The Catholic Church does not teach that we are saved by works or that our own good works save us or anything of the sort. We are saved by grace and not by works lest anyone should boast.
Many Catholics may be confused but confused Catholics do not equal the teachings of the Catholic Church. Our good works attest to our Faith, exactly as it does for a Protestant. Just because you Kristen
WANT to do things for the Lord… I love doing things for my Lord and Savior, not because I have to but because He saved me
…does not mean you are doing these things in order to be saved but to serve Our Lord.
So, we are all saved by Grace and not by our good deed, works, service etc. We all actually agree on this.
However, it is not that confused Catholics are having
a hard time taking it all in together because they just whip back out the “faith without works is dead”
Actually our faith encompasses all of Sacred Scripture such as:
Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God—
James 2: 14 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?….
James 2:17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
James 2:18 But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.
James 2:19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder.
James 2:20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish fellow, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22 You see that
faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God.
James 2:24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
James 2:25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
James 2:26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.
Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,
But most Protestant denominations just ignore these verses and act like they don’t really count even though they professes to be sola scriptura and believe in the inerrancy of scripture. Their doctrine implies that some of the above verses must be in error. That is why Martin Luther wanted to delete 7 books from the Bible.
Our good works are out of love for God. If they count for anything they do not count for our actual eternal salvation. Only Jesus Christ could accomplish that.
That is why we are saved by Grace.
However, there is another aspect to our spiritual life that Protestants usually do not think about or address with their doctrine. So, their view of salvation is sort of two dimensional. We are saved or not by having faith in Jesus, or not. That is it.That is what matters most.
For this reason, Protestants often misunderstand or just plain do not understand the Catholic Church’s teaching on a third dimension of the spiritual life; the necessity of purity before entering the Presence of a Holy God. Protestants just assume Jesus takes care of all of this and because they have no teaching many verses in Scripture just slip past their consciousness as they think, “Yes, yes, but Jesus will take care of all of that.”
1 Peter 1:15-16 but as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Leviticus 11:44-45 For I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls upon the earth. 45 For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God; you shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”
Leviticus 20:26 You shall be holy to me; for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.
Proverbs 22:11 He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.
2 Corinthians 6:6 by purity, knowledge, forbearance, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love,
1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
1 Timothy 5:2 older women like mothers, younger women like sisters, in all purity.
We on the other hand take these exhortations to holiness and purity literally and believe and teach that we must actually BE totally pure before entering Heaven. So, God purifies us. And we merely cooperate by serving Him, doing good and loving in order to please Him. Whatever merit these good works might have they only serve to begin the purification process (not our eternal salvation) which He will bring to completion either in this life or the next. But they do not save us. That is the work of Christ. They attest to our faith and perhaps begin to purify us but only God knows for sure.