So lets begin!
We are saved by faith in Christ.
This means what He taught us!
Salvation is a free gift only because it was purchased for us by Christ. Christ provided the redemption and we have to do the work out of love.
I have seen this posted by many non-Catholics on the Internet and none-Catholics teach in their churches. The thing is we are saved by faith in Christ and that faith in Christ is only true, is only justified, by what we do with it.
Our faith is not something to keep to our self. Faith is meant to be acted on or it will not save us! It is the difference between a dead faith absent of Grace given by the Holy Spirit and a living faith that is made alive by the Holy Spirit.
So far I think non-Catholics will agree with this. As it says in James 2:17 "So also faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead." There is a couple verses commonly quoted by non-Catholics to prove faith alone salvation in Rom 3:28 "For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law."
And in Rom 4:4 "Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due." Saint Paul is talking about works of the Mosaic law specifically which Christians are not bound and will not save us, again we can all agree on that. In this chapter and in many others Abraham is *justified by his faith* that worked in him to cause obedience to God, not that he did it perfectly. Paul is making it clear to readers that it was his faith and not his works that counted him righteous. We can see that by reading the whole chapter and the whole book, But I don't think we disagree on that, yet it is still a good book to read.
We also see in Rom 2:6 "He will render to each one according to his works:" Rom 2:13 "For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified."
We can see that there is a type of works (Christian works) that *justifies our faith in Christ that saves us* or we have a dead faith (a dead faith will not save us). Works of mercy, charity (like prayer), love, proclaiming the Gospel, and I will add the Sacraments like baptism, all of which make our faith alive!
John 14:12 "“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father."
If you are a non-Catholic reading this you should know that what I am showing you here is traditional Catholic teaching about salvation. For the record the Catholic Church has never, and will never teach works salvation, we are not saved by works as non-Catholics wrongly assume the Church teaches.
The Catholic teaching on this is *we are saved by Grace through faith, and our faith is justified by our Christian works* it is a living faith in Christ that saves us not a dead one!
We can look at John 1:17 "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." This is how we are saved I know you the non-Catholic Christian agrees and this is Catholic teaching just so you know.
Regarding the salvation of the Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians Acts 15:11 "But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”
Rom 3:23-25 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins."
Concerning the free gift of salvation through Grace (Christ) and the justification through Grace. Rom 5:15-16 "But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification."
Rom 5:21 "so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Christ is the Grace that has appeared for our Salvation through faith in him! Titus 2:11 "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,"
"The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit is conversion, effecting justification in accordance with Jesus' proclamation at the beginning of the Gospel: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high. "Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man. Justification detaches man from sin which contradicts the love of God, and purifies his heart of sin. Justification follows upon God's merciful initiative of offering forgiveness. It reconciles man with God. It frees from the enslavement to sin, and it heals. **Justification is at the same time the acceptance of God's righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ.** Righteousness (or "justice") here means the rectitude of divine love. With justification, faith, hope, and charity are poured into our hearts, and obedience to the divine will is granted us. Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men. Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy. Its purpose is the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life:" (Catechism of the Catholic Church Article 2 Grace and Justification selections 1990-1992)
Non-Catholics often and wrongly assume and teach that the Catholic Church teaches "Works Salvation" as many like to call it. They assume without ever reading the Catechism or talking with faithful knowledgeable Catholics that the Church teaches that we are saved by works.
I hope that after this you the non-Catholic will never again wrongly teach lies such as this to people! I also hope the words here can inspire you to learn more about what the Church actually teaches by reading the Catechism. If you are Catholic I hope this helps you understand what the Church teaches on about Salvation when someone tries to tell you about "works salvation."
We all love Christ and want to do God's will and imitating Christ by doing "the works that he does." This is what Saint James meant in his book when he said, "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." James 2:24. He is talking about Christian works like I stated before which justifies our faith in Christ and is made possible by Grace.
We don't want to suppress the truth and it is our duty to teach the truth, but first we must know what that is. I believe as do all faithful Catholics that the fullness of that Truth is Christ and is found accessible to us in the teaching of the Catholic Church!
Rom 1:18 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth"
God bless you and may Grace be with you always!
Sincerely Joanne Utke