Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday: time to bone up on true Christian Tradition!

Today, many devout - and some not so devout -  Catholics will go to Mass and receive ashes. These ashes mark not only the beginning of the Lenten Season but they are also used to symbolize the need for repentance. Most Catholics understand this, many Protestants don't. To the average Protestant, the mentality is simple: "if it's not in the Bible, then you shouldn't do it." However, as I've mentioned many times in this blog, there are MANY things not in the Bible that most, if not all Protestants, believe in, like the term "Trinity" to describe God - it is never once used in Scripture or, ask your average bible-alone Protestant who wrote the Gospels and tell them to prove it using the Gospel (good luck finding any author's attribution in any of the Gospels!).

This knee-jerk reaction is really quite ironic considering that the Bible, which they expound as their sole source of inspired authority* came directly from the very Church they state is not scripturally based. Therefore, let's look at some of the non-Catholic Christian attacks that we may encounter today...


These two Protestants claim 2 things that they deem are wrong with the observance of Ash Wednesday: 1) it is based on works and 2) it is merely an "outward thing." Additionally, they cite Matthew 6:16 which does in fact say the following:

"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full." (KJV)

One of the Protestant commentators then paraphrase verse 17-18 by stating that, instead of looking disheveled, we are to "comb our hair" and "wash our face" so that no one may know what you are doing accept God the Father, who already knows what we are doing and why you are fasting. The two commentators then proceed to build up the argument that God the Father wants an inward change and not an outward show and, therefore, ashes on the forehead mean nothing.

Too bad that these two Protestants don't have a clue as to what Ash Wednesday is truly about! For starters, they fail in telling the TOTALITY of what ashes mean from the biblical view. These two guys absolutely negate the entirety of what ashes mean when they are spoken of in the bible and, since I don't want to be seen as a Christian who picks and chooses what he likes and doesn't like, let's see some Old Testament verses in regards to ashes (all quotes are from the KJV):

Job 42:6 - Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
Job confesses this statement right after he was rebuked by God.

2 Samuel 13:19 - And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of diver colours that was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying.
Tamar does this after being force to have sexual relations with her half-brother Amnon, something strictly forbidding in Leviticus 18:11.

Esther 4:1,3 - When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry...And in every province, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting and weeping and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
This was Mordecai's reaction when the king, Haman the Agagite, vowed to kill the Jews because Mordecai would not bow to him. This reaction is explicitly made as a petition for Esther to intervene on behalf of the Jews, indeed in verse 16, Esther tells Mordecai and the Jews to fast and pray for her.

Isaiah 61:3 - To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planing of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
We find this verse in Isaiah's Book of Consolation, in which the prophet is speaking to the children of the exiled Jews and the hope that there is to come; here we see that Isaiah stating that they will receive beauty in exchange for ashes, that is, optimism for their sadness.

Jeremiah 6:26 - O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us.
The prophet speaks of the evils that will befall Jerusalem if she doesn't return to the commands and ordinances of the LORD.

Ezekiel 27:30 - And shall cause their voice to be heard against thee, and shall cry bitterly, and shall cast up dust upon their heads, they shall wallow themselves in the ashes...
Ezekiel speaks of the fall and undoing of Tyre. So bad where the goings on in Tyre that Jesus Himself parallels Korizin and Bethsaida in Matthew 11:21!

Daniel 9:3 - And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes...
The beginning of David's confession and prayer to God.

Ecclesiastical writer, Tertullian (160-220 AD), penned the following in Chapter 9 of his On Repentance, in regards to the penitent, he must, "lie in sackcloth and ashes and cover his body in mourning." In Eusebius' (260-340 AD) historic work, Church History, we read in Book 5, Chapter 24 paragraphs 11-17 that St. Ireneaus (?-202 AD) admonished Pope Victor for not being at peace with the traditions of fasting, he writes:

"For some think that they should fast one day, others two, yet others more; some, moreover, count their day as consisiting of 40 hours day and night. And this variety in its observance has not originated in our time; but long before in that of our ancestors. It is likely that they did not hold to strict accuracy, and thus formed a custom for their posterity according to their own simplicity and peculiar mode."

Furthermore, in Book 5, Chapter 28 paragraphs 8-12 of Church History, Eusebius writes about how Pope Zyphrinus accepted an excommunicated heretic back into the church after he repented; the heretic, Natalis, upon realizing that he was wrong, "put on sackcloth and covered himself with ashes, and with great haste and tears he fell down before Zephyrinus..." St. Cyril of Jerusalem (313-386 AD) in Chapter 18, paragraph 32 of his Catecheical Lectures explicitly mentions Lent. St. Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD) mentions repeatedly in his Festal Letters how the Lenten season is observed by fasting. The very first ecumenical council at Nicaea in 325 AD, stated in Canon 5, that bishops should meet twice a year in order to verify that excommunicates have not been deprived the mercy of the Church over pettiness, it states that the bishops are to meet, "one time before Lent, so that, all pettiness being set aside, the gifts offered to God may be unblemished..."   Pope St. Leo the Great (400-461 AD), in his 40th sermon On Lent delves into what the Lent seasons means to the Christian and, in his 42nd Sermon On Lent, states the following at the end of section I:

"...Divine Providence has with great beneficence taken care that the discipline of the forty days should heal us and restore the purity of our minds, during which the faults of other times might be redeemed by pious acts and removed by chaste fasting."

In 601 Pope Gregory the Great moved the beginning date to a Wednesday in order to achieve 40 days, sans Sundays, from the start of Lent to Easter as well as instituting the imposition of ashes on the forehead, it has remained unchanged ever since. This Tradition continued onto the Middle ages, when the Abbot of Eynsham, Aelfric (955-1020 AD) wrote in his Lives of the Saints Chapter 12, entited "The Beginning of the Fast" the following:

"We read in the books, both in the old Law and in the new, that men who repented of their sins bestrewed themselves with ashes, and clothed their bodies with sackcloth. Now let us do this little in the beginning of our Lent, that we strew ashes upon our heads, to signify that we ought to repent of our sins during our Lenten fast."

Easily seen, is the undeniable fact that the bible, and Christian history, demonstrate that ashes are used in conjunction with repentance and penance. Indeed, as Catholics, the Lenten Season is just that: it is where we, as Christians, take stock of our mortality in light of Christ's redemptive act on the cross;. It is a time where the Church asks all Christians to truly ask for forgiveness via fasting and prayer and, to the bettering of ones soul. So, you see, using the outward sign of ashes as a sign of repentance is 100% BIBLICAL.

In regards to the argument that this is a "works based" view of salvation, these two Protestant commentators forgot one very important thing about Matthew chapter 6: Jesus Christ Himself, lays out the rules for almsgiving (verses 1-4), for praying (verses 5-15) and for fasting (verses 16-18), in other words, Christ tells us how to properly do these actions, that is, Christ tells us what we need TO DO spiritually in order to draw strength from God so that we may become pious! Once it is all read IN CONTEXT, it is absolutely astonishing at just how much bible-alone Protestant miss. Additionally, Jesus isn't talking to Catholics who observe Ash Wednesday in Matthew 6:16, he is speaking directly to the Pharisees who - when they fasted - made sure to utilize it as a tool so as to appear devout to others, hence why Jesus called them hypocrites.

What is truly a bit ironic here is that both of these Protestants state that Ash Wednesday is of no use because it does nothing for the "inward man," that is, the only thing happening is on the outside and not on the inside. I say this is ironic due to the fact that they do not believe in works being able to justify man (a correct and wholly Catholic idea) and they, more than likely, prescribe to the sola fide principle that was invented by Martin Luther in the early 16th century. The real curious thing about Martin Luther's man-made notion is that he stated that righteousness in IMPUTED and not INFUSED; basically Martin Luther stated that man is justified by the legalistic act of simply believing. If you believe in Jesus, then God HAS TO justify you - even though you have not gone through any internal penance, repentance, change or spiritual transformation. All you have to do is believe and that's it, God counts you as righteous. Where as the Catholic view maintains the following (my emphasis added):

"The Catholic idea maintains that the formal cause of justification does not consist in an exterior imputation of the justice of Christ, but in a real, interior sanctification effected by grace, which abounds in the soul and makes it permanently holy before God. Although the sinner is justified by the justice of Christ, inasmuch as the Redeemer has merited for him or her the grace of justification (causa meritoria), nevertheless he or she is formally justified and made holy by his or her own personal justice and holiness (causa formalis)"

In other words, the Catholic view of being made righteous before God involves an internal change whereas the Protestant view of justification through the lens of sola-fide (faith alone) maintains that it is imputed and does not have to necessarily do anything to the heart of the believer. How funny, Ash Wednesday is bad because it does nothing for the inward part of man BUT, imputed justification is okay because it does nothing for the heart of man.


"Howbeit you should know that as long as the primitive church retained its perfection unbroken, this observance of Lent did not exist."
                       - St. John Cassian, Conference XX, Chapter XXX (360-435 AD)

"...Mithra there (in the kingdom of Satan,) sets his marks on the foreheads of his soldiers..."
             - Tertullian, Prescription against Heretics, Chapter 40 (160-225 AD)

While I won't go into the whole "Easter/Lent is pagan" argument  (I'll save that for an up coming post!), I would like to show you 2 often used quotes of the Early Church Fathers that Protestants use in order to attempt to make the early Church seem anything but Catholic. The issue here is a common Protestant mistake, in that, they take 1 quoted passage out of its context and pass it off as part of their heretical belief system. However, if we take these passages in context and as a whole, these 2 quotes by the Early Church Fathers, are easily reconciled with Catholic theology. Let's quickly look at the first quote by St. John Cassian.

If we were to continue to read St. John Cassian's 20th Conference on the origin of Lent, we would read the following:

"For they [the primitive church] were not bound by the requirements of this order, or by any legal enactments, nor confined in the very narrow limits of the fast, as the fast embraced equally the whole year round. But when the multitude of believers began day by day to decline from that apostolic fervour, and to look after their own wealth, and not to portion it out for the good of all the faithful in accordance with the arrangement of the apostles, but having an eye to their own private expenses, tried not only to keep it but actually to increase it, not content with follow the example of Ananias and Sapphira, then it seemed good to all the priests that men who were hampered by worldly cares...should be recalled to the pious duty by a fast canonically enjoined, and be constrained by the necessity of paying the legal tithes, as this certainly would be good for the weak brethren and could not do any harm to the perfect who were living under the grace of the gospel and by their voluntary devotion going beyond the law, so as to succeed in attaining the blessedness which the Apostle speaks of: "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law but under grace."

What St. John Cassian is stating here is that the Lenten fast was made into canonical practice after the Church's faithful grew in number and started to include more of those who search after worldly riches. It was because of this that the Church decided to mark this season as one of self-reflection and repentance so that those faithful, who were more engrossed in worldly cares, could strip them off and become sanctified through the pious act of fasting, praying and repentance. So, you see, when taken in its entirety, St. John Cassian IS NOT going against the observance of Lent but, he is actually building the historically Christian case for it!

Now, let's analyze Tertullian's quote. To begin with, Chapter 40 of Prescription against Heretics, is fully entitled:

No Difference in the Spirit of Idolatry and of Heresy. In the Rites of Idolatry, Satan Imitated and Distorted the Divine Institutions of the Older Scriptures. The Christian Scriptures Corrupted by Him in the Perversions of Various Heretics.

In other words, Tertullian has set out to prove that Satan has imitated and polluted - through heretics - the true Christian Scriptures AS WELL AS Divine Institutions. Indeed, a thorough reading of Chapter 40 equates Satan as having the following:

- Having a form of baptism
- Remissions from sin
- Marks on the forehead of his "soldiers"
- The oblation of bread
- Priests who are celibate

If Satan emulates the sacred in order to perverse it, then, Chapter 40 of Tertullian's Prescription against Heresy, cannot be seen as a direct attack on the Catholic Church and her practices. On the contrary, Chapter 40 undeniably and unquestionably supports several Catholic observances! Indeed, if we take Tertullian at his word then it only makes sense that the things that Satan imitates HAVE TO be holy, inspired and sanctifying counterparts. The things that Satan twisted have to be Godly, therefore if we undo what Satan has done, we find the following:

- Baptism, is a Sacrament
- Confession is needed for the remission of sin
- Ashes on the forehead for the faithful is sacred
- The Sacrifice of the Mass, i.e., the oblation of bread, is divine
- A celibate priesthood is orthodox

Therefore, to use Tertullian as some sort of attack against ashes on the forehead during Lent is, to give acceptance to the Sacraments, Mass and, Traditions of the Catholic Church, for Satan would not imitate these things if in fact they weren't part of the economy of our salvation.

In closing, we should constantly continue to remember that the Roman Catholic Church - the ONLY Church established by Christ and not by a man - is the Church of Christian history. No other church can ever state that. No other church can prove that they believe and practice exactly the same as the early Church and the early Church Fathers did. I did a little bit of research and I found out that the two Protestant commentators, belong to a church called the United Church of God which, according to their website, was founded...drum roll 1995. That's right, their church was invented 1,962 AFTER Christ established His Church! And yet, astonishingly, they have the gall to state this in their "About Us" page:

Incongruity, it seems to be commonplace with Protestants.

That's right, they want to "mirror" the 1st century Christian's teaching of Jesus and the original apostles! Well, pray tell, how is that even possible if they estabished their church less than 20 years ago? How can they begin to mirror the 1st century Church if not through the writings of the Early Catholic Church Fathers? Oh, I know! They'll mirror the 1st century Christians by simply looking at the Sciptures! Okay, if that is the case, then they HAVE TO do certain things:

#1) They HAVE TO do away with the New Testament Scriptures. You see, the New Testament Scriptures were not canonized as Scripture until the late 4th century, therefore, if the United Church of God (UCG) wants to be like the 1st century Christians, they must take into account ALL of the Christian writings that were written before 100 A.D. This would include the  Epistle to the Corinthians by Clement of Rome (written around 95 A.D.) in which this future Pope - who is also mentioned by name in Philippians 4:3 - reprimands the Corinthians for removing ordained priest from office and instilling other men who were not ordained as their leaders. Hmmmmm, a high regard for a priesthood that cannot be undone by the laity, I wonder how many of the United Church of God members have remained loyal to their presbyters?

It would seem that the UCG came about after it had disagreements with their original leaders, proving once again that Protestantism multiplies by dividing.

Furthermore, they would also have to take into consideration The Didache. As one of the oldest of all Christian writings, there are several things the the UCG must adhere to if they want to mirror the 1st century teachings of the Apostles. Take for instance, Chapter 9 and 10 of the Didache which not only states to do a Eucharistic celebration but, that it is holy, only for the baptized and, not to forget to pray after receiving said Holy Communion! Gee, that sounds distinctly Roman Catholic to me. Additionally, the UCG would have to disavow John's Apocalypse (Book of Revelation) due to the fact that many biblical scholars put this book after the year 100 A.D., looks like that'll put a huge kink in their end-times biblical prophesies.

#2) Since the NT Scriptures were not part of the 1st century Scriptures, the UCG has to rely solely on orally transmitted knowledge. That is, they cannot use the written word and can only go off of what they heard and remember; good luck not changing the teachings of Jesus as your church grows UCG! Without an inspired Magisterium to preserve and teach correctly, your church will become a footnote in the heretical history of Christianity soon enough. Instead of trying to be like the 1st century Church, why don't you join the 1st Century church, i.e., the Roman Catholic Church? Silly Protestants.

All in all, the custom of observing Ash Wednesday not only has historical backing but it predates any Protestant church. So, to all of my devout Catholic friends, make sure you ask the anti-Catholic, "Ash Wednesday isn't in the Bible" Christian the following: "What was your church doing in the 1st century? What was it doing in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th century? Do you still have the same teachings and beliefs from back then? Who was your church's leader during that time? Can you produce a document that demonstrates your church's leaders? Or, was your church invented less than 20 years ago?

*Any time a bible-only Protestant makes the statement that the Bible is inspired, ask them to show where, in each of their 66 books, it explicitly states that the book is inspired. We as Catholics know for sure that it is inspired for it came from the unerring and spiritually protected Magisterium.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Justification by Faith Alone? A look at Scripture and how the Catholic view of Justification is proven. Part 4

[NOTE: This post was to have been posted yesterday, 12/9/13. For some reason, it didn't post when I scheduled it to. My apologies to those who visited this blog yesterday only to be kept waiting.]

This is the last and final post that will be dedicated to the subject of Justification for the 450th anniversary since the close of the Council of Trent. This will be BY FAR the longest of this series due to the extensiveness of the New Testament works. While I wasn't able to do all of the passages and verses that prove the Catholic view on Justification, the ones that I present were chosen so that a reader can understand how an important verse or passage can easily be used to verify the Catholic position.

Additionally, when necessary I have also stated brief introductions into certain NT books so that the reader can have some background knowledge as to who the NT work was addressing and why it needed to be addressed. Since the NT works contain some of the most quoted verses used by Protestants to "prove" sola fide, I have placed a red exclamation (!) before any of these quoted passages so that the reader may be able to find them quickly and see the full explanation behind the Protestant misinterpretaton.

As always, ALL scripture verses were taken from the Protestant KJV Bible.

We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Here we see that one MUST labor in order to be accepted by Christ, additionally, what one receives in the afterlife  depends on what they did while they were on earth as part of the Body of Christ. So what man has done, his works, are integral to his salvation!

! Galatians 2:16 states:
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

This is one of the most oft quoted passages by Protestants in order to legitimize justification by faith alone. To the unsuspecting reader, this passage sounds like it endorses the notion of faith alone but, what we need to ask ourselves is the following: what is St. Paul talking about when he says that the “works of the law” shall not justify? When St. Paul uses that phrase, HE IS NOT referring to all works, HE IS NOT saying that no matter what you do, what sins you commit or, what works you wrought, that those things have nothing to do with justification. In Paul’s time there were many Jews – to whom he was writing – who believed that to be justified they had to do certain things as prescribed the Old Testament system, such as kosher dietary laws and circumcision. In other words, they believed that early Christian converts had to live like Jews by requiring these new Christians to observe the Old Testament mandates.

So, when St. Paul says that “by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified,” He is trying to tell his readers that the Old Testament system has been done away with and is no longer necessary; he is basically telling them that they do not have to follow the old law, you do not have to abide by it, you do not have to observe it or be incorporated into it in order to be part of God’s family or to be a true convert and to achieve salvation. THIS IS what St. Paul is saying when he refers to the “works of the law.”

The proof for this correct and biblical interpretation, can be seen just 2 verses earlier in Galatians 2:14, which just so happens to be a verse that anti-Catholic Protestants might be familiar with,

But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

This verse has St. Paul confronting St. Peter for behaving less than piously in front of his fellow Jews and confounding them as well (see verse 13). Anti-Catholic Christians love this passage because it demonstrates that St. Peter, our first Pope, to be simply a fallible man in need of correction and not the infallible leader of Christ’s one true Church. While I won’t go into the doctrine of papal infallibility here, suffice it to say that MANY Protestants believe that we Catholics view the Pope as God on earth! Some Protestants believe that we pray to the Pope as if he were God, some believe that Catholics think the Pope cannot sin or, that we revere him as if he were Christ reincarnated…how foolish.

The fact of the matter is that no good Catholic believes this: the pope is a man, he is simply the leader of the Church and, by our current popes own statement, he too is in need of the Sacrament of Confession. This passage in no way diminishes the office of the Papacy, it does however, destroy the sola fide argument; it demonstrates that, immediately after speaking about St. Peter trying to influence a convert to live like a Jew by observing the Old Testament prescriptions in verse 14, St. Paul goes right into the “works of the law” in verse 16. St. Paul is clearly connecting the two points, he is noting that the Old Testament law and its works are no longer needed, hence the reason for Paul confronting Peter. Paul IS NOT stating that good works are not needed, he is EXPLICITLY and precisely stating that the Old Testament  system is of no use to the true believer.

Additionally, there are many instances in Galatians in which “the law” and the Old Testament prescriptions for their works are clearly noted (See Galatians 6:13 & Galatians 5:3-4)

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Here we have a list of mortal sins that condemn an individual, that is, things that are done separate you from God. St. Paul here is not talking to unbelievers, quite the contrary, IN CONTEXT it is obvious from the proceeding verses that he is talking to the believers of Christ at the church in Galatia. Therefore if these early Christians who, had access to the wisdom of St. Paul AND believed in Christ by faith, if even these weren’t saved by faith alone in Christ, why should modern day Protestants boast anything differently?

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

One important thing to consider in this passage is the fact that St. Paul tells the believers of Galatia not to be deceived, if believers in Christ are saved by “faith alone” then why are they exhorted not to be duped? The only way that this makes any sense is to come to the conclusion that they are not saved yet and that their works have a significant bearing on their salvation. Additionally, St. Paul contrasts planting “in the flesh” and planting “in the spirit.” The term planting here means, literally, to do something, to cultivate something or, to make something come about; Paul is stating that the things we do, either the things of the flesh or the things of the spirit will determine whether or not we go to heaven. Hence if we do things of the flesh, in the flesh and for the flesh, we will reap corruption versus doing things of the Spirit, in the Spirit and for the Spirit which will give us everlasting life.

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

This passage shows that a true believer, a person with authentic faith, can be excluded if they commit any of the mortal sins that are mentioned.  Notice that right after listing those sins, St. Paul says “Be not ye therefore partakers with them,” indicating that it is possible for true believers to be partakers of these mortal sins which will separate them from God, furthermore, there is absolutely no mistaking the fact that he is talking to true believers because St. Paul calls them “children of light,” that is, true believers who have received the light of Christ. 

The infallible Word of God clearly states that believers can be excluded from heaven, regardless of their faith for what they have done. This passage not only destroys the sola fide argument but the Calvinistic Protestant invention of guaranteed salvation for a true believer.

! Ephesians 2:8-9 states:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

While it could be argued that St. Paul is speaking about the works of the Old Testament laws, here we see that St. Paul is talking, specifically, about the initiation of justification, that is, what initiates our justification? St. Paul states here that it is the supernatural grace of God and no work of man that saves us. In light of this, we must ask ourselves, what is it that initially gives us the grace of God which bestows us with the faith to do works in order to attain salvation? What is the one thing that takes away original sin as well as all sin so as to justify us before God? The answer is simple: Baptism.

As noted in the last post, John 3 mentions that in order for us to get to the Kingdom of Heaven, Christ states that we must be “born again” through water baptism. This is what St. Paul is describing here in Ephesians 2:8-9 when he states that justification “is not of works” because there is no work that one can do which can substitute the Godly grace imparted at baptism; it is God’s work which must renew your soul in the grace of baptism. How do we know that it is baptism which St. Paul is talking about here? Let’s look at the following two passages:

1 Peter 3:20-21 states in part:
baptism doth also now save us…

Notice that the language is extremely similar to Ephesians 2:8-9 which mentions, “by grace ye are saved through faith,” and, in particular, the second part of the passage states, “and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”  In light of 1 Peter 3:20-21, what gift could God possible give us that imparts His saving grace if not baptism? Additionally, the language in 1 Peter 3:20-21 is also similar to that of Titus,

Titus 3:15 states:
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

All three of these passages are talking about the same thing, they are making the regeneration of water baptism, which is made explicitly clear in 1 Peter 3:20-21 which IS IDENTIFIED as “faith” in Ephesians 2:8-9! That’s right, In Ephesians 2:8a when St. Paul states, “For by grace are ye saved through faith,” he is stating that we are saved through baptism, if you think that this is stretching out the meaning of Ephesians 2:8-9, then look at Galatians chapter 3:23-27,

But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Here we see numerous references to the faith only to be explained in the final verse as being baptism. Therefore, in Ephesians 2:8-9 we can clearly state that baptism is described as being the “faith” in the same way that Galatians 3:23-27 states that the faith is baptism. They are used interchangeably because baptism is the way in which a person is incorporated into the faith and brought into justification, hence the reason as to why St. Paul calls it as the way “ye are saved” because it is the way in which one is initially justified. That’s why St. Paul says that it is not of works that saves man but God. Therefore it is by the action of baptism, as well as the work that is done in baptism, that gives us the faith that we need in order to do the good works that God has destined for us to do.

What a drastic mistake that faith alone Protestants have made in interpreting this passage to mean something that it does not!

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

St. Paul tells the believers to “work out” their salvation with fear and trembling, obviously because they can lose their salvation at any time through grave sin or evil works. This verse completely contradicts the Protestant notion of “once saved, always saved” and proves the Catholic position for works.

Colossians 1:21-23 states in part:
And you, that were sometime alienated… yet now hath he reconciled… In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled

Here again we see that even a true believer isn’t justified by faith alone; this verse shows that true believers, those who have been reconciled and can in fact lose their salvation and justification if the fail to continue in the faith.

Colossians 2:18 states in part:
Let no man beguile you of your reward…

Here we see that true believers can be tricked out of their eternal reward! We know that St. Paul is talking about true believers because just 6 verses before in verse 12, we read about those who have been baptized and have faith in Christ, therefore, faith alone in Christ is not enough, for even a believer can be mislead out of salvation!

Colossians 2:20-23 states in part:
(Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;)…

Here St. Paul EXPLICITLY states, to the true believers (see above), that the things that they do can cause them to lose salvation.

2 Thessalonians 1:3-11 states in part:
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth…when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels…When he shall come to be glorified in his saints…Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling.

If all believers are in fact saved, why did Paul state that a true believer, who’s faith “growth exceedingly,” must still prove themselves to be worthy before God and therefore makes an impactful blow against sola fide.

Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

St. Paul clearly states that women will be saved IF they continue in faith, charity and holiness. So, if a female adherent believes but stops having faith, charity and holiness, then she forfeits her eternal reward…even though she had faith at one point. Proving that faith alone does not justify because said faith can be lost.

1 Timothy 3:1-6 states in part:
…lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

 St. Paul here is mentioning a recent convert can fall into the condemnation of the devil and thus, loose his salvation.

1 Timothy 4:16 states:
Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Here we see that just believing is not enough but, IN ADDITION TO faith we must also believe in true Christian doctrines and – as St. Paul states – by DOING THIS, we shall save ourselves. Faith alone? Not according to St. Paul, you have to do something in cooperation with God’s Grace in order to be saved.

1 Timothy 5:8 states:
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Believers can deny the faith and become worse than an infidel, that is, one that does not have any faith at all!

Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

St. Paul is saying that, in what he endures – what he suffers – has a part in whether or not people will attain salvation. In other words, the works that St. Paul is doing, can have a direct bearing on the salvation of believers. We can again ask: if sola fide is a true Christian doctrine, why does Paul even bother to state this?

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

St. Paul indicates here that faith was a labor to the end and not a once for all action.

Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:

Here we have a definitive statement by St. Paul which shows us that people will be rewarded or punished on the basis of their works.

Hebrews 3:6 states:
But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

The author of Hebrews is clearly saying that he and other believers would not be of “Christ’s house” if they did not continue to hold fast to the things he has preached.

Hebrews 5:9 states:
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

This verse totally refutes justification by faith alone since here we are told that salvation comes to those who remain obedient to God’s law.

Hebrews 6:4-6 states:
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

This passage devastates the Protestant invention of “once saved, always saved.” Here, the author of Hebrews states EXPLICITLY that if true believers fall away it is “impossible to renew them again unto repentance.” While this doesn’t mean that a sinner can't get back into God’s good graces, what the author here is noting is that the initial grace of baptism cannot be repeated. One cannot be baptized again, hence, the reason why it is “impossible” to “renew them again unto repentance.” The point here is clear though: even a believer who has been justified can fall away and lose their justification.

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

This passage shows that those who have justification can lose their justification by sinning, thus establishing the Catholic view and doing away with the Protestant view.

Hebrews 12:14 states:
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

So, holiness and peace are needed in order to attain salvation. Why would the author of Hebrews states this if, according to most Protestants, ONLY faith alone is needed? Here we note that true justification comes only through sanctification and not, as the Protestants claim, that the righteousness of Christ has to be imputed or applied to that person even though he interiorly is unrighteous or unholy.

More than any other book in the New Testament, the Book of James lays out with exactness and clarity that works are not only needed for justification but, as we shall see, that faith without works is no faith at all! So troublesome was this book that Martin Luther wanted it gone from his personal abridged bible along with Hebrews, Jude and Revelation in addition to the entire deuterocanonicals (apocrypha) which had been part of Christian scripture for over 1,500 before the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther wanted James out so bad that he dared to call it “an epistle of straw” and, in his 1522 Preface to James, he stated the following (my emphasis):

“Therefore, I will not have him [James] in my Bible to be numbered among the true chief books…”

Nice to know that Luther made his own personal Bible in order to spread his personal heresy. The real question any Lutheran or any other Protestant needs to ask themselves is this: if Martin Luther was wrong about wanting to take out Hebrews, Jude, James and Revelation, could also he be wrong about dumping the apocryphal works? If he was wrong about wanting to rid his own personal bible of 4 books that all Protestants claim to be inspired, could he also be wrong about his view of justification?

James 1:12 states:
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

It is quite clear, the true believer must endure temptation and must go through trials in order to “receive the crown of life.” Faith alone, in and of itself, is not enough.

James 1:13-15 states:
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

If one concedes to sins of lust, it brings forth eternal death. Man is not justified by faith alone because a man can lose his eternal salvation if he commits mortal sins.

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 Next to the Book of Romans, James 2 is addressing the topic of justification directly and EVERY good Catholic should be well versed in this particular chapter! Since James 2 is chocked full of verses that prove faith + works = justification, I won’t go into detail but merely quote the important verses in James 2 which speak for themselves.

James 2:14 states:
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

James 2:17 states:
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

James 2:20-21 states:
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

James 2:24 states:
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

James 2:26 states:
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Even the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, the one most Protestants use, clearly and EXPLICITLY states that works are a necessary part of salvation and that faith alone DOES NOT justify. The Bible, that is, the Word of God, condemns the Protestant view. It condemns the view invented by Martin Luther, a mere man who - after becoming a Catholic priest, apostatized, and fashioned his own man-made religion.

Much like in Book to the Ephesians, St. Paul states in the Book of Romans the phrase “works of the law” several times in which he is directly refering the Old Testament system and its requirements. This is the key to understanding the Book of Romans, St. Paul is emphasizing to the Jews that they do not need the Old Law anymore; if a reader of Romans does not understand this basic aspect, then they will fall into the drastic error that so many proof-text reading, bible alone Protestants  tend to fall into. A good example of this can be found in Romans chapter 3,

! Romans 3:28 states:
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Protestants love to quote this verse in a vain attempt to prop up the ill-conceived and unbiblical stance of faith alone. But, as I have already demonstrated from our look at Ephesians, when Paul states any works of “the law,” he is pointing his audience to the Old Testament system AND NOT to works done by Christ’s faithful which do in fact justify (See James 2). Additionally, if we take note at the very first verse of Romans 3, we see that St. Paul address the idea of circumcision and how it is of no use within the New Covenant established by Christ. Continuing on, let’s look at Romans chapter 2 a bit more closely.

Romans 2:3 states:
And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

St. Paul is telling us that those who judge “such things” in others but do “such things” will not escape the wrath of God. The question here is what are these “such things?” One need only look at the end of Romans 1 to see that a litany of mortal sins are mentioned: fornication, covetousness, wickedness, etc. Here St. Paul is stating that those who do such things will not enter heaven and, in a couple of verses later we read the following,

Romans 2:5-6 states:
But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

Taken in context, the very beginning of Romans 2 is EXPLICITLY stating that those who DO evil will not enter heaven as well as the bona fide fact that God WILL JUDGE EVERYONE ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS! In the following verse we read,

Romans 2:7 states:
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

So, right after St. Paul says that God will judge us based on out work, he states that only those who continue DOING GOOD by striving and working towards holiness will inherit eternal life! NEVER ONCE, does St. Paul state that faith alone in Christ is what will give you salvation, and, in the next verse, Paul says that it is obedience that will give the true believer a place in heaven,

Romans 2:8-10 states:
But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

How much more clearer does Paul have to be? St. Paul makes it totally clear that eternal life IS NOT given by faith alone but for those who do good. Why does St. Paul, right from the opening of this epistle  makes it known to his readers/listeners that doing good AS WELL AS having faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation? Simply put, St. Paul is setting the stage against anyone who would attempt to mangle his words in the rest of the epistle to their own advantage…kind of like how Protestants do.

Romans 5:5 states:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

While this verse by itself does not address anything directly, it is worth mentioning that this verse contains the Catholic view of how justification works. For all of historical Christianity up until the Protestant Reformation, justification was always taught to have been an interior change that occurs in the individual once they are made just before God, that is, the individual is infused with grace and made just. This is the Catholic view on how justification works and this verse is proof that it is the Holy Spirit which enters our hearts and changes us and justifies us. By contrast, Protestants say that justification is imputed, that is, justification is legalistically given by God to a believer based on faith alone…which we have already proven that the bible itself NEVER backs up. For this reason, we can fundamentally state that the Protestant view of imputation has no biblical standing.

Romans 6:12-23 states in part:
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof… For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

These verse could only make any sense if someone can lose their salvation/justification by committing mortal sins, if not, why would St. Paul bother to tell us this? This verse cannot make any sense within the Protestant theology of sola fide.

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

St. Paul is stating here that if true believers “live after the flesh,” that is worldly things and not things of the spirit, they are doomed to die. We know that St. Paul is speaking to true believers because he addresses them as “brethren.” Therefore, according to St. Paul, true believers can lose their salvation even though they have faith in Christ by living for worldly things. This verse too cannot make any sense in the Protestant view of faith alone justification nor to the Protestant notion of “once saved, always saved.”

! Romans 10:9-10 states:
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

This is a favorite passage that many Protestants like to quote for it shows that all one has to do to attain salvation is to simply confess that Jesus is the Lord. OH, IF IT WERE ONLY SO SIMPLE! The issue here is that most Protestants fail to recognize why St. Paul said this, indeed, even if one rejected sola fide justification and accepted the Catholic view, these two verses seem to strike at the very heart of the Catholic Church’s stance on justification. The issue here is that we need to understand 2 things: 1) St. Paul was a Roman Jew who was well versed in the Old Testament and, 2) St. Paul was well aware of Deuteronomy 30 when he penned Romans 10:9-10. If we look at Deuteronomy 30:14-20, we notice that there are close similarities to Romans 10:9-10,

Deuteronomy 30:14-20 states in part:
But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it…In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiplyBut if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land…I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him…

Romans 10:9-10 is actually quoting from this passage, notice at how Deuteronomy 30:14-20 speak of DOING the word of God and of KEEPING the commandments. This reference by St. Paul is showing that, to him and his listeners, it was understood that to believe "unto salvation” naturally meant that one must follow and keep and do the works that are necessary for salvation.

Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.  Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

Again, how clear does it have to be? St. Paul starts off by saying that the believing Jews were cut off from God and then he states that believing Christians will also be cut off unless, they “continue in his goodness.”

Romans 13:11 states:
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

St. Paul states here that salvation is now closer than when they first started to believe. How can this be? If faith alone saves from the moment one believes, than how is it possible that salvation has gotten nearer now then in the beginning when one first started to believe? The fact is that this verse only makes sense if we see it through the Catholic lens of justification; only in stating that works and the actions done in faithfulness, which get us closer to God, can reconcile this verse. 

In First Corinthians, Paul is speaking to those in the church at Corinth. He speaks of the problems that befall those inside of the church and not to those outside of the Church, that is, St. Paul speaks specifically to believers and not to some group of non-Christians! With that being said, there are a handful of passages that totally decimate the Protestant views on sola fide and eternal salvation.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

If we are saved by faith alone and, faith alone gives us the inheritance of the kingdom of God, then why did St. Paul tell the believers at Corinth, whom according to Protestants are already saved, not to be deceived and not to commit various sins? The only way that this makes sense is if the 1st century believers at Corinth WERE NOT SAVED even though they had faith in Christ.

I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

Chapter 7 of 1st Corinthians, deal exclusively with St. Paul telling us just how much better virginity and purity are to marriage – not that the marital state is bad but, that the virginal state is better. It is within that context that we read verse 8-9 and, we must remember who his audience is: St. Paul is talking to believers and he tells them that, it is better to marry than to burn, that is, it is better to get married for those who have not been given the gift of celibacy (see verse 7) then to remain outside of marriage and commit fornication and go to hell. If St. Paul is talking to believers and they are already saved by "faith alone," how could they possibly burn? Furthermore, if man is saved by faith alone, how could one burn based on the basis of whether or not they get married? I have actually posed this question to a couple of sola fide Protestants and I have yet to get a logical and proof worthy response. Both Protestant concepts of Eternal Security and Sola Fide are shown here to be absolutely foreign to the true Gospel.

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Without a doubt, this is one of the most powerful verses that can be used against both sola fide justification and the belief in Eternal Salvation! Here we see clearly that St. Paul, the greatest missionary in history and a true Christian, says that he himself could become a castaway! There is no doubt that in this verse that St. Paul is completely refuting the Protestant view on justification, if St. Paul himself knew that his faith didn’t save him nor was he assured of his eternal salvation, how can a modern day Protestant claim otherwise?

1 Corinthians 13:2 states in part:
…and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

If faith alone gives you salvation, why did St. Paul state that without charity, he has noting?

Acts 5:1-11 states in part:
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?…why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things…

Here we see that two believers, a husband and a wife named Ananias and Sapphira, committed fraud against the early church by keeping some of the money that they promised to give to the church. As such in the first half of this passage, the husband is accused by St. Peter of lying and promptly drops dead, the same fate befalls his wife later in the passage. How is it that these early believers in Christ, who were willing to give up land for the early church, not saved because of their faith? If Protestants are correct, then they must’ve gone to heaven as soon as they were struck dead for lying to God, right? Well, if that’s the case, then why is it that “great fear came” overcame the believers in the early church after the Ananias and Sapphira incident? 

Why did these early believers who had faith in Christ get so scared? Simple...because the early Christians, just like the true Catholic Christians of today, HAD NEVER HEARD OF THE PROTESTANT INVENTION OF SOLA FIDE! The early believers knew that faith by itself meant nothing without works, that is why we see in Acts 2:42-47 that the early believers DID WORKS as well as believe.

But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women…Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John…Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money…

Here we have Simon Magus, the first heretic mentioned in the New Testament. Notice though that Simon came to believe in Christ through the preaching of Philip and was baptized, in other words, he was a believer. But then see how he loses his faith when he wishes to have the power of the imposition of hands. St. Peter rightly tells him that he should repent lest he die. If all that is needed is faith alone, which will justify and save according to Protestant theology, why did St. Peter tell Simon Magus that – even though he had faith – his ambitions would perish with him? Why did St. Peter say this? Because St. Peter had NEVER heard of the Protestant invention of sola fide nor of "eternal salvation" that 16th century heretic men made up in order to form their own personal church and have Christ their way.

! Acts 10:41 states:
To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Another favorite Protestant passage that is used to show that belief in Christ, faith alone in Christ, is sufficient for the remission of sins. This verse is used often times to demonstrate to Catholics that confessing your sins to a priest is not necessary. However, what the Protestant who quotes this won’t tell you is that just 6 versed before in verse 35 we read the following:

Acts 10:35 states:
But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

So, in context, this clearly shows that it is not enough to believe but that those who work in righteousness AND believe will be saved. The next time a Protestant quotes Acts 10:41, make sure and to ask them if they believe that good works are a part of salvation, when they say no, ask them to look at Acts 10:35 and show them just how wrong they are in regards to good works and salvation!

Acts 14:21-22 states in part:
And when they had preached the gospel to that city…Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

How one handles tribulation determines whether or not one enters the Kingdom, it is not determined not by faith alone. This passage also mentions that one must continue in the faith, why? Because one can lose their faith and, in doing so, lose their justification and salvation.

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

St. Peter states here that the “righteous [are] scarcely saved,” this puts a whole kink in the sola fide armor for two reasons: 1) it demonstrates that the righteous man can fall out of justification and not be saved and 2) if a righteous man is scarcely or rarely saved, this means that a righteous man must strive and make a great effort for his salvation beyond the mere fact that he has faith.

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

Clearly, this passage shows that true believers who “have known the way of righteousness” and “have escaped the pollutions of the world, and thus being justified, can lose their salvation by sinning - which has always been the Catholic position on justification.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Notice that it is only those who overcome who will get into heaven, not the ones who have faith alone. What you do has a part in your salvation

Revelation 2:23-26 states in part:
…and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works…But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

This verse speaks for itself. CHRIST WILL JUDGE US BASED ON OUR WORKS.

Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

Here too we see that Christ will reward those who overcome difficulty and not just those who have believe in faith alone (See also Revelation 7:14)

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

In the final judgment, we see that the dead will be judged “according to their works.” This passage refutes any Protestant who says that works are not necessary for salvation

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

Christ here again says that when He comes, He will give His rewards to men according to their works and not whether or not they have faith in Him!

A final word: I would like to thank all of you who have not only visited my blog over the last week but have also emailed me with their kind and supportive words! As Catholics, we are beholden to not only history, for we are the ONLY Christian Church that can trace it's roots directly to Christ but, to the teaching of the Magisterium as well. We are fortunate to have both of these characteristics for in them we can see the real meaning of what God expects and wants from us. Many thanks to the Fathers of Trent for demonstrating the wholesale error of Protestantism and for staying faithful to Christ's One True Church!