Saturday, June 29, 2024

Are we saved by Faith Alone?


Saved by Faith Alone?


Most of the 30,000 different sects of protestantism in the US teach "Salvation comes to each person by Faith alone", which is just flat wrong.



Saint Paul says in Romans 3:28 "For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law" so Martin Luther took that, and then in his own translation added "ALONE" so that it reads "For we consider that a person is justified by faith ALONE apart from works of the law" in Martin Luther's "Bible"


And St. Paul also writes to the Galatians in Galatians 2:16 "a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified."


So Martin Luther took these two lines from St. Paul, and accuse Catholics of believing that we believe that we are justified by our works.



But St. Paul is not saying that our works do not matter, St. Paul is saying "works OF THE LAW" as in, "The Jewish Law" 


When St. Paul talks about "works of the law" there are 3 different types of laws in the Old Testament:


1) Laws that established cultural customs for the Jewish people (circumcision, what foods to eat and not eat, etc.)


2) Laws governing Jewish Temple worship


3) and there are lots of Moral Laws in the Old Testament, which do not change over time.


St. Paul, in Romans and Galatians is referring to the Jewish cultural laws, which no longer apply to Christians when he says "apart from works of the law"



Anyone who doubts the importance of our works can look to several places:


1) James 2: 15-17 "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?  So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead"


2) And, as Catholics, we could also point to Matthew 25 where the things Jesus requires for entrance into Heaven are all WORKS: "I was naked and you clothed me, in prison and you visited me, hunger and you gave me food…"


3) There also at least 7 other places in the same Letter to the Romans where St. Paul says our salvation IS based on works that we perform:


2:6  “God will repay everyone according to his works"

2:7 “eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works” 

2:10 “There will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good

2:13 “For it is not those who hear the law who are just in the sight of God; rather, those who observe the law will be justified

2:16 “God will judge people’s hidden works through Christ Jesus.” 

10:9 “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

10:10 “one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.”


These are all "works".  

Saturday, June 8, 2024

A Brief Reflection on the first ending to the Gospel of John

 "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book.  But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name." John 20:30-31

This is the first ending of John's Gospel.  Chapter 21 goes on to recount the conversation between Jesus and Peter "do you love Me more than these..."

But I just want to reflect briefly on the end of chapter 20.

John implies that his Gospel is all that is needed to establish the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and that through belief in Jesus, we have life in Jesus' name...and recently that just struck me for the first time.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

15 Years a Priest

Today, June 6th, is my 15th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.  Thank you for all of the prayers!