Faith and Works…
Today, we discuss a topic that can be a division point among Christians:
“What then shall we say? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have achieved it, that is, righteousness that comes from faith; but that Israel, who pursued the law of righteousness, did not attain to that law? Why not? Because they did it not by faith, but as if it could be done by works.” -Romans 9:30-32, NAB
Basically, we read that Israel did not find righteousness by their works because they lacked faith. Immediately, I know many that will say that this is an argument that we are saved by faith alone, but consider this:
“See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” -James 2:24, NAB
That verse puts a little wrench in the theory of faith alone. So, faith alone cannot save us as we see in this verse from James 2, and, as we read in Romans 9, we cannot find righteousness through our works. What is the answer then? It is a combination of faith and works that will lead us to salvation.
If we continue to read James 2, we find:
“For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” -James 2:26, NAB
Basically, we cannot earn our way to heaven through works, but what justification can we find in a faith that is dead? If we have faith, we will be inspired to do good works; these works show the true depth of our faith. If we say that we have faith, but do no good works, do we really have faith? It’s virtually impossible to have faith without it leading us to good works.
In today’s look at Scripture, I backed it up with more Scripture for our friends that want to see Biblical proof. Understanding how faith and works come together in harmony is a topic that volumes could be written about, but I wanted to share the basic understanding of the concept. Honestly, it is such a complex topic, I hope that I was able to do it justice.
We cannot earn our way to heaven. We cannot have a justified, proven faith without acting on it. If we are seeking the path to righteousness, we must learn to hold tight to our faith and express it outwardly in our works. Together, faith and works are the essence of who we are as Catholics, and as Christians, and without either one, our relationship with Christ would not be complete.