Sunday, December 30, 2007

Thoughts on Salvation

The Catholic Church has always taught that salvation is a gift from God (cf. Ephesians 2:8-10) and that men and women must accept that gift through faith. Many non-Catholics accuse the Church of teaching a crass "works righteousness" plan of salvation, as if Catholics believed they had to work to "earn" their salvation.
This is not what the Catholic church teaches. Salvation is a gift of God, and it also is dependent upon how men and women accept and make use of that free gift. The following verses show that salvation is not reducible to a mere "believe, repent, ask Jesus to be your personal savior" formula.
Scripture shows us that repentance and conversion are essential, but so is the "obedience of faith" what Catholics commonly refer to as "good works", done in grace, by the gift and power of God, whose grace works in us (cf. Philippians 2:12-13)

* Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God- not because of works, lest any man should boast."

* Romans 2:8-9: "Do you not know that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury."

Other Citations
Matthew 7:21-23
Matthew 19:16-17
Matthew 24:13
Matthew 25:34-36
Luke 6:27-36;6:46-49
Romans 2:6,13
Romans 5:2
Romans 8:25
Romans 11:22-23
1 Corinthians 9:27
Galatians 5:1-6
Ephesians 2:8-10
Philippians 2:12-13
Hebrews 10:24-29
James 1:22-25;2:14-26
2 Peter 2:20-21
1 John 3:7;5:3


TheDen said...

Great post.

I like to explain the "works" that are necessary is shown in the Bible through Noah and the ark.

Noah was saved from the flood through his faith. Noah and the other 7 were selected by God before the beginning of time.

Noah still had to "work" and build the ark. If Noah weren't obedient to God and "work" then he would have drowned with the rest of the world.

So, like Noah, while faith saves, obedience is necessary for our salvation and it's not faith alone.

Tracy said...

That is just excellent theden, I think I will use that to explain to my children, I think that will make it so much easier for them to understand and then they will know how they can easily respond when their protestant friends ask them to explain "works"

kritterc said...

Excellent explanation theden. I also just finished reading the Holy Father's Midnight Mass Message linked from your site - wonderful!! Listened to part of it on television, but had not read the whole message until now. Thanks for the link.

Adrienne said...

This Candy creature is not wrapped tight (spent some time on her blog and will never, ever waste my time again.)

The reason people like Candy have to attack the Catholic Church is because they are scared we may be right.

I can't hardly think of a time when I heard Catholics standing around berating non-Catholics. What would be the point.

Anyway ---- Happy New Year, all!!

Sue Bee said...

From the "protestant" point of view Noah is saved by the Grace of God because of Noah's righteousness, Noah does not save himself by his obedience.

God warns Noah about what is coming. God tells him to build an ark. God tells him how big the ark needs to be. God sends the animals to the ark. God tells Noah to pack supplies. God even shuts the door! God remembers Noah during the flood. And when it is over, God blesses Noah.

I do agree, faith alone does not secure our (or Noah's) salvation. It is by grace through faith that we are saved.

Elena said...

...and yet, God leaves it to Noah to build the arc! That's a huge point you simply can't overlook Sue Bee. Huge.

Sue Bee said...

The "huge point" is that God did not need the ark. Noah did. God provided it for Noah. For that matter, God did not need Noah. But Noah needed God.

Noah was a righteous man and demonstrated it in his obedience to God and his willingness to construct the ark, but Noah's life was always, always, always dependent on God's grace & mercy, and not his own hammer.

Who provides our homes, our food, our clothes? Do we give thanks to ourselves and our own hard work before we eat? No! We depend on the grace of God for everything, for the things that sustain life, for faith, and for salvation. Noah understood this, as soon as he reached dry land he built and altar, made offerings and gave thanks to the One that saved him and his family - God.

TheDen said...

sue bee,

What you are saying is fully in line with Catholic teaching.

We cannot do ANYTHING without the grace of God. We cannot breathe without Him. God gives us the grace to take each and every breath. Without His grace, we would be dead. It's when we go against His will that we sin. If I choose not to breathe, I die. In a larger sense, if we do anything without the grace of God, we die--without repentance and coming back to Christ (as explained in the Prodigal Son).

However, it's a participation. God gives us the grace to breathe and we breathe. Similarly, God gives Noah the grace to build the ark and he built it.

God did not "provide" the ark. Noah had to participate by building it.

Noah was not "saved" because of his action of building the ark and yet he had to be obedient in order to be saved. He was chosen from the beginning of time and yet he still had to participate by being obedient to the will of God.

Sue Bee said...

Politely disagreeing...

If God did not provide the ark, who did? Man?

Just as God provided an ark for faithful Noah and his family, he provides us Christ Jesus for our salvation. Just as God used the water of the flood to wash away the sinned-filled world, He uses the water of baptism to wash away our sins.

1 Peter 3:20-22
God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

Elena said...

Sue, It's clear that God wanted Noah to build his own ark. God didn't do it for him.

Thanks for confirming for me why I could never become Protestant - I just am not that good at ignoring the obvious!

Note too BTW your passages gives the thumbs up to the saving grace of baptism - another Catholic doctrine.

Faithful Catholic said...


Great job. Might I suggest that "comment" would make a great "post"

TheDen said...

sue bee,

I think you need to think about this some more. The ark doesn't fall from the sky. Noah builds it. God provides the grace to Noah and Noah responds to the grace. Note the emphasis on Noah's obedience (Genesis 6:22, Genesis 7:5). Noah did all that God commanded him. God requires the same from us.

Just as God does with Jesus Christ. We receive grace through Jesus Christ on the cross. we regain access to eternal life through His grace; however, our response to God must be obedience out of love. ("If you love me, you will keep my commandments" John 14:15) It's not the obedience that saves us, it's His grace but the obedience is necessary.

If we have faith that moves mountains but don't have love, we are nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2).

Tracy said...

Excellent Theden!

Sallie said...

Noah alone had already exhibited his righteousness and obediance to God. Building the ark was nother step in obediance because Noah loved God and wanted to be in fellowship with God. God told Noah to build the ark. If he didn't he would have died in the flood. PERIOD. He exhibited obediance because of his love.

Sue Bee I don't agree with you about who provided the ark. God provided the plans and means for the ark but it was left up to Noah to acutally provide the ark itself.

Works are because of the fruit within you pouring forth because of your love for Christ.

Sue Bee said...

To say Noah would have died in the flood is complete speculation. God did not threaten Noah into building the ark and God certainly didn't strike dead everyone who disobeyed Him (Jonah is a good example). Perhaps God would have found another way to save Noah - but that is more speculation.

Everything we have belongs to the Lord, we are just the stewards. Even if I create it with my own hands, God ultimately provided it for me.

John 3:27 - John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven."

Elena said...

To say Noah would have died in the flood is complete speculation

I think it's common sense. The earth was covered with water. Everything and everyone NOT in the ark died. Those aren't hard dots to connect Sue.

Sallie said...

Yes, without a doubt he would die. God gave him a job to do but men are always free to make a choice to do it or not. The Lord said he was flooding the earth. He wasn't gonna change his mind just because Noah might have said "No, I don't think I will build the ark. You'll have to figure something else out." The thing is that Noah was in such a complete relationship with God that he trusted Him and obeyed Him. God's hand was so prevalent on Noah's life he offered complete obediance to His Savior.

Sue Bee said...

I Think we have a miracle here--Sallie & Elena agree on something!!! ;-)

Sallie said...

not wanting to fight... I've said before I believe there will be many from all "denominations" in heaven...

Tracy said...

Thank you Sallie, I am in total agreement with you on that! Blessings