Round Three - Martignoni

Round 3

I disagree strongly when Joe says that his website does not even give the “impression” that Catholicism teaches salvation by works “in and of themselves.” I got that impression, as have others.

One gets that impression because he states that we believe our “personal works” give us the “right” to Heaven. That is not even a wrong impression, that is a flat out MISREPRESENTATION. Where does the Council of Trent teach that? It doesn’t. So, Joe, please remove that FALSE STATEMENT from your site.

One also gets that impression when he states: “So then, what is required for a person to be justified at the end…Trent answers: THEIR GOOD WORKS.” Why don’t you instead say: “Trent answers: JESUS’ DEATH ON THE CROSS (Decree on Justification – chapter 7), FAITH (chapter 8), BEING BORN AGAIN (chapter 3), AND GOOD WORKS (chapter 10)?” Why do you just say “GOOD WORKS” ALONE and LEAVE OUT all the rest? You’re not trying to create an impression of Catholic teaching as a “works alone” salvation? Then include the full answer from Trent.

We believe almost the same thing about faith and works with the following exception: Catholics believe good works do indeed merit an INCREASE in justification, AFTER we are justified; whereas, you do not. Why not focus on that? Why state it the way you have if your intent is not to mislead?

We can merit an increase in justification, because after we are justified gratuitously by God, we are then members of the Body of Christ. Before justification, we cannot merit anything. But, after justification, we can merit an increase. Does Christ merit? Of course He does. If the Head merits, does not the body also merit? Of course it does. It would be foolish to say that the Head merits but the hand or the foot does not.

2 Cor 3:18, “And we all…are being changed from one degree of glory to another…” So, we can increase in justification…in glory. But, do we merit anything in this increase in glory?

Heb 13:16, “Do not neglect to do good…for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” How can our sacrifices be “pleasing to God,” if we don’t merit anything? Shouldn’t it say that Jesus’ sacrifice is the only sacrifice pleasing to God?

Heb 13:20-21, “Now may the God of peace…equip you with everything good that YOU may do His will, working in YOU that which is pleasing in His sight…” We can merit because it is Christ working through us. Christ is crowning His own merits manifested in us.

Heb 10:35, “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.”
Matt 5:11-12, “Blessed are you when men revile you…Rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven.”
1 Cor 3:14, “If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.”

There are many other passages that speak of a reward for what we do. How can we receive a reward for our works, if our works do not merit anything? A reward is something given in return for something we do.

Matt 25:14-30…the two good servants increase what their Master has given them, and they merit a reward for it. The bad servant does not, and he is cast into the outer darkness.

As members of the Body of Christ, we can merit and do merit increases in grace, after our justification…just as the Church and the Bible teach. By producing good fruit (John 15:1-6) we, the branches, abide in Christ and merit, by Christ the vine working through us, increases in grace. Very biblical. Very Catholic.

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