"I will show you the faith that underlines my works!" —James 2:18
Many Catholics and other Christians thought they could work their way into heaven. They were dead wrong. We are not saved by our works, but by grace through faith (Eph 2:8). Those who protested against this false idea of salvation by our works were called "Protestants."
Many people, including Catholics, thought that faith was only a head-trip and not a "hand-trip," that is, they thought they needed only to profess faith without practicing it (Jas 2:14). They also were dead wrong, for faith without works is dead (Jas 2:17-26). "You must perceive that a person is justified by his works and not by faith alone" (Jas 2:24).
We are saved by grace alone — not faith alone or works alone. How are you responding to God's grace? Are you believing but not doing much with your faith? Or are you working a lot but believing very little? Are your faith and works integrated or separated? Faith and works can't live without each other. They both live together or they both die. Therefore, strengthen your faith by working out your salvation (Phil 2:12). Enliven your works by obedient faith (Rm 1:5; 16:26). Jesus said: "This is the work of God: have faith in the One Whom He sent" (Jn 6:29). Believe and work.
Prayer: Father, I will lead the life of faith (Gal 2:20) and good deeds (Eph 2:10).
Promise: "Whoever would preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will preserve it." —Mk 8:35
Praise: Martin, who opposed Catholic teaching, converted to the Catholic faith after spending a year in the military with a young Catholic sailor who answered all of Martin's challenges with Scripture references and kindness.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 26, 1997
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1997