The Catholic Faith

Know, Love, Defend & Proclaim

Faith Alone?

“Faith alone”, one of the five tenets of the Protestant Reformation, is a difficult topic. If “faith” is a fiducial faith, inclusive of charity, there is no theological problem. If, however, it’s taken as faith apart from charity – a mere intellectual assent – this is where problem arises. The Scriptures use “faith” in both of those senses (1. integral with charity, and; 2. in itself, apart from charity), which is where exegetical difficulty and consequent disagreement arises.

Key References

Luther’s Translation

“So halten wyrs nu, das der mensch gerechtfertiget werde, on zu thun der werck des gesetzs, alleyn durch den glawben” (emphasis added to the German word for ‘alone.’)
“Romans 3:28”, Testament, 1522

Good Works

  • Mt 7:21 – not Lord, Lord but he who does the will of father
  • Mt 19:16-17 – to have life, keep my commandments
  • Jn 14:21 – he who keeps my commandments loves me
  • Rom 2:2-8 – eternal life by perseverance in good works
  • Gal 5:4-6 – nothing counts but faith working through love
  • Eph 2:8-10 – we are created in Christ Jesus for good works
  • Phil 2:12-13 – work out salvation with fear and trembling
  • Jam 2:14-24 – a man is justified by works & not faith alone

Judged According to Deeds

  • Rom 2:2-8 – eternal life by perseverance in good works
  • 2Cor 5:10 – recompense accord to what did in body
  • 2Cor 11:15 – their end will correspond to their deeds
  • 1Pet 1:17 – God judges impartially according to one’s works
  • Rev 20:12-13 – dead judged according to their deeds
  • Col 3:24-25 – will receive due payment for whatever you do

Assurance of Salvation?

  • Mt 7:21 – not everyone saying “Lord, Lord” will inherit
  • Mt 24:13 – those who persevere to the end will be saved
  • Rom 11:22 – remain in his kindness or you will be cut off
  • Phil 2:12 – work out your salvation in fear and trembling
  • 1Cor 9:27 – drive body for fear of being disqualified
  • 1Cor 10:11-12 – those thinking they are secure may fall
  • Gal 5:4 – separated from Christ, you’ve fallen from grace
  • 2Tim 2:11-13 – must hold out to the end to reign with Christ
  • Hb 6:4-6 – describes sharers in Holy Spirit who then fall away
  • Heb 10:26-27 – if sin after receiving truth, judgment remains