Ok, I can understand you wanting to do good things, but I think the source of that is ultimately going to be your faith. At least if your religious. But one of the dangers Ive seen with works based salvation(in that works entitle you to be saved) is that some people think that they are more holy than others. They deserve more from God, etc. I think this is where the idea that saints can somehow help us come from. Obviously, coming from a sola scripture background, I believe all those who are saved to be saints, not just the ones the church has stated. Do you understand what i mean? I think that if we say that you have to do works, then you create almost like a class system of salvation. I dont believe this is the plan, thats why I think the bible teaches us that really everything related to our salvation comes from faith. Our faith just allows us to bring other fruits(works) out.
Am I to take it from this that you have faith in nothing? ;^)
nah I made a mistake. = ) then hit edit.
Thats all I really have to say on the matter. Im just really really suspicious when someone starts to talk to me about works being for salvation, for the reasons stated above. In my experience, Ive run into many people over and over and over again who believe that because they do good works, that they are going to be saved, and they are better than those other people who havent done as much as they have.
Bottom line is no one deserves salvation, no one is capable of making themselves deserving of it. Grace is really the bottom line. We try our best and put the rest at the feet of Jesus on the cross.
Bah, that's no fair, editing your post!
I'll respond in a minute.
"Ok, I can understand you wanting to do good things, but I think the source of that is ultimately going to be your faith. At least if your religious."
For the most part, I agree. However, I am not comfortable with the next step you will take from here, which is "See, salvation by faith alone!" As I said, I think we are close enough on this for me to leave it alone...why ruin a good thing...
"But one of the dangers Ive seen with works based salvation(in that works entitle you to be saved) is that some people think that they are more holy than others. They deserve more from God, etc. I think this is where the idea that saints can somehow help us come from."
Honestly, I have never seen anything remotely similar to this. Not sure where you got the idea that this is where praying for a saints intercession comes from either.
"I think that if we say that you have to do works, then you create almost like a class system of salvation. I dont believe this is the plan, thats why I think the bible teaches us that really everything related to our salvation comes from faith."
But it also states that faith without works is useless...As I said, I don't have a problem with this really. We are closer on this than many people realize. I don't do more works just to become "holier" than others, hoping in turn that I will end up better off in heaven, etc...that's not the Catholic thinking at all.
What we have a problem with is the thinking that all you need to do it to have faith, and you're good. I don't have a reference for this, but I've heard Luther said that he could committ adultery 30 times in one day, and still keep his salvation simple because he has that "personal relationship" with Jesus. I would strongly disagree with this.
Salvation is by grace alone. Would you agree with this?
I agree its by grace alone, and I also agree with luther. Thats why I think works come from faith, and every man is given his measure of faith gy God.
We do not hold up our salvation because it does not belong to us. I use the analogy of your car keys, you can lose those, because they belong to you. But the question is not can you lose your salvation, but rather
Can christ lose a christian? Because its his sacrfice that is what holds us up. Its like being on ice, we don't know how thin the ice is, and it may be very thin, but christ is the ice that holds us up, and no matter how thin the ice we are standing on, Christ is going to make sure that it does not break, because he is the one that has called us out to be conformed to his image. It was chosen before we were ever born or before we had ever heard anything about him.
Thats not to say Im telling anyone to committ adultery, but If you do, its not putting your salvation into jeopardy, however, in this life you will pay for the consequences of your actions, if thats an std, a broken marriage, not getting to see your kids anymore, having mistrust issues in your marriage, etc.
I wouldnt picture any christian going out and committing adultery 30 times in a day though.
I always liked calvin's explanations more than luthers though. His understanding of the scriptures seem to strike a chord with me that others have not.
Honestly, I have never seen anything remotely similar to this. Not sure where you got the idea that this is where praying for a saints intercession comes from either.
Well let me explaining the intercession for saints. A saint as defined by the catholic doctrine is something A person officially recognized by canonization, as being entitled to public veneration and capable of interceding for people on earth.
That seems to me to indicate that these people are more worthy of sainthood than others. But my understanding is anyone who is in heaven is a saint. I guess maybe there are 2 meanings for this word?
Correct me if Im wrong, your my encycopedia of all things catholic when I get confused by the www.
No problem Josh...
Actually, the officially designated "Saints" are not the only ones that can intercede on your behalf. Catholics believe all those in heaven are capable of intercession on your behalf.
By the way, we also believe all people of God are saints. We believe in something called the communion of saints, which is (from newadvent.com):
"The communion of saints is the spiritual solidarity which binds together the faithful on earth, the souls in purgatory, and the saints in heaven in the organic unity of the same mystical body under Christ its head, and in a constant interchange of supernatural offices. The participants in that solidarity are called saints by reason of their destination and of their partaking of the fruits of the Redemption (I Cor., i, 2-Greek Text). The damned are thus excluded from the communion of saints. The living, even if they do not belong to the body of the true Church, share in it according to the measure of their union with Christ and with the soul of the Church"
Hopefully this will explain that Catholic belief of sainthood...from catholic.org:
How does the Church choose saints?
"Canonization, the process the Church uses to name a saint, has only been used since the tenth century. For hundreds of years, starting with the first martyrs of the early Church, saints were chosen by public acclaim. Though this was a more democratic way to recognize saints, some saints' stories were distorted by legend and some never existed. Gradually, the bishops and finally the Vatican took over authority for approving saints.
In 1983, Pope John Paul II made sweeping changes in the canonization procedure. The process begins after the death of a Catholic whom people regard as holy. Often, the process starts many years after death in order give perspective on the candidate. The local bishop investigates the candidate's life and writings for heroic virtue (or martyrdom) and orthodoxy of doctrine. Then a panel of theologians at the Vatican evaluates the candidate. After approval by the panel and cardinals of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the pope proclaims the candidate "venerable."
The next step, beatification, requires evidence of one miracle (except in the case of martyrs). Since miracles are considered proof that the person is in heaven and can intercede for us, the miracle must take place after the candidate's death and as a result of a specific petition to the candidate. When the pope proclaims the candidate beatified or "blessed," the person can be venerated by a particular region or group of people with whom the person holds special importance.
Only after one more miracle will the pope canonize the saint (this includes martyrs as well). The title of saint tells us that the person lived a holy life, is in heaven, and is to be honored by the universal Church. Canonization does not "make" a person a saint; it recognizes what God has already done. "
ok so we are all saints. But saints that are canonized are just the ones that we know for certain are in heaven based on the church's word?
so its not like they really have some higher form of spirituality than others or are more blessed or anything like that then?
"But saints that are canonized are just the ones that we know for certain are in heaven based on the church's word?"
Well, actually based on miracles they have performed.
Aside from that, you're right.
I know many people who have taken a huge responsibility in adopting a child simply to look better in the eyes of the diety they worship.
They are doing a great deed to an orphaned child, but for all the wrong reasons.
Jesus put some conditions to works, so they would have true value to God.
"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in Heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly (Matthew, 6: 1-4)".
"And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites which make a farthing. And He called unto him His disciples and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast in more than all they which have cast into the treasury: for all they did cast in of their abundance: but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living (Mark, 12: 41-44)".
"And He looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And He said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hast cast in more than they all. For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had (Luke, 21:1-4)".
What I mean, it is not the action itself, but the love in the heart that provoked the move.
"When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on the right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me. I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer Him saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me." Mathew 25:31~46 (aprox)
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tempted Him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? How readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy strength and with all thy mind: and thy neighbour as thyself And He said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
But he, willing to justify himself said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jesuralem to Jericho and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment and wounded him and departed, leaving him half dead, and by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side, and likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him and passed by on the other side.
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine and set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence and gave them to the host and said unto him, take care of him and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again I will repay thee.
Which now of these thinkest thou was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise (Luke, 10: 25-37).
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all the mysteries and all knowledge; and though I have faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, lam nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long and is kind, charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, dot not behave itself unseemly, skeet not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity these three; but the greatest of these is CHARITY (Paul, I Corinthians, 13:1-7 & 13)".
Also remember that Peter started his church with a shelter for those who needed his help.
Please do not think that i am saying one should not do good works. Im just saying people should do good for the sake of doing good, not because they want to think they are better than others.
"Im just saying people should do good for the sake of doing good, not because they want to think they are better than others."
I wholeheartedly agree. Was that your understanding of the whole Catholic "works" thing???
What about my previous question...would you agree that we are saved only through the grace of God?
Sola Gratia. I think that is something we can agree on.
Oh yah...I never would disagree with you there. My jewish relatives even believe that if it weren't for the grace of God, no one would ever be saved. Grace believe it or not really plays a large role in more than just christianity. But it is the doctrine on which christianity stands apart because for us it is the ultimate thing that matters.
the catholic works thing I believe can and has bred that, and I believe thats why its a dangerous doctrine to teach that your works can save you. That gets people thinking that well on monday if they are good they will go to heaven, but if tuesday they are bad and cheat or lie or steal something then they are going to hell, so they better go to confess if they want to be saved. I just find it dangerous when you start telling people that the author of thier salvation won't hold them up. I think thats probably where you and I disagree the most. I dont think one can lose salvation, simply because it does not belong to us, so its not ours to lose. Catholics believe one can lose salvation, which implies that it belongs to you. BUt if you weren't the one on the cross, how can it?
Yours is to accept, and have faith that christ will hold you up, and spread the same good he spread to you around to others. And not to sit and live in fear that you may commit some sin that is going to separate you from God.
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."