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VIDEO: Philippians 3:9

A video that demonstrates that Philippians 3:9 does not defend the “faith alone” position. In fact, that verse and the rest of the chapter refute it.

TRANSCRIPT ———————-

Protestants sometimes point to Philippians 3:9 as a proof-text for their assertions about “faith alone.” But that verse does not support their position.

Context is key. Earlier in the chapter, Paul professes that he used to follow the old Law better than pretty much everyone, but then writes that he has counted it “as loss for the sake of Christ.”

He’s saying that, instead of getting caught up in rituals of the old Law, we should focus on Christ and His new Law.

So, in verse 9, when he says that righteousness “comes from God on the basis of faith,” he’s absolutely correct. I mean, it’s pretty difficult to do good works in honor of God when you don’t even believe in Him.

Nothing in the whole chapter discredits the Catholic Church’s stance on the importance of faith AND works.

In fact, in verse 12, Paul writes, “Not that I have already obtained it [“it” being the promise of eternal salvation and eternal life with God] or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.”

See? He already has faith, but talks about “pressing on” in a way that clearly shows that he feels he is incomplete. He knows that there is still work to be done.

I hope that this information has helped you. May God bless you in your faithful journey!

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VIDEO: Reaching Perfection

A study of James 3:2 (in context), Matthew 5:48, Hebrews 7, and Revelation 21:27. The video explains what these verses, examined together, mean for your salvation.

TRANSCRIPT ———————-

I was talking with one of my closest friends – she’s really more of a mentor to me, actually. After watching my video about asking the saints to pray for us, she made the assertion that, “The saints haven’t reached perfection; they are, however, in the presence of perfection!” I make this video with all respect due to her.

Some Protestants seem to try to make it sound as if any kind of perfection is totally unattainable. They point to verses like James 3:2, which includes the statement “For we all stumble in many ways”. But in discussing this issue, that verse frequently gets taken out of context.
That part of James 3 is basically saying that Christians need to be careful about selecting their leaders, because bad leaders lead to bad, heretical teachings. It is not saying that it’s impossible to reach perfection.

Christ tells us in Matthew 5:48 that we are to be perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect. So, according to some Protestants, either Christ is wrong, or He is just messing with our heads. Neither one of those options sound correct.

Also, it is pointed out in Hebrews 7:11 that perfection was not found through the Levitical priesthood. The chapter goes on to say that perfection can be found through Christ, who brings in “a better hope, through which we draw near to God.”

And, like I mentioned in the saints video, Revelation 21:27 teaches us that nothing imperfect will enter Heaven.

Clearly, there’s a possibility of reaching perfection.

But what do I mean by “reaching perfection”?

I think Protestants tend to think that we are saying that it’s possible to totally abstain from sin.
But perfection, in the end, is not only about sinlessness. After all, everyone has sinned.

Putting aside the doctrine of Purgatory (which I plan to address in a future post or video), people, essentially, reach perfection by taking advantage of the graces that God has given us so that we might be closer to Him. And yes, this includes going to Confession and doing penance for our sins.

We must always remember, though, that this is not done completely by us, but with the help of Christ.

Anyone that has reached Heaven, and thus pleased God, has reached perfection. Let’s all try to be a little more perfect, then.

VIDEO: Was Abraham saved by “faith alone”?

A video that examines Genesis 15:6, Romans 4, and James 2 in context to conclude that Abraham was NOT saved by “faith alone,” and neither are we.

I asked famous apologist Dave Armstrong for his opinion on this video, and he said that it “looks great (and orthodox)”.

In the video, I point out…

1. the importance of having an active faith (Abraham had to have sex with Sarah to have Isaac, which was key to God’s covenant with humanity; Abraham also had to be willing to sacrifice Issac)

2. that Abraham seemed to already have some sort of faith in Genesis 12, and what changed between Genesis 12 and Genesis 15:6 was that Abraham had done good works (he had built three altars in honor of God and had done what God told him to do)

3. that people still had to do works at the beginning of God’s covenant (e.g. circumcision), or risk being cut off from Him, and that baptism is, basically, the new circumcision

4. and what Paul meant when he denounced “works.”

VIDEO: Ephesians 2:8-9

A video explaining why Ephesians 2:8-9 does not support the “faith alone” position, and why the passage is completely in line with Catholic teaching.

No, “faith alone” is not sufficient for salvation.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ..” – Romans 5:2 (NASB)

“You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” – James 2:24-26 (NASB)

I asked a friend that knows Greek to look at those verses in the original Greek texts, and he said that Paul and James both use the same word for “faith” (Greek: “pistei”). Because Scripture can not contradict itself on matters of faith and morals (and because of the additional evidence presented below), Paul and James must both be correct and must both be advocating the same thing. Paul never advocated sola fide (faith alone). Both Paul and James recognized the importance of works.

But how can that be? Paul talks about faith a lot, while simultaneously denouncing the Law.

“For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.” – Romans 3:28 (NASB)

Here is an explanation of the context of that verse from Catholic Answers:

So what about the fact that Paul also said we are “justified by faith apart from works of law?” He was writing to a church in Rome struggling with a very prominent first-century heretical sect known today as the “Judaizers.” These heretics taught that belief in Christ and obedience to the New Covenant was not enough to be saved. A man also had to keep the Mosaic Law (which, according to Hebrews 7:11-12, has been superseded in Christ) and be circumcised in order to be saved (cf. Acts 15:1-2). Paul gave us one clue—among many—that he had this sect in mind when he wrote in Romans 2:28-29, “For he is not a real Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. He is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart, spiritual and not literal . . . ” Paul told us in Colossians 2:11-12 that this true “circumcision of Christ” is baptism.

It is in this context that Paul says we are “justified by faith apart from works of law.” He did not in any sense say that works are unnecessary. He specified works of law because these were the works without which the Judaizers were claiming one “cannot be saved.”

My problem with the belief that faith alone is sufficient for salvation is that it frequently encourages people to, to quote Martin Luther, “sin boldly.” That is hardly in keeping with the teachings of Christ and His Apostles.

There is plenty of evidence in the Bible that works are important. Here are some verses from Paul’s writings:

“But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.” – Romans 2:5-8 (NASB)

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” – Galatians 6:7-9 (NASB)

“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:12-13 (NASB)

“Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.” – 1 Corinthians 7:19 (NASB)

Faith AND good works are necessary for salvation, but always remember that it is because of God’s grace that we are able to have both.

Relief of allegory of Faith on the Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc in Olomouc (Czech Republic).Photo by Michal Maňas.

Relief of allegory of Faith on the Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc (Czech Republic).
Photo by Michal Maňas.