Did you know that Catholics think they can work their way to heaven? We think that if we just do enough hard work, are nice enough, and don’t do bad things that we can earn our way to salvation. At least, that’s what some folks would have you believe.
You may hear that we are saved through faith and faith alone. You may hear John 3:16 or Romans 3:28 as proof of this. You may hear that the Bible is clear that you do not need to do any work. All you need is faith and you will be saved. This concept is called Sola Fide, or “Faith Alone”.
Ok, let’s talk about this. First, Catholics do not think that we can earn heaven. We are saved through Jesus’ sacrifice for us. We believe that faith is essential to salvation, as the above passages state.
But neither of the above passages mentions the word “alone” do they? In fact the only place in the Bible where the words “faith alone” appears together is in James 2:24:
“You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” (NAB)
Since most non-Catholics also believe in Sola Scriptura, or the Bible alone, it only makes sense that we’re saved by faith alone since the Bible clearly says we’re not saved by faith alone. Oh, wait…
Why does nearly every reference in the Bible to judgment refer to judging us by our works? See Mat 24, John 15, Rom 2, and Rev 20. If that’s the case, then wouldn’t you think that works are important?
It looks like the Bible is disproving Sola Fide. That’s an interesting twist.
Let’s see where logic leads us, just in case the Bible Alone isn’t enough to dissuade those who hold to Sola Fide.
Do you have to love to be saved? Isn’t love an action beyond faith? Isn’t love a work (trust me, as a father I can tell you it is work). Or do you think that you don’t need to love anyone, including Jesus, to be saved as long as you have faith?
Do you have to forgive to be saved? Forgiveness is certainly a work. If you forgive someone’s sins against you then you’re taking an action outside of faith. If you don’t, then according to the Lord’s Prayer you’re sins aren’t forgiven either; which would put a damper on the whole salvation thing. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us?
Catholics don’t think we can earn heaven. That’s impossible. God doesn’t owe us anything. However, we do recognize that we can’t just accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and keep on living a life of sin. We believe that we participate in our own salvation. We don’t save ourselves, but as Christ reaches out his hand to save us, we must also reach out and grasp his hand.
What do you think? Let me know your thoughts by putting a comment on this post. I’d be interested in what you think about Sola Fide.