Skip to comments.Who Needs Works?
Posted on 03/15/2014 5:31:38 AM PDT by DaveMSmith
It seems to be a matter of common sense to say that good people will go to heaven and evil people will go to hell. Something would be terribly wrong if God could send an innocent, sincere, charitable, helpful person to hell. Yet sometimes people suggest that a person's salvation depends upon his faith alone, and not upon the good things he does, or how he lives, or whether he obeys the Ten Commandments. The Bible never mentions "faith alone" (except in one passage which says faith alone is dead--James 2:24) The concept first came into existence during the Reformation, when Luther and other Protestants split away from the Roman Catholic Church. Luther's concept of how a person gets to heaven was different from what had been taught by the Catholic Church. Luther's phrase "faith alone" emphasized this difference.
In the early Christian Church there was no controversy about whether a person could be saved by faith alone without obeying the Lord and living well. Early Christians knew that loving the Lord meant obeying His commandments, (Matthew 19:17; John 14:21; 15:10) and that salvation depended on bearing fruit (that is, doing good works). (Matthew 7:19; 16:27; 21:43; Luke 3:9; John 5:29; 15:1-16; Revelation 20:13; 22:12) In fact there are so many passages which say that a good life is necessary, that it would be quite a contradiction if the Bible did say that faith alone is enough.
Probably the closest the Bible comes to mentioning "faith alone" is Paul's phrase, "man is justified by faith without the works of the law." (Romans 3:28) Sometimes this phrase has been used to defend or promote the idea that man is saved by faith alone. But if we look at Paul's statement in context we can see that Paul was simply saying that you can be saved without being a Jew. (Read Romans 3:28-31) Some early Christians felt that to be a good Christian, one should obey all the ritual laws of the Jewish Church. "Certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, `Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.'" (Acts 15:1) Now Paul knew that it made no difference to the Lord whether a person was circumcised or not, so he made it clear that it is not necessary to keep the laws about washing, sacrifices, offerings, holy days, diet, and circumcision. (Colossians 2:16; Galatians 2; Romans 3; 2:25-28; Hebrews 8-10) "Does this blessedness then come only on the circumcised, and not on the uncircumcised also?" (Romans 4:9) "Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what counts." (1 Corinthians 7:19) "In Jesus Christ neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working by love." (Galatians 5:6) Paul says here not "faith alone," but "faith which works by love". Faith, works and love are all necessary.
These and other references make it clear that when Paul said a man is saved by faith without the works of the law, he meant that a person is saved without circumcision and other ritualistic works. There are other laws, which relate not to ritual but to living well, as for example the Ten Commandments and laws such as "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Leviticus 19:18) Paul made it clear that it was necessary to keep these laws in order to be saved. He said, "Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, not adulterers, nor homosexuals... nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:9,10; see also Galatians 5:19-20) Paul had no thought at all of doing away with the law: "Do we abrogate the law through faith? Far from it! We establish the law." (Romans 3:31) He knew that salvation depended on action, not just on faith: "Not the hearers of the law shall be justified by God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." (Romans 2:13) And he taught that every loving person will obey God's law: "Love does no harm to a neighbor: therefore love is the fulfillment of he law." (Romans 13:10)
It is clear from the passages above that according to Paul, we must keep the Lord's commandments and live a good life in order to be saved. This agrees completely with what other disciples said about living well. What could be more direct that this statement of James: "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? That faith cannot save him, can it?... Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.... By works a person is justified, and not by faith alone." (James 2:14-24) John showed that you can't have faith unless you love others when he said, "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." (1 John 4:8) He also taught that we can and should obey God's commands: "This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous." (1 John 5:3)
For any Christian, the way to eternal life is to follow Jesus and do as He says. And what He says is very plain: "If you will enter into life, keep the commandments." (Matthew 19:17) This is not only the way to life, but the way to happiness: "If you know these things, happy are you if you do them." (John 13:17) It is the way to love the Lord: "He who has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is who loves Me." (John 14:21) And it is the way to be His friend: "You are my friends if you do whatever I command you." (John 15:14)
Thanks to Daniel1212 for removing the mask again.
I have a pretty good idea which ones you are talking about. Many, as I remember, were on the subject of the deity of Jesus Christ, which, oddly enough, were on the side of those who claimed it was not taught in the Bible! Even now, few Catholics join in on threads where this is discussed to defend their OWN church's teachings. I don't get it.
Ah we saw a bit of that this week with the historical accuracy of the Gospels. The OP was RC and did not defend his own thread as Prots came to the rescue AND then had the audacity to counter you (or metmom) who was actually defending his thread.
I see this on other sites as well.
“Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
What do YOU think this means?
Why are you calling these words of Christ, “the slimmest of reeds”?
Are you claiming for yourself infallible interpretation of Scripture?
No one, unless they look past the 'Saved By Grace' that Everyone claims to believe; into the territory of 'Kept By Works'; which SO many tend to preach.
The Book says:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Then they asked him, What must we do to do the works God requires?
Jesus answered, The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.
1 John 3:21-23
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.
And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
James 1:27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
New King James: But now you yourselves are to put off ...
Old King James: But now ye also put off ...
If you can find the ANSWER; we'l surely be glad to 'know' it.
Ok; but what if a 'christian' DOES do one of those things?
Do you say they are now UNborn again?
And HE talked about REQUIREMENTS a little..
Can I place you in the 'Kept By Works' column then?
I think you expressed it quite well:
“I ain’t like that filthy publican over there!”
This thread (and our churches) are FULL of folks who came from Judea to Antioch...
5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.
6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.
12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they finished, James spoke up. Brothers, he said, listen to me. 14 Simon[a] has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:
16 After this I will return
and rebuild Davids fallen tent.
Its ruins I will rebuild,
and I will restore it,
17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
even all the Gentiles who bear my name,
says the Lord, who does these things[b]
18 things known from long ago.[c]
19 It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.
The apostles and elders, your brothers,
To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:
24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.
30 So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32 Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them.  [d] 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.
Right up there...
3 The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted.
7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe.
Only ONE thing will be judged there to determine your salvation:
Whether your name is written in the Lamb's Book of LIFE.
(I mean... hay!)
Not just belonging, but possessing, entrusted with, maintaining, and polishing; too!
NOW you've SURELY aggravated the Catholics!!!
Doncha know that to get to be a SAINT, ya gotta have MIRACLES attributed to you?
And you'd be right!
Let's see if any MORMONs want to come out to play...
Just sippin' a bit of...
And downing a dram or two of...
But wait!! There's MORE!!
Is Peter the 'rock'?
As you can see, Simon was already known as 'Peter'
BEFORE the following verses came along.....
NIV 1 Corinthians 10:4
and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
NIV Luke 6:48
He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.
NIV Romans 9:33
As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
NIV 1 Peter 2:4-8
4. As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him--
5. you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
6. For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
7. Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone, "
8. and, "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the message--which is also what they were destined for.
But, since there WAS no NT at the time Christ spoke to Peter, just what DID Peter and the rest of the Disciples know about ROCKS???
NIV Genesis 49:24-25
24. But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25. because of your father's God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of the breast and womb.
NIV Numbers 20:8
"Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink."
NIV Deuteronomy 32:4
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
NIV Deuteronomy 32:15
Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; filled with food, he became heavy and sleek. He abandoned the God who made him and rejected the Rock his Savior.
NIV Deuteronomy 32:18
You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.
NIV Deuteronomy 32:30-31
30. How could one man chase a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless the LORD had given them up?
31. For their rock is not like our Rock, as even our enemies concede.
NIV 1 Samuel 2:2
"There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
NIV 2 Samuel 22:2-3
2. He said: "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
3. my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior-- from violent men you save me.
NIV 2 Samuel 22:32
For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?
NIV 2 Samuel 22:47
"The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!
NIV 2 Samuel 23:3-4
3. The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: `When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God,
4. he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth.'
NIV Psalms 18:2
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
NIV Psalms 18:31
For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?
NIV Psalms 18:46
The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!
NIV Psalms 19:14
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
NIV Psalms 28:1
To you I call, O LORD my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.
NIV Psalms 31:2-3
2. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.
3. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
NIV Psalms 42:9
I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?"
NIV Psalms 62:2
He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
NIV Psalms 62:6
He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
NIV Psalms 62:7
My salvation and my honor depend on God ; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
NIV Psalms 71:3
Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
NIV Psalms 78:35
They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.
NIV Psalms 89:26
He will call out to me, `You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.'
NIV Psalms 92:14-15
14. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,
15. proclaiming, "The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him."
NIV Psalms 95:1
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
NIV Psalms 144:1
Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.
NIV Isaiah 17:10
You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress.
NIV Isaiah 26:4
Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.
NIV Isaiah 30:29
And you will sing as on the night you celebrate a holy festival; your hearts will rejoice as when people go up with flutes to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel.
NIV Isaiah 44:8
Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one."
NIV Habakkuk 1:12
O LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, we will not die. O LORD, you have appointed them to execute judgment; O Rock, you have ordained them to punish.
And now you know the Biblical position!
Well; a list of loosened things might be of help here...
I wonder if these guys were examples of Good Works in the Catholic Religious Organization:
Pope John XII (955964), who gave land to a mistress, murdered several people, and was killed by a man who caught him in bed with his wife.
Pope Benedict IX (10321044, 1045, 10471048), who "sold" the Papacy
~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
In two sentences we have the matter boiled down to its essence. A lot of the strife we see is due to asking the wrong question.
What do YOU think this means?
Why are you calling these words of Christ, the slimmest of reeds?
Are you claiming for yourself infallible interpretation of Scripture?
I think I'll throw this in to the mix......
Here's the context of the passage in question....
Matthew 18:1-3 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said,.....
Now drop down to the passage in question.
Matthew 18:15-20 If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.
OK, context here is that Jesus is talking about disputes between Christians (brothers) and that if one brother has something against another, he is to go and try to be reconciled. This is nothing about going to a priest to make confession, especially as the Catholic church teaches it.
So if someone offends me, I go to them to be reconciled. If we are, there is forgiveness and we agree on it and it is bound in the spiritual realm (heaven if you will). That settles the issue there and effectively closes the case. I think what happens is because it's settled, Satan can no longer access it for us in spiritual attack against either party.
The context indicates that it can be any believer because it's got to do with the parties involved. It does NOT say that we are to confess our sins to a priest to be absolved.
This twisted grammar is old and weak.
“Thou art Peter, and upon THIS rock....”
Christ is clearly continuing to refer to Peter.
This “little rock” vs. “big rock” nonsense is tortured linguistics, intended to ignore Christ’s clear meaning.
This and the rest of your argument would have us prefer YOUR “infallibility”, over that assigned by Christ Himself.
Well said and so true. No one can understand the freedom that is in Christ until they understand that premise.
Acts 15:8 And God, who knows the heart, bore witness by granting them the holy Spirit just as he did us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for by faith he purified their hearts
1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
Now you’re blaming the Holy Spirit for your bogus interpretations?
Has the Holy Spirit also guided dozens of Protestant religions in different directions, having given them each a different understanding?
As much as it did the RCC. All the Protestant churches are after all daughters of Rome.
**Has the Holy Spirit also guided dozens of Protestant religions in different directions, having given them each a different understanding?**
One Holy Spirit, One Christ, One God the Father, One Body of Christ, One Church.
That’s where the unity is.
Your copy and paste source?
No, I disagree with Lewis here. So does Paul, who insists that works have NOTHING to do with salvation: "And if by grace, it is not now by works: otherwise grace is no more grace" (Romans 11:5).
The seeming contradictions, e.g. Paul vs James, must be resolved in the clear light of Scripture which INSISTS that no flesh can be justified before God by works of the Law. One cannot be just a little bit justified. You either are or you are not! Scripture makes it clear that GOD is the One who justifies, and he does so based on BELIEVING, which is credited as righteousness.
It helps if you listen to Gods appointed apostles instead of the confused, layered cant of false teachers.
This little rock vs. big rock nonsense is tortured linguistics, intended to ignore Christs clear meaning.
This and the rest of your argument would have us prefer YOUR infallibility, over that assigned by Christ Himself.
It's not tortured linguistics. Failure to correctly translate the original Greek, which makes the distinction, is the problem
The problem is basing an entire doctrine on one mistranslated verse.
Petra Peter rock
Matthew 16:18 - http://bible.cc/matthew/16-18.htm
Jesus said that Peter was *petros*(masculine) and that on this *petra*(feminine) He would build His church.
Greek: 4074 Pétros (a masculine noun) properly, a stone (pebble), such as a small rock found along a pathway. 4074 /Pétros (small stone) then stands in contrast to 4073 /pétra (cliff, boulder, Abbott-Smith).
4074 (Pétros) is an isolated rock and 4073 (pétra) is a cliff (TDNT, 3, 100). 4074 (Pétros) always means a stone . . . such as a man may throw, . . . versus 4073 (pétra), a projecting rock, cliff (S. Zodhiates, Dict).
4073 pétra (a feminine noun) a mass of connected rock, which is distinct from 4074 (Pétros) which is a detached stone or boulder (A-S). 4073 (pétra) is a solid or native rock, rising up through the earth (Souter) a huge mass of rock (a boulder), such as a projecting cliff.
4073 (petra) is a projecting rock, cliff (feminine noun) . . . 4074 (petros, the masculine form) however is a stone . . . such as a man might throw (S. Zodhiates, Dict).
Its also a strange way to word the sentence that He would call Peter a rock and say that on this I will build my church instead of *on you* as would be grammatically correct in talking to a person.
There is no support from the original Greek for the idea that Jesus meant Peter to be that which He was going to build His church on. The nouns are not the same as one is feminine and the other masculine and denote different objects.
Looks the me like the NIV Bible.
But, there is the problem. There is no clear light. You can stack Scripture atop Scripture for both positions - faith in one and works in another. And, what you then have is two stacks of Scripture. And opinions.
This is not the fault of Scripture. It is the fault of misuse of the Scripture - forcing it to do what it was not intended to do.
In first century Greek, petros and petra did not mean small stone and large rock. The terms did have those meanings in some early Greek poetry, but by the first century, this distinction was gone and the two were synonyms (EBC 8:368).
Furthermore, the Aramaic kepa, which underlies the Greek, means (massive) rock (EBC 8:367), not small stone.
The usage of the two different terms if fully accounted for by stylistic variation. Too much repetition grates on the ears, which is the whole reason we have pronounsto avoid excess repetition. In this case, varying the term petros as petra is a normal stylistic variation to avoid repetition in the same sentence.
We would acknowledge even greater examples of stylistic variation in everyday speech in English. If I were a hospital administrator attending a fund-raiser where I planned to announce that one of my chief doctors, a man named Dr. Robert Stone, would be the chief physician of a new wing of the hospital, I might publicly say, I tell you truly, Bob, that you are a Stone, and on the rock I will build a whole new wing of the hospital. Nobody at the function would think I was referring to anyone except Dr. Stone as the rock on which the new wing is built. It is perfectly normal stylistic variation, and the etymological difference between the English terms stone and rock is ever greater than the difference between the Greek terms petros and petra.
Even supposing, contrary to the linguistic evidence, that the two terms should be read as small stone and large rock, this does not mean Jesus is diminishing Peter in the statement. The anti-Petrine argument assumes that, if there is a difference in the two terms, there must be antithetic parallelism between the statement about Peter and the statement about the rock. I.e., that Jesus is diminishing Peter by contrasting him with the rock: I tell you Peter, you are a very small stone, but on the great rock of my identity, I will build my Church. However, the assumption that the parallelism is antithetic is merely an assumption with no proof. It can just as easily be synthetic, so that the statement about the rock expands on the statement about Peter: I tell you Peter, you may look like a small stone now, but on the great rock you truly are, I will build my Church.
NIV = Newly InVented
And you got that from where?
Links to your sources?
Because of course, without a link the argument presented doesn’t stand on its own....
Would you like to focus on the material presented and take issue?
That's exactly it as Paul confirms here...We can always find the truth by comparing scripture with scripture...
2Co 2:10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
2Co 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Regardless of what stage the offense gets forgiven, it is already forgiven by Jesus...Paul as an apostle has already forgiven it...The elders of the church have forgiven it...It is bound in heaven...
Catholics can not discuss bound and loosed in heaven other than to 'claim it' since they don't have a clue what it really means...
Don't understand your columns but include me in the one that says 'you don't believe in Jesus unless you do his works'.
While Rome holds that Christ merited the grace of justification, how that is instrumentally appropriated is the issue.
In Scripture faith (the kind of faith that confesses the Lord Jesus as in baptism), purifies the heart, "And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith." (Acts 15:9) Which is counted for righteousness as the soul is destitute of any merit whereby he may escape his just eternal punishment in Hell fire and gain Heaven.
Likewise Abraham was helpless to produce a vast nation, being as good as dead in that regard, but he trusted God's ability and willingness to effect His promise, and which faith was counted for righteousness.
"And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness." (Romans 4:21-22)
"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." (Romans 4:5)
And which conversion leaves a soul "washed, justified and sanctified" (1Cor. 6:11) so that he is presently accepted in the Beloved, (Eph. 1:6) and would go to be with the Lord if he died in faith, just Paul said he and we would, 2Cor. 5:6,8; Phil. 1:21-23; cf. Lk. 16:19-31; 23:43; Acts 7:59; Heb. 13:23; Rv. 6:9.10) though not yet perfect, (Phil. 3:12) and as would all the Thessalonian believers would if the Lord had returned in their lifetime. (1Thes. 4:17)
And which conversion does not leave a soul as merely as legally holy, but as regenerated so that he will live holy as the effect of being washed, justified and sanctified. But which is not as the cause of justification, else actual total moral perfection would be required for all the aforementioned souls in order to be justified and be with the Lord when they died or if He had returned in their lifetime.
Abraham was not imputed, or counted as righteous because he suddenly reached moral perfection, or suddenly was able to produce a vast nation, but because he in his abasement only had faith in God as righteous and able, not himself. Likewise the publican went to his house justified, not after doing penance, but because of faith in God's mercy out of a contrite heart which God effected, for,
"The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." (Psalms 34:18)
Yet Abraham was also justified by works in the sense that works are faith in action (Jesus saw their faith:...." Mark 2:5) and is confirmatory of salvation, versus having an inert faith. "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:10) Where there is no confession that Christ is Lord, given ability, then there is no faith. (cf. Mt. 10:32)
And as works can require repentance and faith, God can require one to do such works as require this. (Mk. 10:21) And in grace God blesses and rewards obedient faith in recognition of what it effects. (Heb. 10:35)
But if the merit of works themselves earn justification before God then neither Abraham was justified in Gn. 15:6, before his offered up Issac by faith in Gn. 22, nor the Gentiles in Acts 10, nor can death bed conversions by allowed.
Thus it is seen that faith appropriates justification of the heart while works justify one has saving faith, a complete faith.
As regards Roman soteriology, there is RC doctrine that allows for souls being saved by faith (baptism of desire), yet this itself is counted for a work (baptism), for RC soteriology is based upon the premise that the act of baptism formally justifies a soul by making him good enough inside (infused charity) to be accepted by God and enter Heaven.
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)
And as the baptism works ex opere operatos (by the act itself) then under Rome it is efficacious even when the subject has no moral cognizance or faith, and even if an unbeliever does the baptizing (which unlike what the word means, is usually sprinkling), providing he "intends to do what the church does" which is very loosely interpreted.
But in contrast to souls being justified by faith - a faith that effects holiness but which is not the case of justification of heart - and thus would immediately go to be with the Lord at death or at His return, under the RC gospel then as souls must actually become morally perfect to enter glory (and may have to atone for sins done after baptism), thus such as fail in this must go through "fire and torments or purifying punishments" (INDULGENTIARUM DOCTRINA; cp. 1. 1967) commencing at death. For "whosoever comes into God's presence must be perfectly pure for in the strictest sense." (Catholic Encyclopedia>Purgatory)
Thus having begun the salvation process by being made good enough inside for Heaven, they typically must end this process by being made good enough inside to enter glory thru the purgatory of Rome (which even the EOs reject as being unhistorical). Therefore early on in the development of this error, some souls would wait to be baptized on their death bed.
In addition, while Roman theology does make a distinction btwn the different types of merit, between causa meritoria' and causa formalis,' that of actually earning eternal life versus rewards based upon God being faithful to reward saints according to His promises made under grace, any distinction that is articulated deep in RC theology that would combat the natural tendency to trust in one's own merit to varying degrees for salvation, is effectively lost upon the laity, and apparently most of the clergy.
Not only is Roman soteriology based upon moral worthiness as being what justifies a soul even in conversion, but the normal reading of statements such as by Trent certainly convey that a souls actually earns eternal life by his/her works:
"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.
Which is teaching that "one is justified by the good works that he performs by the grace of God, and truly merits eternal life, and in case he dies in grace, the attainment of eternal life itself."
Likewise the CCC: "Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification and for the attainment of eternal life (Catechism of the Catholic church, Part 3, Life in Christ, Merit, 2010)
While God blesses obedience, (Acts 5:32) which is actually His work by grace, (Phil. 2:13) and so that obeying the light one has results in more light, (Jn. 12:36) and communion with God, (Jn. 14:21) and growth in grace solidifies faith and standing against falling away, (2Pt. 1:1-11) eternal life is a gift, not earned, while Hell is what is actually morally earned. (Rm. 6:23) Based on the evidence of works, one can be judged "worthy," (Rv. 3:4) as those of overcoming faith is who are rewarded, (Rv. 21:7) but this is not only a matter of God's grace to souls who actually are worthy of eternal damnation, but there obedience is a result of having been justified freely by grace, on Christ's expense and righteousness, and which saving faith is what produces works that are rewarded.
In contrast, Rome does not emphasize and effectually convey the damned + destitute condition of men and the desperate need for a personal day of salvation by repentant faith out of a broken contrite heart in the Lord Jesus to save on His expense and righteousness.
Instead Rome imagines souls were born again via the act of sprinkling water, typically upon morally in-cognizant souls who cannot fulfill the stated commands for baptism, (Acts 2:38; 8:36-38) or far more rare, by intellectual indoctrination in church-centric teaching, and henceforth they are treated as children of God. And which they are encouraged to imagine they receive spiritual life by physically consuming human flesh, and thru other rituals, which fosters perfunctory professions.
By such Rome promotes faith in herself and her claimed merits and that of one's own merit, and thus one may both have confidence that their life and church will gain them eternal life, somehow under under the rubric of God's mercy, and even if quite liberal, and or it promotes cultic devotion to church.
And thus while faithful evangelicals realize a unity of the Spirit based upon as common personal conversion and Scripture-based relationship with their Lord, and which transcends external divisions, and which is evidenced in both spontaneous meetings and the many evangelical ministries, they seldom find a Catholic with whom this fellowship is realized.
Instead, they typically encounter either ambivalence toward Biblical things, or the church of Rome is promoted and defended as to a god. And which is why they are challenged, both to counter a false gospel and to reach the resultant souls who are in need of salvation.