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September 30, 2007 / vivator

Comparing Catholic and Protestant’s view on good works

Catholicism

Protestantism and “Bible onlyism”

Good (or evil) works before our conversion to Christ do not merit (or demerit) the gift of faith in Christ from God.  Faith (in Christ) is a free gift from God, given irrespective of our past behaviour, whether we were good or evil persons.

In our Sanctification God’s Grace first moves us to do good works, which we cooperate using our freedom.

In our Sanctification we do good works as fruit of our faith, i.e. we do it because we are saved, not for being saved.

Good works in our Sanctification are necessary for our Salvation because it is commanded by God and He makes it possible through His Grace.

They are divided into two groups on this issue. The first group says good works are necessary as fruits of true faith or “salvation by faith alone but not by faith that is alone“. The second group say true faith should, but not always, produce good works – and the person is still saved.

We do not deserve any merit from our good works because without God’s Grace we cannot do it, not even have the initiative to do it.  When God rewards us for our good works, it is a gift from Him.  Because our merit is God’s gift then it may come in the form of (increase of) Grace and even eternal life.

We do not merit Grace or eternal life from our good works because (1) we are saved by faith alone, (2) by definition Grace cannot be merited, (3) our good works are imperfect and defiled (according to Luther and Calvin) and (4) are sinful acts (according to Luther).  Obviously not all Protestants and “Bible only” Christians agree with what Luther and Calvin taught – they may not even be aware that those two great Reformers taught such things.

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One Comment

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  1. tiber jumper / Oct 18 2007 7:05 pm

    I haven’t been on the blogosphere much of late, so soory to not visit much. Your posts are very good. God bless

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