Works matter, not because we earn our salvation through these, but because they are the exercise of our faith. They are what gives life to faith, and what makes it manifest. They also become yet another channel for grace, both for ourselves and for others: a grace which strengthens our faith. This is not by any means to our own credit: our good works are the response which faith, hope, and love require of us to be effective. These latter three virtues are granted to us by God—as are any graces. He has willed that salvation must be a cooperative venture: it is a gift to us, but one with which we must cooperate. It is by our works that we engage in this cooperation with Divine grace; God calls us, and we must respond, which we do through our works. Just as sin can be in the body or the spirit, so too must salvation be participated in by both body and spirit.
This is a statement with which the more orthodox and faithful of Catholics would agree. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “Divine providence works also through the actions of creatures. To human beings God grants the ability to cooperate freely with his plans” (see paragraph 323). The form which this cooperation takes is, on the one hand the theological virtues—faith, hope, and love—and on the other hand our works; the former are spiritual things which may be manifested in the latter, but the latter are often physical things which can strengthen the former.
Read the rest at the Nicene Guys site!
If you enjoyed this post, here are some related ones:
Sola Fide and Works (Nicene Guys)
Another Thought About the Importance of Works in Salvation
C.S. Lewis on the Importance of "Good Work" in "Good Works" (Quote of the Day)
Sloth and Christian Minimalism
Pascal's Wager and Invincible Ignorance: Irreconcilable? (Nicene Guys)
Homogeneity in Heaven and Hell
Religion or Relationship
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