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#490 - Sat Jun 01, 2002 9:21 PM Roman Catholicism and salvation  

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Hi Everyone. I've enjoyed reading many of the posts here, and I have a question about Roman Catholicism. First, let me say that I understand there are many things about the Roman Catholic Church that are problematic, but the one we probably hear the most about is the issue of salvation, and more specifically, justification. Most Protestants believe that we are justified by grace through faith alone and that this is a very big deal. I have tended to agree with that. I believe that salvation in a broad sense of the term includes the elements of election, regeneration, conversion, justification, adoption, sanctification, perseverance, and glorification. I do not believe that anyone is regenerated without having been elected, nor do I believe that anyone is converted without having been elected and regenerated, nor do I believe that anyone is justified without having been elected, regenerated, and converted, and so on. Since at least sanctification involves us doing "works," and since we will not reach heaven (glorification) without having been sanctified (which involves our works), why do we make such a huge deal over the justification issue? Since sanctification--growing in holiness and having a right conduct of life--is an essential part of our salvation just as much as justification is an essential part of it, could we not say that works do have a part in our salvation? I'm not saying they are loosely related in an indirect way. I'm asking: since sanctification is an essential part of salvation, and since sanctification involves our works, why is it not accurate to say that works play a role in our being saved? Yes, I know what Ephesians 2:8-9 says, and I'm trying to reconcile all of this. To be sure, I know we do not have anything to boast about in our salvation, but I know many Roman Catholics who believe that as well. I appreciate any thoughts you all may have on this. RefBap

#491 - Sun Jun 02, 2002 5:12 AM Re: Roman Catholicism and salvation  

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RefBap,
Greetings. I believe the Romans Catholic has (sort of speak) the cart in front of the horse. It is imperative that the born again believer trusts in Christ alone. The RC church teaches that one is saved by Christ and their *good works*. This is an error. The correct theory is that we cannot be saved, except for Gods grace and mercy, but then once we are saved, outflow the works of the Holy Spirit who now resides in us through our good works. The good works James speaks about are a result of regeneration. The RC believes that this work is not a result, but the cause (to some extent). The book of Romans and the book of James must be seen in the light of Ephesians 2:8,9. Paul and James standing back to back with their epistles, not contradicting, but agreeing.

IN HIM,
Scott Bushey

#492 - Sun Jun 02, 2002 9:18 AM Re: Roman Catholicism and salvation  
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First, IMHO, a great deal of emphasis is placed on Sanctfication in the writtings of the Reformers and others of the reformed faith. I can think of several works, The Practical Works of Richard Baxter (4 vols), Godliness Through Discipline (Adams), Renewing Your Mind in a Mindless Age (Boice), The Religious Affections (Edwards), Practical Religion (Ryle), Aspects of Holiness (Ryle), Holiness (Ryle), The Mark of a Christian (Schaffer), True Spirituality (Schaffer), Sanctification (Spurgeon) and several others that deal in some part with the topic. (Though I may not agree with everything that is written in everyone of the books above I do see some value in each)

Next, The reason why so much emphasis is placed on justification is that several denominations attempt to get the cart before the proverbial horse and attempt to get the works before the justification.

Man is NOT saved by works! No Exceptions! Man is saved UNTO good works (Eph 2:8-10), and again, No Exceptions. Where people get mixed up is they think they are justified, saved....or otherwise by their works--they are not! True godly works are a natural outflow from a regenerated person who is walking in the spirit and not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.

In part, Sanctification is growth that takes place by grace that enables one to more fully do the works that God has ALREADY saved them to do.

Charles Hodge said:

Sanctification in the Westminster Catechism is said to be "the work of Godís free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin and live unto righteousness."

Agreeably to this definition, justification differs from sanctification, (1.) In that the former is a transient act, the latter a progressive work. (2.) Justification is a forensic act, God acting as judge, declaring justice satisfied so far as the believing sinner is concerned, whereas sanctification is an effect due to the divine efficiency. (3.) Justification changes, or declares to be changed, the relation of the sinner to the justice of God; sanctification involves a change of character. (4.) The former, therefore, is objective, the latter subjective. (5.) The former is founded on what Christ has done for us; the latter is the effect of what He does in us. (6.) Justification is complete and the same in all, while sanctification is progressive, and is more complete in some than in others.

Sanctification is declared to be a work of Godís free grace. Two things are included in this. First, that the power or influence by which it is carried on is supernatural. Secondly, that granting this influence to any sinner, to one sinner rather than another, and to one more than to another, is a matter of favour. No one has personally, or in himself, on the ground of anything he has done, the right to claim this divine influence as a just recompense, or as a matter of justice.

Hodge, Charles, Systematic Theology, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997.


Reformed and Always Reforming,
#493 - Sun Jun 02, 2002 9:39 AM Re: Roman Catholicism and salvation [Re: J_Edwards]  
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helloI believe this is an excellent response to RefBap's questionconcerning the issue. Keep up the good work !! RC's definitelyput the cart before the horse. The Book of James needs to be read in the context of the NT. Romans emphatically states that we are justified apart from any works of the law.bish

#494 - Sun Jun 02, 2002 10:44 AM Re: Roman Catholicism and salvation  

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RefBap,
Welcome to the forum. Here is something I posted recently. Please bear with me others who have already read this before. These are my notes from a study I did from J. C. Ryle's book Holiness from the chapter on Sanctification that may be of some help to you.
Susan

[color:red]Justification is a finished work and rests entirely on Christ's work done for me.
"The only righteousness in which we can appear before God is the righteousness of another--even the perfect righteousness of our Substitute and Representative, Jesus Christ the Lord."



"Sanctification is the inward spiritual work which the Lord Jesus Christ works in a man by the Holy Spirit when he calls him to be a true believer." (J.C. Ryle)[color:red] We can never be more justified, but we can be more sanctified.
Sanctification is God's will for us. I Thess 4:3
It is a result of abiding in Christ. Jn 15:5
Without sanctification there is no real spiritual life. James 2:17-20
It is evidence of the Holy Spirit's presence. Romans 8:9,14
It is a mark of God's election. 2 Thess 2:13
It is our own fault if we are not holy.
We can grow in sanctification. 2 Peter 3:18; 1 Thess 4:1
We must expect inward spiritual conflict. Our hearts are occupied by two rival camps.
We must be diligent in using the means God has given us such as Bible reading, private prayer, worship, hearing faithful preaching, communion, etc.
All our works are imperfect, but our efforts can be pleasing to God when done with the right heart much as a small child's efforts can please their parent.
[color:red]Sanctification cannot justify us, yet it pleases God.
Our works will be examined for evidence of grace. Jn 5:29. We must be made fit for heaven. God wants to make us holy. We must not become discouraged that so many flaws remain in us. The more light we have, the more we will see our own imperfections and we will be ashamed. We are debtors to mercy and grace every hour.
"The Lord Jesus Christ has undertaken everything that His people's souls require; not only to deliver them from the guilt of their sins, but from the dominion of their sins, by placing in their hearts the Holy Spirit; not only to justify them, but also to sanctify them. He is, thus, not only their righteousness, but their sanctification." 1 Cor 1:30


#495 - Sun Jun 02, 2002 1:54 PM Re: Roman Catholicism and salvation  
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RefBap
I really don't have anything more to add to what has already been stated.
But to put it all in a nutshell, I would say that RCs believe that it is both the work of God & the work of man that saves. Where as the Bible says that only God saves by grace through faith and as a natural out flow of that salvation, comes works. If no works flow, then obviously we should question if salvation has occurred.
As James 2:18 says "...:shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works."

Tom

#496 - Sun Jun 02, 2002 7:25 PM Re: Roman Catholicism and salvation  
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RefBap,

First of all I want to welcome you to the forum. I hope you find your time spent here meaningful and rewarding. You raise a good question and I think that others who have replied on this thread have provided excellent answers.

I just want to add one thing. The work of salvation is a two fold work. Both justification and sanctification. The favorite old hymn Rock of Ages expresses this well in verse one.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure:
Save from guilt and make me pure.


I like that clear recognition of both making us (1)"not guilty" and (2)"clean." Justification makes us not guilty and sanctification makes us holy. My limited understanding of what the Roman Catholics believe is that they tend to add more works to the finished work of Christ to complete their salvation.

Wes [Linked Image]


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts
#497 - Sun Jun 02, 2002 8:01 PM Re: Roman Catholicism and salvation  

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Scott Bushey said: >> I believe the Romans Catholic has (sort of speak) the cart in front of the horse. It is imperative that the born again believer trusts in Christ alone. The RC church teaches that one is saved by Christ and their *good works*. This is an error. <<

Yes, that is an error - the Catholic Church doesn't teach that. Salvation is through Christ alone and His finished work on the Cross. Catholics DO believe that "saving faith" is comprised of both "faith" and "works" but it's not our works that save. Our works, done in the state of grace, lead to sanctification. Such "works" do absolutely no good to one not already on the path to salvation. I hope this helps clarify.

Scott<<<


#498 - Sun Jun 02, 2002 8:04 PM Re: Roman Catholicism and salvation [Re: bishop3]  

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bishop3 wrote: >> we are justified apart from any works of the law. <<<br> <br>Exactly, and James is not referring to "works of the law" like Paul is. If you're the same "bishop3" that I'm acquainted with on IRC, we've had this discussion before. I'm surprized you'd post this.<br> <br>Scott<<<<br> <br>

#499 - Sun Jun 02, 2002 8:12 PM Re: Roman Catholicism and salvation  

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In the most technical sense there is nothing wrong with saying works is a part of salvation- as you rightly pointed out, sanctification is a part of salvation. The term "salvation" is a large umbrella covering a number of doctrines. I would recommend "Redemption Accomplished and Applied" by Murray for a good treatment on this topic.<br><br>The problem here is two-fold: 1) Roman Catholic theology adds works to JUSTIFICATION, thereby confusing the order of salvation and also perverting the concept of being freely justified by Christ apart from works. 2) The problem with everyday Protestant vernacular in confusing terms. When a Protestant says that works are not a part of salvation he most likely means that they are not a part of election, calling, justification and regeneration.. certainly he doesn't mean they aren't a part of sanctification which is a part of the salvific process which results in glorification.<br><br>In summary, I don't have a problem if you say works are a part of salvation as long as we define our terms. If you attribute works to your justification- then we've got a problem. This was the very point of the Protestant Reformation. They didn't leave Rome because they were antinomians and thought they didn't need to do good deeds. Rather they left Rome because they understood that they could offer no good deeds to Christ's finished work that would be meritorious in their justification.

#500 - Sun Jun 02, 2002 9:14 PM Re: Roman Catholicism and salvation  
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CathApol - then explain purgatory...which keeps us (albeit temporarily) from Christ in the first place....AND...allows for the situation where others can improve our lot by their effectual prayers. So, I see the individual and ALSO his friends ADDING to the finished work of Christ. <br><br>

#501 - Sun Jun 02, 2002 11:52 PM Re: Roman Catholicism and salvation  
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Hello ScottYeah its me...I should have just posted my beliefs w/o naming a certain group; I apologize in this regard. I got carried away with the discussion and used labels. I usually dont do that..even though we have disagreements as a result of me being reformed.:-)

#502 - Mon Jun 03, 2002 4:40 AM Re: Roman Catholicism and salvation  

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Hi Scott and thanks for your reply.

In regards to my post. You write that the "Catholics's do not believe in works unto salvation". I agree, Catholic's do not! But "Roman Catholics" do, or are at least taught this concept. I may be mistaken, and if so, please help me unwind the idea, as I have gleaned this from the catechism of the (R) Catholic church. I was raised a RC. I attended parochial school and was involved in CYO. With all due respect, I am not new to the idea.

How does pennance, indulgences, baptism (for the forgiveness of sins, see 1239 in C.C.C) and the mass (both for those who have already passed and for those who still live? see 1364, 1371 C.C.C) not support a *work*?

More to come..........
IN HIM,
Scott Bushey

Last edited by chestnutmare; Mon Nov 30, 2015 9:28 AM.
#503 - Mon Jun 03, 2002 6:54 AM Re: Roman Catholicism and salvation  
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refbap,

A few comments...

I think we need to be careful when we mention the works being added to our salvation at the point of santification. (I'm not saying that you do not believe these or that you are trying to be unclear) First we must make sure we clarify our terms and positions especially among modern "evangelicals" not to mention the Romanist "church". Our works are included in the work of santification because God has chosen to do so. We must understand that it does not change our status with God one bit. God could accomplish the work of santification without the use of works and in a sense does. I cannot remember the reference (if the monitors think of it please add it in here), I think in Ephesians. That God has prepared the good works we will walk in. So in a sense (not to the extreme hyper-cals take it) the good works we contribute have already been ordained by God.

I think the clarification should be stated that our works are not essential to salvation (even sanctification) but are a required proof (fruit) of sanctification.

That's where we need to be precise because saying works are necessary to sanctification is antithetical to Salvation by Grace Alone.

I think I've rambled enough. [Linked Image]



By His Grace Alone,
Five Sola
#504 - Mon Jun 03, 2002 7:00 AM Re: Roman Catholicism and salvation  
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CathApol,

you state:
"Salvation is through Christ alone and His finished work on the Cross"

If the roman state "church" believed in Salvation through Christ ALONE, and the FINISHED work of the Cross, then there is no need to add any work to the salvation of a soul for the work is finished (on the cross).

Could you help me understand this apparent contradiction?



By His Grace Alone,
Five Sola
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