These eye-opening verses cannot be ignored


Okay, Catholic friend, I have another question for you. If, as the Roman Catholic Church teaches, the Reformers’ cry of sola fide is dead wrong, how do you understand all the verses in Scripture that seem to teach it? If salvation is not by faith alone but instead our good works in “cooperation” with God’s grace are meritorious, what did Jesus mean in John 3:16 when he told Nicodemus that “whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life”?

When I as a Catholic seeking after God read this verse for the first time I was stunned. Why had I never been told this? I thought. If I simply believe in Jesus I will be saved? Thirty years a Catholic, regular Sunday Mass attendance for most of that time, Catholic elementary and high school, yet this verse and others that taught the same thing were brand new to me. The magnitude of this revelation was akin to the one I got from my mother when I was about 11 years old, after a Disney video about menstruation left me a bit confused. Only not as traumatic.

No, not traumatic (I did get over that), but no less eye-opening. My Catholic upbringing had me believing I had to earn my own salvation. But there it was…there they were…all the verses that said if I believe I will be saved.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. – John 3:36

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. – John 5:24

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” – John 6:40

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. – John 6:47

I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” – John 8:24

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,  – John 11:25

And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” – Acts 16:31

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. – Romans 3:28

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9

A careful reading of the New Testament reveals many more passages that seem to teach that salvation is by faith alone. Sola fide. The Catholic Answers Live podcast I listen to regularly invites non-Catholics to call and tell them why they’re Protestant but I’ve never heard any caller cite any of these, or similar, verses and often wonder how the Catholic apologists would explain them. They like to talk about the ones that refer to works, but how do they reconcile those with these?

So, Catholic friend, how do you?