When a Protestant challenges you on whether someone is saved by faith and works, do you feel overwhelmed and not sure how to answer?
Patrick Madrid talks to a caller named John from New Jersey. John asks about the phrase “faith alone” in the New Testament and its connection to the Protestant teaching on salvation. Patrick explains that the phrase “faith alone” appears only once in the Bible, in James 2:24, which states, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”
Patrick then delves into the context of this verse, starting from James 2:14, where it is emphasized that faith without works is dead. He highlights the rhetorical question of whether faith alone can save someone, and James provides examples of Abraham and Rahab to demonstrate that genuine faith is manifested through works. Patrick also refutes the idea that James is talking about justification in the eyes of men, pointing out that Abraham’s actions were not witnessed by anyone, showing that it refers to God’s justification.
He goes on to stress that Catholics believe in salvation by God’s grace, as stated in Ephesians 2:8-9, where it is clarified that salvation is a gift from God and not based on our own works. However, Patrick emphasizes the Catholic teaching that good works are essential, as they are the result of God’s grace working in believers and demonstrate true faith. He cautions against Pelagianism, the belief that one can earn salvation through works alone, and he highlights the importance of both faith and works in the process of salvation.
Finally, as a way for you to feel extra confident in your apologetics, Patrick recommends a book on grace and justification for Protestants written by Steve Wood, a former member of Calvary Chapel, as a resource for those interested in understanding the biblical perspective on this topic.