no more, and not: I forgave you and I will forgive no matter what you do, now go and do whatever you want.
        For example
        : Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”

        and John 5:14
        Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”

        He clearly says that their fate depends on their actions. Of course, people aren’t sinless, and God forgives if we repent. But how can someone say that they are sorry for their actions, continue doing it and at the same time expect forgivness?

        P.S. I really wish someone answers this for me: Some people were not born into Christian families, some never had the oportunity to learn about Jesus. So what would happen to them if we were saved by faith ALONE?

      3. I noticed that too!! What is up with all of these people??? lol. (BUT that doesn’t defend your point though, bc no one your number of works matters at all. Only that you have the kind of faith that produces them)

      4. To answer your question about what Protestants think–I think it’s the same as what the Catholic church teaches. That believe in Jesus is the “normative” way, but God isn’t confined to the box if He wants to work outside it. For example, someone who grew up in Africa who never, ever heard about Jesus but lived an upright life and did their very best and *would have* believed if given the opportunity, they could still get in. (But here in America, we don’t really have much excuse)

      5. I’ve wondered the same before. Not so much lately as more and more I’m learning (after a couple of years of hard apologetic studies) that what REALLY, really matters… is love.
        1 Corinthians 3 talks about all the wonderful things a believer could do (or know for that matter)… and he plainly says at the end (verse 13) “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
        also remember God has said that He has written His law in our hearts (Romans 2:15)
        Finally – although I can’t exactly remember – I think the Bible also teach us that judgement is proportional (some how) to what we know.

        So I tent to think that for people who hasn’t heard about our Lord Jesus Christ – or even those who to some extent have – the measure for their salvation is LOVE.
        As it’s for us, at the end of the day is LOVE what counts. I must confess, know I rather want to move on the direction of (action) loving others rather than knowing more…

        Hope it helps!

        God bless!

    2. I find your comment intriguing, especially after the simple and short explanation from Brittany on her search. Neyssa, you stated:
      “THROUGH FAITH ALONE that you can be saved. The Bible makes that plain.”

      I am not sure WHICH Bible you use, but there is not a single reputable translation that says that. Actually the Bible says the EXACT OPPOSITE of what you claim it says.
      The ONLY PLACE in the whole Bible that the words ‘faith’ and ‘alone’ are together is in James 2. Let’s read it again:
      “You see that a person is justified by works and NOT by FAITH ALONE.”
      If I am a Bible believing Christian, Neyssa, what am I suppose to believe? Your claim, or the Bible? Sorry, but the Bible wins me over.

      Actually the complete and proper definition, when taking ALL of scripture into account is:
      We are saved by GRACE through Faith for Good Works. So, in the end, both faith and good works are essential/critical, but we are saved by Grace Alone.

    3. Sorry it has taken me so long to respond!

      Neyssa, NO ONE is saying that faith is earned through works. And no one is saying that someone sins can’t be forgiven and still go to Heaven. What we are saying is that it isn’t enough to just believe. After all, even the demons “just believe.” Satan “just believes.” Are they Christians then? If that’s all it takes? 🙂 Or is there a possibility that simply believing Jesus is who he says he is isn’t enough?

      To give another analogy: Say you give me a free gift of a house plant. You give it to me no strings attached. I accept the plant and sit it in my window, but then just leave it there and don’t touch it again. Eventually, the plant will die. Yes, it was free and no strings attached, but it does come with a responsibility to take care of it if I want to keep it alive and well. (Don’t ever give me a plant. It really would die 🙂 )

      Also, you listed Romans 8:28, which says “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?” This verse says we are hoping for something we don’t already have. In other words, maybe we don’t already “Have” salvation. We are given the *option* of salvation, but it isn’t fully ours yet.

      Philippians 2:12 says: “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” — How can we “work out” our salvation if we already have it? Why would we have “fear and trembling” if we were already assured salvation? Some food for thought 🙂

      Did you watch the video??? (If not–go do it!) 🙂

  3. I completely agree with every bit of this post. 🙂 if you say you have faith, but if is not visible in your life, that is no real faith at all! Now, of course, we are all on a journey, and can’t judge someone for not being farther along than you, but still, if you say you have faith yet don’t have any desire to follow God, you really need to question if that faith is real.

      1. It should be noted that the direction is Christ, not good deeds. Just as faith without good deeds is dead, also good deeds without faith gets you no where.

  4. I love Francis Chan! I stand in the belief that I can’t work my way to heaven, but sincere faith will produce the right works in me. Like in the marriage analogy, a sincere devotion to my husband will lead me to love him, serve him, be faithful in my marriage, spend time with him… If I were to discontinue doing these things, I would still be married to him, but our relationship would deteriorate.

    In this day and age, the weeds and the wheat are growing together. And the Master has said to let it be until harvest time. We can’t possibly determine whether another person is having “marriage problems” with the Lord but still saved, or wasn’t saved at all and it was lip service? Or are they doing everything to look saved but are not? We can only look in our hearts and choose to let our faith and our works line up as we follow Him.

  5. True faith means that the fruit of your spirit will bear good fruit. Faith and works are mutually tied together. Thank you for this post.

  6. I’ve done a lot of research on this topic. Soteriology is my primary area of research. I come at it from a strictly biblical view, not one of man-made theologies or tradition like most protestant and Catholics do.

    Looking at the soteriology of the prominent Protestant churches and Catholic Churches, none seem to line up with that of scripture. They like to read their own theologies into scripture to make it fit and make sense, rather than just looking at scripture and allowing it to speak for itself.

    Some of my writings on Soteriology. I thought some of yall might be interested in some of my research.

    http://chaosman92.blogspot.com/2013/08/an-argument-for-grace.html

    http://chaosman92.blogspot.com/2014/12/a-defense-of-eternal-security-and-grace.html

    http://chaosman92.blogspot.com/2014/04/is-repentance-required-for-salvation.html

    http://chaosman92.blogspot.com/2014/02/an-atheist-and-calvinist-tale-of-two.html

    http://chaosman92.blogspot.com/2014/01/do-good-worksfruits-validate-salvation.html

    http://chaosman92.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-greatest-of-all-protestant-heresies.html

    http://chaosman92.blogspot.com/2013/12/faith-without-works-is-dead_2.html

    1. I think all of us our trying to do our best to find out what the Scriptures really say, but the problem is that by just reading the Scriptures by themselves, we are all coming up with different answers! Next week I’m talking about the Scriptures and the Church. I hope you’ll check back!

    2. Just wanted to say that I did glimpse through some of your posts; not enough time to read them thoroughly. I thought it was interesting and overall good, but missing certain important elements and critical understanding of Catholic language and soteriology. Not to hold it against you, but this is a common thing.

      Words in Catholic theology have different meaning and nuances than what is immediately perceived by the average reader. It takes a good amount of learning (some years) to get the jest of the meaning.

      One thing that creates a dilemma for your position, Nick, is that long before the Bible was put together, Catholics already believed what they believe now, regarding salvation. What I mean is that you missed the obvious. The New Testament books were CHOSEN out of about 500 that were going around at the time, because they fitted the Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church—this means her teaching. In other words. The CC only chose the books that fitted perfectly with what she believed and taught 1600 years ago, and nothing has changed on that area of salvation.

      Not to sound offensive, but I was truly amused by your statement:
      “I come at it from a strictly biblical view, not one of man-made theologies or tradition like most protestant and Catholics do”

      So, Nick, your soteriology was not formulated by you (a man), therefore it is NOT a man-made soteriology, but was given fully developed by God to you?

      Truly, I find this perspective/insight most interesting. And if this is the case, it does sound a bit like the Qu’ran and how the Muslims also claim to have received it. I do see a lot of parallelism here.

      Anyway, some food for thought.

  7. “So it IS faith that saves us, but not just any kind of faith. It’s an active, living faith that goes on to produce good works. The works themselves don’t save you, but they do show what kind of faith you have.” These words sum it up perfectly!

    1. It’s all in the details that mothers seek. When we take grace, faith, and works the whole explanations would be: We are saved by GRACE (alone) through Faith for Good Works.

      One passage in scripture that proves the fallacy of amazing faith, but no works is in the final judgment of the goats and the sheep, where the exact opposite takes place. The goats had faith to produce miracles (signs) and prophesy in the Name of Jesus, but they were condemned, while those that did the Works of Mercy went to Heaven (Matthew 25:31-46).
      This passage is generally misunderstood in the fact that present experiences with fake televangelists or corrupt Christians that use gimmicks are envisioned as the goats and are shoved onto the text. This is flawed exegesis, and it is not in harmony with the text because the goats know Jesus and are not lying before Him. The signs (miracles) were real and they were performed because they had enough faith to ‘move mountains’ (1 Cor 13:2), and were filled with the spirit and prophesied, yet there was one striking difference between them and the sheep; these sheep were charitable, had loved their fellow man (1 Cor 13:2).

      Mat 25:35-40: “…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and …’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?…”

      According to the text, they did even know the Lord Jesus, as we Christians ‘know Him’, because they had no knowledge of what every single Christian knows: “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do unto Me.”

      Hope by bringing this extreme example helps in creating a better understanding of faith and love (good works).

  8. Interesting! This is very, very similar to my belief and what many Protestant churches I’ve attended teach as well. So, I don’t believe it is just Catholicism that teaches it.

    As a Christian I truly believe you must have faith to believe and enter into heaven. However because of your faith you will strive to also work. Work at your behavior, work at keeping the commandments, reading your bible and growing in The Lord. You will work to help others and show them the love of Christ. Faith and works go hand in hand in my opinion.

      1. Good article. I’ve never dived into deep Protestant theology (just the surface level things they taught on Sundays!) so this is helpful in clarifying things.

    1. Well, no, it’s not just a Catholic thing. But sometimes it’s easier to lump issues into groups a little bit just for ease of reference. (Only so many hours in the day!) 🙂

  9. Another great Bible passage about faith and works is the parable of the vine.

    John 15:“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.

    9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.

    Notice, Jesus is talking to those who ALREADY abide in Him. He warns that those who refuse to bear good fruit are thrown out and burned. He also states plainly that IF you keep His commandments, you will abide in His love. And you are His friend IF you do what He commands.

    Another point to ponder: In virtually ALL passages discussing judgment, that judgment is based upon our WORKS. So we have to realize that when the Bible mentions believing in Jesus, it doesn’t mean a mental assent to Him. It means MUCH more. You “believe” in Him if you actually do as He commands.

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