PROTESTANT ERRORS ON SALVATION
How often is it that one hears Protestants crying out that "salvation is through faith alone, apart from works" and making such erroneous claims as "works are not necessary for salvation"? Indeed, this is one of the two pillars of Protestantism - the other being "Sola Scriptura," Scipture alone - it is on these two pillars that Protestantism is based. When one is knocked down, the other will follow swiftly.
As it is, the pillar of "salvation apart from works" is dependant upon the other - sola scriptura. For without sola scriptura, the other pillar would never have been erected. Yet, we shall herein deal with the errors contained in the pillar of "salvation apart from works," and then move on to refute the protestant error of "scripture alone."
To begin with, the Protestants are quite easily shown to be wrong when it comes to whether or not works are necessary for salvation, and whether or not faith alone will suffice. As the Epistle of Saint James says, "Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only? For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead."
As it is, we see Christ our Lord commanding us to do works in order to be saved throughout the Sacred Scriptures. For example, in John 3:5 Christ commands us to be baptized in order to be saved. And in Matthew 19:16-17 Christ commands us to keep the commandments in order to be saved. While in 1 Corinthians 13:2 the Scriptures tell us that faith without charity is useless.
The Scriptures also tell us that one of the standards by which we shall be judged on the last day, is our works. As Matthew 16:27 tells us, and I quote: "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels: And then will he render to every man according to his works." The Book of the Apocalypse (otherwise called "Revelations" by protestants) says the same thing in chapter 20 verse 13, while in Chapter 22 verse 13 of the same book it says the following "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to every man according to his works."
The Scriptures also command us to heed and put into practice the Sacred words of Christ, as the following verses bear witness, John 3:36; 5:24; 12:50; 13:17; 14:15; Luke 6:47; 10:37; 1 John 3:24; 2:5. And since it is necessary for us to put into practice the Sacred Words of Christ, and to heed them, the following also become necessary for salvation:
1. Eating the Flesh and drinking the Blood of Christ (John 6:32)
2. We must be perfect (Matthew 5:48)
3. Hope is necessary for salvation (Romans 8:27; 2 Timothy 4:8 Hebrews 9:28)
4. Holiness is necessary for salvation (Matthew, 5:20)
5. Hearing Christ’s Church is necessary for salvation (Matthew 18:17)
6. Believing is necessary for salvation (Mark 16:16)
7. Being a member of Christ’s Church is necessary for salvation.
Hence we see that, in the light of Sacred Scripture, the protestant theory of salvation through faith alone crumbles into dust. Permit me to take a few moments and to refute some common objections to the necessity of works for salvation. Among the Scripture verses which are frequently twisted by protestants in a desperate attempt to support their position are Romans 11:6, Galatians 2:16, and Romans 4:1-8. These verses have been twisted by protestants, who, primarily through misunderstanding and lack of knowledge on their part, are under the delusion that they refute the Catholic stance on works and salvation. Let us start with Romans 11:6. Permit me to cite the verse in question:
Romans 11:6 [DR] And if by grace, it is not now by works: otherwise grace is no more grace.
If salvation were to come by works, done by nature, apart faith and grace, salvation would not be a grace or favor, but a debt; but such dead works are indeed of no value in the sight of God towards salvation. It is not the same with regard to works done with and by God's grace; for to such works as these he has promised eternal salvation (see the above-cited verses on this question).
Holy Mother Church does not say that grace is not necessary for salvation, nor does She say that Faith is not necessary for salvation. And She is most certainly not saying that one can be saved by works alone. All three of the above are necessary for salvation. Faith without grace and works is dead, just as works without faith and grace would be dead. It is through a misunderstanding of Catholic teaching that this verse is commonly used by Protestants against Catholics, and against the necessity of works for salvation.
To continue on, permit me to cite Galatians 2:16, which says:
Galatians 2:16 [DR] But knowing that man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ; we also believe in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: because by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
As the Haydock's Bible says concerning this verse:
"‘Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law.' S. Paul, to the end of the chapter, seems to continue his discourse to S. Peter, but chiefly to the Jewish Galatians, to show that both the Gentiles, whom the Jews called and looked upon as sinners, and also the Jews, when converted, could only hope to be justified and saved by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law. – ‘For by the law I am dead to the law.' That is, says S. Jerome, by the evangelical law of Christ I am dead to the ancient law and its ceremonies." (Vol. II p. 244)
And as St. Paul said in his Epistle to the Romans, Chapter 3 verse 20, "Because by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified before him. For by the law is the knowledge of sin." What is obviously being referred to here are the works of the Law of Moses. If it were otherwise, we would have a clear-cut example of a contradiction in the Sacred Scriptures. For does not St. James tell us that Faith without works is dead? And do not the Scriptures elsewhere state that Good works and deeds are necessary for salvation (Luke 10:28; 10:25; 18:18. Matthew 19:16)? Here we see that the protestants are pitting Scripture against Scripture... instead of accepting Scripture in its entirety. The protestants claim to be inspired by the Holy Ghost... but one of the many problems with this is the fact that the Holy Ghost would never accept the words of St. Paul over the words of St. James, and discard the words of the latter. Nor would the Holy Ghost ask one to discard the Words of Christ, as listed in the books of Matthew and Luke, chapters and verses listed above.
The third, and, by far, the most frequently used attack on the necessity of works for salvation, is Romans 4:1-8, which says as follows:
"What shall we say then that Abraham hath found, who is our father according to the flesh. For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him unto justice. Now to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned according to grace, but according to debt. But to him that worketh not, yet believeth in him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reputed to justice, according to the purpose of the grace of God. As David also termeth the blessedness of a man, to whom God reputes justice without works: Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord hath not imputed sin."
A simple, working knowledge of the entirety of the Sacred Scriptures would be more than enough to refute the interpretation given to the above verses, and to put the one using them against the necessity of works for salvation to shame.
As St. James states, referring to the exact same verses to which you are referring above "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, offering up Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou, that faith did co-operate with his works; and by works faith was made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled, saying: Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him to justice, and he was called the friend of God. Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only? "(St. James, 2:21-24) When St. Paul stated "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God" what were, again, referred to were works done for the honor and glory of man, not those of God. As the verse very plainly points out. It is not rejecting works altogether, as St. James pointed out above. In fact, St. James uses the verse following the above as proof for the fact that works are necessary for justification! After all, not only was the offering up of Isaac upon the altar a work (which God required Abraham to do, in order to test Abraham's Faith... which, in turn, shows, yet again, that Faith alone is not enough), but also Abraham's own belief, was a work.
It might be very well to point out here that taking Scripture verses out of context (in an attempt to prove an erroneous belief), is a thing which was used by Satan himself against Christ when Satan tempted Christ in the desert.
Thus falls the theory of salvation through faith alone, not to mention the erroneous interpretations which are frequently given to several verses in the Sacred Scriptures.