test

CHNetwork Online Community Forums Justification and Salvation Catholic and Protestant Views of Justification / Salvation

63 replies, 14 voices Last updated by Profile photo of Proverb16:7 Proverb167 6 years ago
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 64 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #11675
    Profile photo of house
    house
    Participant
    @house

    I know this question has probably been answered in one form or another on the forum, but I am hoping to get clarification once again.

    Just exactly what part do works play in Roman Catholic theology?

    Am I correct in saying that Catholics (like Evangelicals) believe first and foremost that justification is offered freely to the human being via faith in Jesus Christ — but for Catholics this “faith” is offered at baptism and that works are how one “taps” into that justification — whereas many Evangelicals believe that works are simply a sign that one has been justified and that these works offer eventual rewards in heaven, but have nothing to do with whether or not one actually gets into heaven?

    It seems to me, based on what I think I understand, that Roman Catholic theology does not teach works for salvation — but rather the importance of works after justification.  It seems to me that I could be baptized as a baby, admit true faith in Christ at confirmation, and proceed in life simply keeping free from mortal sin (without doing much by way of good works) and from a Catholic perspective I have a very good chance of being in heaven.

    #11738
    Profile photo of Proverb16:7
    Proverb167
    Participant
    @Proverb167

    House,
     
    Greetings a few things come to mind from scriptures,

    2 Peter 1:10  
    Wherefore, brethren, labour the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election. For doing these things, you shall not sin at any time.

    1 Peter 2:12  
    Having your conversation good among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by the good works, which they shall behold in you, glorify God in the day of visitation.

    Wisdom 6:4  
    For power is given you by the Lord, and strength by the most High, who will examine your works, and search out your thoughts:

    Jeremias 7:23  
    But this thing I commanded them, saying: Hearken to my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people: and walk ye in all the way that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.

    Jeremias 12:13  
    They have sown wheat, and reaped thorns: they have received an inheritance, and it shall not profit them: you shall be ashamed of your fruits, because of the fierce wrath of the Lord.

    Ezechiel 36:28
    And you shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

    In 2 Peter 1:10 he is reminding them of Ezechiel 36 and Jeremias 7 and that their lives should reflect what they profess.  We as catholics are called to the same standard, we are called to reflect who we profess to be…. the people of God.

    Our works are an extension of what we believe and profess.  If we profess our belief and faith in God to be his people should not our works reflect what we profess?  Jeremias 12 reminds us of that alternative. Peter in 1 Peter 2 reminds us of what our works are to, in the end , do.  Wisdom 6 reminds us that we have been given strength to do the good works that have been prepared for us to do as other scriptures tell us.

    Remember

    James 2:18  
    But some man will say: Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without works; and I will shew thee, by works, my faith.

    The catholic reply is

    James 2:19-20 [19] Thou believest that there is one God. Thou dost well: the devils also believe and tremble. [20] But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
    [21] Was not Abraham our father justified by works, offering up Isaac his son upon the altar? [22] Seest thou, that faith did co-operate with his works; and by works faith was made perfect? [23] And the scripture was fulfilled, saying: Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him to justice, and he was called the friend of God. [24] Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only? [25] And in like manner also Rahab the harlot, was not she justified by works, receiving the messengers, and sending them out another way?  

    I hope this gives you another perspective at what we as Catholics believe of the role of works.  

    #11737
    Profile photo of Proverb16:7
    Proverb167
    Participant
    @Proverb167

     It seems to me that I could be baptized as a baby, admit true faith in Christ at confirmation, and proceed in life simply keeping free from mortal sin (without doing much by way of good works) and from a Catholic perspective I have a very good chance of being in heaven.

    This is not true for as James has stated “faith without works is dead”.  If you say one thing and do another is your word true?  If you profess with your word, that your life is one thing and live another, is your profession of your life connected to your word?   So our profession of our faith must be shown to be what we live.

    If we do not we ….. I can use no other word,  as strong as it is, to say this , but … A lie.   I speak for my self in this but the truth is the truth and if we do not speak the truth we lie.  There is no other alternative and I include myself in this as well.

    Will every one live their faith out the same?   No.  
    Everyone has been given free will to form a conscience to aid them in conforming themselves to God's laws and will.  
    Not everyone will be judged on what I personally know or believe from how MY conscience was formed, and the same for you.
    We each will be judged by what has been given to us and by what we did with it….. Faith and Works.  I am not Abraham and I suspect you are not Nicodemus, so our level of what we will be judged by is different.

    I hope this helps you.

    #11736
    Profile photo of Proverb16:7
    Proverb167
    Participant
    @Proverb167

    House,

    Check out this link for more answers if not more questions on the topic:  

    Work Out Your Own Salvation with Fear and Trembling

    #11735
    Profile photo of DrDave
    DrDave
    Participant
    @DrDave

    Hi House,

    Perhaps it might help you to consider the question, 'Is it possible to remain sin free, while never performing any works?' for you are correct that it isn't works in and of themselves that determine whether we are 'in' or 'out' of God's friendship, it is grace, on the one hand and sin on the other.

    The answer to that question is of course yes! … if you're asleep, or if you're 3, or in a permanent vegetative state, and there's probably a few other cases. For most of us however, works are an inherent part of avoiding sins of omission.

    For myself, I detest waking up in the morning! I would much rather stay up till 3am and sleep 'till lunchtime, but the kids need to go to school at 8:30am and they really should have some breakfast before they go. Getting up, and getting breakfast for them is part of my duty as a Christian parent, something that I would argue is sinful to avoid. It may not be the kind of grand thing that many Protestants have in mind when they think of Catholics 'going out and performing works' but it is one of the works of mercy to 'feed the hungry' (in my case feed the ravening horde might be a better description).

    Is it a work that, if left undone would bar me from heaven? Is it a mortal sin of omission? As intent is part of what defines whether a sin is mortal, I would suggest that, my occasional sleeping in, so much so that the Children have to race off to school without breakfast isn't, but those cases I have heard of in the media where parents have allowed, or in some cases caused their children to die from starvation, I would suggest that it is possible.

    As Christians, everything we do (or don't do) should be guided by our love for Christ, and our love of neighbor. Both, the love and the actions that result from it, are so intricately interwoven, that it is really impossible for one to exist without the other.

    Regards Doc

    #11734
    Profile photo of Genesius
    Genesius
    Participant
    @Genesius

    There seems to be a subtle focus here that may be out of balance…not sure. But the end seems to be focusing upon getting to heaven…our “reward”. So the question I would pose…should we do works 1) out of fear of going to hell 2) so we can be somewhat assured of getting to heaven, and/or 3) to grow in that continuing eternal relationship with our Creator and Savior…out of simple love and devotion for Him? Or is it some combination?

    I also am going to be bold and go out on a limb here and say flat out, with the exception of the unique cases DrDave has mentioned, a person cannot be “saved” in the Evangelical definition without good works present in their life…period…anymore than you can force a fish to quit swimming or an Eagle to stop flying. It's the nature of a baptized believer to do good works, just as it is the nature of most human beings to sin. Once Christ is truly in your life…you simply have no option…by your very nature as a “saved” person with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit you simply can't help but to have a hunger for the things of God. I'm not sure if this is necessarily Catholic theology, but it's my own experience and my own humble opinion.

    #11733
    Profile photo of David W. Emery
    David W. Emery
    Keymaster
    @David W. Emery

    I'm not sure if this is necessarily Catholic theology, but it's my own experience and my own humble opinion.

    Generally speaking, even the person in the state of grace has to fight concupiscence (the effects of Original Sin, which remain even after baptism) to maintain himself in that state. In other words, the person who makes no effort to move forward is going to slide backward, because life is like walking up an incline towards God. This is why the spiritual masters often speak of the Christian life in terms of climbing a mountain (compare Isaiah 2:2–3), where God awaits us at the summit (in his Temple, which was built on Mount Zion).

    Grace provides a hunger and thirst, an impetus to keep going, but other things in life tend to pull us down. A great deal of effort is often needed to continue the ascent, and this effort is quite literally work.

    Another point that must not be overlooked is that any motive for “moving forward” that involves even the slightest degree of selfishness is, by that fact, vitiated. It may contain a great deal that is good, but selfishness in any form can stall one’s effort and make it fruitless. The Christian’s goal, therefore, is to learn to do all things in and for Christ, holding back nothing for himself. This may seem impossible, and for many it is; this is why they make little progress. But for the generous soul, great graces flow towards his unselfishness. The recent Gospel readings in the Sunday liturgy are from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5): “You have heard it said… but I say to you….” This “something extra” that Christ there insists on is precisely this generosity.

    David

    #11732
    Profile photo of David W. Emery
    David W. Emery
    Keymaster
    @David W. Emery

    house wrote:

    It seems to me, based on what I think I understand, that Roman Catholic theology does not teach works for salvation — but rather the importance of works after justification.  It seems to me that I could be baptized as a baby, admit true faith in Christ at confirmation, and proceed in life simply keeping free from mortal sin (without doing much by way of good works) and from a Catholic perspective I have a very good chance of being in heaven.

    This summary would work if minimalism worked; but it doesn’t. The reason it doesn’t work is the person’s lack of generosity, which I pointed out in my immediately preceding post. Minimalism is a selfish thing, pretending that there are other things in life more important than God. This is tantamount to idolatry.

    DrDave speaks of sins of omission (not being generous enough to live up to one’s obligations, especially moral obligations), and this too is a large part of the problem with minimalism. Christ styles his disciples as servants of God. But if the servants are self-indulgent and lazy, they will receive a whipping, not a reward (Luke 12:35–48).

    David

    #11731
    Profile photo of house
    house
    Participant
    @house

    O.K. … thanks for the continued help.  I believe I am starting to understand the differences between the typical Evangelical understanding of works and the Catholic understanding as they pertain to salvation.

    Evangelicals – for the most part – believe that justification is a one time event and that all the grace(s) of God necessary for salvation is/are imputed at the moment of belief (or faith).  All works thereafter are done out of thankfulness for what God has already completely given and as a pre-requisite for eternal rewards in heaven.  Also — many Evangelicals would use the circular argument that if no good works are present, then the person was never truly “saved” to being with.

    Catholics – on the other hand – believe that faith is important, but that works are also important and that these works are part of the salvific process itself – a process which is ongoing until death (possibly even after death?).

    Where I am still getting confused is the issue of justification as the Catholics understand it.  Evangelicals – for the most part – separate justification (that one time event) from sanctification (that ongoing event that includes good works) while stating that the sanctification has nothing to do with salvation.

    It seems to me that Catholics understand justification to be a one time event as well (ushered in at baptism and offered freely by God) — but that justification is also ongoing since works are part of the salvific process.  IF that is a true statement – then how is sanctification understood in the Catholic realm?

    #11730
    Profile photo of Intercessor
    Becky Mayhew
    Participant
    @Intercessor
    #11729
    Profile photo of David W. Emery
    David W. Emery
    Keymaster
    @David W. Emery

    house wrote:

    …works are part of the salvific process itself – a process which is ongoing until death (possibly even after death?).

    Not after death. Merit ceases at death. Purgatory involves suffering and expiation, not merit. Heaven is the reward of merit; merit itself is no longer the goal.

    All work done in heaven is an activity founded on God’s goodness and glory, not on human nature. The eternal work of heaven is illustrated in John 5:17–18, where Jesus points out that God does not stop working on the Sabbath, but continues to uphold his creation, and therefore he, as the Son of God, does not stop, either. (The Jews rightly understand Jesus as claiming that he is God. Whence their charge of blasphemy and demanding the death penalty that accompanied the crime.) Christians, being adopted sons of God and themselves destined for heaven, observe the Sabbath as sojourners on earth but will be like God in their heavenly home, working eternally out of love as they glorify their Lord.

    All this is confirmed in vv. 19ff, coming to a climax in vv. 28–29: “The hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.” Life implies work, because this is what living beings do. The more the life, the more work.

    Where I am still getting confused is the issue of justification as the Catholics understand it.  Evangelicals – for the most part – separate justification (that one time event) from sanctification (that ongoing event that includes good works) while stating that the sanctification has nothing to do with salvation.

    It seems to me that Catholics understand justification to be a one time event as well (ushered in at baptism and offered freely by God) — but that justification is also ongoing since works are part of the salvific process.  IF that is a true statement – then how is sanctification understood in the Catholic realm?

    For Catholics, justification is instantaneous, but not necessarily a “one time event,” since the state of grace (or righteousness) which justification brings about can be obliterated by sin. Sanctifying grace, therefore, can be lost. But actual graces can continue so long as the repudiation of God is not definitive.

    Again, some Evangelicals tend to see sanctification as a single event and of a single grade, whereas Catholics understand that a person can grow in holiness over a period of time. Initial conversion is merely the beginning of the process. People often gain insight into this as they mature and season as Christians, for they can see the growth and understand that they are much closer to God now than they were, say, 20 or 30 years ago. They do not sin nearly so much, do not have to be constantly repenting of their daily actions.

    Does sanctification have anything to do with the process of salvation? Yes, because one’s place in heaven will be determined by it. A very holy person will be given a higher seat at the heavenly banquet than one who “squeaks by,” doing the minimum. Luke 14:10 illustrates this principle, although it is treating of another matter: that of the necessity of humility — which itself is a mark of holiness (a high degree of sanctification).

    David

    #11728
    Profile photo of Genesius
    Genesius
    Participant
    @Genesius

    Obviously, David knows more than I do about these matters of Catholic theology. However, just speaking from my own personal study of salvation in Scripture and my own conversion experience, one thing I ran into along the way was this BIBLICAL model of salvation…and I stress BIBLICAL. I learned it long before even considering Catholic and discovered some non-Catholic Christian groups even hold to it…the idea that salvation implies “wholeness” and is a threefold process…past (upon establishing a relationship w/ Christ [baptism?]), present (Sanctification process), and future (glorification).

    Let us not forget Phil 2:12 – “…work out your own salvation in fear and trembling…” Clearly the term here is not in reference to a one time “sinner's prayer”. Yet evangelicals and fundamentalists think only in these terms when they hear the word “salvation”. It is not exclusive, but inclusive. Therefore, a more accurate response for the believer when asked, “Are you saved?” would have to be a resounding “No”…not yet, for I am still working out my salvation…and I have yet to be glorified at the last day.”

    Have I established a relationship with Christ? That's a different question.

    #11727
    Profile photo of Intercessor
    Becky Mayhew
    Participant
    @Intercessor

    . . .just speaking from my own personal study of salvation in Scripture and my own conversion experience, one thing I ran into along the way was this BIBLICAL model of salvation…and I stress BIBLICAL. I learned it long before even considering Catholic and discovered some non-Catholic Christian groups even hold to it…the idea that salvation implies “wholeness” and is a threefold process…past (upon establishing a relationship w/ Christ [baptism?]), present (Sanctification process), and future (glorification).

    . . . Therefore, a more accurate response for the believer when asked, “Are you saved?” would have to be a resounding “No”…not yet, for I am still working out my salvation…and I have yet to be glorified at the last day.”

    Genesius, that's pretty close to what I was taught as a Southern Baptist.  My father used to say:

    “I was saved.  I am being saved.  I will be saved.”

    From the Baptist Faith and Message 2000:

    IV. Salvation

    Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

    A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.
    Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.

    B. Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.

    C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God's purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person's life.

    D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.

    Becky

    #11726
    Profile photo of Genesius
    Genesius
    Participant
    @Genesius

    Intercessor, Although I consider it a noble attempt for the SB's to present a short summary (I'm assuming the BFM 2000 is SB?), the Church has had over 2000 years to develop her theology. As a result, it's near impossible to simply summarize it. I was looking in the CCC for the topic of salvation. There is so much on it because it is linked to all the sacraments, and more. Under the heading of each of the sacraments is a section entitled, “[sacrament] in the economy of salvation”. Since there is so much about it…and this thread is more related to justification I just clicked the link for that section.

    For a comparison/contrast with the BFM 2000 that you quoted, I would encourage you to read the following link from the CCC on Grace and Justification. It includes 4-5 separate sections including, Justification, Grace, Merit, and Christian Holiness; and the relationship of each one to the other. There is also a summary (as in every section of the CCC). Para’s 1987-2029. The only point it doesn't cover in this section to compare it with is “glorification”. That is dealt with somewhere else in the CCC.

    Catechism Link

    #11725
    Profile photo of house
    house
    Participant
    @house

    Thanks so much for all the replies.

    So….if I am understanding this…from a Catholic perspective justification is instantaneous — at baptism, but that justification can be lost via sin breaking the sanctifiying grace that was offered at justification?

    Hypothetically, if a baptized Catholic never sinned, then everything after initial (or instantaneous) justification would be considered sanctification until death?  If they did sin, and then received absolution and performed penance, their reinstatment into the good graces of God would be considered a re-justification of sorts?

    So sorry for rambling, but this is all so confusing to me — even the CCC doesn´t help very often.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 64 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

@

Not recently active