An email came in the other day which showed some confusion about the role of grace, faith and good works in our salvation.
The Catholic was worried because a friend said salvation was by grace alone. I think he confused this with the Protestant heresy that salvation is by faith alone. Then the Protestants protest that Catholics think salvation is by good works alone.
The puzzle can be solved when you remove the word “alone” from the discussion. That little word has caused huge division and dissension and it is not warranted.
In fact, our salvation is accomplished by one of God’s little holy trinities. Grace, faith and works all combine together, and when you think about it, it is all rather neat because it connects with our selves who (because we are created in God’s image) are also little holy trinities. (some more holy than others). Grace connects with our soul or spirit. Faith connects with our mind and intellect. Works connects with our body and actions.
We need all three to be working together in unity and harmony.
Think of it like this: You’ve got a car that will take you to your destination. God’s grace is the gas in the tank without which nothing in the car will go. Faith is the belief that the car will get you to your destination. Good works are you getting into the car, putting the key in the ignition, starting her up and driving off.
Image Creative Commons via Bing