“Now faith is the assurance of things hope for, the conviction of things not seen.”
I’m hoping to move on off the topic of topic of faith v. works because at times it seems to me that I’m driving this thing into the ground. However, when I flip through the pages of my bible, I see this theme being hammered on over and over. So, let’s take a look at some of the verses that fit – besides the ones I have already demonstrated from Hebrews.
Romans 3:20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law,
Romans 4:13-14 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.
Romans 9:30-32 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone,
Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law of righteousness to everyone who believes.
Romans 11:5-6 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
Galatians 2:16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
Galatians 3:10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”
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 a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Philippians 3:9 “…not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith –
Titus 3 “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
I think you get the point. Now, the Catholics will throw in the book of James, saying he contradicts all this, that works ARE faith. That is a distortion of James. I hope to get to that soon.
But what does the Catholic church say to all this business of those who profess salvation by faith alone? These are excerpts from the Council of Trent which was held in 1545-1563 and laid down much of the doctrine of the Catholic church. It is still in force today.
“To those who work well unto the end and trust in God, eternal life is to be offered.”
“It is given as a reward promised by God himself, to be faithfully given to their good works and merits. By those very works which have been done in God, fully satisfy the divine Law according to the state of this life and to have truly merited eternal life.”
“If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification, and that it is not in any way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will, let him be anathema.”
“If anyone says that the righteousness received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works, but that those works are merely fruits and signs of justification obtained and not the cause of its increase, let him be anathema.”
“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 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 increase in glory, let him be anathema.”
In all fairness, the average Catholic Joe doesn’t know this stuff, but you can bet your bottom dollar that his priest does. This is the official position of the Catholic church. Folks, in the eyes of the Catholic church, I am condemned for the things I write. No question about it.
So, what do you say? Does Catholic doctrine line up with this essential doctrine of the Reformation?
Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter in the eyes of Catholics because scripture is NOT the final word on matters of faith. What the Pope says is what really matters because he is infallible. He is the OFFICIAL spokesperson for God and whatever he says, goes. This would include making all sorts of ridiculous claims about Mary including mandatory worship of her and other dead people.
Some years ago, several evangelical Protestants, along with a group of Catholic scholars, signed a document called “Evangelicals and Catholics Together.” The Protestants said they wanted to keep a situation like Northern Ireland from happening again in South America. They wanted to show that they two faiths had much in common and could work despite their differences. One of the BIG criticisms of that document was that it violated the basic Protestant belief in salvation by faith alone. Furthermore, it declared off limits any efforts to evangelize each other. Needless to say, it was met with fierce opposition. In my opinion, a religion based upon lies is nothing to align with. Didn’t we learn any lessons from the Old Testament? Haven’t we read all the warnings in the New?
Father, protect your church. Amen.
Much of this is obtained from John MacArthur at https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-291/the-pope-and-the-papacy