Question to Catholics: Is salvation by works a Catholic doctrine?

Do Catholics believe that they are saved by doing good works?



The link you gave is not to a Catholic site. The linke is anti-Catholic.

15 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    No, we cannot work our way into heaven.

    We are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, who equips us to do good works.

    Source(s): Catholic
  • 1 decade ago


    Here is the Catholic teaching on justification from all sin, straight from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph #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.

    See also #1994:

    Justification is the most excellent work of God's love made manifest in Christ Jesus and granted by the Holy Spirit. It is the opinion of St. Augustine that "the justification of the wicked is a greater work than the creation of heaven and earth," because "heaven and earth will pass away but the salvation and justification of the elect . . . will not pass away."He holds also that the justification of sinners surpasses the creation of the angels in justice, in that it bears witness to a greater mercy.

    - - - -

    For Catholics, "good works" are a response to the saving Grace of Christ, an opportunity to, as Paul wrote, "work out our salvation with fear and trembling." They are not the means to salvation.

  • 1 decade ago

    good heavens man , read matthew 25 :31 following, that covers your question.

    the beatitudes,

    a tree is known by its fruits.

    the good shepherd.

    and so on

    this is jesus teaching us, it is no use going to church on a sunday and for the rest of the week , pay people less, walk past the homeless,

    ignore the weak and so on

  • ?
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Can't speak for all of us ... Salvation is a free gift of God through Christ, the only way to accept the gift is to become more like Christ and open to God's Life - that leads to the acceptance of salvation. By doing 'good works' (or living a right life?) yes - but for the right reason - for love of God and others.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Rudy
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Not by works because the works can be motivated by something else other than love. Catholics believe that salvation is by transformation of the heart that is modeled from the heart of Jesus, who loves the Father and is obedient to Him. Then from this transformed heart, works follow.

  • 7 years ago

    Bottom line, it is by Grace. There are tons of verses to attin Grace; Faith with works are one of them.

    Although Jesus wants action [if that is work]e,g, fed the hungry, clothe the naked, drink to the thirsty.etc.

    In the Revelaltion, it also says, we are judged by our deeds...

    We have to gather these graces; like a bowl of cereals and eat them together.

  • Daver
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Good Works in Sanctifying Grace are Necessary for Salvation

    Neh. 13:14, Psalm 11:7,28:4, Isa. 3:10, 59:18, Jer. 25:14, 50:29, Ezek. 9:10, 11:21, 36:19, Hos. 4:9, 9:15, 12:2, Sir. 16:12,14 - The 2,000 year-old Catholic position on salvation is that we are saved by Jesus Christ and Him alone (cf. Acts 15:11; Eph. 2:5). But by the grace of Christ, we achieve the salvation God desires for us through perseverance in both faith and works. Many Protestants, on the other hand, believe that one just has to accept Jesus as personal Lord and Savior to be saved, and good works are not necessary (they just flow from those already saved). But these verses, and many others, teach us that our performance of good works is necessary for our salvation. Scripture also does not teach that good works distinguish those who are eternally saved from those who are not saved.

    Sir. 35:19; Luke 23:41; John 3:19-21, Rom. 8:13, 2 Tim 4:14, Titus 3:8,14, Rev. 22:12 - these verses also teach us that we all will be judged by God according to our deeds. There is no distinction between the "saved" and the "unsaved."

    1 Cor. 3:15 - if works are unnecessary for salvation as many Protestants believe, then why is a man saved (not just rewarded) through fire by a judgment of his works?

    Matt. 7:1-3 - we are not judged just by faith, but actually how we judge others, and we get what we have given. Hence, we are judged according to how we responded to God's grace during our lives.

    Matt. 10:22, 24:13; Mark 13:13 - Jesus taught that we must endure to the very end to be saved. If this is true, then how can Protestants believe in the erroneous teaching of "Once saved, always saved?" If salvation occurred at a specific point in time when we accepted Jesus as personal Lord and Savior, there would be no need to endure to the end. We would already be saved.

    Matt. 16:27 – Jesus says He will repay every man for what he has done (works).

    Matt. 25:31-46 - Jesus' teaching on the separation of the sheep from the goats is based on the works that were done during their lives, not just on their acceptance of Christ as Savior. In fact, this teaching even demonstrates that those who are ultimately saved do not necessarily have to know Christ. Also, we don’t accept Christ; He accepts us. God first makes the decision to accept us before we could ever accept Him.

    Matt. 25:40,45 - Jesus says "Whatever you did to the least of my brothers, you did it to Me." We are judged and our eternal destiny is determined in accordance with our works.

    Mark 10:21 - Jesus says sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. This means that our salvation depends upon our works.

    Luke 12:43-48 - these verses teach us that we must act according to the Lord's will. We are judged based upon what we know and then do, not just upon what we know.

    Luke 14:14 – Jesus says we are repaid for the works we have done at the resurrection of the just. Our works lead to salvation.

    Luke 23:41 - some Protestants argue that Jesus gave salvation to the good thief even though the thief did not do any good works. However, the good thief did in fact do a good work, which was rebuking the bad thief when he and others were reviling Jesus. This was a "work" which justified the good thief before Jesus and gained His favor. Moreover, we don't know if the good thief asked God for forgiveness, did works of penance and charity and was reconciled to God before he was crucified.

    Rom. 2:6-10, 13 - God will judge every man according to his works. Our salvation depends on how we cooperate with God's grace.

    2 Cor. 5:10 - at the judgment Seat of Christ, we are judged according to what we have done in the body, not how much faith we had.

    2 Cor. 9:6 – Paul says that he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully, in connection with God’s judgment.

    2 Cor. 11:15 - our end will correspond to our deeds. Our works are necessary to both our justification and salvation.

    Gal. 6:7-9 – whatever a man sows, he will reap. Paul warns the Galatians not to grow weary in doing good works, for in due season they will reap (the rewards of eternal life).

    Eph. 6:8 – whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same again from the Lord.

    Col. 3:24-25 - we will receive due payment according to what we have done. Even so, Catholics recognize that such payment is a free unmerited gift from God borne from His boundless mercy.

    1 Tim. 6:18-19 – the rich are to be rich in good deeds so that they may take hold of the life which is life indeed, that is, eternal life.

    2 Tim. 4:14 – Alexander the coppersmith did Paul great harm, and Paul says the Lord will requite him for his deeds.

    Heb. 6:10 - God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for His sake. God rewards our works on earth and in heaven.

    Heb. 12:14 – without holiness, no one will see the Lord. Holines

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    No, i know several none of them do

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Not necessarily. Catholics believe salvation can be gained and lost throughout a lifetime. No one act can damn a person to hell or lift a person to heaven.

  • 1 decade ago

    NO, the very vocabulary is Protestant.

    The latest Doctor of the Church is St Therese of Lisieux. If she doesn't convince you, the problem is YOU.


    ===> And so heaven is a "stolen heaven ": "My protectors in Heaven, my favorites, are those who stole it, such as the Holy Innocents and the Good Thief. The great saints have won it by their works: for myself, I wish to imitate the thieves, to take it by a trick, a trick of love which will give me entry, me and other poor sinners. I am encouraged to do so by the Holy Spirit, who says in Proverbs, 'Come to me, little one, to learn subtlety'."

    =====> "To be little means recognizing one's nothingness, expecting everything from the good God, as a little child expects everything from its Father... Even amongst the poor a little child is given everything it needs so long as it is little; but as soon as it grows up its father will no longer feed it and says, 'Work now, you can look after yourself'. Well now, it is because I did not want to hear those words that I have not wanted to grow up, because I feel incapable of earning my living, the eternal living of Heaven."

    ====> Therese answers: "You are not like me, then, though we are both in the same position. Even if I had performed all the deeds of St. Paul I would still consider myself an unprofitable servant; I would notice that my hands were empty. But that is precisely the cause of my joy; since I have nothing, I shall expect everything from the good God."

    ====> "Jesus wants to grant us the same graces, wants to give us His Heaven as a free gift". The fact that there is no relation between earthly labor and heavenly reward was already her greatest incentive for throwing all her energies into the love and service of God when she was no more than fourteen: "I already had a presentiment of what God has prepared for those who love Him; and realizing the lack of proportion between these eternal rewards and the petty sacrifices of this life, I desired to love, to love Jesus passionately, to offer Him countless tokens of my affection whilst I could still do so."

    ===> "To be little means not attributing the virtues we practice to ourselves in the belief that we are capable of them; but recognizing that the good God places this treasure in the hands of His little child for him to use when necessary; but the treasure remains God's always."

    ===> "To remain little means recognizing one's nothingness, expecting everything from the good God, as a little child expects everything from his father. It means not worrying about anything nor being on the lookout for favors... I have always remained little, having no other ambition but to collect flowers of love and sacrifice and offer them to the good God for His pleasure. Again, to stay little means not attributing the virtues we practice to ourselves, under the impression that we are capable of such things, but to recognize that the good God places this treasure of virtue in the hand of His little child for him to use as he needs it; and that it remains God's treasure."

    ====> THIS SUMS IT UP

    "We must do everything that is within us: give without counting the cost, practice the virtues at every opportunity, conquer ourselves all the time and prove our love by every sort of tenderness and loving attention. In a word, we must carry out all the good works that lie within our powers -- out of love for God. But it is truly essential to put our whole trust in Him who alone can sanctify our work, who can indeed sanctify us without works, since He may even bring forth children of Abraham from the very stones. It is necessary for us, when we have done all we can, to confess that we are unprofitable servants, whilst hoping that God in His grace will give us all that we need. That is the way of childhood."

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.