Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Refining Catholic Teaching

Yes, I know I am a pastor. But, let me appeal to you. First, I was baptized Catholic. Second, I have a love for the Catholic people & the Catholic church. I do not attend a Catholic church weekly, but I don't feel this disqualifies me from input into the church I was baptized as an infant.

I have had several Catholic people ask me about works & how they correlate to salvation. So I want to address this using, what I believe is a key Scripture from the Holy Bible, found in St. Paul's letter to the Church in Ephesus.

Let's walk through this verse by verse. I think this is the clearest way to think through it. I have some notes, points of clarification, under each verse.

Ephesians 2:8-10

Verse 8- "For by grace you have been saved through the faith & this (salvation) is not out of yourselves; it is God's gift."

-God's gift to you is His grace given to you through the faith (in Jesus).
-The word "faith" is the word "pistis" to trust, to place faith in Jesus.
-Have you done this yourself? Have you ever personally asked Jesus, placed your trust in Jesus as YOUR saviour?

Verse 9- "Not out of works, so no one might glorify themself."

-Only God will get the glory this way.
-God will not share His glory with another. Our works cannot save us because a) we can never be perfect, b) God will not share the glory with us. This is why He has to give us a gift.

Verse 10- "For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before so that we would walk in them."

-For the Protestant, the word "peripatasomen" teaches us that we should walk, do these good works. Not for salvation, but as the overflow of the salvation God has given us. We are NOT off the hook to do whatever we please. Yes, we are saved by God's grace, through trusting in Jesus as our saviour, but God has prepared great works for us to do, as the fruit of our salvation.

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