Ask a Priest: Aren’t we all Saved by Faith Alone?


Question:  Aren’t we all Saved by Faith Alone?

Could you comment on these two statements?

Statement One:  One billion Catholics trust their good works, faithfulness to the Rosary, and the keeping of the seven sacraments to save them.”

 Comment: The Catholic Church never taught that good works or Sacraments, rosary etc. save us; neither does the Bible save us.  Only God saves us through faith in Jesus Christ the one mediator/redeemer who suffered and died for us and all people and shed his blood for us.

Statement Two: “Many people think they have to do good works to obtain their salvation; but, Jesus said that the plain truth is you don’t have to do ANYTHING except call upon Him to get saved! (Romans 10:13). Anyone who tells you that you have to work for your salvation, in order to go to Heaven when you die, is LYING TO YOU!

Comment: Of course, only God saves us; God made us without our help or cooperation, but He will not save us without our cooperation. People are not saved automatically as the above quote implies, as if any person is saved without any faith response.

Both faith and good works are called for. As the Catholic catechism maintains: “Faith is necessary for salvation. The Lord himself affirms ‘He who believes and is baptised will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mk 16:16)

And again we profess our faith not only by words and interior conviction, but by our deeds and acts, for as St. James says clearly, “You see, then, that it is by a person’s actions that he is put right with God, and not by his faith alone. (James 2:24)

And “faith without good works is dead.” (James 2: 26)  Then again, if we don’t have to do anything to respond to the gift of faith, why does St. Paul tell the Philippians, “Keep on working with fear and trembling to complete your salvation…” (Phil 2:12)?

So, saved by Faith alone? “Sola Fide?”  Yes, indeed, living Faith that is soaked in Charity.

Peter Monty, SJ is Chaplain for the Deaf in Ottawa.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 03:01h, 15 January Reply

    Thank you Peter!

  • John McManus
    Posted at 05:50h, 15 January Reply

    Thanks for this Fr. Monty. Simple, to the point, and complete. I have always felt that if you have faith, then your actions would, consciously or unconsciously, reflect that.

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