1) Initial thesis statement:
Is salvation “by faith alone” (according to Luther) or must there be a “cooperation of faith and works” in salvation (according to the Roman Catholic tradition)? My initial answer to this question before I began this study was that of the Roman Catholic tradition, one must have the combination of both faith and works. Although faith plays a big part of salvation, I tend to believe without both works and faith you may not receive it. 2) First view:
Salvation is “by faith alone” is held to be true by many people. Perhaps the most popular figure from the European Reformation, Martin Luther, noted for his doctrine of justification by faith alone was one who believed that only faith was needed for salvation, and he also held true that God provided everything that is necessary for justification. In 1528 Luther spoke out about salvation saying, “This faith alone, when based upon the sure promises of God, must save us; as our text clearly explains. And in the light of it all, they must become fools who have taught us other ways to become godly. ... Man may forever do as he will, he can never enter heaven unless God takes the first step with his Word, which offers him divine grace and enlightens his heart so as to get upon the right way.” Another important person who was on the side of salvation through faith alone is Paul. He uses a passage from Ephesians to support of his idea. “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith-and this is not from yourself, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast.” He puts the emphasis on the fact that salvation is by faith alone. Paul later goes on to say “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” That being said, we as humans are created to do good works, but reach salvation through faith alone. Yet another passage suggesting that we must only have faith is “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 3) Opposing view:
In contrast to Luther’s view, the Roman Catholic view states that salvation is by a “cooperation of faith and works.” James 2:17-18: In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. This creates a big contradictory in the bible. Although some may say deeds are not needed, in this very passage we are told without them our justification ceases to exist. One verse that simply breaks down and gives a great example of salvation through faith and works is James 2:20-26 that states:
“20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” In this passage are two great examples of two different people that receive salvation through both their work and faith in God. They didn’t know exactly what was going to happen when they listened to the word of God and did as he told them, but through faith in him they were able to do so and reach justification. They had never seen God but were put in the position to decide whether or not he existed. 4)...