Protestants say that we are justified by faith alone. The Catholic Church teaches that we are justified by faith and works.
Which is more Biblical?
Let's see what the Bible says.
Does the Bible say that we are justified by faith alone?The quick answer is, "No."
In fact, the Bible says the opposite:
That's the quick answer. Is there another?
Yes, its a bit more complex. The Bible also says:
This is the verse that Martin Luther interpreted in his Bible to say, "a man is justified by faith ALONE.
So, Martin Luther equated the words, "without the deeds of the law" with "alone".
Did Martin Luther have a point?
The Catholic Church says, "No."
Why? Doesn't "apart from works of the law" sound like "alone". What else is there?
The Sacraments. Protestants equate the Sacraments with works of man. But they are not. They are works of God.
740 These "mighty works of God," offered to believers in the sacraments of the Church, bear their fruit in the new life in Christ, according to the Spirit. ....
And the Protestant might ask, "But aren't the Sacraments, righteous works?"Because in another place, the Bible says, "not by righteous works". But actually, it says, "not by righteous works which we have done...":
Bottomline. Without faith working by love, we are not saved. Without faith working by love, we should not be baptized. That is the bedrock of our faith. That is why non-Catholics and non-Christians can be saved, even if they are never baptized, if they obey the law of love which is written in every man's heart:
So, there are two arguments against justification by faith alone. The first, justification by faith and the Sacraments. This is what happens in Baptism and afterwards, in every other Sacrament. Those who believe God will be justified by their faith without the Mosaic law.
However, there is an even more basic form of justification which is summarized in these words:
James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.Is that what the Catholic Church teaches? Yes.
837 "Fully incorporated into the society of the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who - by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion - are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but 'in body' not 'in heart.'"321
James 2:So, what is justification by faith apart from deeds of the law? First, it is not justification by faith alone. It is the justification in the Sacraments. Those of us who believe God and do His will, will request Baptism and believing God's promises, will be washed of our sins.