The Truth About Works…
Contrary to what others may tell you, works matter:
“By your stubbornness and impenitent heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself for the day of wrath and revelation of the just judgment of God, who will repay everyone according to his works: eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works, but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness.” -Romans 2:5-8 NAB
The debate will rage on even though verses like today’s speak so plainly. As Christians, whether Catholic or Protestant, we hold the Bible to be true. We may debate many things, but this we can agree on. Why, then, do we differ on topics like works? How can anyone deny what is so clearly written here? There are misconceptions about what Catholics truly believe about works, but let’s clear some of that up.
Our works, whether good or bad, show who we really are. Good works are a fruit of the Spirit and show the light of our faith. Likewise, our lack of faith and disobedience to God shows through our lack of good works. As Catholics, we believe that good works are an essential part of our faith as we are examples of Christ’s light to the world.
Good works will not save you. There is nothing any one of us can do to earn our way into heaven. Actually, that is one of the greatest misconceptions of secular society. Many people feel that if they are a good enough person, they will get into heaven. Scripture tells us, on the other hand, that only through Christ are we given the gift of salvation. Our goal, as Christians, should be to follow what Scripture tells us, not society.
As Catholics, although we have the hope for salvation through the gift and saving work of Jesus Christ, we should not ignore good works. We will all face the judgment of our Lord, and we are not simply given a “Get Out of Jail Free” card by saying that we believe in God. Our works are the evidence of our faith, and a light to the rest of the world. As it says in James,
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? …faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” -James 2:14-17, NAB