Skip to comments.Are you (Catholics) Saved?
Posted on 05/05/2013 10:16:01 AM PDT by NYer
Are you saved?
Have you ever been asked this question? Has anyone ever told you that Catholics think they can work their way into Heaven?
The Catholic Church does not now, nor has it ever, taught a doctrine of salvation by works - that we can “work” our way into Heaven. And, the Bible does not teach that we are saved by “faith alone.” The only place in all of Scripture where the phrase “Faith Alone” appears, is in James 2:24, where it says that we are not justified (or saved) by faith alone. However, if works have nothing to do with our salvation, then how come every passage in the New Testament that talks about judgment says we will be judged by our works, not by whether or not we have faith alone? (See Rom 2, Matthew 15 and 16, 1 Ptr 1, Rev 20 and 22, 2 Cor 5, and many, many more verses).
If we are saved by faith alone, why does 1 Cor 13:13 say that love is greater than faith? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
As Catholics we believe that we are saved by God’s grace alone. We can do nothing, apart from God’s grace, to receive the free gift of salvation. We also believe, however, that we have to respond to God’s grace. Protestants believe that, too. However, many Protestants believe that the only response necessary is an act of faith; whereas, Catholics believe a response of "faith and works" is necessary, or, as the Bible puts it in Galatians 5:6, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumsion is of any avail, but faith working through love." (Just as the Church teaches.)
St. Paul said he needed to work out his salvation with "fear and trembling." If anyone professed their faith in Jesus it was Paul. If he felt so assured of his salvation because of his faith alone in Jesus, why then would he be trembling, and have to work out his salvation?
So, the next time someone asks you if you are saved, the Catholic should reply:
As the Bible says, I am already saved (Rom. 8:24, Eph. 2:5–8), but I’m also being saved (1 Cor. 1:8, 2 Cor. 2:15, Phil. 2:12), and I have the hope that I will be saved (Rom. 5:9–10, 1 Cor. 3:12–15). Like the apostle Paul I am working out my salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), with hopeful confidence in the promises of Christ (Rom. 5:2, 2 Tim. 2:11–13)." ♥
I’ll come back later when the fireworks are in full swing. :)
Former Southern Baptist, confirmed Roman Catholic. I’m safe! :)
I'll pass on this hornet's nest too.
Peter Kreeft [professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King’s College, author of numerous books, and together with Ronald K. Tacelli, SJ, “Twenty Arguments for the Existence of God”].
Over the past twenty-five years I have asked hundreds of Catholic college students the question: If you should die tonight and God asks you why he should let you into heaven, what would you answer? The vast majority of them simply do not know the right answer to this, the most important of all questions, the very essence of Christianity. They usually do not even mention Jesus! www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0027.html
As for not teaching salvation by works, the distinction btwn grace and “merit” as a reward due to God’s faithfulness, by which the below is argued to refer to, versus actually morally gaining justification, is lost among most RCs.
Although the sinner is justified by the justice of Christ, inasmuch as the Redeemer has merited for him the grace of justification (causa meritoria), nevertheless he is formally justified and made holy by his own personal justice and holiness (causa formalis). (Catholic Encyclopedia> Sanctifying Grace)
“nothing further is wanting to the justified [baptized and faithful], to prevent their being accounted to have, by those very works which have been done in God, fully satisfied the divine law according to the state of this life, and to have truly merited eternal life.” (Trent, Chapter XVI; The Sixth Session Decree on justification, 1547)
“If anyone says that the good works of the one justified are in such manner the gifts of God that they are not also the good merits of him justified; or that the one justified by the good works that he performs by the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit an increase of grace, eternal life, and in case he dies in grace, the attainment of eternal life itself and also an increase of glory, let him be anathema.” (Trent, Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 32. Also see The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, in Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1919 ed., Decree on Justification, Chapters V, VI, VII, X, XIV, XV, XVI) (emphasis mine)
Shortened, this teaches, “If anyone says that the one justified by the good works that he performs by the grace of God does not truly merit eternal life, and in case he dies in grace, the attainment of eternal life itself, let him be anathema.”
As for the straw man RCs depend upon to denigrate sola fide (while evangelicals are the one who show the most works):
Calvin states in his Institutes, “With good reason, the sum of the gospel is held to consist in repentance and forgiveness of sins (Luke 24:47; Acts 5:31)” (p. 592); and, “surely no one can embrace the grace of the gospel without betaking himself from the errors of past life into the right way, applying his whole effort to the practice of repentance” (Book III, p. 593). “Repentance has its foundation in the gospel, which faith embraces” ( Book III, Chapter 3, p. 593)
And in his Commentaries, Calvin understands that, The proposition that faith without works justifies by itself is false, because faith without is void. (John Calvin, Commentaries, Volumes I-XXII (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1981), Commentary on Ezekiel 18:14-17)
In his Introduction to Romans, Luther stated that saving faith is,
a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesnt stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing. Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an unbeliever...Thus, it is just as impossible to separate faith and works as it is to separate heat and light from fire! [http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/luther-faith.txt]
This is what I have often said, if faith be true, it will break forth and bear fruit. If the tree is green and good, it will not cease to blossom forth in leaves and fruit. It does this by nature. I need not first command it and say: Look here, tree, bear apples. For if the tree is there and is good, the fruit will follow unbidden. If faith is present works must follow. [Sermons of Martin Luther 2.2:340-341]
We must therefore most certainly maintain that where there is no faith there also can be no good works; and conversely, that there is no faith where there are no good works. Therefore faith and good works should be so closely joined together that the essence of the entire Christian life consists in both. [Martin Luther, as cited by Paul Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1963], 246, footnote 99]
Thus faith casts itself on God, and breaks forth and becomes certain through its works. When this takes place a person becomes known to me and to other people. For when I thus break forth I spare neither man nor devil, I cast myself down, and will have nothing to do with lofty affairs, and will regard myself as the poorest sinner on earth. This assures me of my, faith. For this is what it says: “This man went down to his house justified.” Thus we attribute salvation as the principal thing to faith, and works as the witnesses of faith. They make one so certain that he concludes from the outward life that the faith is genuine.[Sermons of Martin Luther 2.2:341]
Thus, faith must be exercised, worked and polished; be purified by fire, like gold. Faith, the great gift and treasure from God, must express itself and triumph in the certainty that it is right before God and man, and before angels, devils and the whole world. Just as a jewel is not to be concealed, but to be worn in sight, so also, will and must faith be worn and exhibited, as it is written in 1 Peter 1, 7: “That the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire,” etc. [Sermons of Martin Luther 2:245-246]
In those therefore in whom we cannot realize good works, we can immediately say and conclude: they heard of faith, but it did not sink into good soil. For if you continue in pride and lewdness, in greed and anger, and yet talk much of faith, St. Paul will come and say, 1 Cor. 4:20, look here my dear Sir, “the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.” It requires life and action, and is not brought about by mere talk. [Sermons of Martin Luther 2.2:341-342]
All believers are like poor Lazarus; and every believer is a true Lazarus, for he is of the same faith, mind and will, as Lazarus. And whoever will not be a Lazarus, will surely have his portion with the rich glutton in the flames of hell. For we all must like Lazarus trust in God, surrender ourselves to him to work in us according to his own good pleasure, and be ready to serve all men. And although we all do not suffer from such sores and poverty, yet the same mind and will must be in us, that were in Lazarus, cheerfully to bear such things, wherever God wills it. [Sermons of Martin Luther 2.2:25]
This is why St. Luke and St. James have so much to say about works, so that one says: Yes, I will now believe, and then he goes and fabricates for himself a fictitious delusion, which hovers only on the lips as the foam on the water. No, no; faith is a living and an essential thing, which makes a new creature of man, changes his spirit and wholly and completely converts him. It goes to the foundation and there accomplishes a renewal of the entire man; so, if I have previously seen a sinner, I now see in his changed conduct, manner and life, that he believes. So high and great a thing is faith.[Sermons of Martin Luther 2.2:341]
Works are a certain sign, like a seal on a letter, which make me certain that my faith is genuine. [cf. 1Jn. 5:13] As a result if I examine my heart and find that my works are done in love, then I am certain that my faith is genuine. If I forgive, then my forgiving makes me certain that my faith is genuine and assures me and demonstrates my faith to me. [Martin Luther, as cited by Paul Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1963], 247, footnote 106]
Hence the beginning of goodness or Godliness is not in us, but in the Word of God. God must first let his Word sound in our hearts by which we learn to know and to believe him, and afterwards do good works. [Sermons of Martin Luther 2.2:339]
When works follow it becomes apparent that we have faith [Martin Luther, as cited by Paul Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1963], 247, footnote 106
..that alone can be called Christian faith, which believes without wavering that Christ is the Saviour not only to Peter and to the saints but also to you....Such a faith will work in you love for Christ and joy in him, and good works will naturally follow. If they do not, faith is surely not present: for where faith is, there the Holy Ghost is and must work love and good works. [Sermons of Martin Luther 1:21-22]
For it is impossible for him who believes in Christ, as a just Savior, not to love and to do good. If, however, he does not do good nor love, it is sure that faith is not present. Therefore man knows by the fruits what kind of a tree it is, and it is proved by love and deed whether Christ is in him and he believes in Christ. As St. Peter says in 2 Pet. 1, 10: “Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble,” that is, if you bravely practice good works you will be sure and cannot doubt that God has called and chosen you. [Sermons of Martin Luther 1:40]
But here we must take to heart the good example of Christ in that he appeals to his works, even as the tree is known by its fruits, thus rebuking all false teachers, the pope, bishops, priests and monks to appear in the future and shield themselves by his name, saying, “We are Christians;” just as the pope is boasting that he is the vicar of Christ. Here we have it stated that where the works are absent, there is also no Christ. Christ is a living, active and fruit- bearing character who does not rest, but works unceasingly wherever he is. Therefore, those bishops and teachers that are not doing the works of Christ, we should avoid and consider as wolves.[Sermons of Martin Luther 1:93]
Christ is the priest, all men are spiritual lepers because of unbelief; but when we come to faith in him he touches us With his hand, gives and lays upon us his merit and we become clean and whole without any merit on our part whatever. We are therefore to show our gratitude to him and acknowledge that we have not become pious by our own works, but through his grace, then our course will be right before God...[Sermons of Luther 1:152]
For if your heart is in the state of faith that you know your God has revealed himself to you to be so good and merciful, without thy merit, and purely gratuitously, while you were still his enemy and a child of eternal wrath; if you believe this, you cannot refrain from showing yourself so to your neighbor; and do all out of love to God and for the welfare of your neighbor. Therefore, see to it that you make no distinction between friend and foe, the worthy and the unworthy; for you see that all who were here mentioned, have merited from us something different than that we should love and do them good. And the Lord also teaches this, when in Luke 6:35 he says: “But love your enemies, and do good unto them, and lend, never despairing; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be sons of the Most High: for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil.” [Sermons of Martin Luther 2.2:101]
Therefore we must close our eyes, not look at our works, whether they be great, small, honorable, contemptible, spiritual, temporal or what kind of an appearance and name they may have upon earth; but look to the command and to the obedience in the works. Do they govern you, then the work also is truly right and precious, and completely godly, although it springs forth as insignificant as a straw. However, if obedience and Gods commandments do not dominate you, then the work is not right, but damnable, surely the devils own doings, although it were even so great a work as to raise the dead...And St. Peter says, Ye are to be as faithful, good shepherds or administrators of the manifold grace of God; so that each one may serve the other, and be helpful to him by means of what he has received, 1 Peter 4:10. See, here Peter says the grace and gifts of God are not one but manifold, and each is to tend to his own, develop the same and through them be of service to others. [Sermons of Martin Luther 1:244]
In addition, upon hearing that he was being charged with rejection of the Old Testament moral law, Luther responded,
And truly, I wonder exceedingly, how it came to be imputed to me, that I should reject the Law or ten Commandments, there being extant so many of my own expositions (and those of several sorts) upon the Commandments, which also are daily expounded, and used in our Churches, to say nothing of the Confession and Apology, and other books of ours. Martin Luther, [”A Treatise against Antinomians, written in an Epistolary way”, http://www.truecovenanter.com/truelutheran/luther_against_the_antinomians.html]
The Westminster Confession of Faith states:
Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification; yet it is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but works by love. [Westminster Confession of Faith, CHAPTER XI. Of Justification. http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/creeds/wcf.htm]
The classic Methodist commentator Adam Clarke held,
The Gospel proclaims liberty from the ceremonial law: but binds you still faster under the moral law. To be freed from the ceremonial law is the Gospel liberty; to pretend freedom from the moral law is Antinomianism.[Adam Clarke Commentary, Gal. 5:13]
Likewise on on Titus 1:16 (”They profess that they know God; but in works they deny, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” KJV):
Full of a pretended faith, while utterly destitute of those works by which a genuine faith is accredited and proved. [Adam Clarke Commentary, Titus 1]
To which the Presbyterian commentator Mathew Henry concurs: “There are many who in word and tongue profess to know God, and yet in their lives and conversations deny and reject him; their practice is a contradiction to their profession.” [Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible, Titus 1]
Contemporary evangelical theologian R. C. Sproul writes,
The relationship of faith and good works is one that may be distinguished but never separated...if good works do not follow from our profession of faith, it is a clear indication that we do not possess justifying faith. The Reformed formula is, We are justified by faith alone but not by a faith that is alone.[[Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, Google books]
Present day evangelical Calvinist Oxford theologian Alister McGrath points out, It can be shown that a distinction came to be drawn between the concepts of merit and congruity; while man cannot be said to merit justification by any of his actions, his preparation for justification could be said to make his subsequent justification’ congruous’ or ‘appropriate.’ Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification, vol. L; p. 110 http://www.equip.org/articles/justification
Also, rather than the easy believism Rome associates with sola fide, in Puritan Protestantism there was often a tendency to make the way to the cross too narrow, perhaps in reaction against the Antinomian controversy as described in an account (http://www.the-highway.com/Early_American_Bauckham.html) of Puritans during the early American period that notes,
They had, like most preachers of the Gospel, a certain difficulty in determining what we might call the conversion level, the level of difficulty above which the preacher may be said to be erecting barriers to the Gospel and below which he may be said to be encouraging men to enter too easily into a mere delusion of salvation. Contemporary critics, however, agree that the New England pastors set the level high. Nathaniel Ward, who was step-son to Richard Rogers and a distinguished Puritan preacher himself, is recorded as responding to Thomas Hookers sermons on preparation for receiving Christ in conversion with, Mr. Hooker, you make as good Christians before men are in Christ as ever they are after, and wishing, Would I were but as good a Christian now as you make men while they are preparing for Christ.
Pray to Mary,Bow down before the idols of the saints,Light lots of candles,And pay the priest to hold lots of masses to pray you out of purgatory or limbo.Even then there is no guarentee.
I hope so, and NO.
The sort of question only a fanatic would ask. Cultural hand grenades, so to speak.
The absolutely best proselytizers don't love to hear themselves talk. They teach by example.
Do try to keep up to date.
'Cept maybe NYer.
God knows. Thy will be done.
The problem with depending on works or using them to determine genuine salvation is that a person can add good works to intellectual assent and think they’re good wit God, and yet not demonstrate a changed heart and life.
I hope so, and NO. Stupid questions.
Why would only a fanatic ask those questions and why are they stupid?
IS going to hell preferable?
If you're not saved, you're going to hell. Is it really *fanatical* to be concerned with someone else's eternal future?
What should the saved do? Ignore everyone else and let them go to hell?
Sola Fide is a strange and contradictory dogma adopted by the Reformation. Faith is an act of the intellect assenting to a truth which is beyond its grasp and is therefore itself an act of the will and a work. Professing that we are saved by faith alone asserts that we are the authors of our own Salvation and is a corruption of the Catholic doctrine that Actual Grace must be cooperated with by the recipient through works of mercy.
Peace be with you.
Wrong. Faith is not mere intellectual assent. Even the demons have that and tremble.
Here is GOD'S definition of faith.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Saving faith is not mere intellectual assent kind of believing, it's a receiving and trust.
John 1:12-13 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Saving faith is a receiving kind of faith as John states, something that goes deeper than intellectual assent. Something that changes the heart and when that heart change happens, you KNOW it. Salvation is a GIFT, something that cannot be earned, deserved, or paid off, but must be received.
Before his death, Jesuit theologian Cardinal Avery Dulles warned that a thoughtless optimism about salvation had become a serious problem. He suggested that more education is needed to convince people that they ought to fear God who, as Jesus taught, can punish soul and body together in hell.... Cardinal Avery Dulles is listed as one of ...the ten greatest Catholic intellectuals in American history... [Catholic Caucus]
Who, then, can be saved?-- concluding paragraph (formatting mine), from the thread Who Can Be Saved?. Article by Cardinal Avery Dulles
Catholics can be saved if they believe the Word of God as taught by the Church and if they obey the commandments.
Other Christians can be saved if they submit their lives to Christ and join the community where they think he wills to be found.
Jews can be saved if they look forward in hope to the Messiah and try to ascertain whether Gods promise has been fulfilled.
Adherents of other religions can be saved if, with the help of grace, they sincerely seek God and strive to do his will.
Even atheists can be saved if they worship God under some other name and place their lives at the service of truth and justice.
Gods saving grace, channeled through Christ the one Mediator, leaves no one unassisted. But that same grace brings obligations to all who receive it. They must not receive the grace of God in vain. Much will be demanded of those to whom much is given.
The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her...
from the thread Promising Salvation to Non-Catholics: A Sin against Charity
It is not the case, [Cardinal Levada] said, as some have argued, "that the Church of Christ can subsist in churches outside the Catholic Church."
-- from the thread Somewhat surprised Cardinal Levada tries to clarify Vatican statement on non-Catholic churches
The multiplicity of theological positions present within the Catholic Church. These positions vary according to which premises or postulates are used in reflecting on the sources of revelation, according to the methodology employed, and according to the cultural tradition within which theology does its speculation. On the first bases, the two principal philosophical premises are the Platonic, stressed in Augustinianaism; and the Aristotelian, emphasized in Thomism. On the second level, theologies differ in terms of their mainly biblical, or doctrinal, or historical, or pastoral methodology. And on the third basis, the culture of a people helps to shape the theology they develop, as between the more mystical East and the more practical West, or the more reflective Mediterranean and the more scientific Anglo-Saxon. The Church not only permits these diversities but encourages them, always assuming that theologians who are Catholic are also respectful of the rule of faith and obedient to the magisterium of the hierarchy under the Bishop of Rome.
-- from the thread Catholic Word of the Day: THEOLOGICAL PLURALISM, 11-10-09
"....do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing....
-- Matthew 6:3b
No Salvation Outside the Church
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(Audio) My Advice to Catholic Parents: Don't Let Your Kids Date Non-Catholics
The Radio Replies Series: "The Failure of Protestantism"
Radio Replies Volume One: Protestantism Erroneous
Radio Replies Volume One: Luther
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At Long Last..... [New President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity]
Cardinal Levada: Union with the Catholic Church is the Goal of Ecumenism
Congregation for the Defense of the Faith's June 29 2007 statement, approved by Pope Benedict XVI:
Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church
Somewhat surprised Cardinal Levada tries to clarify Vatican statement on non-Catholic churches
Vatican Church Declaration: A Radical Departure from Traditional Teaching
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Pope: Some Christian Denominations Not True Churches
The churches that aren't ["what is the point of religious dialogue with the Vatican?"]
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Survey of recent news articles
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Here is the WHOLE sentence in Philippians. Verse 12 is only part of a sentence, not the whole thing.
Philippians 2:12-13 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
For the believer, we CANNOT contribute our own good works to our salvation because it's not even us doing it. It's God Himself.