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Verses Catholics Wrestle With – Pull Up A Chair

Catholics truly wrestle with these two verses. When I have asked catholic readers what they think of the following verses, I have received some interesting feedback.

~Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (8 ) Not of works, lest any man should boast. (9)

The feedback has come in different forms. Most have been catholic doctrine entrenched in mystery. The responses have been so complicated, they are difficult to understand. Furthermore, the catholic relies on history that is only provided through the catholic church. He dares not go outside of his comfort zone to question whether these things be so as we are commanded to do in Acts 17:11

~Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Other types of feedback have been responses which have skirted the issue. Instead, the response was an attack back on another topic altogether. Can one catholic respond to the question at hand without diverting to theological comments by their own “church fathers”?

Can one catholic respond to the question at hand without resorting to catholic doctrine? I have yet to see a catholic open his Bible along with me and discuss Bible verses without anyone else’s thoughts but their own. Instead, they would rather use the words of their teachers. Jim Jones’ group did the same thing and they all died, by the way. God gave us a brain to use so that we could discern sheep in wolves clothing. How can a catholic discern this if he does not study for himself?

Just what is grace, according to Ephesians 2:8? Noah Webster defines grace as:

The free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him.

Taking this definition and incorporating it into the verse, we find that Ephesians 2:8 says for by the free unmerited love and favor of God are we saved THROUGH faith.

What is faith? Noah defines faith as:

The assent of the mind or understanding to the truth of what God has revealed. Simple belief of the scriptures, of the being and perfections of God, and of the existence, character and doctrines of Christ, founded on the testimony of the sacred writers, is called historical or speculative faith;

Taking this definition and incorporating it into the verse, we find that Ephesians 2:8 says that by the free unmerited love and favor of God are we saved through the simple belief of the Scriptures. Paul goes on to say in verse 8 that it is the gift of God. There is nothing one must do to earn a gift. One does not have to do anything to receive a “just because” gift. All we do is take that gift into our possession. The gift is freely given and we do not.

Furthermore, Paul expounds on the gift in verse 9 by saying that this gift cannot be purchased by our works, otherwise we could boast about it. When you work hard at your job and put in a lot of overtime hours, you can truly state that you have earned your wages that week. You can boast about all those hours you put in to get the job done. However, this is not the case in verse 9 of Ephesians. Paul states that this gift cannot be worked for and to top it off, one cannot boast of achieving this gift.

So let’s look at the two verses in light of these definitions:

For by the free unmerited love and favor God are we saved through the simple belief of the scriptures. This is the gift freely given to us by God and there is nothing that we can do to earn it otherwise we could boast about our own abilities.

So, dear catholic, your magisterium, sacred tradition and church fathers have misled you. They wrestle with these verses and conveniently state that papal infallibility allows the catholic church to revise the Scriptures to accommodate their beliefs.You cannot have it both ways.  You cannot say that keeping the sacraments will provide an on-going process of salvation.  IF this were true, Christ’s shed blood and work on the cross was not enough.  You are saying that it was not sufficient to forgive sins!  This directly contradicts Ephesians 2:8-9 and, therefore, you DO wrestle with these verses.  You wrestle with them because you rely on your church teachers to define these verses in light of hundreds of years of tradition.  God’s Word does not lie – God promises that the Holy Spirit will teach you what the Word says – but you will not open your Bible and make sure that what you are taught as a catholic is in line with God’s Word!  Shame on you!

Woe to the catholic who will not study for himself to learn what God has said. God would be cruel to leave letters to His children which could only be interpreted by a few. That is preferential treatment and God is not that way.  Salvation is for all His children so why would He limit it to only a few who can interpret the Scriptures? Use that brain that God has given you and search the Scriptures out for yourself!

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  1. Catechism of the Catholic Church – Paragraph 1996 states:
    “Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.”

    Paragraph 1998 states:
    “This vocation to eternal life is supernatural. It depends entirely on God’s gratuitous initiative, for he alone can reveal and give himself. It surpasses the power of the human intellect and will, as that of every other creature.”

    Paragraph 1999 states:
    “The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying grace or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification: ‘Therefore is any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.”

    Dear Sir or Madame,
    if you’re going to bash the Church or her teachings, the least you are obliged to do is to get the teachings right. To get the teachings right, I’d advise referring to the Catechism of the Catholic Church [2nd edition]. If you’re going to bash Catholics based upon your own ill-advised and mistaken conceptions, then you are to be rebuked, and your seeking to rent and tare the body of Christ in order to fulfill some disordered eros of pride within you needs to be shunned.

    In Christ.

  2. Joseph,

    It is not my desire to use the catholic catechism to get their teachings correct. It is my desire to use the Holy Word of God to get their teachings CORRECTED.

    Your teachings are based on man-made tradition, not the Word of God.

  3. Additionally,
    I’d be intrigued to hear your analysis of these Scriptural passages:

    “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 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.” James 2:14-17

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” Matthew 7:21

    “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, in tot he eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.'” – Matthew 25:41-43

    Did those on his left not believe he was Lord. Did those who cried out ‘Lord, Lord’ not believe Jesus is Lord. And yet, alas, they did not enter the Kingdom. James tells us why. A faith, which is a mere belief, if not lived out with a life of works of charity [love], amounts to nothing. You say faith alone will save us, but the Scriptures tell us otherwise. Perhaps you are misinterpreting Paul’s letters. Paul, writing mainly against Judaizers who were preaching that one still had to be physically circumcised to be admitted to the community of believers, rightly argued that physical circumcision is no longer necessary. The works of the law to which he refers is not the same works Catholic doctrine speaks of. The works of Catholic doctrine speak of works of charity [i.e. loving one’s neighbor, praying for one’s neighbors, loving God, praying to God, fasting as a means of purifying oneself for God]. These are tried and good and true, and all Scriptural.

    Furthermore, we submit private revelations and Scriptural interpretations to the Magisterium precisely to avoid to Jim Jones phenomenon. Anyone can say they have been “moved by the Spirit”, but it takes someone with actual knowledge of spiritual discernment to separate the David Koresh’s from the Francis of Assisis. We must acknowledge that there are both good and bad spirits, and to be moved by the spirit can simply be the effects of a psychological disorder, or much worse the effects of a bad spirit. We need a Church, an authority, who understands the meaning of the Word, and who can discern what revelations are to be deemed valid and trustworthy, and which ones may cause harm and eternal death.

    One last thing. An unprejudiced read of the Catechism will enlighten you to the fact the the Church’s doctrines are built fundamentally and primarily on Scripture. But the Church is also aware that the books of Scripture were deemed as such [over and against the hundreds of other early Christian writings] based upon the fundamental understanding of the faith passed down by the Apostles and Church Fathers. It is why we see the first recorded listing of the 27 canonical books of the New Testament appearing for the first time in a paschal letter by St. Athanasius in the 2nd half of the 4th century. i.e. The finished Bible arose out of and in the midst of an already developed understanding of the faith. Yes, the books are of course divinely inspired, however the judgment of these books is a combined endeavor of the Spirit and early Church Fathers.

    Thank you

  4. Response:
    You say: “. It is my desire to use the Holy Word of God to get their teachings CORRECTED. ”

    But if you do not know what their teachings are, how do you know they are wrong and need correcting?

    In Christ

  5. Joseph, I use the Word of God and compare any doctrine against the Bible, not just catholicism.

  6. G’day Joseph,

    The point that’s trying to be made with this post is that Grace is a Gift of God and bestowed upon a soul without any work needed from that soul.

    But as you quoted Paragraph 1999: “It is the sanctifying grace or deifying grace received in Baptism.” Oh, and by the way, you left out paragraph 1997 in your reply which states: “by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ”

    You believe [by your own catechism] that God’s Grace is infused upon a soul through your sacrament of baptism…but baptism is a work. The argument is not whether or not catholics believe in God’s Grace, but “how” that Grace is received to be justified and have eternal life.

    You say you receive God’s Saving Grace through baptism, along with some other works like the eucharist, church membership, etc. But again sir, please just try to comprehend what the Word of God alone says:

    “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

    “Not of works” – that’s the point. Baptism is a work, no matter how vehemently it’s denied.

    Joseph, if you are trusting in baptism, the eucharist, the Church, or anything else that you attach to the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross to be justified before God, you are in trouble.

    In light of paragraph 1997 and 1999 with Ephesians 2:8-9, how do you reconcile “Grace by Baptism” vs “Grace through Faith without Works”?

  7. Bro. Mike, Thank you for pointing this post back on track to what the original subject matter was. Joseph, I believe you should respond to Mike’s questions in light of the Word of God.

  8. Joseph, I have deleted all the new comments you have posted here because you do not stick to the topic at hand. You are trying to monopolize my blog with your catholic agenda. This is my blog – not yours.

    The point of this post is that it is by grace we are saved, by faith – NOT of works. The works you have quoted come AFTER salvation. There is nothing we can do to earn a free gift (John 3:16).

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