On the sheep and the goats

Another response to  Craig Triuglia, this time on the article,

Jesus, Justification, Works, and Faith–The Sheep and the Goats

De Mariasaid:

April 27, 2015 at 9:15 pm

Craig said:

Are good works needed for salvation? Yes, God’s good works.

God established the Sacraments and through the Sacraments washes our souls with the grace of the Holy Spirit.

But how about all of those passages where Jesus seems to demand from us to do good works? Is He contradicting Paul?

No. They are saying the same thing. Let me show you:

Romans 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God. 12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

Matthew 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Are Reformed Theologians misrepresenting Paul 

Yes. Reformed Theologians don’t realize that St. Paul was talking about the justification that occurs in the Sacraments.

and missing out on what Jesus is saying?

Absolutely. Because of their disobedience to the Church which Jesus established, they are being deceived by the lies of the original Reformers.

Let’s take a look at the “pro-works” passages of Jesus.

Ok.

God will one day separate the sheep from the goats.

Passage in question: “Sheep are justified because they have done good works, and the goats are condemned for the lack thereof.”

Ok.

All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another… and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink…’

Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me…’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matt 25:32-46).

Questions to ask: Does the passage actually say that the sheep are saved because they did good?

Yes. It says,
“For (i.e. because) you gave me food, drink…”

If the kingdom was “prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” does not God anticipate the salvation of the sheep before they ever did anything good?

Certainly. But that only means that God knows that the sheep will do good and be justified. Not that the sheep will be justified before they do any good.

Context of the passage: Much of the meaning of the passage can be discerned from an important passage earlier in the same chapter. In the parable of the ten virgins, five of the virgins were foolish and did not bring enough oil. As a result, they were late for the wedding. The moral of the tale would have been “you snooze, you lose” if it simply ended there. However, in Matt 25:12 the Lord says to the virgins, “Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.”

Correct. He does not know them because they did not do the works which He prescribed (keeping the light lit.) The lamps represent Baptism. All 10 virgins were baptized. They were enlightened. But the 5 who were foolish began to sin, that is what it means that they ran out of oil. While the wise virgins continued to keep the Commandments.

Luke 12;
35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak…..42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

As we covered in the previous installment of this series concerning the “Lord, Lord” passage, God knew all those who would profess their faith in Christ before they were born.

God knows all. But that doesn’t excuse us from doing the works which He prescribes.

So, of course He never knew those with their false professions. Obviously, those whose apparent moral failings result in a lax attitude towards the coming of the Lord is contingent upon God’s foreknowledge.

God knows. But we don’t. Therefore, it will be good for all men to obey His Son:

Hebrews 5:9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him

This is not the only passage of the Scripture which talks about this. Rom 8:29-30 states:

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, 

He predestined mankind to be born in the image of His Son:

Genesis 1:26
And God said, Let us make man in our image,

so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

In order that when Jesus died upon the Cross, He would be the first fruits of our redemption.

1 Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

and these whom He predestined, He also called;

All mankind was predestined. All mankind is called:
1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

and these whom He called, He also justified;

The assumption here is those who obey Him:
Romans 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

And here, the assumption is “suffering”. Because God only glorifies those who suffer with Christ:
Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Being conformed to the image of Christ, evident by our works, is the logical result of God’s foreknowledge. The passage does not say (nor does the Catholic Catechism teach) that God foreknows those who, by their own free will decide to be conformed to Christ’s image. God, in His grace, moves the hearts of men to become more like Christ. Hence, any good works that God praises are the result of God working in the man, for “[e]very good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father” (James 1:17).

That is Catholic Teaching.

Likewise, we see the same with the sheep and the goats. God by His foreknowledge already prepared the kingdom for the sheep. 

Agreed. But the sheep are the ones who worked:

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Likewise, it would be fair to say, He never knew the goats. So, the choosing of the sheep and the goats is ultimately not contingent upon man’s good and bad choices, but God’s choices pertaining to whom He will be especially gracious to and elect to salvation.

On the contrary, the sheep chose to do God’s will. The goats chose to disobey:

2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Conclusion: While many people look at such a passage with fear, much like they look at the “Lord, Lord” passage, there is no need to fear. The Scripture teaches that “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). A Christian need not fear whether he has done enough good works, because Christ has done enough for us. 

That contradicts the Word of God:

Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,

Jesus tells us that “all that He has given Me I lose nothing…for this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life” (John 6:39-40). Where is this possibility that our salvation can be lost if we have not done enough good works?

It is those who believe Christ who do good works. Those who do not will not only not do good works, but will do works of evil:

John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Christ says He will lose none and that the Father’s will is that everyone who believes in Christ will have eternal life.

This is a very plain, easy to understand guarantee.

Yes. It is. It guarantees that those who have enough faith to do the will of God will be saved. It says nothing about judging yourself saved. Nor about judging your own faith. Nor even about judging your own works:

1 Corinthians 4: 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

As we have seen thus far, the passages of the Scripture where works may play a role in salvation are usually vague and interpreted totally out of context.

They aren’t vague at all. They are explicit. It is those who want to twist Scripture to force into it Protestant doctrine. It is they who make Scripture vague in order to put themselves over the Word of God.

James 2:
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

We are saved by grace,

Because salvation is a gift of God to those men who keep the Commandments.

through faith, 

Because the faithful obey God.

and not by works (Eph 2:8-9),

We can’t save ourselves. But God will not save those who do not do the good works which He established from the beginning.

so the only consistent way to understand what Christ said is that the sheep were saved by grace, through faith, and the goats were not. 

The only consistent way to understand what Christ said is that the sheep were judged faithful because they did the good works which God established from the beginning. And the goats did not.

It, then, should not surprise us that the sheep saved by grace do “good works, which God prepared beforehand,” because Eph 2:10 says this is the very reason why God shows grace to men.

10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

You misunderstand that verse. It is a double entendre.

1. Jesus Christ created us from the beginning. No one was conceived in their mother’s womb whom Jesus did not create therein:

John 1:3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

2. God prepared the Ten Commandments that we should walk in them from the beginning.

God created mankind, in, with and through Jesus Christ, in order that we would keep His commandments and be saved.

Note how this conforms to Rom 8:29-30

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