The following is an email that I sent to someone who had a question about Salvation / Justification / Sanctification.
To Whom It May Concern; Let me start out by thanking you for your correspondence. The time put into it shows a sincere effort on your part to `share'. For my part, I was told something without any proof and I sent proof. I am not online to argue. If that is what you want, continue on your way. I am online to bring about Christ's prayer for Unity, "that all may be one" JN 17:21. I am here to "share the truth in love" Eph. 4:15. Let me just ask Jesus to be between you and I in all our discussions. I would like to share that it is impossible, to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior without a "work" as some put it. When we "assent" that Jesus is Lord we are doing "something" our assent is an action on our part. So, the real question is not Faith alone but how many "works" are necessary for Salvation? Put another way, if Salvation were completely "free". Then when Jesus died on the cross He would have showered mankind with `Salvation'. Redemption is at hand for everyone, but they must do `something' in order to receive it. If they must acknowledge Jesus as Lord that, in itself, is a `work'. Give it some thought, I will be praying for you.
If after the `work' of accepting Jesus as Lord we died in the very next instant, we would be saved. But, if we live we need to cooperate with Grace in order to be Sanctified/Justified. This process is ongoing as long as we are alive. You mention not taking a verse out of context and then proceed to do just that by quoting 4 verses in a row out of context in your opening remarks as though the sheer force of numbers can win your argument for you. Then you go on to share in depth about the Letter of James. You wrote: [What is James Saying? James is simply saying that if you `say' you are a Christian, then there had better be some appropriate works manifested or your faith is false. This sentiment is echoed in 1 John 2:4 which says, "If you say you have come to know Him, yet you do not keep His commandments, then the truth is not in you and you are a liar."] [James is simply saying that if you `say' you are a Christian, then there had better be some appropriate works manifested or your faith is false.]
(I say) This is conjecture on your part. James is saying faith & works are inseparable. Faith/Works are two sides of the same coin. You wrote: ["If you say you have come to know Him, yet you do not keep His commandments, then the truth is not in you and you are a liar."] (I say) The mark of a true Christian is to live the life of Christ, in thought, word and action. You can not separate leading a Christ filled life with being a Christian. They are one and the same thing. Let's go over a little of Paul's Catholic perspective in Romans:
1) Romans 1:5, "obedience of faith" Everyone acknowledges that this epistle emphasizes Faith, but notice the very First Time the word Faith is used in Romans in v. 5, he speaks about how he has received "grace and apostleship" to bring about the "obedience of Faith". Paul sees the need to bring about the idea of Faith, but not "Faith Alone" - "Faith Alone" is something that Paul never talks about. The term "Faith Alone" is never found in any one of Paul's Letters and yet it was the buzz word of the Reformation! The first time St. Paul uses the word Faith, is in v. 5 where he talks about the "obedience of faith". Incidentally the last time that Paul uses the word Faith in Romans 16:26, he uses the term "obedience of Faith". So, any interpretation that would try to separate "Faith" from "Obedience" is taking a miscue from the outside. Paul is giving us a clue to the only way that we can be obedient, by "Faith". There is no point in pitting "faith" to the "obedience of the law"! Paul is saying; that Faith is the only way to bring about pleasing obedience that is meritorious in. God's eyes. 2) Romans 2:13; "For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified." At least 4 times in chapter 2, Paul stresses this point! Some instances: FIRST: Romans 2:6; "For God will render to every man according to his works." That is the "General Law" of Divine Judgment. SECOND: Romans 2:7 "eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works," THIRD: Romans 2:10; "but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good," FOURTH: Romans 2:13; "the doers of the law will be justified." All emphasizing `doing' and `works', never `Faith Alone'. St. Paul is speaking against what some would propose as the `way of salvation', that being, there are some today that say, all one has to do is acknowledge "Jesus as Lord and repent and they are assured a place in heaven! That is precisely what Paul is speaking against! Paul is saying unless you live the life of a man/woman following God, in this case the Jews, you can not get into heaven. Romans 2:29 He is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart, spiritual and not literal. His praise is not from men but from God. You have to "BE" God in your everyday life, in order to be `saved'. The Catholic Church says that Romans 2 & 3 are TWO ways of looking at the same Plan. We have to do the law and Romans 2:6; "For God will render to every man according to his works." Romans 2:13; "For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified." Romans 3, "It is only by Faith through the grace and the power of the Holy Spirit that we are capable of doing the law in a way that is truly lawful, in a way that is truly pleasing to God." In Romans 3:10-11, "No one is righteous, no, not one... '' Some would say: "Nobody can be Justified by doing the law." Is that what Paul is saying? Look it up, in Psalm 14 and read it in context. In other words, for Paul to be making the point that the some say he is making, he would have to wrench this verse out of context. Something Paul never does when he quotes the Old Testament! Look at Psalm 14: READ vv. 1-3, v. 4, mentions "evildoers" , "my people", v. 5 mentions "God is with the generation of the righteous". The "evildoers" are the "fool" saying; "there is none that does good... no, not one" but, God is with the "generation of the righteous", those "who call upon the Lord", "my people". There is a group of people the "evildoers", there's another group of people "my people", the "generation of the righteous" those who are "poor" in spirit. What is the Psalmist's point? David is describing a condition that was common throughout Israel's history, that is you would expect people outside the Covenant to be wicked, and you would hope that people inside that Covenant would all be righteous. But, if we look at David's life, we can see who his enemies were. Sure, there was Goliath, the Philistine, but the majority of the foes who wish to see him dead were Israelites! Like Saul, who hunted him down for months and months, and Absolom, his own son, who rebelled against him. And so many others David says: "God looks down from heaven and Gentiles - even Jews are not intrinsically freed from sin just because they are circumcised Jews!" because in Psalm 14, the "none who are righteous" are opposed to "my people" the "generation of righteous" - David's point and Paul's point is that there are people who are circumcised Israelites who are still opposed to God's Covenant plan of Salvation. Being a Jew is not an automatic guarantee of anything! Paul is saying to the Jews: "You Jews who think that because you are circumcised, you are automatically saved are wrong!" "You have to be circumcised in your heart!" There are Gentiles who, although they are uncircumcised physically are circumcised in their hearts and God recognizes them as His sons and daughters! That's his point in Romans 3! Listen to The Church 1 John 4:6 We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit. For more on following The Church established by Christ:
I think that you would get the point. There is an endless amount of Biblical information on The Catholic Church being the Church established by Jesus. Sincerely, your brother in Christ; Philip New Advent online Catholic Encyclopedia