Both Faith and Good Works Required



Indeed the Catholic Church teaches that one is justified by faith, but its teachings on this issue differ significantly from those taught by Martin Luther. Essentially, Luther taught that man was not only justified by faith alone, but saved by it as well.

The Church on the other hand teaches that we are justified i.e. receive sanctifying grace for the first time via Baptism. Baptism is the sacrament of Faith. In Baptism, the person being baptized proclaims his faith in the Holy Trinity, and renounces Satan. This is done in the recitation of the Nicene Creed. In the case of a child, this act of faith is proclaimed by the child's parents and Godparents in his stead and on his behalf (1).

This initial receipt of sanctifying grace is not won by any good works of the person being baptized, but by the infinite merit won by the immolation and death of Jesus on the cross, and by His subsequent resurrection. By way of His sacrifice, death and resurrection, Jesus won grace for us and without any action on our part. Thus, He opened the gates of Heaven to us, on our behalf. We access or claim this grace by being baptized in the Faith (2).

Holy Scripture is clear, that once sanctifying grace has been granted by God, it can be lost through mortal sin (3). This is one place where both good works and seeking forgiveness of sin comes into play. Another is where we will receive our earned merit or "treasure" in Heaven, based upon the nature and extent of good deeds that we perform on Earth (4) . The citations of Holy Scripture regarding good works are many.



One of the prevailing themes of Holy Scripture is "obedience". Indeed the complete salvific mission of Jesus was one of obedience to the will of His Father. He even obeyed the civil and ecclesiastical authorities on earth, whom He created! What is obedience, if not good works? If the Son of God performed good works in response to the will of His Father, how much more are we called to perform good works!

Consider the following citation from St. Paul's letter to the Romans:

"Through him we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles, among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ; to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy." (Rom 1:5-7)

Thus, St. Paul tells us that faith IS obedience (5) :

The teaching of Jesus could not be any clearer on this requirement. Consider the following from the Gospel of Matthew: "Now someone approached him and said, "Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?" He answered him, "Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." He asked him, "Which ones?" And Jesus replied, "'You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother'; and 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Mt 19:16-19)

The 10 commandments can essentially be summarized in general terms as commandments addressing two areas: Love of God, and love of neighbor. Consider the following citation from Luke noting the "action verbs":

"There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?" He said in reply, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." He replied to him, "You have answered correctly; do this and you will live." (Lk 10:25-28)

These are only a few of many citations, which speak of the requirement of both faith and good works. A few additional ones follow:

Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven shall enter the kingdom of heaven." (Mt 7:21)

"…So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead……..You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble. Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works…" …….. (Jas 3:14-26)

[It is worthy of emphasis that in the passage above, St. James is telling us that believing alone that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is insufficient. The demons of Hell KNOW that Jesus is the Son of God and still they burn.]

"So then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work." (Phil 2:12-13)

"…I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish your were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth…" (Rv 3:15-16).

“All who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.  For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.  (Rom 2:12-13)


“And by this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his commandments.  He who says "I know him" but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps his word, in him truly love for God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him:  he who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.”  (1 Jn 2:3-7)

"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine dresser. Every branch in Me that bears no fruit He will take away; and every branch that bears fruit He will cleanse, that it may bear more fruit." (Jn 15:1-2)

"For all of us must be made manifest before the tribunal of Christ, so that each one may receive what he has won through the body, according to his works, whether good or evil."
(2 Cor 5:10)

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.' Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." (Mt 25:31-46) (n.b. Both groups refer to Him as "Lord", i.e. both have faith.).

Also, read Mt 25:14-30, which is the parable of the talents. The servants who did good works and made the talents increase, were rewarded. The servant, who received a talent, but did no good works was not only not rewarded, but cast out of the master's house. The footnote to the NAB reads: " Wicked, lazy servant: this man's inactivity is not negligible but seriously culpable. As punishment, he loses the gift he had received, that is now given to the first servant, whose possessions are already great."

"For we are God’s co-workers…" ( I Cor. 3:9)

"Now, I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His body, which is the church...". (Col. 1:24)

…..there are many more such citations…..



But how can man in his weakness, regain sanctifying grace once lost?

God in His infinite wisdom and mercy, not only gave us His only Son to open the gates of Heaven for us, but He gave us Baptism as the sacrament of our assent, and through which we claim the merits of Christ. God not only gave us the sacrament of Baptism, but also gave us the sacrament of Reconciliation in which we can receive His forgiveness of our sins committed subsequently, provided that we seek His forgiveness with a sincere and penitent heart.

But the Catholic Church teaches that priests forgive mortal sins, how can that be? The Catholic Church teaches that mortal sins committed subsequent to having received Baptism, can be forgiven BY God THROUGH His priests in the sacrament of Reconciliation. We have been given His word on it as follows:

Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." (Jn 20:21-23)

“Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (Jas 5:16)

"…And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation…" (2 Cor. 5:18)


Just as Original Sin is forgiven by God in the sacrament of Baptism through His priests, mortal sin is forgiven by God in the sacrament of Reconciliation through His priests.






Acts 2:38-39; Acts 16:15; Acts 16:33; I Cor 1:16, Col 2:11-12


Catechism of the Catholic Church ('CCC') #1992: "Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men. Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy. Its purpose is the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life" (Council of Trent 1547)

"But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: since all have sinned and all short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus." (Rom 3:21-26)


The citations of Holy Scripture, which speak of the loss of the sanctifying grace of God, are many. Consider Mt 13:41-43 as only one such example:

"…The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear…"

n.b. the word "evildoers". These are those who do evil works, or fail to do good works, regardless of what they "believe".


Mt 6:19-21; 2 Cor. 5:10; Ps 62:13; CCC 1021. 


Augusburg Confession, by Rev. William G. Most




The late Fr. William G. Most was an internationally acclaimed theologian. For more on this topic see his writing, "Justification: Doctrine of Council of Trent"


The following web site of Bob Stanley may help with this topic. It is entitled "Are You Saved" You will find other helpful information at his home page. He has a complete section dedicated to "Salvation or Justification"


The complete Theological Works of Fr. William G. Most



Prepared with the Grace of God
By Ben J. Verdina, September 2001 (edited September, 2016)


This writing is available on the Internet at



Also, read the following writings posted at the above mentioned web site:


Iniquity With Divine Retribution at the Dawn of the Era of Peace – A Summary Guide to the Tribulation


After The Warning


Tribulation Update


Thank You For Having Responded To My Call


Sky Signs


Ben's Calling


The Statues of Our Lady Are Crying For Our Help


Prayers of Consecration & Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary


Heaven and Earth Are Uniting – Fr. Gobbi


Ave Maria: Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate


Supreme Authority of the Pope Until Death or Abdication


The Myth of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture


To Protect the Faith


Both Faith and Good Works Required


The Catechism and the "Term" Coredemptrix


Ecclesiastical Masonry: The Beast Like a Lamb


Tribulation Protection: The Blood of the Lamb


Scripture Alone? Is Half of the Story Sufficient?


Has Matthew 24:14 Been Realized? 'Definitely Yes'


To the Refuges on Wings of Eagles


Must the Reconstruction of the Temple of Jerusalem Precede the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?


The Abomination of Desolation


The Era of Peace


The Original Prayer to St. Michael


Mary, Queen and Queen Mother


How to Identify the Antichrist


The Whore of Babylon


The Mark of the Beast


Upon This Rock



"Good works should be the daily nourishment of your hearts. Your bodies are fed with food, and your spirits with good works."

Pope St. Gregory the Great.



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