Catholics truly wrestle with these two verses. When I have asked catholic readers what they think of the following verses, I have received some interesting feedback.
~Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (8 ) Not of works, lest any man should boast. (9)
The feedback has come in different forms. Most have been catholic doctrine entrenched in mystery. The responses have been so complicated, they are difficult to understand. Furthermore, the catholic relies on history that is only provided through the catholic church. He dares not go outside of his comfort zone to question whether these things be so as we are commanded to do in Acts 17:11
~Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Other types of feedback have been responses which have skirted the issue. Instead, the response was an attack back on another topic altogether. Can one catholic respond to the question at hand without diverting to theological comments by their own “church fathers”?
Can one catholic respond to the question at hand without resorting to catholic doctrine? I have yet to see a catholic open his Bible along with me and discuss Bible verses without anyone else’s thoughts but their own. Instead, they would rather use the words of their teachers. Jim Jones’ group did the same thing and they all died, by the way. God gave us a brain to use so that we could discern sheep in wolves clothing. How can a catholic discern this if he does not study for himself?
Just what is grace, according to Ephesians 2:8? Noah Webster defines grace as:
The free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him.
Taking this definition and incorporating it into the verse, we find that Ephesians 2:8 says for by the free unmerited love and favor of God are we saved THROUGH faith.
What is faith? Noah defines faith as:
The assent of the mind or understanding to the truth of what God has revealed. Simple belief of the scriptures, of the being and perfections of God, and of the existence, character and doctrines of Christ, founded on the testimony of the sacred writers, is called historical or speculative faith;
Taking this definition and incorporating it into the verse, we find that Ephesians 2:8 says that by the free unmerited love and favor of God are we saved through the simple belief of the Scriptures. Paul goes on to say in verse 8 that it is the gift of God. There is nothing one must do to earn a gift. One does not have to do anything to receive a “just because” gift. All we do is take that gift into our possession. The gift is freely given and we do not.
Furthermore, Paul expounds on the gift in verse 9 by saying that this gift cannot be purchased by our works, otherwise we could boast about it. When you work hard at your job and put in a lot of overtime hours, you can truly state that you have earned your wages that week. You can boast about all those hours you put in to get the job done. However, this is not the case in verse 9 of Ephesians. Paul states that this gift cannot be worked for and to top it off, one cannot boast of achieving this gift.
So let’s look at the two verses in light of these definitions:
For by the free unmerited love and favor God are we saved through the simple belief of the scriptures. This is the gift freely given to us by God and there is nothing that we can do to earn it otherwise we could boast about our own abilities.
So, dear catholic, your magisterium, sacred tradition and church fathers have misled you. They wrestle with these verses and conveniently state that papal infallibility allows the catholic church to revise the Scriptures to accommodate their beliefs.You cannot have it both ways. You cannot say that keeping the sacraments will provide an on-going process of salvation. IF this were true, Christ’s shed blood and work on the cross was not enough. You are saying that it was not sufficient to forgive sins! This directly contradicts Ephesians 2:8-9 and, therefore, you DO wrestle with these verses. You wrestle with them because you rely on your church teachers to define these verses in light of hundreds of years of tradition. God’s Word does not lie – God promises that the Holy Spirit will teach you what the Word says – but you will not open your Bible and make sure that what you are taught as a catholic is in line with God’s Word! Shame on you!
Woe to the catholic who will not study for himself to learn what God has said. God would be cruel to leave letters to His children which could only be interpreted by a few. That is preferential treatment and God is not that way. Salvation is for all His children so why would He limit it to only a few who can interpret the Scriptures? Use that brain that God has given you and search the Scriptures out for yourself!